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.
Donate at facebook.com/parkcountyanimalshelter.