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Dog Adoptions Halted at Area Shelter after Virus Scare

Dog adoptions and drop-offs are on hold for at least 5 days at the Animal Rescue League in Pittsburgh because of a case of Canine Parvovirus.

About two weeks ago a stray dog was brought to the shelter. Shortly after, it became sick and was diagnosed with the virus. Parvo is highly contagious and can live in the environment for up to a year.

"It's in the dog's stool, but even if the stool gets washed away and there was Parvovirus in it, there would still be Parvovirus in the ground. The dog walks on it, gets virus on its paw, licks it and gets infected," said Donna Hughes, Medical Director at Animal Rescue League.

There is a vaccination against Parvo that most dogs get when they come to the shelter. Hughes said they are double checking each dog to make sure they are vaccinated. The shelter's normal cleaning solutions do kill the virus, but efforts are being stepped up.

"What we're doing is taking this area where this dog was and doing some extra deep cleaning to make sure we get all the cracks and crevices. We use two different types of disinfectant so we're sure one of them will kill any virus that might be present," said Hughes.

Dogs will be tested for Parvovirus and vaccinated again, but Hughes said any dog that may have had contact with the infected dog will not leave the shelter within 5 days. People will also not be able to surrender their dogs at the shelter during that time. Shelter officials say this is a somewhat rare occurence that happens maybe once a year. All cat operations are running normally.