97 Cats Euthanized Due to Virus Outbreak in Denton Shelter

87 kittens and 10 cats were euthanized at the Denton Animal Shelter last week to keep an illness outbreak from spreading, according to Denton Police.

Officer Shane Kizer said shelter veterinarians diagnosed a cat with Feline Calicivirus, a painful and very contagious respiratory illness in cats, on July 2.

When the cat was brought into the Linda McNatt Animal Shelter showing respiratory problems, it was immediately put into an isolation room.

“We already had a fairly full isolation room as it was,” said Police Lieutenant David Hildebrand who supervises the shelter for the city.

By the time the diagnosis was made, the other 97 cats had already been exposed and were potential carriers.

Kizer said some already had symptoms, but Calicivirus can go two to three months before yielding symptoms and while being contagious.

PetMD.com said it’s common in shelter settings and other multi-cat facilities. The website also said the illness requires intensive care and treatment and can be life-threatening.

With the shelter already experiencing its summer rush, leaving them at risk to spread the virus further and with limited resources and manpower, Hildebrand said the decision was made to humanely euthanize all 97 animals.

“It was very difficult for staff. It was considerations of could we treat them, is it possible to go from there?” he said. “Unfortunately the other decision had to be made.”

Denton police said the situation is an unfortunate reminder of why it’s so important to vaccinate pets against illnesses like Calicivirus to help prevent it from spreading within the general population.

Hildebrand said often low-cost vaccinations are held in the community to help pet owners do so with less financial burden.

Because of the action taken at the shelter, Hildebrand said the rest of their cats went unexposed to the illness, leaving them healthy and ready to adopt.

He encourages the public to volunteer, donate to local shelters, and adopt to help decrease the populations inside and the risk of illness outbreak events like this one.

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