Our network

Animal shelter closes after dogs become extremely ill | News

Title (Max 100 Characters)

Animal shelter closes after dogs become extremely ill
News, Pets
Animal shelter closes after dogs become extremely ill

LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga -- An animal shelter has closed its doors after 19 dogs became seriously ill with influenza-like symptoms. The shelter is asking anyone who has taken a dog from the shelter in the past two weeks to keep an eye on their pet.

The Gwinnett County Animal Shelter said in the past two weeks, the dogs have become seriously ill with symptoms of a serious upper respiratory illness. One dog has died, but the rest of the animals' symptoms are not considered critical or life-threatening.

According to a press release the sickness comes on rapidly. "The dogs were happy and playful one day and the next day they appeared extremely sick," the release said.

Dr. Lee Pope from the Lawrenceville-Suwanee Animal Hospital said the symptoms described by the shelter are similar to an upper respiratory disease like influenza. "
They have a lot of nasal discharge, a lot of sneezing, a lot of coughing and the dogs really feel sick," he said. It's kind of like how we feel sick when we have the flu as well."

A sign on the animal shelters' entrance says "This facility will be closed until further notice."

Shelter authorities said they have contacted the University of Georgia: College of Veterinary Medicine to determine what has been causing the dogs to get sick. They said the testing at UGA will take approximately four days.

Shelter officials listed facts to be concerned about:

-The illness does not affect humans

-The illness only affects dogs

-There are approximately 150 dogs at the facility

-134 dogs have left the facility in the past two weeks

The shelter is contacting every person who has taken a dog from the shelter in the past two weeks. They're being told to keep their dogs separated from all other dogs. If they're dog begins to show symptoms they should take them to a veterinarian.

In Chicago a dog flu epidemic has sickened over a thousand dogs and at least five dogs have died. Officials here have not determined if canine influenza is what caused the outbreak in Gwinnett County.

Shelter Director Chip Moore said the shelter will take prophylactic measures by starting all dogs that are currently in the shelter on Doxycycline, an anti-biotic. But he said the shelter only has a limited supply. Moore put out a plea to local animal shelters, veterinary offices and suppliers of the drug to contact him. Currently there are about 150 animals in need of medication.

As of Saturday afternoon, the veterinary, rescue and retail communities have opened their hearts and wallets to the shelter. Moore said he has received enough doxycycline to treat all the shelter's dogs for the entire 10-day quarantine, while still having some medicine left over.

A Facebook page called Helping Animals at Gwinnett County Animal Control also collected much-needed donations of canned dog food, towels and blue Dawn liquid dish detergent.

Dr. Pope said the shelter is doing what should be done until they figure out what caused it. "And then once they figure out what's going on, they can decide, okay, this is our cleaning protocol that we need to do," he said. "The last thing they need to do is bring in more animals, infect those animals and adopt them out and then spread it like wildfire."

Dr. Pope said there is a canine influenza vaccine people can get for their dogs at their veterinarians.

News, Pets

Lawrenceville Deals

Lawrenceville Businesses