JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Onslow County Animal Services is going through a quarantine period for all dogs after three confirmed cases of a deadly animal disease known as parvo killed three dogs.
The shelter was placed on the quarantine Tuesday and stopped accepting or adopting out dogs.
They say they are taking the three confirmed parvo cases very seriously and are working with the Shelter Medicine Program at the University of Florida, who are the leading experts in the field, to ensure they are managing the situation properly.
The shelter director says they aren’t sure which animal brought the disease in, which is why they’re on lock down.
“Parvo is a real threat in the community,” said Shelter Director Lindsay Wolf. “It’s transmitted through direct or indirect contact with fomites, so it’s spread through feces or vomit.”
She says the disease could have entered the shelter by another animal or human.
“Even a person that is maybe walking in their backyard and has stepped in feces that may contain the parvo virus, they walk in to the facility then that is spread on the floor then that can spread parvo virus,” said Wolf.
The three dogs with parvo were found dead in their kennels late Sunday evening and early Monday morning.
All three were older dogs and showed no signs or symptoms of parvo.
The disease typically has a two to 14 day incubation period and can live in the environment from months to years.
The most common symptoms of parvo are diarrhea, bloody stool, vomiting, dehydration and fatigue, but the disease can also spread when symptoms aren’t shown.
“You can shed the virus and give it to other dogs even when you’re not displaying symptoms,” said Wolf.
The shelter director says they will spend the next several weeks decontaminating the entire facility and will not allow any dog adoptions until October 26th.
“We may extend it to deep clean the facility even further after that because we want to make sure before we open back up to the public that our facility is completely clear from parvo and our animals are healthy,” said Wolf.
The shelter will remain open for the intake of cats and emphasizes the importance of routine vaccinations for all animals in the community.
Dogs currently housed in foster homes will be available for adoption. Animals brought in by animal control will not be placed in the shelter, but rather placed in foster homes to avoid coming into possible contact with the disease.
The quarantine period will last until October 26th.