CADILLAC — Roughly two years after the last outbreak, the Wexford County Animal Shelter was closed Friday due to Canine parvovirus.
According to a press release sent out by the sheriff’s office, “Canine parvovirus is a highly contagious viral disease that can produce a life-threatening illness. The virus attacks rapidly dividing cells in a dog’s body, most severely affecting the intestinal tract. Parvovirus also attacks the white blood cells, and when young animals are infected, the virus can damage the heart muscle and cause lifelong cardiac problems.‘
As a result of the closure, the shelter would be unable to accept any animal for a minimum of 14 days.
While closed, animals currently held at the shelter will be monitored by shelter staff and veterinary staff for any signs of the illness, according to the press release. During the closure, shelter staff also are cleaning and sanitizing the building, the press release said.
Wexford County Sheriff Trent Taylor said animal control picked up a stray dog on Thursday and Friday shelter staff believed it was possibly showing signs of the parvovirus. The animal was taken to the veterinarian, tested and results showed the dog had parvovirus. With the stray dog exposing the shelter to the virus, Taylor said the animal and the building had to be quarantined for 14 days, but if another dog starts showing signs of having parvovirus the quarantine would have to reset.
"The dog is at the shelter and is being cared for. The shelter is being sanitized by staff and volunteers," Taylor said. "We are hoping for a positive outcome and we are hoping no other dogs show signs of parvovirus."
The last time the shelter was closed due to the parvovirus was in 2017.
The virus was detected on July 22, 2017, in a dog that was exhibiting signs of illness, including increased salivation, diarrhea, and bloody stool. This dog was euthanized and the shelter was disinfected.
It was believed the shelter was clear of the virus so animals began to be adopted out.
One dog, however, was adopted by a family who brought the animal to the veterinarian for an examination. Upon inspection, the veterinarian learned the dog was infected with the virus. Based on this discovery, the dog was put down and a full closure of the shelter was recommended for a minimum of 14 days on July 27, 2017.
A third dog that was housed at the Wexford County Animal Shelter had to be euthanized July 31, 2017, due to the parvovirus.
Once the shelter can accept animals the Wexford County Sheriff's Department will make that announcement. If there is any animal control emergency residents are still asked to call 911.