Dog Adoptions Halted at South Lake Tahoe Animal Shelter After Infections Found

An image showing normal red blood cells along those infected with parvovirus. Courtesy Wikimedia Commons: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Parvovirus_infection_-_cropped_2_-_very_high_mag.jpg

The South Lake Tahoe animal shelter will not allow any dogs to be adopted until March 11 after finding two dogs infected with parvovirus.

In the meantime, staff at the county-run shelter will look into the infections, monitor the dogs at the shelter and “perform additional deep cleaning and disinfecting of all kennels,” according to a press release issued Thursday.

“We want to keep a watchful eye on the dogs and take every precaution to ensure that they are healthy,” the press release quoted South Lake Tahoe Supervising Animal Services Officer Robert Gerat as saying.

According to the ASPCA, parvovirus is a highly contagious disease and can prove to be life-threatening to dogs. It spreads from contact with an infected dog’s feces:

“Highly resistant, the virus can live in the environment for months, and may survive on inanimate objects such as food bowls, shoes, clothes, carpet and floors,” the ASPCA says on its website. “It is common for an unvaccinated dog to contract parvovirus from the streets, especially in urban areas where there are many dogs.”

Puppies and adolescent dogs are especially vulnerable to the disease, and puppies usually can’t be fully vaccinated against it until they’re four months old, the ASPCA says.

Early symptoms of the disease can include “lethargy, vomiting, loss of appetite and bloody diarrhea that can lead to dehydration,” the county states.

“Parvovirus vaccination is very important for all dogs,” the El Dorado County press release quoted Gerat as saying. “Because puppies who are not fully vaccinated are most at risk for getting parvovirus, it is recommended that they not be allowed to walk in parks or other public places until they have completed their vaccination series.”

[Photo caption: An image showing normal red blood cells along those infected with parvovirus. Courtesy Wikimedia Commons: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Parvovirus_infection_-_cropped_2_-_very_high_mag.jpg]

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