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Updated: Aug 26, 2021

The Kalamazoo Humane Society reminds pet owners to keep up on preventive care.

The Kalamazoo Humane Society is deeply saddened by the outbreak of parvovirus at the Hotop homeless encampment in Kalamazoo. Parvovirus is a vaccine-preventable disease. It spreads through canine feces and is easily tracked via shoes, clothing, and vehicles. It is highly transmissible to other dogs. It is often fatal, with death commonly occurring approximately 2-3 days after the onset of clinical signs. Dogs that are not symptomatic may appear healthy but can still be shedding the virus and infecting other dogs. Asymptomatic dogs that have been exposed may also test negative until they are showing symptoms.

KHS has been actively working behind the scenes with homeless pet owners in Kalamazoo for over a year. We are disheartened that this disease has made its way into the homeless population. We have worked with other area nonprofits to address the individual needs of pet owners who were willing to accept our help. These efforts have included offering free spay and neuter surgeries, preventative vaccinations, veterinary treatments, pet food, and supplies.

When the outbreak was first recognized, our organization was contacted by volunteers at the affected encampment. We immediately responded with offers of financial assistance for those dogs that are symptomatic and suffering.

The mission of the Kalamazoo Humane Society focuses on reducing pet overpopulation, humane education, and preventative health care for animals. Our goal is to keep healthy pets in happy homes by preventing illness and other crises. Preventive veterinary care is critical to the health of individual pets and the community as a whole. We will continue to work with homeless pet owners through our pet food bank, spay and neuter services, and core vaccines.

The Kalamazoo Humane Society encourages all pet owners to review their pet's vaccination history and immediately bring any pets with expired or lacking core vaccines up-to-date to continue keeping preventable disease outbreaks from happening. We recommend that you contact one of the many excellent local veterinary clinics in the area to schedule any necessary vaccine updates. KHS looks forward to offering full veterinary services to the public, including preventive care, in the near future.

If you suspect that your pet has been exposed to parvovirus or shows signs of the disease such as lethargy, lack of appetite, vomiting and diarrhea, or fever, please isolate your pet in an easy-to-clean area. Contact a veterinary clinic for testing immediately. Keep other dogs away from the sick animal, and maintain good hygiene to prevent the spread of disease.

The Kalamazoo Humane Society (KHS) is one of the area’s oldest charitable organizations, serving this community since 1897. KHS operates from the Animal Care & Resource Center, a state-of-the-art facility, completed in 2020. KHS provides a variety of services and programs designed to keep pets healthy, and in happy homes. For more information about KHS, visit or follow KHS on social media.

Press Release - Parvo at Homeless Encampment - 8-24-2021 - Google Docs
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