Albuquerque Animal Welfare has a new space to treat animals that have a disease that could be spread to humans. The shelter is cutting back on how many animals get put down, and instead, are getting them healthy and into good homes.
For years, cats brought in with ringworm were euthanized because the skin disease is so contagious. However, one doctor decided to create a facility in Albuquerque to help these animals, giving them a second chance at a forever home.
“It broke our hearts. These were tiny, otherwise healthy kittens coming in playing and just with a bald spot or a little red spot and we had to euthanize them, so we decided that needed to stop,“ said Dr. Nicole Vigil, Senior Veterinarian for the City of Albuquerque’s Animal Welfare Department. “We found a little area in our shelter that was formally a locker room and we found that it was perfectly isolated from every other part of the shelter, it was set up with all that we needed.“
Since creating the ringworm isolation treatments, Animal Welfare’s Westside Shelter has treated almost 400 cats.
The cats are given baths with a special medicated shampoo twice a week to remove the fungus from their hair and skin, then receive oral medications to fight the fungal infection. They remain in isolation for two to four months until the ringworm is all gone.
Vets say “kitten season“ is fast approaching and they need volunteers to help in the ringworm clinic.
“We need help and we’ve got wonderful volunteers who have dedicated their lives to saving these kitties, but they can’t do it alone, so we’re hoping the community will embrace it even more and come out and help us out,“ said Dr. Vigil. “They can help with bathing, they can help with socializing, that means they get to play and pet and love on kittens, I mean, what job is better than that, right? And then they also help us with feeding and cleaning. It seems so simple, but we need that help. We don’t have enough staff to take care of all of these guys.“
Anyone who wants to volunteer with the ringworm clinic, specifically, can call 311 or the Westside Shelter, and ask for the clinic. All volunteers in the ringworm facility will get trained and wear proper protection to prevent coming in contact with the skin disease.