LAND O'LAKES — Pasco County Animal Services is halting dog adoptions for the next week and a half after four dogs tested positive for a contagious virus.
Dogs taken in by the shelter are examined and vaccinated for parvovirus, according to an Animal Services press release, but the virus can go undetected for the three- to 12-day incubation period.
Officials decided Wednesday night to pause dog adoptions.
If there are no further outbreaks, the Land O'Lakes shelter will likely reopen for dog adoptions July 9. The infected dogs had to be euthanized, assistant county administrator Suzanne Salichs said.
The virus typically spreads through dog feces, and staffers are disinfecting all kennels and concrete areas, she said. Staff members are wearing protective gear to minimize the chance of spreading the virus — even the bottom of a shoe could carry it.
"We want to keep as many of the dogs as healthy as possible," she said.
Symptoms of the virus include vomiting, loss of appetite and diarrhea.
Area residents who adopted dogs from Animal Services in the last 14 days should call their veterinarians if they notice any parvovirus symptoms. These dogs were vaccinated, though, according to the release.
Cats can still be adopted as usual because parvovirus rarely spreads to them, Salichs said. Pasco County Animal Services is still responding to cases of lost dogs, confined strays and aggressive dog reports. Salichs said dogs taken in during this time will likely be temporarily housed at New Port Richey's shelter.
Salichs said the Pasco County shelter will hold a reopening event. Then, she said, the focus will be on adopting dogs out again.
Clare Lennon can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 869-6262. Twitter: @clarelennon