Parvo Outbreak at Valley Oak S.P.C.A.

April 9, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
A south valley animal shelter is coping with a deadly outbreak of the parvo virus that's forced dozens of puppies to be put down.Since this puppy disease broke out a couple of weeks ago, the S.P.C.A has had to euthanize more than 40 puppies here.

And they're not adopting out or trying to take in, any dogs under eight months old.

Caution tape across the lawn of the valley oak S.P.C.A. warns the public not to pass the line unless escorted by a staff member.

These kennels hold stray puppies that employees aren't sure are vaccinated or not.

In the building next door empty kennels are being cleaned with bleach.

"But we quarantine off. We actually escort people through the facility at this point," Kelly Austen said.

The valley oak S.P.C.A. is trying to sanitize after a troubling parvo outbreak.

Interim director Kelly Austen says parvo attacks a puppy's immune system...they get lethargic, have diarrhea and won't eat. But sometimes puppies with parvo won't show symptoms for weeks. They can harbor the disease for 14 days.

In less than two weeks the shelter had more than six cases. Unvaccinated puppies under eight months old had to be put down.

"We're trying to take those precautions of course we don't have the space to kind of put them all aside and say ok well let's see how we're going to be in a couple of weeks and are they going to have any symptoms," Austen said.

After adopting out several diseased puppies from their pet adoption center in the visalia mall and here at the shelter S.P.C.A. workers had to bring some of them back or notify the new pet owners.

"It is the worst we've seen in some time yes at least in our facility," Austen said.

Austen says the S.P.C.A.'s cramped space and influx of animals, especially puppies, over the last few years didn't help the situation.

People looking to adopt today were disappointed to hear of the parvo outbreak.

"It's hard for me to even to go in there and then to know that they have to put enough puppies down anyway but then for them to get sick like that," Robin Allen said.

The S.P.C.A. says the best way to avoid parvo, get your puppy vaccinated.

Valley Oak will be waiting 2-3 more weeks before taking in or adopting out any more puppies, to make sure the property is clear of the virus.