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52 Dogs Euthanized in Ohio Shelter Due to Canine Virus Outbreak

Sep 13, 2016 08:10 AM EDT
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A total of 52 dogs were needed to be euthanized in an animal shelter in Ohio as a precautionary measure after the diagnosis of the lethal canine virus called distemper in one of the dogs.

According to the report from NBC4i, officials from the Franklin County Dog Shelter and Adoption Center in Columbus defended their move to euthanize the dogs to prevent further outbreak of the canine distemper. There is only one confirmed case of distemper in the shelter. However, because the virus can be transferred in the air and highly contagious, authorities believe that most, if not all, of the dogs in the shelter were exposed.

"This was not an easy thing to do," said Dr. Nellie Wilbers, a veterinarian who works for the shelter, in a report from Columbus Dispatch. "No one wants to euthanize the dogs that we have come to love."

All the dogs in the shelter will be quarantined for four to six weeks, the known incubation period of the virus. Dogs under quarantine will not have any contact with other animals and limited contact with humans.

In the case of the 52 dogs, they either showed "severe clinical signs" of distemper or were determined to not be suitable for quarantine, which made killing them the only choice.

At present, the shelter was divided into two sections. The first section is used for the quarantined dogs, while the other served as area for new dogs. Dogs that are brought in the shelter after the outbreak were deemed to be safe and could be adopted within this week.

Canine distemper is a contagious and serious viral illness known to affect dogs, and certain species of wildlife, such as raccoons, wolves, foxes, and skunks. During the initial stage of the virus, the infected animal may develop higher fever, reddened eyes and watery discharge from the eyes and nose. Additional symptoms may include persistent coughing, diarrhea and vomiting.

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