Thursday, February 08, 2001

Bacterial infection kills nine dogs in pound

Warren County animal shelter may be closed until Monday

By Cindi Andrews
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LEBANON — Warren County's animal shelter will likely be closed until Monday because of a bacterial infection that has left nine dogs dead, shelter officials said Wednesday.

        “I don't think it's anything serious, but we can't keep dragging it on,” Humane Association Director Mari Lee Schwarzwalder said. “We can't let it spread from dog to dog to dog.”

[photo] Animal shelter workers are keeping a close eye on the remaining dogs after nine died.
(Dick Swaim photo)
| ZOOM |
        The unusual, contagious infection left many residents concerned for their own pets, but veterinary clinics said they had not seen similar illnesses.

        “That has been the No.1 call we've had all day — concerned owners,” said Leanne Hurst, a vet assistant at Custis Veterinary Hospital in Lebanon.

        The illness first showed up Jan. 31 at the animal shelter, on Cook Road in Lebanon, Humane Association board member Karen Heaberlin said. No dogs have been adopted since; the shelter was closed Tuesday.

        Nine dogs have either died of the illness or had to be euthanized because of it. Six puppies that were treated are recovering, and none of the other two dozen dogs left at the shelter has gotten ill in the past two days, Ms. Schwarzwalder said.

        The shelter's cats have not been affected, she said, and she thinks people cannot be infected unless they have contact with fecal matter.

        “We don't know where it came from or much about it,” Ms. Schwarzwalder said.

        One of the canine victims has been sent out for a necropsy — the animal version of an autopsy — and results are expected early next week, she said. Residents may call 695-1176 for updates.

        Those who can't wait to drop off stray or unwanted dogs and cats may take them to the Hamilton County animal shelter, 3949 Colerain Ave. in Northside. Phone: 541-6100.


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