PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control has quarantined all its dogs after an outbreak of a contagious virus that's been found in other shelters in Florida.
As these dogs wait to be adopted and taken into a loving home, they're now being isolated and kept inside their kennel at Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control as the shelter deals with an outbreak of a highly contagious virus.
"Since this is very transmissible from dog to dog, we're making sure that our dogs don't interact with each other," said Jan Steele with animal control.
Pneumovirus, a fairly new respiratory virus in dogs, was first reported at ACC a few weeks ago during routine testing.
"Because it's novel and we don't have a vaccine for it currently, the dogs just don't have good immunity to it," said Dr. Sara Chapman.
Most symptoms are mild, including watery eyes, nasal discharge, sneezing and coughing, but it can lead to pneumonia in more severe cases. And recently, more dogs have tested positive at the shelter.
"Over the last few weeks, it started to ramp up and so our positivity rate now is around 17% to 18%. It doesn't get critical until it's over 30%," Steele said.
So now, ACC has stopped all nose-to-nose contact, quarantining the dogs, except for several walks a day.
Individual leashes are now clipped to each kennel, and more wash stations have been installed to help with deep cleaning.
A play yard is usually filled with about five to six dogs, a place where they can stretch their legs, get exercise, and be a dog. But now to help stop the spread of the virus only one dog is allowed in here at a time."
"From the time that there might have been an exposure to the time you're going to see clinical signs is gonna be less than seven days," Chapman said.
ACC is looking for more foster families, increasing adoptions, and asking its rescue partners to help take the healthy adoptable dogs out of the building so they don't get infected.
But they should quarantine for at least two weeks as a precaution.