EG Animal Protection League suffers parvovirus outbreak

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The East Greenwich Animal Protection League (EGAPL) is temporarily under quarantine as its volunteers try to combat an outbreak of parvovirus, a life-threatening illness that affects canines and is especially dangerous for puppies. Shelter staff have confirmed they have already lost some animals to the virus following the outbreak.

Details were not revealed as to how the outbreak began, but as of Tuesday afternoon the shelter remained under quarantine and was seeking monetary donations and donations of cleaning goods. A quarantine, according to EGAPL board member Karen Kalunian, would last for at least two weeks and means that no animals can be transferred into or out of the shelter while they investigate the origin of the outbreak and eliminate all traces of the virus.

“Right now we are caring for the sick puppies we have trying to save their lives,” Kalunian said, confirming some animals had already passed away. “We’re getting them the medical attention they need.”

The outbreak occurred just days before the shelter was planning a “Paw Wash” fundraising event with the New England Patriots cheerleaders on Sunday, June 17. That fundraiser is still happening from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. but will now be located at Cranston East High School and not at the East Greenwich Animal Protection League’s new shelter building, which is located at 44 Worthington Road in Cranston.

Kalunian said that all those who have recently adopted dogs from the shelter have been alerted to the presence of the virus at the shelter. If a dog begins to show any irregular symptoms, it should be brought to a vet immediately. While there is no cure for parvovirus, there is a vaccination available to prevent it.

Parvovirus can occur either in the intestines or hearts of canines. The outbreak of parvovirus at the shelter is of the intestinal variety, which can manifest in symptoms including bloody diarrhea,

lethargy, anorexia, fever, vomiting and severe weight loss. It is transferred through infected fecal matter, and dogs can contract the virus simply by smelling an infected dog’s stool.

In addition to all puppies, some breeds such as Rottweilers, Doberman Pinschers, Pit Bulls, Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds, English Springer Spaniels and Alaskan sled dogs are particularly vulnerable to the disease.

Through its Facebook page, the East Greenwich Animal Protection League said they were “beyond words, totally devastated” about the outbreak and asked for prayers and any help that people could provide during what it dubbed, “one of the worst weeks ever in in EGAPL’s history.”

“Secondly, we need donations [of] monetary or gift cards to Petco, Petsmart or Walmart, paper towels, pee pads, towels, small blankets bleach, laundry detergent, liquid hand soap and hand sanitizer ASAP,” the post continued. “Please just drop off supplies at the front door or mail to: 44 Worthington Road Cranston, RI 02920. Monetary donations can be made online by clicking DONATE here on our Facebook page or by going to our website at www.egapl.com and clicking donate there.”

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