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November 11, 2014


Two potential cases involving Feline Panleukopenia were discovered on Sunday morning, November 9, 2014 at the Catawba County Animal Shelter.

During the morning cleaning and feeding, two cats were found deceased in their cages,” said Mark Pettit, Catawba County’s Assistant Director of Emergency Services. “Staff immediately conducted tests to determine the potential cause of death and notified the Veterinarian for Humane Society of Catawba County, which provides medical care for all animals in the facility. The results of the tests showed a potential for the Feline Panleukopenia virus.”

According to the Mereck Veterinary Manual, Feline Panleukopenia is a highly contagious, often fatal, viral disease of cats that is seen worldwide. The virus is spread by direct contact with infected animals or their secretions. Contaminated food dishes, litter boxes, bedding and the clothes or hands of people who have treated an infected cat are other common routes of exposure.

Due to the highly contagious nature of the virus, the determination was made that all felines that were potentially exposed were humanely euthanized. The total number of felines euthanized was 87.

“This was a very difficult decision to make and it was not made lightly,” Pettit said. “After consulting with the Veterinarian and weighing the potential for the virus to spread to other parts of the facility as well as out into the community, the most responsible decision was to proceed with humanely euthanizing the potentially exposed cats. We are following all of the recommendations of our Veterinarian, to minimize the risk of this virus spreading”.

“After consulting with the Veterinarian, we are confident that no cats that have been adopted out recently were exposed to the virus,” said Jane Bowers, Executive Director of Humane Society of Catawba County.” However, if anyone did adopt a cat from us recently and has any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us at 828-466-7171.”

Some of the steps Humane Society of Catawba County and Catawba County Animal Services are taking include:

• changing the vaccines provided to cats on intake to include modified live virus vaccines;

• destroying all plastic litter pans and replacing with new ones and following a stringent cleaning protocol prescribed by the Veterinarian in the affected areas for the next 3 days.

“Because of the potential severity of this virus and our desire to protect the community, as a precaution, we will not be adopting out any cats from the Newton location for the next two weeks,” Bowers added. “However, if you would like to adopt a cat you can still come by and complete an adoption application, but will not be able to take it home until November 24th”.

If there are any questions, please contact Mark Pettit at 828-465-8228 or Jane Bowers at 828-466-7171.