Red Deer and District SPCA reopens today at 11 a.m. after shutting down for regular scheduled cleaning and to deal with ringworm exposure to its cat population.
“We’re on schedule in our cleaning and treating of all of our animals. Once that process is finished, we’ll be open to the public,” said executive director Julie McInnis on Friday.
The SPCA closed Oct. 14 after a cat in the free-roam area was diagnosed with ringworm. About 28 of the SPCA’s 88 cats have been diagnosed with the contagious fungal skin infection, quarantined and are receiving treatment.
Ringworm causes sores and bald patches. It can be serious and possibly kill animals with compromised immune systems, such as young, aging or sick animals.
It takes up to four weeks for symptoms to appear.
Ringworm can affect humans and animals. It’s unlikely the SPCA’s dogs were infected but they were being tested on Friday. The free-roam area is expected to reopen in two to three weeks.
The facility has also undergone a complete decontamination.
“Absolutely every square inch in every room in the entire facility has to be cleaned.”
McInnis said the SPCA is thankful to be in its new building with state-of-the-art cleaning systems, otherwise animals would have been euthanized.
“We could not have treated and managed this outbreak in that old building. It would have continued to re-infect, contaminate and spread. We’re pretty grateful to our community for helping us put this facility in place.”
New scanning equipment will be used on all animals being admitted to the shelter.
Having a part-time veterinarian and veterinarian technologist has been helpful, she added.
Dr. Kimberly Toovey joined the staff this month to care for animals at the shelter and perform spaying and neutering. The clinic has funding for one year thanks to a donation from D.J. Will Holdings.
“Probably 90 per cent of our medical procedures can be performed in-house now. That has a huge impact on our operating budget,” McInnis said.
By the new year, all animals up for adoption at the SPCA will be spayed and neutered so new owners won’t need to get surgery for their animals elsewhere at a higher cost and won’t have to deal with the risk of surgery.
McInnis is optimistic it will speed up the flow of animals through the shelter.