When hurricane Laura hit Louisiana and Texas in August 2020, it damaged a lot of homes and, unfortunately, many animals were displaced as a result. One such animal, a three month-old puppy from Louisiana, found his way to VCA Spring Branch Hospital in Houston, where he received life-saving treatment.

On August 29, the Houston SPCA rescued approximately 90 animals from the Calcasieu Parish Animal Shelter and Adoption Center, including a puppy that tested positive for parvovirus. 

Parvo is highly contagious virus that causes gastrointestinal illness in puppies and young dogs. Without treatment, it is potentially deadly. Part of what makes the virus so dangerous is how easily it spreads among dogs. Thankfully, with prompt treatment, dogs can make a full recovery.

“[Houston SPCA] did a few treatments there and then transferred him to our facility,” explains Alexis Doyle, veterinary assistant at VCA Spring Branch. “We gave him IV fluids over the weekend, along with a few other treatments, and he is doing fabulously today.”

Under the loving care of VCA Spring Branch staff, the puppy thrived. He also managed to steal the hearts of staff, who named him Giovanni.

“He is very cute, very playful – the whole staff loves him,” says Karen Woodard, DVM, medical director for VCA Spring Branch. “They've nicknamed him Gio as a result.”

According to Denise Weeks, hospital manager at VCA Spring Branch, due to their location, it’s not unusual for the hospital to treat hurricane rescues.

“It is common for VCA to give back to the community in general, and help out during many natural disasters,” she says. “Since we are in a highly hurricane-probable area, it is not uncommon for our hospitals to help when needed.”

Gio’s story is just one example of relationships VCA has with rescue groups all over the country. Many VCA hospitals like Spring Branch provide regular care to rescue animals at a discounted price. 

Additionally, the VCA Healthy Start Shelter program gives pets who are adopted through our shelter partners a healthy start in their new homes by offering a free initial health exam and treatment of any minor illness up to 14 days after adoption (up to $250) at any VCA Animal Hospital. 

Gio’s happy story doesn’t end with his successful treatment. The Houston SPCA helped him get adopted by a loving family with three children. They have renamed him Rudy, and in their care, he has continued to thrive.

“I'm thankful to work for a corporation where we are willing to help animals when a disaster hits,” says Karen.

For over two decades, VCA has been committed to helping animal welfare organizations lessen shelter returns, end pet homelessness and encourage pet adoption nationwide. If you are looking to adopt a new pet, visit one of VCA’s animal welfare partners here.

Are you concerned about Parvo?

“Gio’s happy story doesn’t end with his successful treatment. The Houston SPCA helped him get adopted by a loving family with three children.”