MAS To Reopen Tuesday After Parvovirus Found - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

MAS To Reopen Tuesday After Parvovirus Found

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    Friday, October 4 2013 3:43 PM EDT2013-10-04 19:43:45 GMT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) - Memphis Animal Services is expected to reopen Tuesday after it was shut down Saturday when two dogs in the adoption room tested positive for the parvovirus in the adoption room at MAS on Saturday.

The city-run shelter had to be closed Saturday, Sunday and Monday so employees could deep clean the facility and try to contain the virus.

MORE: 2 Dogs Test Positive for Parvovirus At Memphis Animal Services

Eleven dogs came down with the highly contagious virus and had to be humanely euthanized.

Parvovirus is highly contagious and causes moderate to severe vomiting, diarrhea, decreased appetite, among other symptoms. Treatment is variable, but typically includes fluid therapy, antibiotics, and anti-vomiting medication.

Avianax, a North Dakota company, says it has developed a drug called parvoONE that can help save a dog with parvo. The company is open to having the Mid-South help to get the medicine federal approval.

As a dog owner the last thing you want to hear from your vet is that your pooch has parvo. Treating a puppy is expensive and recovery is not always certain. Avianax believes it has drug to help dogs live and the owners not have to pay thousands of dollars for a cure.

"We don't have good anti-virals for the parvovirus right now, so we have to support the dog with IV fluids to prevent dehydration," said Dr. Jennifer Karnes of Central Animal Hospital. "We have to watch their sodium and potassium levels.":

The virus may have met its match with the injection of a new drug called parvoONE, medicine developed from Avianax experimenting with drugs to fight the spread of West Nile virus among geese.
    
"Hopefully the antibody starts kicking the virus' butt right away, and the dog starts to recover within two to three days," said Jeremy Vrchota of Avianax. "It binds up the virus, stops it from replicating and lets your dogs immune system start working against it."

Conventional treatment for parvo can cost as much as $2,000 because of tests and extended hospital stays for your dog. ParvoOne drops the cost to about $500 because infirmary time is reduced to two days in most cases.

"If you were going to compare it to other anti virals you can call it a Z-Pack or a Tamiflu, but it is a biological antivirus targeted specifically for the parvovirus," Vrchota said.

The success rate for dogs is as high as 90-percent but the drug won't be available to your vet until after it gets FDA approval.

"When they get Tennessee on board, I think a lot of us would be very interested in seeing the research and see how well it is working," Dr. Karnes said.

Avianax is testing the drug in several states around the country with a preference for areas known for heat and humidity because those conditions help the virus spread. Obviously the Mid-South fits into that category.

Vrchota said Avianax would welcome testing infected dogs but a veterinarian group or animal shelter would have to express an interest in being part of the study.


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