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Mesilla Valley Animal Services suspends adoptions amid parasite outbreak

The Animal Services Center of the Mesilla Valley announced Friday it is suspending all adoptions for 20 days while its staff works with the New Mexico Department of Health to address an outbreak of Giardia, an intestinal parasite.

The facility’s medical director, Dr. Susan Baiz , is overseeing the medical response along with Clint Thacker, the center’s executive director.

“Giardia is the most commonly diagnosed intestinal parasite in the United States,” Thacker said in a news release. “The most common transmission is drinking contaminated water. However, feces is the next most common transmission method. The parasite is transmittable to humans, so we have implemented strict protocols to protect our employees, as well as the animal population while we address the outbreak.”

Thacker said staff is reaching out to recent adopters in an effort to assist them with treatment for pets.

The center said a rescue group in Phoenix is aware of the situation and still wants to receive a shipment of 60 dogs, “all of which will be treated prior to the shipment next week.” The rescue group is ordering medication in advance of the transport.

Thacker said the center’s cat population, kept in a separate area of the building, is showing no signs of infection. Adoptions of cats from the facility will continue.

“This has been an unanticipated but necessary expense,” Thacker said. “The cost of medicating the entire shelter population is just over $4,000. Our already tight budget just got tighter.”

Thacker said a fundraiser is being set up at, and more information is available on the website at

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