AUSTIN, Texas (FOX 7 Austin) - Austin Pets Alive! has stepped up to help care for more than 70 cats and kittens exposed to panleukopenia in San Marcos. The animals were removed from the San Marcos Regional Animal Shelter after dozens of cats and kittens died from the virus.
“We had a couple of cats die mysteriously and usually we see some symptoms ahead of time and this time we just didn't,” said DerryAnn Kurpinsky, assistant director of neighborhood enhancement for the City of San Marcos.
In all, more than 60 of the shelter cats died from the virus, which is similar to Parvo in dogs. “We're currently in the process of basically going room by room, pulling everything out and keeping what we can salvage. Anything that might be questionable, as far as harvesting the virus, we will get rid of it and replace it,” Kurpinsky said.
While staff work to sanitize each room, they needed somewhere to keep the exposed cats and kittens that haven't tested positive. They turned to Austin Pets Alive. “It was 35 adults and 37 kittens,” said Monica Frenden, director of feline lifesaving at Austin Pets Alive.
The medical staff at APA immediately tested and vaccinated each feline and then quarantined them in the panleukopenia ward. “So we've got the specialized care that is required to get these guys back on the road to health and, hopefully, save their lives,” Frenden said.
Between leaving San Marcos and arriving in Austin, a few kittens took a turn for the worse. “Three did test positive immediately on arrival and so they were sequestered right off to our ICU unit for the panleukopenia kittens,” said Frenden.
APA said treating each cat will cost about $500.
They are seeking donations and volunteers to help offset those costs, but said it's worth every cent to keep the animals alive. “We're super hopeful that we’ll have these guys cleared of the virus, 100% healthy and ready to go within a week to two weeks,” Frenden said.
To donate to the care of the cats and kittens visit Austin Pets Alive’s website. The San Marcos shelter will need all new cat bedding and toys once they are finished sanitizing the shelter.
The Lockhart Animal Shelter is also experiencing a code red situation after a large increase in dogs being dropped off there. They said for the first time in three years, they may have no choice but to euthanize healthy pups this weekend.
Staff there hope fosters and adopters can help keep that from happening.