Pet Helpers closed for 2 weeks as precaution after potential exposure to parvovirus

Pet Helpers is closed for at least two weeks as a precautionary measure after the James Island facility was potentially exposed to parvovirus. The shelter does not have any confirmed cases of the illness.

Pet Helpers will be closed for at least two weeks after the James Island facility was potentially exposed to an animal illness.

Kim Almstedt, director of development and marketing, said the facility was taking “extreme precautionary measures” after an animal with parvovirus walked through the door May 29. She stressed that Pet Helpers did not have any reported cases of the illness among any of its animals.

Almstedt said they are alerting all pet owners who may have been in the building on that date to be on the lookout for symptoms of illness in their animal over the next two weeks, including vomiting, diarrhea and lethargy. The less common cardiac form of the disease attacks heart muscles of very young puppies and can be fatal. The incidence of canine parvovirus infections has been drastically reduced by early vaccination in young puppies, according to petmd.com.

“While this illness is not contagious to humans, the particles that spread the illness may be physically carried on your body and spread to other animals,” an email from the shelter states.

Almstedt said the shelter does not anticipate any issues, but staff and veterinarians will be responding if an animal contracts the illness. They are also making house calls to the shelter’s foster homes to vaccinate animals, she said.

She added that the facility will still be staffed every day of the week while closed, but the facility isn’t performing adoptions or surgeries or taking in any animals. There isn’t a definitive opening date yet.

If an animal that has been in the shelter since May 29 experiences any of the symptoms of parvovirus, residents are asked to call Pet Helpers at 795-1110 for more details and/or veterinary advice.

Reach Melissa Boughton at 937-5594 or at Twitter.com/mboughton.