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Respiratory virus hitting Gregg County animals

Respiratory virus hitting Gregg County animals

POSTED: Tuesday, January 21, 2014 - 3:30pm

UPDATED: Tuesday, January 21, 2014 - 10:07pm

Humane Society of Northeast Texas suspends adoptions

Adoptions at the Humane Society of Northeast Texas have been suspended due to a respiratory virus that has been working its way through the animals at the shelter.

HSNTX Executive Director Scott Holloway tells KETK that the illness made its way into their facility after they brought in a litter of puppies just before Christmas. They held them for three days before they began adopting the animals out. However, around New Year's Eve, the puppies from that litter became ill. By then, the virus had already affected more animals.

"Whatever this virus is, it started with that original litter and spread," Holloway said. "And during New Year's week, we took in more than seventy new puppies."

The illness is an upper respiratory virus among dogs, in which the animal will experience discharge from the eyes and nose, as well as sneezing and coughing. Shortly after the early signs appear, the symptoms can rapidly progress to a high fever and eventually the animal may even die.

The virus could be a number of things, including canine influenza, although testing still needs to be done. We're also told that the virus isn't just a problem for the Humane Society, but for the community as a whole.

"I've been in contact with several veterinarians in the Gregg County area and other rescues," Holloway told KETK. "Even shelters in Louisiana are having problems."

The Humane Society has quarantined its animals for observation and has suspended adoptions until they can ensure that the animals there are safe and healthy. No animals will be able to be adopted from the shelter until Friday at the earliest.

"This is a community issue," Holloway stated. "We at the Humane Society are trying to be proactive to prevent this illness from spreading any further. We want to protect as many animals as possible." 

While the shelter is still allowing people to drop off animals, they are discouraging this until the threat can be eliminated. The kennels at the shelter have been cleaned and rearranged to ensure all incoming animals are not exposed to any part of the virus that may still be lingering in the facility.

"It's not an easy task, but it has to be done," Holloway says. "We ask for the community to understand and be considerate of our efforts to ensure the health and the welfare of our animals. We could also use some volunteers to help foster, since we are still getting animals in. We don't want to expose new animals, but we can't release any that may have the virus."

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