AR-News: (FL - US) Polk to kill cats held in shelter
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Mon Nov 10 08:59:57 EST 2003
Published Friday, November 7, 2003
Polk to Kill Cats Held in Shelter
Euthanasia planned to control spread of a fatal feline disease.
By Amy L. Edwards
amy.edwards at theledger.com
WINTER HAVEN -- Because of a deadly virus spreading among cats coming into the county animal shelter, Polk County Animal Services announced Thursday that about 50 cats will be euthanized through Monday.
The county will not euthanize cats in the shelter with microchips or that are licensed and collared.
But because of the spreading disease -- feline panleukopenia -- a majority of the shelter's cats will be killed so the county can bleach its facilities and free the center of the disease.
And animal services will stop picking up cats, accepting surrenders or performing surgeries until Thursday, said Animal Services Director Eddy de Castro.
Until then, cats will only be accepted on an emergency basis.
De Castro said the county has been investigating cases of the disease for about one month and realized it wasn't just existing cats that were dying and getting sick from the disease.
"We have been citing it for about 30 days," he said. "We thought it was here."
Some of the cats were dying just days after coming to the shelter, de Castro said, which meant those cats had the disease prior to being picked up.
Feline panleukopenia cannot spread to dogs, humans or other Veterinarians give routine vaccines to cats, which includes a vaccine for this disease, he said.
Cats that have not received routine vaccinations should do so, de Castro said. It takes about seven days for the vaccine to work.
Symptoms of feline panleukopenia are listlessness, vomiting and diarrhea, de Castro said. However, he added, some cats that died had no symptoms.
Some cats have already been euthanized, de Castro said, but on Monday, most of the cats in the shelter will be euthanized, totaling about 50.
The most recent feline panleukopenia outbreak in Polk County was in 1997, de Castro said.
The county euthanizes about 15,000 animals a year, he said, and about half of those are cats.
For information, call Polk County Animal Services at 4992600.
Amy L. Edwards can be reached at amy.edwards at theledger.com or 863-802-7550.
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