Sometime around the end of February, a dog infected with parvo came into the Huron County dog pound and despite daily disaffection about 20 dogs have had to be put down since then.
Bill Duncan, dog warden, told county commissioners Tuesday the problem is the poor condition of the kennel's floors and walls. Parvo is a very aggressive and easily communicable disease that causes death without treatment, which Duncan said is expensive.
According towww.workingdogs.com, dogs with parvo that don't get treatment die of dehydration and only about 50 percent of dogs survive with treatment. Even with treatment, dogs with parvo should be kept completely separate from all other dogs for at least a month, the Web site said. Duncan said the incubation period for parvo is five to seven days.
"The floor is deteriorating to the point where it has cracks and so does some of the block," Duncan said. "With the porousness of the concrete, we're fighting a losing battle.
"We had a dog or two with parvo and ended up with a kennel full of parvo," he said. "It is very expensive to treat."
Signs of parvo are diarrhea, blood in the stool, lethargy and refusal of food.
Even though staff members disinfect the entire kennel daily, Duncan said, the virus can remain in some of the cracks and porous openings.
"You hit it with the hose and bring it right back out after you've disinfected," he said.
Duncan has a contractor coming today to look for the most cost effective way to seal the cracks.
Duncan said six or seven people who adopted dogs have called to say their new pets had parvo. Some had the dogs euthanized and some are taking them for treatment.
"Unfortunately, sometimes they leave here looking healthy and they're not," he said. "Everybody is very understanding. They know they are adopting strays."
Vaccination for parvo costs between $5 and $7, but Duncan said even if he spent that money it wouldn't solve the problem because if a dog comes in already infected the vaccination wouldn't help.
"Plus they're not our dogs," he said, since some are claimed by their owners because they simply strayed from home.
The pound now has nine dogs and Duncan said the staff is checking very carefully for any more signs of parvo.
State law requires dogs be kept for three days, but Duncan said he doesn't count weekends.
"We are trying to determine what is a manageable population," he said. "We're keeping a good amount of dogs for adoption and we're also keeping space for intake."
Duncan said he has taken in five dogs in the last two days.
"In the long run, my goal is to keep a dog if it is healthy and it is adoptable," he said. "We do everything we possibly can to keep them away from disease and find them a home."