Wednesday April 16, 2014

Ringworm hangs on at SPCA shelter

Seven dogs in quarantine
Keith Anderson

Animal care supervisor Sarah Gerow holds one of the cats up for adoption — a one-year-old female called Noel.

The ringworm outbreak that forced the Kamloops SPCA shelter to close for the past nine weeks is lingering.

Animal care supervisor Sarah Gerow said Monday one dog tested positive for the highly contagious fungal disease, which means the seven dogs at the shelter remain in quarantine.

However, the test normally shows signs of ringworm within two weeks. This sample didn’t indicate ringworm until the third, precautionary week.

Gerow said it’s hoped that’s a sign that the outbreak is almost over.

All seven of the dogs in the shelter — six adults and one puppy — are in quarantine until tests show the ringworm is entirely gone.

One cat has also been quarantined because it had some hair loss, although a veterinarian has seen the feline and doesn’t believe it to be ringworm.

The shelter has 32 other cats and five smaller animals — rabbits, rats, birds — up for adoption and it’s still open during its regular hours.

A half-price “sale” on cats and kittens in the past couple of weeks has netted 48 adoptions so far, she said. While the society discourages Christmas adoptions because it doesn’t want animals given away as gifts (they often come back unwanted), there have been steps taken to ensure the homes are permanent.

Gerow said whoever is going to own the animal has to go to the shelter and sign the paperwork him or herself. Adopters have to understand they’re committing themselves for the animal’s lifetime and they still have to go through the SPCA’s normal screening.

Despite the adoptions, the society still has a waiting list of about 100 owners waiting to surrender their cats or kittens to the agency.

“We’re tackling the waiting list for cats to try to get that down. If someone’s in an emergency, give us a call,” she said.

Ringworm is a fungus that can spread to other animals as well as humans. About 60 animals at the Kamloops shelter have been treated and four cats were euthanized.

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