Ringworm hits shelter harder than first thought

Skeeter is unimpressed with his lime dip treatment, necessary to get rid of the ringworm infection that has hit the B.C. SPCA Kamloops shelter.
Image Credit: Facebook

KAMLOOPS - “It'll be a miracle if we open before 2014,” B.C. SPCA Branch Manager Charleen Holloway says of the recent ringworm outbreak that has affected at least 40 of 54 animals currently at the shelter.

After two weeks of shutdown staff heard the sad news on Friday that the results were not good, 40 animals with the potential of even more have been exposed to or are infected with the skin infection and the six-week window they were hopeful for was only a pipe dream.

Now Holloway says they will be lucky to open by the beginning of 2014, but should have a better idea after the second round of testing comes back at the end of this week. In the meantime the animals that need to be treated have undergone the first round of lime dips, a procedure several of the adult cats did not handle well. She is concerned they may simply refuse the second round of treatment, which means staff would have to make the hard, but necessary, decision to put those animals down.

“Usually round two is worse,” Holloway says with a catch in her throat.

Only staff are in the building, except twice per week when volunteers help with laundry. Staff give each animal an oral medication daily and then a lime dip bath two times per week There is only one day where staff gets a break from giving the lime dips, the other six days the animals are on rotation.The emotional toll has been quite high on staff as they struggle to deal with the pain of seeing the animals so obviously distraught.

The financial toll continues to mount as well, the shelter requires even more cleaning supplies than usual, has been unable to recoup any costs through adoption or food sales and of course there's also the additional vet and medication bills.

Several animals are still available through the foster homes (can be viewed on Petfinder.com) and animals rescued and trained by the animal technician program through Thompson Rivers University are also available for adoption.

The shelter is in desperate need of towels, blankets, bags, paper towel and bleach and can always use cash donations as well. Donations can be dropped off during regular business hours (noon-4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday) though Saturday, Tuesday and Wednesday are the busiest days in the shelter right now.

To contact a reporter for this story, email jstahn@infotelnews.ca, call (250)819-3723 or tweet @JennStahn.

Staff must wear full scrubs and protection to ensure they don't spread the ringworm infection to other animals at the shelter, or the ones at home.
Staff must wear full scrubs and protection to ensure they don't spread the ringworm infection to other animals at the shelter, or the ones at home.
Image Credit: Facebook

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