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Cats stricken with highly contagious virus at Cabarrus animal shelter

This photo shows kittens up for adoption at a shelter in San Luis Obispo County, Calif.
This photo shows kittens up for adoption at a shelter in San Luis Obispo County, Calif. The Tribune

The Cabarrus County Animal Shelter has suspended cat adoptions and intakes after a highly contagious virus spread among the shelter’s felines.

On Tuesday, shelter staff found cats showing symptoms of feline panleukopenia, including vomiting, diarrhea and lethargy. Staff immediately notified the shelter veterinarian and officials at the N.C. Department of Agriculture, and began procedures to contain the outbreak and sanitize the shelter.

Due to the outbreak, the shelter at 244 Betsy Carpenter Place SW in Concord has suspended cat adoptions and intakes of surrendered and stray cats through Friday.

Panleukopenia symptoms can go undetected for up to two weeks. The shelter did not place cats with any families in the last two weeks, according to a news release from Cabarrus County government on Wednesday.

Shelter staff is contacting rescue organizations in custody of cats that may have been exposed to the illness, the county said.

The shelter will operate normal hours for its other services, including reclaiming pets, and dog adoptions and rescues.

In the past, feline panleukopenia was a leading cause of death in cats, according to the American Veterinary Medical Foundation. Today, the virus is uncommon thanks largely to effective vaccines. The disease is also called feline distemper or feline parvo.

Joe Marusak: 704-358-5067, @jmarusak

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