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‘We are seeing it everywhere:’ Valley’s canine influenza outbreak continues

Updated March 4, 2024 - 6:44 pm

The canine influenza outbreak in the Las Vegas Valley doesn’t appear to be improving.

Foster dog parents remain an urgent need at The Animal Foundation shelter as it continues to deal with highly contagious canine influenza.

Officials say 160 dogs are showing symptoms of the influenza along with 17 confirmed cases as of Thursday.

As of Thursday afternoon, there were 529 animals on campus and foster parents were an urgent need.

“The community has really stepped up. We have put about 350 animals into foster homes, both dogs and cats,” said Kelsey Pizzi, communications manager for TAF. “People have also been donating supplies. When we have this many animals going into foster, we need leashes, food, bowls and other items to help keep these animals happy and comfortable in their foster homes.”

Two dog confiscation cases in North Las Vegas resulted in 30 dogs arriving at the shelter Tuesday evening with another 34 dogs added to the population as well, Pizzi said.

On Wednesday, 56 animals arrived.

“When you have cruelty cases, many times the animals involved are going to need special care,” said Hilarie Grey, CEO of The Animal Foundation. “For example, on Tuesday, one case involved several nursing mothers with their very young puppies.

“Having cruelty cases come in at this time presents a special challenge as work to manage the canine influenza virus in the shelter. We’re not only managing space in the shelter to house dogs who are showing symptoms or have been exposed to the virus, we’re also working to keep enough space clear for incoming animals to ensure they are kept separate from any of the exposed areas. This involves extensive planning for every member of our staff — including the use of PPE, multiple cleaning procedures, as well as mapping specific pathways through the shelter which can change at any time.”

The Henderson Animal Shelter and the Nevada SPCA shelter are also dealing with outbreaks of canine influenza.

The shelter at Nevada SPCA is treating 14 dogs with symptoms and five confirmed cases as of Thursday, said Amy Lee.

“We’re doing our best to cope with it,” Lee said. “It’s unfortunate that it has hit the valley. We are seeing it everywhere.”

Lee said dog owners should first consult their personal veterinarian for guidance, but avoiding taking your dog to any location where dogs might gather is vital, such as dog parks and groomers.

Contact Marvin Clemons at mclemons@reviewjournal.com.

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