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Watauga Humane Society Releases Statement About Recent Feline Disease Outbreak: Read Full Statement Here

Watauga Humane Society has had an outbreak of Panleukopenia, a highly contagious disease that is harmful to cats and ferrets. It does not affect dogs. Panleukopenia is a preventable disease. Please vaccinate your pets.

About Personal Pets : If your pet has received regular veterinary care and vaccinations, it is likely your pet has been vaccinated. Please check with your veterinarian if you are unsure. Remember, vaccines need to be updated regularly.

Adopted Pets : If you have adopted a pet from us in the last month, your pet has been vaccinated, but we would like to talk with you, if we have not already, to provide you with more information. Please call us at 828-266-9843. Our shelter veterinarian will be holding a question and answer session for adopters today, from 1:00 to 2:00 pm and from 5:00 to 6:00 pm.

Symptoms : Symptoms we have observed include diarrhea, vomiting, and neurological issues like head bobbing and severe muscle weakness. If you see signs or symptoms of this kind or if your pet stops eating or drinking, please consult your family veterinarian.

The Adoption Center is closed for cleaning : Our first priority is the health of pets in our community and the health of future intakes at the adoption center. We will be thoroughly bleaching our facility and taking other actions to be sure that we eliminate this pathogen from our facility. We will also be ceasing cat intakes and adoptions for a two to two and a half week quarantine period, as recommended to us by other shelters and our veterinarians. The Adoption Center will reopen for dog adoptions on Tuesday, November 4. For more information, contact Laurie Vierheller, Executive Director, at 828-266-9843.

Needs: We have received a great outpouring of support and offers of assistance from our members, supporters and volunteers and many of you have asked how you can help. Some things we will need when we start receiving cat intakes again in a few weeks include:

  • stainless steel cat dishes (5 to 8 oz size).
  • small plastic litter boxes
  • cat toys
  • small cat beds 12″ x 12″

Because we can buy some of these items at a greater discount in bulk, if you would like to make a donation to cover some of these thing, you can donate on our website.

It has been necessary to humanely euthanize a number of animals to prevent further spread of this disease and be able to safely reopen for intakes before we run into severely cold weather conditions. We have been able to reduce the number of animals to be euthanized since our initial estimate, thanks to some careful analysis of the outbreak, the assistance of our veterinarian and the assistance of board members who have been able to foster a number of pets with a low risk of exposure at secure locations. We greatly appreciate their contributions and we ask for everyone’s understanding as we do what we need to do to protect the health of pets in our community and the health of the many animals who will need sheltering and adoption in the coming months.