Illness Spreads throughout Caddo Animal Control Shelter - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

SHREVEPORT, LA

Illness Spreads throughout Caddo Animal Control Shelter

     Dozens of dogs in Caddo's Animal Control shelter have come down with what its director believes is Canine Influenza, or Dog Flu. Michael Dale, DVM said, the spike in illness seemed to coincide with the arrival of more than 300 animals from Calcasieu Parish, just before Hurricane Rita hit the southwestern Louisiana coast a few weeks ago.
   "There's what appears to be two forms of this disease--the mild form and a more serious form," said Dale. He said he has seen as many as 75 sick dogs, mostly suffering from the mild form of the infection, which causes thick green mucous to run from the sufferers' noses.  However a few, Dale said, have had the more serious version of flu, which leads to dehydration, pneumonia and, sometimes, death.
    "Since it's a new disease, none of the dogs can have any immunity to it," Dale said. "Therefore, an old dog can get it. A young dog can get it." 
    Employees at the shelter have begun washing their hands more frequently to avoid spreading the illness to the healthy dogs. Other animals that have come down with it have responded well to antibiotic treatments. But Annette Lewis, the shelter manager, said controlling the outbreak hasn't been easy.
   "It gets expensive, and that's what we're running into. We're going through a lot of antibiotics and, you know, we're on a budget," she said.
    In the meantime, animal control has put all pet adoptions on hold to avoid accidentally giving someone a sick dog.
    "A lot of people are getting upset but I just don't want to send a sick dog home." Lewis said.
    The quasi-quarantine will remain in effect until further notice.
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