Thursday April 24, 2014

With ringworm waning, SPCA opens shelter to adoptions

'We will have dogs available and some cats and kittens that have been cleared and small animals'

The Kamloops SPCA shelter has opened its doors to adopt animals out, but it’s still not taking any in, manager Charleen Holloway said Wednesday.

The shelter has been closed for almost six weeks due to a ringworm outbreak that affected cats and dogs and threatened to spread to rabbits and other animals.

“We will have dogs available and some cats and kittens that have been cleared and small animals,” she said.

“I’ve got seven dogs cleared and 16 cats and some in foster as well. And we’re getting results back in from the ones that haven’t cleared.”

About 60 animals have been treated, including some rabbits, and four cats were euthanized. The treatment involved the animals being dipped in a lime and sulphur solution twice a week for five weeks, along with oral medication for 21 days.

Holloway said the cats that were put down couldn’t withstand the treatment.

“We have to handle them and hold them and restrain them. It’s very difficult when they’re trying to bite and scratch,” she said.

“We find the dogs are pretty good with it but cats are extremely challenging so it’s quite hard to do the treatment for as long as we have to.”

The ringworm got into the shelter on an adult dog with puppies and an adult cat with kittens that all came from the same household.

Holloway said a black light is used on incoming animals that usually makes the ringworm glow. But in this case, it didn’t show up and there were also no lesions that can indicate ringworm, which is actually a fungus.

“The black light is a precaution but it’s not 100 per cent,” she said.

The animals that haven’t had two consecutive negative test results are still in quarantine, but the others are in the adoption rooms.

Holloway said people who have wanted to turn in animals have been directed to the pound, other shelters or the humane society, although the latter has also been full.

The Kamloops shelter’s waiting list for surrendering cats is now about six months long.

Some people have dumped animals at the shelter’s back door despite the closure.

“We have no choice but to bring them in and expose them to ringworm. Which is not ethical for them to do,” she said.

“People need to understand if they take on the responsibility of the animal, they have to do that. Dumping it at someone’s door to take on their problem shouldn’t be their first option.”

Ringworm can be transferred to people, so staff handling the animals have had to wear rubber gloves, caps, hospital gowns and white ‘hazmat’ suits.

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