Shelter to reopen August 16
All the animals at the Pickens County Animal Shelter are healthy and doing well, Deputy Brandi Strawn reported Tuesday morning, after a case of parvo last week caused a litter of puppies to be put down and the shelter quarantined until August 16. A puppy brought into the county animal shelter in late July was found to be carrying the virus.
“All of our animals are in good condition,” Strawn said. “We haven’t had any problems. Everybody’s healthy.”
Strawn said a litter of puppies came in late July and it was nine days before they showed any symptoms of an illness.
“They came in looking really healthy. They started showing symptoms and one of them passed away.”
Following testing, Strawn discovered Canine Parvo was to blame. The other puppies in the litter had to be put down, she said.
Strawn reported the incident to the Georgia Department of Agriculture whose officials requested she close the facility for 14 days, a standard procedure. Strawn said puppies at her facility are kept separate from others dogs, cats and kittens and there was likely no transfer of the virus from the puppies to any other animals being held there.
“I don’t think any of my animals are at risk because of where the puppies were kept,” she said. “It’s just a safety precaution more than anything. We will monitor the animals for two weeks to make sure no one else shows any symptoms.”
She said officials she spoke with at the agriculture department reported that a lot of shelters around the state are experiencing parvo outbreaks because of the heat and humidity.
“We get a lot of stray animals and these animals are piddling through whatever they can to eat. The parvovirus can lay dormant for five months. This heat is like a big Petri dish and it overwhelms these animals. They can carry the virus dormant in their bodies for 14 days.”
Canine Parvo is a contagious virus spread from dog to dog by direct or indirect contact with their feces, according to Wikipedia. It can be especially severe in puppies that are not protected by maternal antibodies or vaccinations. Symptoms of parvo may include diarrhea, vomiting, quick weight loss and lethargy. Straun said dogs or puppies also stop eating and drinking water.
The mortality rate for parvo is 91 percent if untreated and, Strawn said, it could be very expensive to treat. Canine Parvo is not transferable to humans.
Until the shelter opens on August 16 no one can come in to adopt an animal and no other animals can be taken in, she said.
“I want people to understand there’s nothing bad. It’s just a safety precaution. Our animals are healthy. We make sure we adopt out healthy animals. In the summertime it’s par for the course.”
Shelter hours are Tuesday – Friday from 12-5 and Saturday from 11-3.