Parvo at the pound

When Pat (not her real name) adopted a new puppy from the Mae Bachur Animal Shelter, she had no idea it was carrying a highly contagious and deadly disease. She adopted the puppy on Wednesday. That night it started vomit...

By Genesee Keevil

Senior Reporter

When Pat (not her real name) adopted a new puppy from the Mae Bachur Animal Shelter, she had no idea it was carrying a highly contagious and deadly disease.

She adopted the puppy on Wednesday. That night it started vomiting, said friend Linda Magill.

“She cleaned up the puke, and she’s cleaned up puke before, but this really stunk—it was just revolting,” said Magill.

The puppy was taken to the vet the next morning.

It was diagnosed with parvo, said Magill.

The disease typically hits puppies, said Alpine Veterinary Medical Centre vet Kim Friedenberg.

“A puppy’s immune system is not as competent as an adult’s—it affects a small portion of the small intestine, and they typically die of dehydration because of severe vomiting and diarrhea.”

It’s passed from one dog to another through fecal/oral contamination, added Friedenberg.

“So it’s spread by poop or poop residue that’s been somehow sniffed or touched and ends up in their mouth and intestinal tract.”

General quarantine procedures involve disinfecting any area where the dog’s been, commonly using a one-to-10 diluted bleach solution, he said.

But it’s hard in a house, because if the puppy’s been all over the carpet, you can’t squirt the carpet down with bleach, said Friedenberg.

“You do your best, and hope other dogs’ vaccines are up to date.”

Dogs with current vaccinations are usually immune to the disease.

In the last six months, Friedenberg’s only seen two cases of parvo in adult dogs.

“And the adults that got it had never been vaccinated” he said.

Once Pat learned her puppy had parvo she contacted Magill, whose dog had been playing with the puppy the night before.

Magill took her dog to the vet as well, and was told because it was older and vaccinated, it would probably not contract the disease.

“The vets told (Pat) to go to the Mae Bachur shelter right away and let them know the puppy had parvo,” said Magill.

“But when she went back to the shelter to report the problem she was not treated very nicely.”

Pat reported the problem to the animal shelter’s administrator “and the response in a very aggressive tone was, ‘So what are you going to do? Are you wanting to surrender the dog to us?’” said Magill.

At the time she’d only had the puppy for about 16 hours, and still plans to keep it, but she just had to leave it at the pound until it was treated so it wouldn’t infect her older dog, said Magill.

With or without treatment, parvo can last two to14 days, said Friedenberg.

“And we always recommend no contact with other dogs for an additional 10 to 15 days after.”

“There are no cases of parvo here,” said Mae Bachur administrator Tracy Smythe on Thursday.

But what about Pat’s new puppy, a case confirmed by the vets?

Smythe didn’t acknowledge it.

“There was a (different) case, but she’s over that now,” said Smythe.

“It was last week, or the week before.”

And that puppy is not yet available for adoption.

“She’s still in her isolation period,” said Smythe.

When a dog gets parvo, it needs to be quarantined, said Friedenberg.

“When contact is made with the animal, the person should be in a full gown that also stays in isolation, and have gloves on,” he said.

“Isolation is a two-room situation, with a change room, like the little room in the movies, inside the isolation room.”

And air should always be sucked into the isolation room, and spit out where it won’t cause nay problems, said Friedenberg.

“And there need to be disinfectant dips for shoewear.”

“I don’t know what (the shelter) uses for isolation,” he said. But it has infloor heating, so air exchange is less of a worry.

“Of course” people suited up before contacting the puppy, said Smythe.

“We’re not worried at all about anyone else having it.”

But when she was filling out paperwork on Saturday, Pat saw someone playing with the cute puppy in isolation, then noticed them walk out of the room toward the other dogs, said Magill.

(When contacted, Pat refused to discuss any parts of Magill’s story because she feared she wouldn’t get her puppy back.)

“At any shelter I’ve worked at in past, parvo and distemper have been the main problems,” said Friedenberg.

“There’s so much in there it’s hard to keep it totally out of that environment.”

“It’s happened in the past,” said Smythe, discussing cases of parvo.

“It’s just one of those things.

“We take them over to vets; they’re treated by the vets, and come back over when they’re fine.”

Friedenberg has seen more cases of parvo in the Yukon than most other areas.

“There’s an increased risk in rural areas where people don’t vaccinate many of the dogs,” he said.

“And parvo can last in the soil for 10 to 15 years, even with our temperatures.”

Each year, litters come down with the disease, said Friedenberg.

“But in the last three years, the numbers are pretty similar.

“We’ve seen a few spikes in last four weeks, but it’s nothing unusual.”

Contact Genesee Keevil at

gkeevil@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

In a Feb. 17 statement, the City of Whitehorse announced it had adopted the what3words location technology used for emergency response. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Three words could make all the difference in an emergency

City of Whitehorse announced it had adopted the what3words location technology

Jesse Whelen, Blood Ties Four Directions harm reduction councillor, demonstrates how the organization tests for fentanyl in drugs in Whitehorse on May 12, 2020. The Yukon Coroner’s Service has confirmed three drug overdose deaths and one probable overdose death since mid-January. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Three overdose deaths caused by “varying levels of cocaine and fentanyl,” coroner says

Heather Jones says overdoses continue to take lives at an “alarming rate”

Wyatt's World for Feb. 24, 2021.
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for Feb. 24, 2021.

Approximately 30 Yukoners protest for justice outside the Whitehorse courthouse on Feb. 22, while a preliminary assault hearing takes place inside. The Whitehorse rally took place after the Liard Aboriginal Women’s Society, based in Watson Lake, put out a call to action over the weekend. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Courthouse rally denounces violence against Indigenous women

The Whitehorse rally took place after the Liard Aboriginal Women’s Society put out a call to action

Then Old Crow MLA Darius Elias speak’s in the community centre in Old Crow in 2016. Elias died in Whitehorse on Feb. 17. (Maura Forrest/Yukon News file)
Condolences shared for former Vuntut Gwitchin MLA Darius Elias

Elias is remembered as a proud parent, hockey fan and politican

Susie Rogan is a veteran musher with 14 years of racing experience and Yukon Journey organizer. (Yukon Journey Facebook)
Yukon Journey mushers begin 255-mile race

Eleven mushers are participating in the race from Pelly Crossing to Whitehorse

Yukon Energy in Whitehorse on Aug. 4, 2020. A site on Robert Service Way near the Alaska Highway has been selected as the future home of Yukon Energy’s energy storage project. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Site selected for Yukon Energy battery project

Planned to be in service by the end of 2022

The Yukon government and the Yukon First Nations Chamber of Commerce have signed a letter of understanding under the territory’s new procurement policy. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
First Nation business registry planned under new procurement system

Letter of understanding signals plans to develop registry, boost procurement opportunities

US Consul General Brent Hardt during a wreath-laying ceremony at Peace Arch State Park in September 2020. Hardt said the two federal governments have been working closely on the issue of appropriate border measures during the pandemic. (John Kageorge photo)
New U.S. consul general says countries working closely on COVID-19 border

“I mean, the goal, obviously, is for both countries to get ahead of this pandemic.”

Legislative assembly on the last day of the fall sitting in Whitehorse on Nov. 22, 2018. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Start of spring sitting announced

The Yukon legislature is set to resume for the spring sitting on… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse City Council this week

(Submitted)
History Hunter: Kwanlin Dün — a book of history, hardship and hope

Dǎ Kwǎndur Ghày Ghàkwadîndur: Our Story in Our Words is published by… Continue reading

(File photo)
RCMP arrest Saskatchewan murder suspect

Yukon RCMP have arrested a man suspected of attempted murder from outside… Continue reading

Most Read