Va. animal shelter needs help containing outbreak

WASHINGTON – About a dozen dogs at the Fairfax County Animal Shelter are showing signs of an upper respiratory illness. One has died of dog pneumonia.

While the canines are being treated, test results confirming what the illness is will not be available until next week.

The fear is the illness could be canine influenza, which can spread quickly through an animal shelter. It has not yet been found to be transferable to humans, bt a human who touches an infected dog can pass the illness along to another canine, according to the shelter.

The shelter staff is working with veterinarians on both a treatment and containment plan. The shelter is currently not accepting any new dogs. Donations of rubber toys will be accepted as they are easier to sanitize than cloth or tennis balls, the shelter says.

The shelter is trying to find foster homes for healthy dogs until the outbreak passes. The shelter will provide special instructions to new dog owners in case the canines come down with a respiratory illness.

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