Shelter officials recommend that dog owners stay cautious and alert to protect their pets.
Buncombe County has seen an increased number of dogs with upper respiratory infections over the last few months. Unfortunately, it is now being experienced at Buncombe County Animal Shelter and Asheville Humane Society. After extensive testing, it was determined to be a strain of canine influenza. The virus, which has caused periodic outbreaks since 2015, has seen more recent outbreaks across Texas, California, Alabama, and North Carolina this year.
While canine influenza is a treatable infection, it is highly contagious for an extended period. To mitigate the spread, dog intakes are suspended for Buncombe County Animal Shelter.
“The dogs in our care and the pets of our community are our highest priority. We want to ensure that the dogs we send home are healthy. We also don’t want healthy animals coming in and getting sick. We feel that it is our responsibility to avoid adding new infections into the community,” said Dr. Chelsea Fogal, Medical Director at Asheville Humane Society.
Asheville Humane Society has developed new policies and protocols in consultation with partner shelters and veterinary experts.
“Our staff members have been working hard to implement all our new procedures. We are fortunate to have such a top-notch team caring for our animals,” Fogal said.
Pet owners can help keep their animals safe and reduce the spread of illness by ensuring their dogs are up to date on their vaccines and keeping them at home when possible. Symptoms can take 3 to 7 days to appear, and typically include coughing, sneezing, and nasal or eye discharge. If you notice your dog is showing symptoms, we advise you to take them to your local veterinarian as soon as possible.
“If you find a healthy stray dog, rather than bringing them to the shelter, fill out a found pet report on our website, speak with neighbors, visit a business with a microchip scanner, and post their photo on social media. Our website is full of tips to help reunite pets with their owners,” Fogal recommended. “Additionally, if community members are interested in caring for a stray dog in their home but lack the supplies to do so, they can call our Community Solutions team at (833) 812-0478 to request basic care items.”
Asheville Humane Society is working to inform foster families, and those who recently adopted dogs who may be exhibiting symptoms.
Asheville Humane Society remains focused on bringing the dogs in their care back into good health and graciously asks for the community’s understanding as they navigate this challenging situation.