A case of canine parvo has forced the Pickens County Animal Shelter to quarantine all of its animals and temporarily close the doors until August 16th. Last week, the shelter took in a litter of German Shepherd puppies found by the side of road. For days, the pups showed no signs of the highly-contagious and deadly disease. Then, this week, it became obvious one of the pups was suffering with the lethal virus. The other two soon followed suit, displaying signs of parvo. All three of the little dogs died.
Deputy Brandi Strawn explained closing the shelter is more of a precautionary measure than a reaction to a health crisis. She said whenever the shelter takes in a stray animal, the animal is quarantined; it is kept separate from the other animals. The German Shepherd pups were not exposed to the other animals, therefore, the risk of the shelter’s population contracting the Parvo virus has been minimized.Still, taking all necessary precautions to prevent the spread of the virus, Strawn closed the shelter until August 16th, a period of 12 days. However, according to some experts, the virus can linger up to five months. Strawn confirmed this, but said that during this period the virus only lies on surface, like the top of soil. Due to the shelter’s repeated use of Parvo Tech, a cleansing agent used to prevent the virus, Strawn feels confident the 12 day period is sufficient to safeguard the animal population against the disease.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, cases of parvo are very common in summer months. The virus has a tendency to mutate in the heat, particularly in still water, and is transmitted by direct or indirect contact with fecal matter. Symptoms of the virus include, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of weight, and lethargy.
Although all the litter passed away, Straun is confident the virus has not been transmitted to the other dogs or animals being housed at the county facility. The Pickens County Animal Shelter currently has 126 rescues, including dogs and cats. Strawn is confident the shelter will reopen on time on August 16th.