Alachua County Animal Services is informing residents that the dog kennels at the Animal Services shelter have been under quarantine since December 10, 2019, after testing confirmed several cases of the canine pneumovirus. The infected dogs were immediately pulled from the main kennels and placed in isolation for treatment. A full quarantine, however, was warranted due to the highly contagious nature of this virus.
Due to their experience with this virus earlier in the year, they believe it to be circulating in the community. Canine pneumovirus is a respiratory infection that can present with nasal discharge, chronic cough, and/or lethargy similar to what people experience during a common cold. This virus is not, however, contagious to humans or cats.
This week, they were able to secure an offsite facility for the housing of healthy incoming stray dogs and are taking every precaution to maintain a clean break between the dogs at that location and the dogs at our main shelter.
Unfortunately, there is no cure or vaccine for the canine pneumovirus. Veterinarians can prescribe supportive care to lessen the severity of its symptoms and prevent it from worsening into a potentially life-threating case of pneumonia. Research suggests that once a dog has recovered from pneumovirus, a certain amount of immunity against reinfection is established.
As Animal Services works diligently to maintain the health of the dogs in their care and rid the shelter of this virus, they ask for the public’s assistance in limiting their intake of friendly stray dogs for the next several weeks. Space at the offsite facility is limited. It would be best if stray dogs can be returned to their rightful owners directly without having to come to the shelter.
Those who pick up a stray dog should notify Animal Services so that they can document it, check it against lost reports, and arrange for it to be scanned for a microchip. Those who can foster dogs for a few days or more until its owner(s) can be found should contact Animal Services. If that is not possible, ask friends and family if they would be willing to do so. Other nearby shelters and rescue groups may also be able to assist residents who find lost dogs as well.
Shelter hours are Tuesday through Saturday, from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., (except holidays), for cat adoptions, license renewals, and to answer questions. The field services team responds to matters affecting public safety and animals in immediate danger 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
For more information, contact Alachua County Animal Services at 352-264-6870.