Animal Shelter Experiencing Outbreak of Canine Influenza Will Temporarily Close to Public
For immediate release:
August 17, 2023
For more information, contact:
Public Information Officer
Department of the Environment
firstname.lastname@example.org; (301) 836-2115 (cell)
Prince George’s County Animal Shelter Experiencing Outbreak of Canine Influenza Will Temporarily Close to Public
Temporary closure allows facility to quarantine, treat, and care for affected animals
Largo, MD – Effective Thursday, August 17, 2023, the Prince George’s County Animals Services Facility and Adoption Center (ASFAC) will temporarily close to the public due to an outbreak of canine influenza to quarantine, treat, and care for the affected animals. The canine influenza virus is one of the viral causes of kennel cough. It does not affect humans but is highly contagious for dogs and can be fatal.
“As seen recently in other local shelters and those across the country, our facility is seeing a dramatic increase in canine influenza, and closing the facility at this time is necessary to protect our animal population,” said Department of the Environment Director Andrea Crooms. “This will help ensure the virus doesn’t leave our facility and protect other animals in our community and prevent the further spread of this disease.”
ASFAC will limit public services for the next two weeks to contain the outbreak, beginning Thursday, August 17. Dogs surrendered by their owners due to severe illness will be humanely euthanized. All animal-to-animal and human-to-animal interactions, including dog walking, will be limited. The facility will make every attempt to contact pet owners of stray animals entering or found running at large with a microchip to return pets to its owner.
In addition, all owners with animals at the facility eligible for release are asked to redeem their pets as soon as possible. All spay and neuter, and pet redemption costs will be waived during this time. All potential adoptions and transfers of rescues and fosters will be limited to asymptomatic animals. Although cats can, in rare cases, contract the disease, it is rare for them to develop symptoms or spread it to other animals. There is no sign of canine influenza in our cat and critter populations. Although canine influenza can cause severe illness, all dogs in the facility's care are expected to recover with proper medication and the care of the staff.
Dog flu cases can range from mild to severe and, unlike human influenzas, are not seasonal. Symptoms resemble kennel cough, and pet parents should look for the following signs year-round and speak with a veterinarian if they are noticed:
- Coughing (both moist and dry)
- Nasal discharge
- Purulent nasal discharge
- Runny eyes
- Difficulty breathing
To help reduce the spread of the disease, ASFAC encourages pet owners to limit visits to dog parks, doggie daycares, groomers, and other public spaces where pets can have dog-to-dog contact.
Learn more about canine influenza and get tips to ensure the virus doesn’t spread at https://www.washingtonpost.com/wellness/2022/12/15/canine-flu-outbreak-faq/.
For more information about animal services and for updates, contact 301-780-7200.