A canine virus that ’s spreading throughout Clark County has halted dog adoptions at the Clark County Dog Shelter for two weeks and local experts are warning residents to keep an eye on their dogs.
The parvovirus is making its way through the county and is highly contagious, Clark County Dog Shelter Manager Cat Stewart said.
“There has been an incredible increase of dogs testing positive for parvovirus and dogs being found deceased around the county,” Stewart said.
The county’s dog shelter discovered one of its dogs sick Thursday morning, Stewart said. The dog had become so sick they had to put it down, she said.
“Her case was extremely aggressive and there was nothing we could do to treat her symptoms,” she said.
Stewart said the dog shelter checks its dogs daily for diseases and encourages pet owners to do the same. Early detection can lead to treatment, she said.
“You really want to look out for your dog acting unusual, maybe being more sleepy, coupled with diarrhea, severer vomiting, not wanting to drink water or lost appetite. Those kinds of things can be indicative of parvovirus and you will want to contact your vet immediately,” Stewart said.
Dr. Greg Noll, a veterinarian in Springfield, said he has heard that up to two dozens dogs have been diagnosed with parvovirus in Clark County.
“If the dogs are up to date on their vaccinations, vaccinations are very effective of preventing disease. We are recommending to try not to take your dogs to a lot of public places. Be vigil.”
The shelter is required by law to continue to take in stray dogs, but because of the outbreak, Stewart said officials are being cautious so more dogs don’t become sick. All new dogs will be quarantined for about a week before being brought into the shelter’s general population. And even then, the dogs will be placed separately than where the current dogs are.
Closing the shelter for a couple weeks is in the best interest of the animals, Clark County Dog Warden Sandi Click said.
“The top priority at the Clark County Dog Shelter is always to ensure the health and well-being of the dogs we care for,” said she said in a statement. “The decision to close is in keeping with the recommendations of four different veterinary practices here in Clark County. We have a protocol in place for incoming dogs during this time and wish to protect the dogs currently in our care from undue stress.”
The dog shelter will continue the redemption process by appointment throughout the 14-day period, according to a Clark County release. It will continue to update its Facebook page with strays that were impounded in order to help reunite them with their owner, per state law. It will resume performing adoptions on Friday, Jan. 11.
Because the shelter will continue to take in dogs but won’t be able to adopt them out, there is a concern about overcrowding the shelter, Stewart said. Employees will also have more to handle, she said.
“We always need volunteers,” Stewart said. “Just because we have parvovirus here or in the community shouldn’t stop people from coming in. We have a parvo protocol that we follow here and its been very successful.”
Those who wish to donate to the shelter can do so also. The shelter is in need of towels and bedding, Stewart said.