SPCA DOG ADOPTIONS REOPEN AFTER TEMPORARY PAUSE THIS MONTH
UPDATE, SEPTEMBER 21 — Dog adoptions will reopen today at the SPCA Serving Erie County.
This comes to us from SPCA Vice President of Veterinary Services Melanie Rushforth:
“Starting 9/21, the SPCA Serving Erie County will slowly reopen our canine adoption center to facilitate adoptions of the recovered or exposed and quarantined dogs to help reduce our population.
The SPCA Serving Erie County has recently seen multiple cases of complicated upper respiratory disease including life-threatening pneumonia. Our testing so far identified Canine Pneumovirus as well as Canine Adenovirus 2 and Mycoplasma cynos on Idexx Respiratory PCR. These dogs were all vaccinated on intake with a 5-way DHPP and an intranasal trivalent Bordetella vaccine. With the assistance of Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program at University of Florida we were able to obtain more information on this newer virus, and wanted to share as much information as possible in case this is running through the general population.
-First identified in 2010
-Considered part of CIRD (Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease Complex) “kennel cough” which also includes Bordetella, Canine Adenovirus, Canine parainfluenza
-Incubation period <1 week – avg 2 to 5 days
-ShedS <10 days and starts prior to visible clinical signs
-Recovery 1 to 2 weeks
-Isolation of cases is key to preventing additional cases – increases in cases are likely due to importation of dogs from higher density areas and overcrowding in shelter
-There is no vaccine nor likely to be one
-Treatment is symptomatic – treat for cough, secondary infections, pneumonia; most recover with minimal interventionWe treated our shelter dogs’ pneumonia cases with Baytril and Clavamox for 14 days, but Doxycycline seemed to help clear the Mycoplasma. Each dog in our care was quarantined for 10 days minimum to assess for symptoms. Only one bulldog required in hospital IV fluid and antibiotic therapy as well as nebulization.
The SPCA Serving Erie County worked with local municipalities and foster homes to halt the physical intake of dogs on 9/9 when we identified multiple cases. We have been diligently monitoring the situation, treating aggressively and no new pneumonia cases have been identified in more than a week. We have rescheduled local dog surrenders due to this issue and will be prioritizing the local community needs before we consider bringing in transport dogs from other states.
Concerning cats, Panleukopenia is also currently going through the stray/public feline population at a significant rate. We experienced an exposure situation in the shelter a few weeks back but were able to quickly identify and isolate. Our cat adoption center is open and currently doing well. We are being vigilant with intake testing for this disease to prevent exposures. (Incidentally, ringworm has also been seen at increased rates in the stray/public population.) ”
In an effort to properly address the pneumonia affecting our shelter population, the SPCA consulted directly with Clinical Assistant Professor in Shelter Medicine and Director of the Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program Dr. Cynda Crawford at the University of Florida. Dr. Crawford’s areas of expertise include diagnosis, treatment, management, and prevention of infectious diseases in dogs and cats in sheltering facilities. She focuses on the diagnosis and management of viruses and bacteria that cause respiratory infections in shelter dogs. Dr. Crawford’s accomplishments include discovery of canine influenza virus and development of the canine influenza vaccine. Educational achievements include partnering with Dr Julie Levy to develop the Professional Certificate in Shelter Medicine for advanced training of veterinary students in the knowledge and skills to serve as veterinarians in shelters.
Rushforth added, “In learning about the situation affecting animal health at the SPCA, Dr. Crawford commented that this is not unique to our facility, and nationwide, shelters are facing significant challenges with infectious diseases and overpopulation issues as well as staffing shortages. Dr. Crawford also commended our quick response to the medical situation faced at our shelter, and called our ability to reopen adoptions in this period of time good news and a sign that the situation is being managed properly.”
September 9, 2021 — This week, we experienced more than one case of dog pneumonia at the SPCA Serving Erie County.
The SPCA is responding to this in a number of different ways, including a change in how staff members and volunteers interact with animals in the building.
We are carefully observing the animals for any early signs of illness and immediately administering early treatment if necessary, and expanding our deep-cleaning protocols to rectify this situation.
There’s quite a bit involved in containing and clearing the shelter of an infectious disease, but it’s imperative we do so to protect our current population while not putting animals outside the shelter at risk. This is why we’ve chosen to pause dog adoptions.
“Outbreaks of this nature are unfortunately not uncommon in animal sheltering, especially when part of our mission is to serve sick and injured animals,” says SPCA Vice President of Veterinary Services Melanie Rushforth. “Our team of professional caretakers has increased safety protocols to ensure we contain this, and our quick response will have a positive effect on the health of both our current and future population.”
Some unfamiliar with infectious diseases may consider pausing dog adoptions an over-the-top response to the situation, but SPCA Serving Erie County representatives believe the situation calls for this extreme of a response. We cannot take a chance on someone transporting the virus on shoes or clothing simply by walking through our kennels, thus putting animals at home at risk. And we know we cannot place our dogs in homes right now if there is a chance they may have been infected.
The choice to pause dog adoptions for a minimum of one week gives us time to monitor the health of our dogs while fully clearing the shelter of this illness.
“We encourage all pet owners to stay up-to-date on preventive medicine for their pets,” Rushforth added. “We all play a role in decreasing a pandemic of any nature.”
At the end of next week officials at the SPCA will reevaluate the situation and determine whether dog adoptions need to remain paused beyond September 19. While it’s possible the pause date may have to be extended, we of course are hoping this will not be necessary.
Thank you for your patience and understanding in this matter.
–Gina Lattuca, SPCA Serving Erie County Chief Communications Officer