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Kittens in the Scituate animal shelter that are infected with ringworm are not euthanized, but are carefully and lovingly nursed back to health.
“Ringworm is treatable but also highly contagious,” said Maryann Regan, executive director of Scituate Animal Shelter (SAS). “Many animal shelters actually euthanize all pets with the disease to minimize the spread to other pets and even humans. We have chosen not to do this and will devote our time to their care and welfare. “
Rescuing these otherwise healthy kittens has forced the SAS to make the difficult decision to temporarily stop accepting new cats, Regan said.
“We have to make sure that our surroundings are completely free of this infection, so we will not be admitting any new cats or kittens for the next 8 to 10 weeks.”
Tests and isolation of other kittens and cats are done to prevent spread.
“While it is time-consuming, we know that when these kittens are perfectly healthy and then we can take them into the loving homes they deserve, it will be worth it in the end,” said Regan. “They’re just so adorable and so cute that they deserve that care and love.”
A season for mushrooms
The rain and humidity this summer may be good for the gardens, but it has created health problems for the area’s cats.
Most kittens adopted in shelters like the SAS are born outside to wild mothers and rescued through outreach programs. The adults are neutered and vaccinated, and the kittens are taken to the shelter for adoption.
Unfortunately, according to Regan, the peak of “kitten season” this year coincided with the rainiest weather in 100 years, creating perfect conditions for the fungus that causes ringworm to thrive.
As a result, veterinary clinics like VCA Weymouth and animal charities like SAS are seeing record numbers of kittens affected by the disease.
Ringworm is a fungus similar to athlete’s foot; it’s not a real worm, said Regan.
“Usually a symptom is a scaly circular rash and some surrounding hair loss in animals. It can be itchy. “
It can affect a cat of any age, as well as humans, dogs, and other animals.
“A cat being treated for ringworm usually cures within a few weeks, but every cat is different,” Regan said.
The SAS needs the help of the community.
Donations help with the increased veterinary and staff costs, as well as the lost income from adoption fees that SAS would have made in the weeks when the organization cannot adopt cats and kittens.
“Adoption fees help us offset the cost of caring for animals in need like these kittens,” Regan said. “Since we are not taking in any additional cats during this time, we cannot adopt any cats during this time. If people can donate to SAS now, it will help us a lot. “
Donations can be made at scituateanimalshelter.org/donate.
The SAS is also asking for donations of used cat toys and clean towels.
“To contain the infection, we cannot reuse towels and throw away cat toys and enrichment products after use,” said Kelly Gibson, director of programs and operations at SAS. “We want these kittens to stay active and happy during their stay with us. Your mental well-being is just as important to us as your physical health. ”
The public can drop off used clean towels and cat toys at a 24-hour donation box next to the shelter entrance on 780 Chief Justice Cushing Highway (Route 3A) in Scituate.
For more information on the Scituate Animal Shelter, visit scituateanimalshelter.org
Follow Ruth Thompson on Twitter @scituateruth