ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) – A Roanoke animal shelter needs your help after a respiratory infection got to its dogs.
Leaders say the dogs are coughing, sneezing, and having a hard time. Shelters in our hometowns have stepped up to help them – and they are asking the community to do the same.
Around 50 dogs at the Regional Center for Animal Care and Protection are feeling under the weather. It all started a week ago.
“We started seeing an uptick, uptick in respiratory infections in our dogs. And we started them on antibiotics,” said Interim Director Mike Warner. “It was escalating a little bit, we had to switch our antibiotics. And by that time, our kennel got infected with the upper respiratory and which led us to shut down”
Despite the efforts to slow down the illness – the entire kennel was infected. Executive Director Mike says two outside dogs brought the upper respiratory disease to the shelter.
“When you have so many dogs coming through, we don’t know the history of the dog. We don’t know if it’s been to a vet or been vaccinated,” explained Warner. “We vaccinated everything as it comes into our intake but again, they could already be carrying something when they get here.”
The infectious disease doesn’t spread to humans or other animals – only dogs. Since the outbreak, everyone has been working around the clock to clean and care for the animals.
“It’s hard on the employees because they’re, they’re here a little bit more, they’re cleaning more, we’re not able to walk the animals. So, the animals are feeling some type of, you know, lack of exercise of being outside and so they don’t understand what’s going on,” added Warner. “Medical staff and our staff veterinarian have almost worked around the clock to make sure that we’re providing the best medical care that we can.”
If you find a lost pet, they’re asking you to house it and call the shelter to fill out a report. Only in emergencies like an aggressive dog will they be accepted.
Animal organizations across our hometowns have stepped up to help, including Angels of Assisi.
“We’re an animal-loving community,” said Angels of Assisi Executive Director Lisa O’Neill. “There’s something that’s happened here, we need to be positive and support.”
“And that’s one good thing about living in Roanoke Valley, when you have an issue, we all come together to solve it. And right now, everybody’s helping out,” said Warner.
“I think being positive on social media is a small thing, but it’s very impactful. Hurt words in anger is not going to help anything,” added O’Neil.
You can help by fostering a sick dog until it feels better. Make sure your pets are vaccinated and have a microchip. You can also adopt a dog once the shelter opens. The shelter expects to be back in service in two weeks.
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