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Online Extra - Form a Puppy Protection Brigade

How one shelter isolates puppies without an isolation ward

How one shelter isolates puppies without an isolation ward

Does your shelter experience frequent cases or outbreaks of canine parvovirus? Do you receive large numbers of young puppies? Do you lack adequate facilities for quarantine?

You are not alone. These conditions are common, particularly in southeastern shelters. If you are searching for some cost-effective protocols to decrease the number of parvo cases in your shelter, try what has worked at the Lee County Humane Society in Auburn, Alabama.

During the high-volume spring and summer months when the shelter is most crowded and parvo is the most prevalent, adoptable litters of weaned puppies are vaccinated with a modified live distemper-parvo vaccine and dewormed using pyrantel pamoate on intake.

Puppy foster homes are “on call” so that puppies can be transferred immediately (within 24 to 48 hours) to a safe private home for a “quarantine.” Two weeks later, a booster vaccine and a second dose of dewormer are administered to puppies, who are generally ready to be spayed and neutered at that point.

Every other Saturday, the shelter hosts a “Puppy Extravaganza” in the parking lot of the shelter, where proud foster parents showcase pups under the shade of umbrellas and tents. The atmosphere is festive, and puppies look more inviting than they might in the crowded shelter environment.

These measures greatly decrease the likelihood that young pups will be exposed to parvovirus before developing protective immunity against it following vaccination. Well-vaccinated pups over 12 weeks old can also safely enter the shelter for adoption. Foster homes enjoy short-term care of puppies and report the experience is especially rewarding. And most importantly, more healthy puppies are adopted than ever before.

Brenda Griffin is the Director of Clinical Programs for the Maddie's Shelter Medicine Program at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.


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