Boone County Animal Shelter suspends intake, adoption due to viral outbreak

BURLINGTON, Ky. — The Boone County Animal Shelter announced Friday it would temporarily suspend intake and adoptions due to an outbreak of canine distemper, a highly contagious and deadly respiratory disease.

“While illness in an animal shelter is not uncommon, we saw several dogs exhibiting cough, running nose and fever at the same time,” Beckey Reiter, director of Boone County Animal Care and Control, said in a news release. “We immediately isolated that section of the shelter, notified local veterinarians and shelter patrons and began treating the symptoms while awaiting the test results.”

According to Reiter, the distemper that spread through the shelter was a strain originating in wild animals such as foxes, raccoons and skunks. 

Of the 18 animals originally diagnosed with canine distemper, 12 were still in treatment Friday. Four had developed pneumonia, Reiter wrote, but none had died.

Reiter encouraged pet owners in the Boone County area to make sure their pets had limited contact with wildlife to reduce their risk of catching distemper. 

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