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Calicivirus Affecting Felines at the Denton Animal Shelter

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The Denton Animal Shelter is currently experiencing a virus that is impacting the feline population. Denton Animal Services’ veterinary staff reported that a feline which underwent treatment for an upper respiratory infection was still exhibiting symptoms of an infection, post-treatment. After further investigation, it was determined that this feline had Calicivirus, which has spread to other felines in the shelter. 

Calicivirus is highly contagious and infected felines transmit the virus through saliva or secretions from the nose or eyes. When an infected cat sneezes, airborne viral particles are spread meters through the air. Lab tests have also detected the virus in feces, urine, and blood. All felines at the Denton Animal Shelter are vaccinated upon intake, including being vaccinated for Calicivirus. It is likely that the origin of the virus came from an asymptomatic feline upon intake and was not discovered by staff until the feline became symptomatic. 

Given the high level of contagiousness and current capacity of the shelter, there is a high probability that the virus will spread further to healthy felines.

To mitigate the spread of the virus, Denton Animal Services (DAS) has implemented the following: 

  • Postponing all cat adoptions, surrenders, and intakes for 10 calendar days
  • Halting all residential trapping of cats – DAS is noticing an increase of feline Calicivirus in the stray feral felines that are coming in and could indicate that the virus is in the community
  • Providing Lysine supplement in cat food to boost immune systems to aid felines in combating the virus 
  • Feline health checks twice a day by veterinary and kennel staff 
  • Coverings placed over individual feline kennels to prevent viral airborne particles 
  • Isolation gowns and gloves are worn by any staff member interacting with a feline. Those items will be changed after each individual contact. 
  • Felines are isolated to one kennel, to eliminate any possibility of cross-contamination
  • With Veterinary staff consultation, humanely euthanize infected and highly exposed felines, if necessary

The Calicivirus does not impact dogs and adoption of dogs are still available. The public is encouraged to continue vaccinating their felines against illnesses like Calicivirus to aid in the prevention of its spread throughout the feline population.

For more information about the Linda McNatt Animal Care and Adoption Center, please visit www.cityofdenton.com/animalservices or call (940) 349-7594.

Contact: Tiffany Thomson, Tiffany.Thomson@cityofdenton.com, (940) 349-7401

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