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Demodectic Mange in Dogs

Demodectic Mange is a parasitic skin disease caused by microscopic mites. Also called “demodex”, it is the most common form of mange in dogs. Demodex mites live in the hair follicles of all healthy dogs. An overgrowth of the mites can cause mange symptoms - hair loss, itchiness, and other skin lesions. An overgrowth of the mite typically occurs when the dog’s immune system is not fully developed (puppies) or when the immune system is suppressed (such as a stressed animal in a shelter).


Contributing Factors

Compromised immune system and stress, ie: young, old or ill animals. 



Demodex most often occurs when a dog has an immature immune system, allowing the mites to grow rapidly. Consequently, this disease occurs primarily in dogs less than 1 year of age. In most cases, the immune system matures as the dog grows. Adult dogs with demodex are usually immune compromised.


Since the mite is found on virtually all dogs, exposure of a normal dog to one with demodex is not dangerous. The other type of mange, called sarcoptic mange, is contagious between dogs.

Clinical Signs

Areas of bare skin, usually beginning on the face, especially around the eyes. A dog with only a few patches of fur loss has what is called localized demodectic mange. If the disease spreads to many areas of the skin, it is called generalized demodectic mange.


Dogs with demodex are usually not itchy unless they develop a secondary bacterial infection. 


Diagnosis is made by a deep skin scraping that is examined under the microscope. Usually, large numbers of mites are found.


An oral medication is administered once monthly or every 3 months depending on severity.  This adjustment must be made by the veterinarian. An antibiotic may be prescribed if there is a secondary bacterial infection. A bacterial infection can cause the skin to become red, inflamed and sometimes very itchy.  A high quality diet, stress free environment and maturing immune system also contribute to faster healing. Fish oil supplements are also beneficial. 


Demodex is not transmissible to humans.

Demodectic Mange

Distemper Agreement for Fosters and Adopters

Thank you for fostering or adopting a dog from Palm Valley Animal Society! 


The dog that you are agreeing to care for has been exhibiting symptoms that may indicate Distemper (Distemper Watch), or has been diagnosed with Distemper. Distemper is a common, but serious, canine virus that can last 1-3 months in the body.  Distemper is passed like a cold, through contact with secretions. Luckily, Distemper does die in the environment quickly - it can only live a maximum of a few days without a host. A home is required for a dog with this condition because housing them in a kennel without consistent monitoring would negatively affect the dog’s wellbeing and immune system.


Distemper can cause any of the following symptoms:
  • Cough/chest congestion, runny nose/severe nasal discharge, nasal congestion, pneumonia

  • Not eating/loss of interest in food, vomiting

  • Extreme lethargy

  • Diarrhea (sometimes bloody)

  • Eye discharge/decreased tear production/squinting/not wanting to open eyes/crust around the eyes

  • Ear infections

  • Fever (differentiates it from Kennel Cough)

  • Dandruff, yeasty/infected skin, change in skin condition or foul odor (even after bathing)

  • Temporary paralysis

  • Crying out in pain or disorientation

  • Inability to walk straight or giving the appearance of being off balance

  • Hard or flaky/peeling nose or paw pads (usually not immediate)

  • Seizures (usually not immediate)

  • Night terrors (usually not immediate)

  • Twitching/tics/tremors or other neurologic symptoms (usually not immediate; the only symptom that typically lasts longer than 2 weeks)


Distemper is treatable. However, the recovery process can be lengthy.  Our plan and your mission is to keep treating every symptom that comes up (through our Clinic) and outlast the virus. If we can keep the dog alive through it, then he/she will improve dramatically once the virus has left the body.


Your role is to make sure (please initial each item indicating that you understand):

_____This dog does not come into contact with any dog that you are not 100% sure is fully vaccinated for Distemper. A fully-vaccinated dog is a dog who has received at least 2 DHLPP or DAPP vaccines, one of which was given in the last 3 years and at the age of 5 months or older, and THAT:

  • IS NOT immunocompromised (happens in geriatric [elderly] dogs); AND

  • IS NOT on prednisone or steroids; AND

  • DOES NOT have cancer, Cushing's Disease, or any other severe disease that is
              compromising their health.

     This requires keeping a 10ft+ distance at all times and preventing fence communication in yards.

_____No water bowls or food bowls are left outside at any time for other wildlife or dogs to access.

_____This dog does not drink from any community water bowls/sources at parks, other public places, puddles.

_____No dogs come into your house that are not fully vaccinated (see above).

_____This dog does not visit any public places like restaurants, parks, friend’s houses, etc.

_____You administer all medications and do not run out of any or fail to give any, even for a day, to prevent rebound pneumonia from occurring.

_____You provide nutrition daily, either through feeding regularly, syringe feeding, force feeding, or tube feeding (we will show you how if necessary in puppies); you offer many different types of food to pique interest.


Please also acknowledge the following policies:

____ Availability for Adoption: Dogs diagnosed with Distemper are available on a case by case basis based on PVAS approval.

____ Surgery Scheduling: In addition to meeting our general eligibility requirements for spay/neuter surgery, “Distemper watch” dogs cannot have spay/neuter surgery until 2 weeks after they are cleared. Dogs diagnosed with Distemper cannot have spay/neuter surgery until they have been symptom free for a minimum of 30 days.

___ Clearance: PVAS’s Medical Team has sole discretion over clearing a dog. For the Medical Team to clear a dog, “Distemper watch” dogs must have had 14 days of no new or worsening symptoms while in the same home, and dogs diagnosed with Distemper must have had 30 days with no new or worsening symptoms while in the same home. If the dog moves locations, the clearance period starts over to make sure we are able to keep accurate records of the dog's symptoms. If the dog does not have any new or worsening symptoms within the requisite time period, the dog must be scheduled for a recheck at the Clinic to be cleared (subject to very limited exceptions).

___ Treatment for Distemper: Any Distemper treatment for your dog MUST be done through PVAS OR you must sign a waiver stating that you have decided to pursue Distemper treatment with your veterinarian and that if your veterinarian recommends euthanasia, you must contact PVAS prior to taking any such action as PVAS has sole approval rights regarding a pre-adopted dog’s euthanasia.

___ Dental Disclaimer: The Distemper virus may have some long term effects on a dog’s teeth. If severe, PVAS may decide to do a dental cleaning, in its sole discretion, prior to a dog’s adoption, but this would be rare. You are hereby on notice that you may need to incorporate dental cleanings as a regular part of your dog’s routine medical care.


With your help, this dog will have the best chance at life. Thank you for being willing to help them through it.



Dog’s Name


_____________________________                     ______________________________

Caretaker’s Name Printed                                     Caretaker’s Signature

Distemper Agreement

Distemper Handout

What is distemper?


Distemper is a common, but very serious airborne virus that can affect unvaccinated dogs, ferrets, and a handful of wild species like raccoons, wolves, foxes, and skunks. It initially attacks the dog's tonsils and lymph nodes and replicates itself there for about a week. It then attacks the respiratory, urogenital, gastrointestinal, and/or nervous systems.


If PVAS is able to treat the symptoms of distemper prior to the neurological stage, the prognosis is often very good. Once the virus attacks a dog's nervous system, the prognosis can be poor and can often be fatal. However, it is possible to have successful outcomes even after a dog develops neurological symptoms; some of our pups that reached this stage have survived with a few side effects (such as muscle tics) or none at all, and gone on to lead very normal lives.  


Distemper can be treated. However, the recovery process can be lengthy, and in rare cases it can reoccur.


To Whom is Distemper Contagious?



Distemper is not contagious to humans; however, under certain limited circumstances, Distemper can be spread to animals by humans via secondary surfaces like shoes or clothes.



Distemper mainly occurs in dogs; it can also affect ferrets and some species of wild animal such raccoons, wolves, foxes, and skunks. However, it is not contagious to domestic cats. Removing feces from the yard and not leaving water bowls out at night will help eliminate accidental spread to wildlife.


How is Distemper Spread?


Distemper is very contagious. It is spread to unvaccinated dogs just like the common cold, through contact with secretions. Sneezing, coughing, nasal secretions, saliva, snot, etc. are all modes of transmission. Unvaccinated dogs can also get Distemper through sharing water bowls, touching noses, or being in the same place at the same time as dogs with distemper.


Fortunately, distemper does not live very long in the environment. The virus dies very quickly -  within minutes - as soon as it dries. It lives longer if it has a host or is in water or on wet surfaces, such as in food bowls or on water-soaked toys. If an item is thoroughly dry, we consider it safe.


How to Prevent the Spread of Distemper


The distemper vaccine (DAPP/DHLPP) is VERY effective! It provides immediate partial immunity, and full immunity in 3 days. The dogs and puppies that get vaccines when they arrive at the shelter and are exposed hours later may still get diarrhea/pneumonia, but typically don’t develop neurological symptoms.


As long as your resident dog(s) are healthy and current on their vaccinations, they should not contract distemper. If you take home a dog who is on distemper watch or has distemper, your personal dog(s) and any dog(s) that may come in contact (even through a fence) with your foster/adopted dog must be fully vaccinated.


A fully-vaccinated dog is a dog who has received at least 2 DHLPP or DAPP vaccines, one of which was given in the last 3 years and at the age of 5 months or older, and THAT:

  • IS NOT immunocompromised (happens in geriatric [elderly] dogs); AND

  • IS NOT on prednisone or steroids; AND

  • DOES NOT have cancer, Cushing's Disease, or any other severe disease that is compromising their health. 


For dogs that are on distemper watch or have distemper, it is important that you follow the following precautions until our team clears the dog.

  • Do not let the pup interact with any dogs that you are not 100% sure are fully vaccinated.

  • Do not take the pup out in public, let them sniff other dogs through a fence, or share water bowls with other dogs.

  • Do not leave water or food bowls outside where they can be accessed by wildlife or other dogs.


Diagnosis and Symptoms


Unfortunately, there is no reliable, economically-feasible distemper test that PVAS can conduct, so when PVAS diagnoses a pup with distemper, it’s based on symptoms. 


To diagnose, PVAS looks for whether a dog is exhibiting multiple symptoms on the list below and/or when neurological symptoms develop.


Part of what makes distemper such a serious illness is that it can attack multiple systems at the same time; that also means that the list of symptoms is long. In addition, with distemper it is often difficult to predict how symptoms will present.


Symptoms of distemper may include:

  • Cough/chest congestion, runny nose/severe nasal discharge, nasal congestion, pneumonia

  • Not eating/loss of interest in food, vomiting

  • Extreme lethargy

  • Diarrhea (sometimes bloody)

  • Eye discharge/decreased tear production/squinting/not wanting to open eyes/crust around the eyes

  • Ear infections

  • Fever (differentiates it from kennel cough)

  • Dandruff, yeasty/infected skin, change in skin condition or foul odor (even after bathing)

  • Temporary paralysis

  • Crying out in pain or disorientation

  • Inability to walk straight or giving the appearance of being off balance

  • Hard or flaky/peeling nose or paw pads (usually not immediate)

  • Seizures (usually not immediate)

  • Night terrors (usually not immediate)

  • Twitching/tics/tremors or other neurologic symptoms (usually not immediate; the only symptom that typically lasts longer than 2 weeks)


**Twitching - Twitching can be considered a separate symptom since it can be semi-permanent. Only a twitch that is changing, worsening, or new should be considered a new symptom. If a rhythmic, unchanging distemper twitch is present, it may be a longer term, residual symptom of the virus that may last 1-2 years.


Treatment, Medications and General Prognosis


Distemper is a virus, which means it can’t be cured. Instead, we do everything we can to treat the symptoms until the virus passes.


Because it can affect so many different bodily systems, and because our treatment protocols are constantly evolving as we learn more about distemper, no two dogs will get exactly the same treatment.


Most dogs that are on distemper watch or have distemper will take antibiotics to treat URI symptoms. They may also take medicine to increase appetite or alleviate diarrhea or cough. Our Medical Team may also administer Distemper Serum and/or vitamins that we have found effective.


If the pup develops neurological symptoms, he or she will be given one or more medicines to control convulsions or help them feel more comfortable.


Prognosis is difficult to predict because the Distemper virus acts differently in each dog. In general, the older the dog, the higher the survival rate. In our experience, we have observed a 50% survival rate in puppies and an 80% survival rate in adults. Occasionally some dogs that survive distemper can have long term changes to teeth.  If severe, PVAS may opt to do a dental cleaning prior to adoption (rare).  Otherwise they may need to do this in future.  (Similar to dental care required by small breed dog as far as maintenance).


Progression and Potential Complications


We may use the following 2 labels to designate Distemper risk/status:


Distemper Watch:

When a dog is elevated to Distemper watch, this means the dog is exhibiting symptoms that may indicate Distemper but are not 100% consistent with the disease. These can be as simple as kennel cough or diarrhea but since actual Distemper can begin with very benign symptoms such as a mild cough, we will treat any dog with symptoms of any kind as Distemper watch. The large majority of our Distemper watch dogs are taking medications to treat those symptoms, and most of them will get better as the medications start to work, and they do not actually have Distemper. If the dog has no new or worsening symptoms for 14 days, then they are eligible for clearance.

Confirmed Distemper (sometimes referred to as Active Distemper): 

If your dog’s Distemper watch symptoms progress, don’t go away, or come back, then we will begin active Distemper treatment where we try to prevent the disease from spreading with immune system boosters, continue antibiotics, and treat all new symptoms accordingly.  Active Distemper can take a few months to resolve, and as stated earlier, we treat any symptom that arises. There is no “one size fits all treatment” since the disease is so variable. The Foster Team will stay in close contact with all fosters and adopters during this stage. If the dog has no new or worsening symptoms for 30 days, they are eligible for clearance.




Distemper does not live long in the environment, but it is still an infectious disease. If you have a dog that is on Distemper Watch or has Distemper, we recommend being vigilant about picking up poop, washing dishes the dog uses, laundering beds and towels, and cleaning with a disinfectant, such as Lysol or Simple Green. 


Frequently Asked Questions


Other than the information set forth in this handout, what do I need to do or what set up do I need to have to take a distemper-labeled dog?

Not much, just bestow upon them all the love you would normally give any dog. Being in a home is one of the best medications you can give to them! Watch for any signs of illness and report them to us immediately. Make sure they get the medications they were prescribed, and when those medications run out, contact us to see if you need a refill. Make sure to prevent contact within 10 feet of other dogs. Check your yard to prevent "through the fence" contact with neighbors’ dogs. Pick up water bowls outside so wildlife won't be exposed.  Other than that, just give lots of TLC and rest. You should have also received our Distemper Agreement for Fosters and Adopters, so please make sure to follow the instructions in this document.


Can I take other dogs after having a distemper-labeled dog?

Yes, but only after the distemper-labeled dog is gone OR if the new dog is well vaccinated against distemper (ask us first). Unlike the parvo virus, the distemper virus doesn't stay in the environment for very long, so as soon as one dog is gone, the next dog won't get it as long as there is no standing water anywhere. The distemper virus is spread like a cold, so think about how you might catch a cold in a busy place - it is usually from close contact with someone (e.g., next to you on an airplane or sitting across a table from you), not from across the room or going into a restaurant/hotel after the last guests left that had a cold.


Is there anything I should do after taking the dog into my home?

Just make sure that you know the vaccination history of any dog that will come within 10 feet of your foster dog. If you are not 100 percent sure a dog is fully vaccinated, do not let it have access to your foster dog, even for a second.  Other than that, there is really nothing unique to do that you would not do with another dog.


Is there anything I should avoid doing with the dog?

Avoid any contact (within 10 feet) of other dogs that you don't know FOR SURE have been well-vaccinated against distemper. So don't go out to dog parks, pet stores, vets, restaurants, cafes etc. As with any puppy, dogs under 5 months of age cannot go for walks, because they are not fully vaccinated, and we need to generally limit their exposure to germs. You can take adult dogs on walks, but only if you can guarantee there there will be no interaction with any other dogs and if you pick up all poop. Also, since your pup might be fighting off a virus, it is generally best to not go running or do anything too strenuous so they can recuperate.


Can it affect other pets?

Distemper can spread to dogs that are not well vaccinated and ferrets. If you have pet ferrets, you should not foster or adopt a dog who has distemper.


Can I carry Distemper on my clothes?

No, just like a cold, the distemper virus will die immediately when dry. As long as you don't have a big swab of saliva on your shoes or clothes, you will not carry the virus.


Can a friend's/neighbor’s pet(s) get distemper from me?

Ask them if their dogs are up to date on vaccines. If your foster dog gets within 10 feet of their dog, and their dog is not well vaccinated against distemper, there is a risk of transmission. Otherwise, it is very safe. If you can check those two boxes, there is extremely little risk that your friend’s/neighbor’s dog will get distemper from your foster dog.


My dog did not receive a DAPP/DHLPP vaccine within the last year but received a 3-year DAPP/DHLPP vaccine within the last 3 years. Will that protect them from Distemper?



My dog did not receive DAPP/DHLPP vaccines two weeks apart in the last year, but has been up-to-date on vaccines for a few years. Will that protect her from Distemper?



When should I call the Foster Team?

Please only call the Foster Team with emergencies. Otherwise, please communicate with us via email.


Can this dog make me or my kids sick?

No, distemper is not contagious in any form to people.


Should I feed the dog something specific?

Since they may or may not be trying to fight off a virus, we recommend a good-quality diet, like food from a higher-quality brand like Castor & Pollux. We have also tried a raw food diet for dogs that have active distemper, because the more pure nutrition of raw food may benefit them, but really anything high quality is appropriate. If the dog will not eat, we recommend blending high quality canned food and water to force feed with a syringe to keep caloric intake up.


Should I limit the dog’s activity?

Yes, we recommend no strenuous exercise (like jogging our hiking) and no time outside on hot days. We want the pups to rest while we watch them.


Can the dog be left alone in my home? If so, for how long?

Yes, unless instructed otherwise, they should fit into your schedule. If they are on three-times-a-day meds, give the first dose in the AM, the second dose in the early PM (e.g., after work), and the third dose at bedtime. We do not expect you to stay home from work/school.    


Will I need to make frequent trips to the clinic with/for this dog?

Hopefully not, but it depends on whether or not the pup gets very sick. If so, we try to accommodate your schedule and send as many things home as possible to prevent frequent trips. Please talk with our vet techs about your needs; we are here to help!


Do I need to do any special cleaning either before or after I bring a dog who has distemper home?

No, we recommend the same cleaning for any dog. Clean bowls, laundry, and toys (especially those that hold saliva, like Kongs). Washing items in your washing machine works well; special disinfectants are not necessary.


What happens if my foster dog gets distemper?

The Foster Team will walk you through every step. Distemper does different things to different dogs, so while the typical “Active Distemper” dog will have pneumonia and some anorexia, others may have nervous system symptoms, such as wobbliness or even a seizure. Our medical team will treat any and all symptoms and give your pup the best chance of beating the odds.

Distemper Handout

Heartworm Handout

About Heartworm Disease

  • Heartworm disease is exactly what it sounds like--worms in the heart. It is caused by foot-long worms (heartworms) that live in the heart, lungs, and associated blood vessels of affected pets, eventually causing severe lung disease, heart failure, and damage to other organs in the body. 

  • It is extremely common in Texas and on the Gulf Coast. 

  • It’s important to note that heartworm disease is only spread through the bite of an infected mosquito, not dog-to-dog, and that heartworm preventatives are extremely effective. 


To Whom is Heartworm Disease Contagious?


While possible for humans to contract heartworms from being bitten by an infected mosquito, it is extremely rare and does not lead to illness because humans are considered a “dead end” host (the larvae die before they become adult heartworms). Humans cannot get heartworms from an animal.



There are some other species that can contract heartworm disease (wolves, coyotes, foxes), but it is not spread through direct contact with another animal. 


How is Heartworm Disease Spread?

Heartworm disease is spread by infected mosquitoes, not dog-to-dog, and preventatives are extremely effective. Adult female heartworms living in an infected dog produce microscopic baby worms called microfilaria that circulate in the bloodstream. When a mosquito bites and takes a blood meal from an infected animal, it picks up these baby worms, which develop and mature into “infective stage” larvae over a period of 10 to 14 days. Then, when the infected mosquito bites another dog, the infective larvae are deposited onto the surface of the animal's skin and enter the new host through the mosquito’s bite wound. Once inside a new host, it takes approximately 6 months for the larvae to mature into adult heartworms. Once mature, heartworms can live for 5 to 7 years in dogs. 

Heartworm Disease Prevention

Heartworm preventatives are extremely effective. As long as your dog is on preventatives he or she is extremely unlikely to get heartworms. 


Diagnosis and Symptoms


Heartworm Tests
  • Given on intake to every dog over 7 months of age, and then every 6 months after that 

  • Heartworms will not show up on a test for 6 months, which is why we don’t test puppies under 7 months, and why it’s very important that we test a dog again 6 months to a year later--they may test negative at intake, but positive on the followup test.



In the early stages of the disease, many dogs show few symptoms or no symptoms at all. The longer the infection persists, the more likely symptoms will develop. Active dogs, dogs heavily infected with heartworms, or those with other health problems often show pronounced clinical signs.


Signs of heartworm disease may include a mild persistent cough, reluctance to exercise, fatigue after moderate activity, decreased appetite, and weight loss. As heartworm disease progresses, pets may develop heart failure and the appearance of a swollen belly due to excess fluid in the abdomen. Dogs with large numbers of heartworms can develop sudden blockages of blood flow within the heart leading to a life-threatening form of cardiovascular collapse. This is called caval syndrome, and is marked by a sudden onset of labored breathing, pale gums, and dark, bloody or coffee-colored urine. In this case, PVAS will proceed with heartworm treatment immediately, but the prognosis is generally poor. 

Progression & Possible Complications

Restrict exercise. 

This requirement might be difficult to adhere to, especially if your dog is accustomed to being active. But your dog’s normal physical activities must be restricted because physical exertion increases the rate at which the heartworms cause damage in the heart and lungs. The more severe the symptoms, the less activity your dog should have.

  • If you are fostering a dog that is heartworm positive and you begin to notice symptoms or signs of heart disease, please contact the Foster Team to determine whether an appointment needs to be made at the clinic.

  • If your foster dog is undergoing heartworm treatment, please stay in regular contact with the Foster Team about any issues that arise . It is common for dogs to be very uncomfortable after receiving their heartworm injections, and the clinic will provide medication to help with this. 



Interior - no decontamination/sanitization is needed because heartworm disease is only passed via mosquito.

Exterior (Yards, Patios, etc.) - no decontamination/sanitization is needed, but it’s always a good idea to make efforts to decrease mosquito populations around your home/yard by removing standing water and keeping grass trimmed. 


Frequently Asked Questions

My foster is on the slow-kill heartworm treatment, are they going to switch over to the faster treatment when they get adopted?
The slow-kill treatment is not a precursor to the fast-kill, it is instead of the fast kill.  If we put a dog on slow-kill heartworm treatment, it is because we think it is in their best interest moving forward. Once we start that process, it's just that - a process. It can take 6 - 12 months for the dog to clear. We do not typically switch from slow kill to fast kill once we have begun.  If this dog goes to the adopter, it's important to understand that this dog will likely be on slow-kill treatment for the remainder of the treatment, which depends on when it started, but could be up to 12 months. 


Should I tell potential adopters about my foster dog’s heartworm disease?
YES! PVAS relies on their fosters to communicate their foster dog’s medical needs and conditions to potential adopters. It’s very important that you let potential adopters know if your foster dog is heartworm positive and be able to explain the basics of the disease and treatment. Please emphasize that heartworm disease is highly treatable, and your foster dog cannot give it to other dogs or humans.


My foster dog has finished 4 weeks of crate rest--can he be made available?

In most cases, yes. In severe cases, the clinic may want to see the dog again. Please email the foster team about next steps. 

Heartworm Handout

Parvo Watch Agreement

Thank you for fostering or adopting a dog from Palm Valley Animal Society! 

The dog you are agreeing to care for has potentially been exposed to Parvovirus. Parvo is a common, deadly virus that can afflict dogs who are not yet fully vaccinated. Parvo is passed either by direct exposure to a sick dog, or contact with infected organic material (vomit, feces) in the environment. Parvo is extremely hearty and has been found to survive as a contagion in the environment for up to a year, even in extremely hot or cold temperatures. 


Signs and Symptoms

If your puppy is to break with Parvovirus you will begin seeing signs within 1-5 days of exposure. Parvovirus will present with the following symptoms:

  • Lethargy (low or lessening energy, listless)

  • Inappetence (diminished or nonexistent interest in food/eating)

  • Vomiting

  • Diarrhea (usually bloody)

  • Fever (normal rectal temperature for a dog is 99-102 degrees Fahrenheit) 


Parvovirus is contagious and can be fatal without proper treatment. Our plan and your mission is to monitor this puppy vigilantly for the above symptoms and alert the Foster Team at the first sign of the disease. By taking this animal home you have given them the best chance at survival as if they do break with Parvo, the earlier treatment begins the better we can stave off the dehydration, infection, and other complications that may threaten their life.

By agreeing to foster or adopt this animal you are responsible for the following (please initial to indicate you understand and intend to fulfill these requirements):

______This dog CANNOT come into contact with any dog under the age of 5 months until Parvo Watch has been lifted by PVAS. They do not have enough vaccines to protect them from the virus.

______This dog CANNOT come into contact with any dog greater than 5 months of age who is not current on routine vaccines, or any dog with an unknown vaccine history.

______PVAS medical staff will be alerted at the first symptom that could be associated with Parvovirus. Contact information is listed at the bottom of this sheet. 

______If a symptom presents and a staff member agrees that a Parvo test is indicated for this dog you will schedule this by urgent appointment (within 24 hours of symptom onset) with PVAS medical staff and follow appointment instructions as indicated to prevent the spread of potential disease (the testing would be performed in your vehicle, you would not be able to step outside of your vehicle at any time while at PVAS, you would call the clinic once arrived for your appointment to have a Technician meet you at your vehicle for testing). 

______If this pup breaks with Parvovirus you will have it evaluated by a PVAS vet who will decide which course of treatment is acceptable based on severity of symptoms (at home treatment vs. admittance into Parvo Treatment ICU).  If at-home treatment is indicated and you agree to provide this care at home (after a tutorial) you are agreeing, by signing this document,  to administer all medications as prescribed and to communicate with PVAS as necessary to complete treatment. *Surrender into the ward is always an option for a Parvo positive dog, if the responsibility of treatment becomes too great or if the puppy continues to decline.


______If you decide to have this pup treated for Parvo at your private clinic you understand that PVAS cannot reimburse you for costs incurred and that PVAS legally requires proof of treatment from your veterinarian. 

______If this pup breaks with Parvo, you understand that any environment they were in while symptomatic (car, yard, home, etc.) is now contaminated and it is your responsibility to clean it. Bleach is the only household cleaner that kills Parvovirus, at a dilution of 1 part Bleach to 32 parts water. 

______If this pup breaks with Parvo, you understand that it is your responsibility to alert your neighbors/family/friends who have dogs so they can ensure their pets are fully vaccinated before they come into contact with any environment the pup was in while symptomatic. 

______Parvo Watch can only be lifted by a PVAS medical staff member as seen fit in accordance with present symptoms. Parvo Watch is only eligible to be lifted after 5 days of a consistent lack of symptoms.


Due to the severity of the virus and the fact that foster homes are best for pets’ wellbeing, our Parvo Treatment ICU is only a suitable home for symptomatic, Parvo positive dogs. Since the dog you’re agreeing to care for is currently asymptomatic and/or negative for parvovirus,  it is best for them to move out of the shelter for observation to lower the risk for breaking with this serious disease. Though the possibility that they could contract the virus they were exposed to is frightening, with your help PVAS is committed to giving every dog the best chance of a healthy life as we can.

Dog’s PVAS Name: _____________________________     Dog’s ID#: ______________________

Foster/Adopter Signature: ___________________________________________

Staff Member Signature:  ____________________________________________

Date: ____________________

Parvo Watch Agreement

Ringworm Handout

General Description


Despite its name, ringworm does not involve any worms; instead, it is a very common fungus that lives everywhere, including on animals, people, and in the soil. It is especially common in Texas, and you probably have come in contact with it multiple times without even knowing it because ringworm is very hardy and lives a long time in the environment. In humans and animals, the fungus causes a parasitic infection which feeds on keratin, most commonly affecting the skin and hair. This parasitic infection flourishes in warm and damp areas. It is contagious, but does not affect all people or animals in the same way.


To Whom is Ringworm Contagious?



Small children, the elderly, and anyone with a compromised immune system are all vulnerable to ringworm. Healthy adults can get ringworm but it is unlikely, and in the case that they do, it is easy to treat. If you are diligent about thoroughly washing your hands and changing clothes after handling your pet you can significantly reduce the risk of transmission.



Puppies, seniors, and any immunocompromised/malnourished/stressed animals are most at risk of contracting ringworm — that’s why we see it pretty frequently in shelter pets. It is also more contagious to and more difficult to resolve in cats than in dogs. Again, thoroughly washing your hands and changing clothes in between handling a pet that has ringworm will reduce the risk of giving it to other pets.


How is Ringworm Spread?


Ringworm most often spreads by skin-to-skin contact, but can also be transferred on secondary surfaces like clothes, shoes, carpets, couches, sheets, and blankets.


How to Prevent the Spread of Ringworm


Keep the pet who has ringworm somewhere easy to clean, like a bathroom. Use bleach when washing any beds, towels, or blankets on which the pet lays, toys they play with and equipment they use. Depending on the location of your pet’s ringworm, putting them in a shirt may help prevent the ringworm from coming into contact with skin or surfaces. 


Thoroughly wash your hands after handling your pet; sometimes it can help to wear long sleeves and then wash your clothes frequently. If you want to put your pet on a bed, couch, or rug, put a towel underneath him and then wash the towel. Frequently vacuum carpeted surfaces. Good personal hygiene and environmental decontamination are essential to keep the disease from spreading to humans and other animals.


Diagnosis and Symptoms


Classic symptoms of ringworm include lesions that typically appear on a dog’s head, ears, paws, and forelimbs. These lesions can cause patchy, crusted circular “bald spots” that sometimes look red in the center. In mild cases of ringworm, there may be just a few broken hairs, while severe cases of ringworm can spread over most of a pet’s body. It’s also possible for a pet to carry the fungus and not show any symptoms whatsoever.


Ringworm is usually diagnosed visually and sometimes can be confirmed with a “blacklight test” (ringworm lights up under ultraviolet light). The blacklight test can be helpful, but it is not completely definitive. Generally, if the vet suspects ringworm, we will treat the pet as if it has ringworm.


Treatment, Medications and General Prognosis


Treatment of ringworm depends on the severity of the infection. PVAS uses two main treatments for ringworm:


  • Lime Sulfur Dip: An over-the-counter solution that is safe and effective but unfortunately smells pretty terrible (like sulfur). Lime dip needs to be diluted, and it can stain clothes and hands so if you can, mix it outside; it is typically applied twice weekly. Lime dip can either be used to spot treat small areas of ringworm, or in the unlikely case that an animal has extensive ringworm it can be used as a full-body dip.


  • Terbinafine: An oral, once daily medication typically prescribed for a three-week course. Terbinafine cannot be prescribed to young puppies or kittens, and it is typically given only in fairly severe cases, so it is used pretty rarely in treating dogs.


Progression and Possible Complications


Treatment for ringworm is generally very effective but the fungus can sometimes persist. It’s hard to know exactly when the pet has been “cured” — a good indication is hair regrowth.





Ringworm can be killed with a diluted bleach solution (1 part bleach diluted with 10 parts water). Spray any hard surfaces with which the pet came into contact with this solution (including dishes/bowls, equipment, toys, and any other materials where infected hair or scales may have collected), wash affected laundry (including bedding, towels, clothes, sheets, and blankets) with a little color-safe bleach, and frequently vacuum your carpets (don’t forget to discard the contents of your vacuum).


Exterior (Yards, Patios, etc.)

If the pet came into contact with any hard outdoor surfaces, those can be cleaned with the diluted bleach solution. Ringworm might live in the grass for a little while but the risk of catching it this way is very low.


Frequently Asked Questions


What if I get ringworm!?

Getting ringworm isn’t fun, but it isn’t terrible either. Ringworm causes a scaly, crusted rash that may appear as round, red patches on the skin. Other symptoms and signs of ringworm include patches of hair loss or scaling on the scalp, itching, and blister-like lesions.


It is relatively easy to treat on humans because we aren’t furry, and unless it appears on a person who is immunocompromised, seeing the doctor is not usually necessary — an over-the-counter topical antifungal medication works well for it. It is usually necessary to use topical medications for at least two weeks, and make sure to follow the product instructions. 


We have many fosters, volunteers, and adopters that handle animals who have ringworm, and they usually don’t catch it. If they do, it clears up pretty quickly with some antifungal spray or cream, keeping the area clean and dry. 


What should I do if my resident pet gets ringworm?

The PVAS clinic cannot, unfortunately, treat or fund the treatment of owned animals, so if one of your pets contracts ringworm we recommend seeing your regular vet.


Can ringworm reoccur?

Once a particular infection is gone, it’s gone, but if a pet or person comes into contact with ringworm again, re-infection may occur.


Are there any lasting effects of ringworm?

It may take awhile to resolve or for the hair to grow back, but there are no long-term health effects from having ringworm.

Ringworm Handout
Sarcoptic Mange Handout

Sarcoptic Mange Handout

General Description

Sarcoptic mange (aka scabies) is a parasitic skin condition caused by microscopic mites that live just under the surface of an animal’s skin.


To Whom is Sarcoptic Mange Contagious?


Humans can contract sarcoptic mange. Based on our current treatment protocol, cats are considered non-contagious after 2 weeks and dogs are considered non-contagious after 3 days. PVAS strongly recommends that households with children or people who are elderly or immunocompromised take extra precautions with sarcoptic mange.



Both domestic and wild animals can contract sarcoptic mange. Based on our current treatment protocol, cats are considered non-contagious after 2 weeks and dogs are considered non-contagious after 3 days. PVAS strongly recommends that households with puppies, or dogs who are senior or immunocompromised, take extra precautions with sarcoptic mange.


How is sarcoptic mange spread?

Untreated Sarcoptic mange is contagious and can spread either through direct (skin-to-skin) contact or indirect contact, such as through towels, bedding, carpets, or furniture.


Preventing the Spread of Sarcoptic Mange

The most effective way to prevent the spread of sarcoptic mange is to keep the affected dog/cat away from anything that can’t be easily and thoroughly decontaminated, either by cleaning with household disinfectant or running it through the washer and dryer on the hottest setting possible.


Quarantine in the home is highly recommended, and it’s a good idea to keep the dog/cat in an area that’s easy to clean, like a bathroom. Good hygiene, including frequent hand-washing and changing clothes after handling infected animals can help minimize the potential for infection, though it can’t completely eliminate it.


If the resident dog/cat uses Revolution, Bravecto or Nexgard for flea prevention, it greatly reduces the risk of infection.


Diagnosis and Symptoms

Animals with sarcoptic mange will usually be noticeably itchy and have significant hair loss along with lesions or crusty skin.


It is diagnosed by gently scraping the surface of the skin (a procedure called a skin scrape) and then examining the cells under a microscope for mites.


Sometimes a skin scrape will not yield any visible mites, even though it’s very likely—based on other symptoms—that the animal has sarcoptic mange. In those cases we will treat them for the condition and recommend any adopter or foster do the same.


Treatment, Medications and General Prognosis

PVAS treats sarcoptic mange differently between dogs and cats as follows:


Revolution - Topical application, three doses, given two weeks apart (for cats).

Nexgard - One dose (for dogs).


While PVAS cannot guarantee how long full recovery will take, cats can be considered non-contagious 2 weeks after the first dose of Revolution, and dogs can be considered non-contagious 3 days after the sole dose of Nexgard. If the sarcoptic mange is extreme, treatment can be extended.


Progression & Possible Complications

The main complication from sarcoptic mange is secondary skin infections; dogs and cats with sarcoptic mange will sometimes be prescribed antibiotics to treat or prevent them.  A very small percentage of animals can develop more severe infections that require more treatment, but this is uncommon.


It can take awhile for fur to grow back after sarcoptic mange has resolved, but most animals have no lasting issues. Fish oil, medicated baths, and topical treatments can help with itchiness and regrowing fur.





Sarcoptic mites can live for about three days without a host, but can also be killed by standard household disinfectants or by washing and drying any affected fabrics on your washer/dryer’s hottest setting. Anything the dog or cat comes into contact with that can’t be laundered or thoroughly cleaned should either be placed in plastic for three days or wrapped in plastic and placed in the freezer for at least 12 hours.


Exterior (Yards, Patios, etc.)

Patio surfaces or furniture should be cleaned with a household disinfectant; the mites can live in the grass for short periods of time, but the risk of passing it to another animal this way is very low.


Frequently Asked Questions


What should I do if I start having symptoms of sarcoptic mange?

If you or anyone around you starts to develop itchiness while you have a pet with sarcoptic mange, we recommend seeing a doctor immediately.  Although humans can contract the mites from animals, they cannot live on human skin for very long and the infection is much less severe, except in immunocompromised individuals.


Can sarcoptic mange reoccur?

Once eradicated, the same case of sarcoptic mange does not occur, though no dog, cat, or person is immune from being affected by it in the future. 


Are there any long lasting effects of sarcoptic mange?

Generally, no. If a dog or cat has particularly severe hair loss or some scabbing, they could have some lingering cosmetic issues, but there is no threat to their overall health.

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