MARSHALL, TX (KSLA) - An outbreak of the deadly Parvo virus forced the Marshall Animal Shelter to temporarily close its doors.
The shelter, located at in the 600 block of East End Blvd stopped its operations, putting adoptions and intake on hold while they deep cleaned the facility.
"This is something that we see probably every other week in shelters," said spokeswoman for the shelter Kelly Colvin. "Usually we can catch it early and clean, but when it outbreaks to this level where even the adult dogs are breaking with it, then the best things to do is just shut down operations and do the deep cleaning."
Colvin says treatment for a dog with Parvo is more than $1,000, but even then, they only have about a 50/50 chance. So they also had to put down some of the dogs that showed signed of the disease down.
"When an animal is suffering the best thing we can do for that animal is to send them over the rainbow bridge and do it humanely."
They are using a chemical, Terg-O-Cide Formula 236, that kills the virus and is animal-friendly, as well as bleach.
Veterinarian Michele Lee-Tanner with All Cypress Veterinary Hospital says the disease is something most animal shelters deal with.
"The biggest problems with shelters and Parvo is they take in all the dogs in the area. They don't have vaccine history on those and they don't know what they've been exposed to," said Lee-Tanner.
She also says there are some signs people getting dogs should look for.
"When a person adopts a dog from the shelter they want to ask has the dog been vaccinated, has it had any history of diarrhea or anything like that," said Lee-Tanner.
Lee-Tanner says vaccines are key for preventing Parvo, so when someone gets a dog they should be sure to take it to see a vet as soon as they can.
All Cypress Veterinary Hospital is hosting a free open house this Saturday where people can come tour and ask the staff questions about Parvo or anything else pet related.
The event will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the clinic in the 1900 block of Toliver Road and will also have a petting zoo, pony rides and other activities.
Amanda Smith, with Friends of Marshal animals, says the outbreak could have been prevented.
"If we had a new shelter, pathogens like parvovirus would be easily contained because the way shelters are built now there are special things with air flow, and with drainage and so forth, that keeps things from spreading," said Smith. "And they go like wildfire through the current shelter, because the floors are cracked, the wood is rotted and there's no way to sterilize it really."
Colvin says they're in the planning process for getting a new shelter.
"A new shelter would be great, that being said, a new shelter is not going to cure Parvo. We're still going to see Parvo in the new shelter."
The current shelter is about 50 years old and has cracked concrete that the virus can seep into. A new shelter would have sealed concrete and more space to quarantine the sick dogs.
The current shelter is expected to reopen Monday, May 7.