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Sickness among dogs at Humane Society

April 25, 2007|By KAREN HANNA

HAGERSTOWN

A sickness similar to the flu has forced the Humane Society of Washington County to temporarily close its dog-adoption kennels, according to a press release from the organization.

Dogs that recently went home with new owners might also be sick, spokeswoman Katherine Cooker said.

Cooker said 15 of the 34 dogs at the Humane Society on Wednesday were sick with symptoms that included congestion, nasal discharge, fever, lethargy and loss of appetite. The sick dogs, along with 12 dogs housed near them, are on antibiotics, she said.

Cats do not seem to be sick, Cooker said.

The illness, which officials first noticed a few days ago, seems to have an incubation time of a few days - meaning seemingly healthy dogs that went to new homes recently could develop symptoms, she said.

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"I'm not aware of that, but it wouldn't surprise me that something would have come up that we didn't notice," Cooker said.

Cooker said the illness seems to be "something that is going around," but some employees at area veterinary clinics said they have seen no increase in the number of dogs with respiratory ailments.

At Cumberland Valley Veterinary Clinic, business manager Tara Martin said veterinarians have been treating dogs with antibiotics and cough suppressants like Robitussin, because of symptoms they have developed with the change in seasons.

"This is the time of year, usually around the break in the season, when you start seeing the kennel cough kind of stuff going on," Martin said.

Martin recommended that dog owners visit their veterinarians if their dogs are coughing.

"It's kind of like a bronchitis, what you would consider a bronchial cough in humans," Martin said.

Cooker said the Humane Society is aggressively treating the sick dogs, and she hopes the facility will not have to euthanize any of the animals.

According to the press release, the Humane Society is asking that people not bring in unwanted dogs for next two to three weeks. The antibiotic courses will continue through May 5.

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