Dog quarantine at Athens animal shelter

The dog area at the Athens-Clarke County Animal Shelter is under a quarantine until the middle of the month: Shelter operators say canine parvovirus has been confirmed in a litter of stray puppies that were brought to the shelter last month.

From the Athens-Clarke County Animal Shelter…

The Athens-Clarke County Animal Shelter's dog area has been placed under a quarantine until September 16 due to the presence of canine parvovirus identified in some of a litter of six stray puppies brought to the shelter on August 29. Canine parvovirus (CPV), or parvo, is a highly contagious viral illness that affects dogs and is mainly seen in puppies, who cannot be vaccinated until they are six weeks old, and other unvaccinated dogs.

Until September 16, only Animal Shelter staff will be allowed in the dog area of the Animal Shelter. No volunteers or visitors will be allowed in the dog area and owner surrenders will not be allowed during this time. Residents seeking to surrender dogs prior to September 16 should contact the Animal Shelter by phone for advice. Owner reclaims will be allowed, although the owner will be advised of a potential exposure to parvo and to contact their vet immediately if their dog starts to act ill. Animal Control Officers will only bring dogs to the shelter that pose an immediate threat to people during this time.

Animal Shelter staff began cleaning procedures over the weekend and are continuing to undergo specialized cleaning processes to help minimize the spread of the parvo virus. These steps are being taken to prevent accidental exposure to the virus for dogs outside of the shelter through human contact. Due to the facility's design to separate animals, the cat area of the shelter will remain open for normal operations.

The six puppies appeared healthy when they arrived at the shelter on Thursday, August 29. As per standard protocol, they were vaccinated during intake.

On Saturday, August 31, one of the puppies appeared very ill and two others started to appear ill. All three were tested for parvo, as was one of the puppies that appeared healthy. The three puppies that appeared ill tested positive for parvo, while the one that did not appear ill tested negative. Despite isolation and treatment for their symptoms, the three puppies rapidly deteriorated due to the illness and were euthanized over the weekend. The remaining three puppies from the litter continue to appear healthy.

Animal Shelter staff has consulted with the Georgia Department of Agriculture as required, as well as with another area shelter and Animal Control's oversight veterinarian since the illness appeared. On Tuesday, September 3, the Georgia Department of Agriculture inspector performed an inspection on the shelter. Because the puppies had been in contact with volunteers and an outdoor interaction area before the positive test results, the inspector placed a two-week quarantine with some exceptions on the dog shelter to ensure the prevention of disease spread outside of the shelter. All dogs currently in the Quarantined portion of the shelter had already been vaccinated for parvo and are at low risk of infection.

The oversight veterinarian has specified some specific cleaning instructions and asked that no volunteers be allowed on site until their veterinarian technician can inspect the shelter to determine if it is advisable for volunteers to continue their enrichment activities. Staff has notified volunteers who had signed into the shelter to work with dogs on Saturday to advise them of a potential parvo exposure. No dogs had been reclaimed by owners over the weekend that would necessitate notifying owners.

The ACC Animal Control Division of the Central Services Department operates the Animal Shelter. The shelter's hours are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.; Sunday from noon - 4:00 p.m.; and Wednesday by appointment only.

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