SPCA shelter makes progress with ringworm outbreak

NANAIMO - SPCA quarantine due to ringworm into its fifth week.

Nanaimo and District SPCA is making some progress on an outbreak of ringworm, but still continues to struggle.

In their fifth week of quarantine due to the outbreak, SPCA staff have been busy with the care, treatment and testing of the more than 70 animals in the shelter.

Testing is done by taking weekly brush samples of each animal. Samples are sent to Vancouver where they are cultured. Culturing can take up to two weeks to show a positive result.

“The good news is that we now have four weeks worth of testing under our belt and can confirm that 32 previously affected animals are now negative for ringworm and will be available for adoption soon,” said Leon Davis, branch manager, in a press release. “Eleven cats and six dogs are still showing positive results based on samples taken two weeks ago. However, we are awaiting more current results, and are hopeful that this will improve even more.”

Davis doesn’t have a definitive date when the shelter will reopen, but hopes cats which have recovered will be available for adoption within two weeks. Dogs will hopefully follow soon after that.

“When we do reopen we will be looking for forever homes for many cats, but will be limited as to how many new animals we can accept, as we have a waiting list of some 30 animals from owners who are hoping to surrender to us,” he said.

While the outbreak has been a difficult time for the animals, Davis said it has been equally hard on shelter staff.

“They’ve put in long hours each day, observing strict biosecurity protocols, while still giving each and every animal the individual treatment and care that is required to deal with ringworm infections in a shelter environment,” he said. “No ringworm has been transmitted to any staff member or volunteer.”

The outbreak has also strained the shelter’s resources.

“Usually we take in around $9,000 in adoption fees each month which helps pay for medical care,” said Davis. “Being closed for adoptions has erased that income we rely on so much. The oral medication for the dogs has cost $500 and the oral medications for the cats $750.

“The cleaning supplies, personal protection equipment, lime dips and anti-fungal solutions have cost more than $3,000. Medical fees for September have already exceeded $5,000.”

A Nanaimo woman is prepared to match up to $1,000 in donations from the public in memory of her mother, Anne Atkinson, who was an animal lover.

For more information, please call 250-758-8444 or e-mail ldavis@spca.bc.ca.

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