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Animal shelter recovers from viral outbreak
By Cassandra Favre
Mar 7, 2014, 20:33

In February, the Hancock County Animal Shelter was hit with an unknown epidemic that claimed the lives of some of the dogs in its care.
Officials announced Thursday, what they believe might have caused the outbreak. Micky Evans, vice-president and founder of Friends of the Animal Shelter in Hancock County, on Thursday updated the Bay St. Louis City Council on the situation.
"The shelter was closed for about two weeks while they tried to get the epidemic under control," Evans said. "They took one of the dogs to Dr. Askew in Saucier, who is a specialist and he feels that what the organism was in the shelter was an aberrant strain of distemper which is very, very serious.
"The shelter rose to the occasion and worked very hard to contain the epidemic and keep it from getting into the public."
Evans said that workers tried to save as many animals as could but had to make decisions.
"These decisions were based on the information from the vets they consulted and also the Veterinary Board of Medicine," Evans said. "Things are back to normal now and they have a lot of really nice cats and dogs that are there for adoption.
"The shelter did a very good job of getting it under control and they need to be commended for taking care of it as quickly as they did and no more animals have been affected that have been brought into the shelter since then."
"The tests were inconclusive," shelter director Toni Accardo said Friday, "but a strain of distemper is what they believe it may have been.
"We are back up and running. Our ventilation systems were cleaned and the inside and outside of the shelter was cleaned and sanitized."
According to the ASPCA website, canine distemper is a virus that affects a dog's respiratory, gastrointestinal and central nervous systems, as well as the conjunctional membranes of the eye.
Symptoms include, sneezing, coughing, thick mucus from eyes and nose, fever, lethargy, sudden vomiting, diarrhea, depression and loss of appetite.
The website states that there are no available medicines to treat the virus, but intra-venous fluids and antibiotics are used to ward off secondary infections while a dog builds up its immune response. Some dogs are able to survive, but for others it can be fatal.
Find the shelter on Facebook at Hancock County Animal Shelter.
Visit Friends of the Animal Shelter's website at www.friendsoftheanimalshelter.org and on Facebook at Friends of the Animal Shelter in Hancock County.


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