'Vaccines not protective bubble' when it comes to parvovirus - 19 Action News|Cleveland, OH|News, Weather, Sports

'Vaccines not protective bubble' when it comes to parvovirus, says MAS

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Memphis Animal Shelter held a news conference concerning the parvovirus outbreak last weekend. (Source: WMC Action News 5) Memphis Animal Shelter held a news conference concerning the parvovirus outbreak last weekend. (Source: WMC Action News 5)
Memphis Animal Shelter Medical Director Dr. Rebecca Coleman (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5) Memphis Animal Shelter Medical Director Dr. Rebecca Coleman (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5)
MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC) - Memphis Animal Shelter Medical Director Dr. Rebecca Coleman called the contagious parvovirus disease an epidemic Wednesday, but she said misconceptions of the infection needed to be cleared up.

"Vaccines are not considered a protective bubble," said Coleman during a news conference. "The whole idea behind vaccines are to stimulate the immune system so that the individual [animal] challenged with disease will hopefully have a competent immune system to be able to fight off that particular challenge."

MAS closed its doors Saturday because of parvo when two puppies tested positive for the disease; Coleman said crews felt they needed the time to do additional cleaning. Before the disinfection of the entire shelter, volunteers were able to save 26 dogs. Eleven were euthanized.

Coleman says parvo forced the euthanization of 14 animals since June 15.

"Parvo is a virus that likes to take a lot of victims ... It's going to happen," Coleman said. "There are factors [the environment] beyond our control."

MAS assumes all pets coming into the facility are not vaccinated, and they are treated accordingly.

The medical director said the last four animals she diagnosed with the disease had only been in the shelter for a day. She said this year has been particularly bad for parvo coming into MAS.

Parvovirus is connected to what an animal has been exposed to outdoors. She says pet owners can minimize risks of exposure by staying away from dog parks; keeping pets at home; and giving young animals time for their immune systems to mature.

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