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San Angelo suffering parvo outbreak

Animal Shelter not accepting, adopting dogs until Oct. 14

Post Date:09/28/2018

The City’s Animal Services division is alerting dog owners of a local outbreak of the deadly disease canine parvovirus. Citizens should ensure their dogs are secure, avoid strays, and contact their veterinarian if they suspect an issue with their dog.

The Animal Shelter has halted the intake and adoption of dogs. The move was made late today after shelter officials noted dogs with the deadly disease in the facility and spoke with several veterinarians, who reported a local outbreak. Dogs will be neither accepted nor adopted until at least Oct. 14, when the health of dogs in the community and in the shelter will be reassessed.

The shelter will remain open and continue its other public health operations, including accepting dogs that have bitten people or other animals, accepting wildlife, and accepting and adopting cats, which are not susceptible to parvo.

San Angelo’s dog park, 3215 Millbrook Drive, has also been closed indefinitely in a precautionary move to stem any spread of the disease.  

Canine parvovirus is highly contagious and life-threatening. It rapidly attacks a dog’s intestinal tract. Symptoms include lethargy, severe vomiting, loss of appetite, and bloody, foul-smelling diarrhea. Parvo is transmitted through contact with an infected dog’s feces. The virus can live in the environment for months, although it is easily preventable if dogs are vaccinated. Veterinarians have theorized nearly 7 inches of rain this month has brought the dormant virus in soil to the surface.

Since Wednesday, more than 30 mostly mature dogs recently accepted into the shelter have been found to suffer from parvo. Typically, the shelter sees five such cases per month. Those usually involve puppies, which are more susceptible to the disease.

At the direction of its veterinarian, the shelter has taken special measures to protect the health of its population. Citizens are likewise encouraged to consult with their veterinarians for guidance.

“We believe this disease was brought into the shelter by some of the strays and unwanted animal we have accepted,” said Morgan Chegwidden, assistant director of the City’s Neighborhood and Family Services Department. “The shelter vaccinates animals as soon as we receive them, but unfortunately that cannot help a dog already stricken with parvo, which is incurable. This situation underscores the need for people to keep their dogs immunized. That is a critical part of responsible pet ownership.”