Amarillo Animal Management & Welfare continues efforts to prevent spread of potentially fatal disease

Updated: Jun. 10, 2021 at 6:08 PM CDT
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Preventive measures continue at Amarillo Animal Management & Welfare (AAMW) to help stop the spread of a potentially fatal disease in dogs.

The disease, called parvovirus has already taken the life of one animal at the shelter.

“I can honestly say that we had one animal that has actually died once they got here and had already contracted it,” said Victoria Medley, director of AAMW.

Since last week, AAMW has been limiting access to the public in order to prevent the spread of parvovirus, a highly contagious disease that mostly affects dogs.

“It is spread through fecal oral route, and so puppies, young dogs are most susceptible,” said Ryan McKnight, associate veterinarian at Hope Veterinary Clinic PA.

Because the virus can live in organic surfaces for up to 18 months, humans can also contribute with the spread by getting it on their shoes or clothing.

By adjusting visitation policies, animal control officials say they have been able to monitor the outbreak.

“We really want to make sure the animals are safe so, that was really the only difference,” said Medley. “We want to make sure we’re sending a staff with them to help them and help the animals here.”

Although animal management did not reveal how many animals have been infected so far, local veterinarians say the disease is common in our area.

“We probably treat on average around 50 and 75 parvo patients a week,” said McKnight.

Part of the recent spike in cases is due to warmer weather and puppy season being in full swing.

“Most common signs that we’ve seen are vomiting and diarrhea,” said McKnight. “Usually, bloody or hemorrhagic vomiting or diarrhea, becoming very lethargic or tired and then not eating or drinking.”

Prevention measures include, vaccination, avoiding public places like parks until animals are fully vaccinated.

Amarillo’s animal management says it will continue to monitor the disease and does not have a timeline yet of when measures will be lifted.

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