Humane Society temporarily closes its doors after feline distemper outbreak

Discussion in 'Dog & Cat Rescue Groups' started by Pippin, Aug 31, 2009.

  1. Pippin

    Pippin Member

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    CALGARY- The Calgary Humane Society is warning cat owners to guard against a deadly viral disease easily spread to unvaccinated animals.

    Several cases of feline distemper-- a highly contagious gastrointestinal illness--have been reported in the city. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy and fever, and the chances of infected cats surviving are slim.

    "We've got a large, large unvaccinated population in Calgary, so the threat to all cats in the community is significant," said society executive director Patricia Cameron.

    The adoption department has closed its doors until Aug. 29 and "code red" procedures are in place to sterilize the shelter. Three animals have already been euthanized and the society is not accepting new cats at this time.
    Feline distemper, also known as panleukopenia, tends to spike during the fall when stray cats seek warmth and shelter in the same places other felines have been. The outbreak started early this year, with veterinary offices reporting cases cropping up across the city.

    "All the litters from the summer are out there and they are unvaccinated," said Cameron. "By not vaccinating your cat, you are endangering other animals."

    The public is asked to not bring animals in until Sept. 11 --and bring proof of vaccination-- to ensure the threat of contagion is under control.

    The last significant outbreak of feline distemper was October 2007, when 30 cats were euthanized. Cats already vaccinated were placed in foster homes, while workers tried to stop the spread of the disease.

    The virus is extremely hardy and can survive a long time in a shelter.

    After becoming infected, cats stop eating, get depressed and get a high fever. In adult felines, there may be no signs of infection, which is spread though feces, urine, saliva and other body secretions.



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