Shelter taking precautions after viruses sicken dogs - FOX 13 News

Shelter taking precautions after viruses sicken dogs

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

Hillsborough Animal Service is taking steps to try to stop the spread of two new viruses.

"We ask that the public not bring animals here, unless they are dangerous, sick, or injured, or have bitten somebody," said Animal Services Director Ian Hallett.

The shelter is not taking in dogs for the next two weeks, except in the instances Hallett explained. They're asking the public for help.

"If you have found a lost dog, you could help the shelter greatly by hanging on to that dog and posting fliers in your neighborhood," Hallett said.

If you need to surrender your own dog, Hallett says find a family member, friend, or neighbor instead. Dog adoptions are on hold, too. All 232 dogs at the shelter are in quarantine. The upper respiratory viruses are highly contagious. One of them is more serious.

"The coronavirus is not really that serious. It generally runs its course. The pneumovirus can be more serious. It can turn into pneumonia. It can be life threatening," said Dr. Lisa Tipton.

Fewer than a dozen dogs were tested and, of those, four were positive. They are in isolation. The other dogs are checked daily for symptoms. There is no vaccine for the viruses. But animal services says treatments are effective.

"The symptoms you would see would be running eyes, running nose, sneezing or coughing," said Dr. Tipton.

Rescue groups say they're standing by to find homes for these dogs, once they are cleared.

"We are actually, physically calling each rescue group. We are Facebooking and messaging and email," said Terri Lynne Sugar-Robertson.

Tipton also advises dog owners to avoid dog parks because the viruses are so contagious.

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