The Park County Animal Shelter’s cat population is in quarantine.

Manager Valerie Swensrund said the shelter began a three-week quarantine Monday due to a litter of kittens being brought in with the deadly disease of feline parvo.

During the period none of the 73 cats in the shelter may leave and no cats may enter.

“It’s going to be tough,” Swensrund said. “Animal control knows about it so they won’t bring any here.

“It’s awful. We can’t let any of these cats go home.”

The outbreak had claimed the lives of 15 kittens as of Tuesday afternoon, including all nine making up the litter brought in from a Cody residence.

“It’s been rough around here,” Swensrund said.

The disease feline panleukopenia generally infects kittens and other cats with weak immune systems. There is a vaccine for the disease and Swensrund said it was nearly eradicated, but people stopped vaccinating cats for it.

The virus causes damage to the cells that line the intestines. It also attacks the bone marrow and lymph nodes, resulting in shortages of all types of white blood cells (panleukopenia) and of red blood cells (anemia).

At the shelter all cats receive vaccinations and by the age of 1 all cats have had all three rounds of it, but she said some of the kittens have only been able to receive one round so far, leaving them vulnerable.

The symptoms of the disease most commonly seen at the shelter include vomiting and diarrhea.

“Kittens can go pretty quick,” Swensrund said.

She said in reading about the disease there haven’t been more than isolated cases in the state over the last few years. She hopes cat owners can stay vigilant.

“Make sure they’re vaccinated,” she said.

The issue is costing the shelter time and money. Every vaccine costs $8.40, the parvo tests cost $10 each and staff are having to use disposable litter boxes that cost $1 per day per cat. The shelter is also in need of bleach and laundry detergent. Swensrund said if anyone is not able to help out with a monetary donation or supplies they would love help with deep cleaning.

(3) comments

WyoWind

That is heartbreaking. My husband just adopted a little kitten for me 3 weeks ago, but the one he chose was in Powell Humane society. I hope there haven't been any litters taken there with parvo. It's an AWFUL disease for an animal to die from. I will do what I can to help. Thankfully my Zeke seems to be EXTREMELY healthy and does all the sideways hopping, insane running from room to room, is eating and drinking lots of water. He is scheduled for his 2nd vaccination on Thursday.

DisgustedCitizen

Oh how heartbreaking this is! Those poor kittens. I hope none of the other cats get sick. What an awful thing for the shelter workers to have to deal with. Spaying & neutering are so important. I really hope the person who dropped off the kittens didn't know they were sick, otherwise that was a really cruel thing to do.

Nyesmom

The actual problem begins at the source -- people not spaying/neutering and continuing to bring in litter upon litter of kittens. I've heard these people argue that they don't need to alter pets because they can just take the ensuing litters to the shelter where "they'll find homes for all of them." Feral cat populations can be controlled with TNR. All pets must be vaccinated if they are going to come into contact with other animals. How heartbreaking for the shelter workers to have to deal with situations that are the responsibility of others!

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