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Shelter quarantines cats due to virus

Case of feline panleukopenia confirmed at facility

The Lawrence County Animal Shelter said on Friday that it is quarantining cats at the shelter and not allowing any new occupants for two weeks after a confirmed case of the feline panleukopenia (FP) virus.

In a post on its Facebook page, the shelter said, in response to the discovery it would revaccinate all 40 cats in residence. During the two-week quarantine, only shelter staff will have access to the cat room, which will undergo an extensive cleaning.

The shelter has been dealing with an overpopulation of cats in recent months, with the cost of adoptions being lowered and an adoption event hosted on the Tuesday after Labor Day in hopes of clearing the facility.

“We want you to be a aware of our high intake of cats,” the shelter’s post read. “Unfortunately, we have no way of knowing their prior vaccination history and we can not test every cat and kitten that comes to our facility. Getting a diagnosis is normally around $80 per test and we are not funded for these expenditures.”

The shelter said it did not knowingly allow cats or kittens that were sick to be adopted out.

The move came following several posts on social media, in which an Ironton man said his family had adopted cats, which were later diagnosed with FP by a veterinarian.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, FP is a highly contagious virus, which most severely affects kittens. The likelihood of recovery for kittens less than eight weeks old is considered poor.

There are no medications capable of killing the virus, and intensive care and treatment are considered critical to support a cat’s health. Medications and fluids are used until the cat’s body and body and immune system can fight off the virus.

Vaccines are recommended for protection from the virus, with kittens receiving their first vaccination between six and eight weeks of age. Follow-up vaccines are administered until 16 weeks of age. Vaccination schedules for adult cats are determined, based on the age and health of cat.

The shelter’s director was not available for comment before press time.