More puppies catch virus

By Lauren Hallow Published:

The Franklin County Humane Society remains on lockdown after several more puppies were put down after testing positive for the canine parvovirus, bringing the total number of dogs euthanized to 11.

The society has been under quarantine since Monday after the virus was first discovered last weekend. Since then, seven more puppies were brought in with symptoms and were euthanized after testing positive for the parvovirus. 

Humane Society Vice President Trudi Johnson said two of the sick puppies may have visited the East Frankfort Dog Park while contagious.

The virus is spread through direct or indirect contact with infected feces and can live in the soil for months, so Johnson urged anyone who visited the dog park with their pets recently to contact a vet.

Jim McCarty, co-director of the city’s parks and recreation department, said he’s put up signs around the dog park to let people know about the virus and to make sure their pets are vaccinated against it.

Two of the infected puppies came from foster homes, despite testing negative for the virus before being let out of the shelter, Johnson said. However, the parvovirus has an incubation period of seven to 14 days, which Johnson attributed to the negative test results.

The infected animals were found in the following areas: Willis Avenue, Pea Ridge Road, Devils Hollow, Holmes Street and the east side near Kroger.

The quarantine remains in effect, and Johnson said employees are taking it on a “day-by-day” basis. Under the quarantine, no dogs are allowed to be adopted out or brought in to the humane society.

However, because the society receives so many strays, the Kentucky River Authority has opened up a nearby vacant building for new animals, Johnson said. This building is where the latest several dogs to test positive were euthanized.

Some local veterinarians also had dogs brought in with the parvovirus, including the Animal Medical Center. Office manager Mary Rhodes said the center received some dogs in the past two weeks that tested positive for the virus, including one dog brought in Thursday morning. She also said the center has been receiving more calls from concerned pet owners wanting to get their dogs vaccinated against the parvovirus.

Johnson stressed the importance of taking dogs to the vet to get them vaccinated. She referred to a quote in Tuesday’s State

Journal from Dr. Jonathan Mangin of the Frankfort Veterinary Clinic, in which he advised people not to take their dogs to the humane society to get vaccinated.

“I totally agree (with Mangin),” Johnson said. “The humane society is not a vet clinic … it’s not where you’re supposed to get care for your animal.”

Johnson said the society only offers vaccinations because some can’t afford a vet, and they spay and neuter animals because it’s “the society’s mission” to control the pet population. Johnson said the humane society isn’t set up to be a clinic, and said those who could afford care should take their animals to a vet.

While the shelter remains under quarantine, Johnson said shelter employees are taking precautions to stop the disease from spreading, such as wearing covers on their shoes and washing everything down with bleach. Animal Control has also been sanitizing their trucks after bringing in dogs, even if they don’t test positive for the virus.

For updates on the quarantine, visit the humane society’s website at www.fchsky.org.

What you need to know

Eleven puppies have been euthanized since Saturday after testing positive for the canine parvovirus.
What it is: A highly contagious and deadly infection in the intestines, bone marrow and/or heart muscle
Symptoms: Bloody diarrhea, lethargy, lost interest in food, drooling, excessive vomiting and shivering
How it’s spread: Through contact (direct or indirect) with infected feces and contaminated soil
Who’s at risk: All dogs, but mainly those 1 year old and younger. The virus doesn’t infect humans or cats, but they can spread it if they come into contact with infected feces or soil.
The disease can be prevented through a series of vaccinations. Contact a veterinarian to get your dog vaccinated.

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