Updated: Friday, 04 Dec 2009, 10:50 AM EST
Published : Thursday, 03 Dec 2009, 5:56 PM EST
BELLEFONTAINE, Ohio (WDTN) - The Logan County Humane Society was quarantined after five dogs died from an extremely rare disease.
Veterenians said it was an upper respiratory disease that came
from a virus that mutated from horses. It was so rare that less
than a handful of outbreaks had been reported across the country.
Officials believe a dog may have brought the disease into the
shelter from outside.
All 175 dogs were placed under close supervision at the shelter. Executive Director Lori Plummer said her staff was extremely puzzled when they found five of their furry companions dead in their kennels last week.
"It was a very kind of messy scene in his kennel," Plummer said. "There was a lot of blood and things of that nature that we're not used to seeing."
Veterinarians said the dogs died from a rare form of
streptococcus, one that led to hemorragic pneumonia. Within 10-12
hours, veterinarians said the dog's chest cavities filled up with
blood, leading to their death. It was an airborne virus that was
A sign outside the shelter said it was closed to the public. Plummer said they had to minimize foot traffic inside the facility to reduce the spread of the disease.
Behind closed doors, Plummer said her staff was working around the clock to clean the place and care for all 175 animals. They were giving two doses of penicillin to every dog in the shelter.
"This has probably tripled our workload due to the intensity of having to give injections twice a day to the 175 animals we have in our facility," said Plummer.
The cost of all this is expected to be about $8,000. Plummer said other shelters that had seen a similar outbreak of this disease acted by euthanizing all dogs and cats inside. Plummer said she had no plans to euthanize any animal in her shelter unless they were really ill.
"Because our mission as a humane society is to save animals, and to save their lives. It's rare, it's unusual. It's a unique situation. In our eyes we have to do everything we can to save them," said Plummer.
The humane society was struggling to pay for the extra staff, and medications for the dogs. They begged for community support and donations. Those who would like to help, can mail in their donations to the Humane Society of Logan County, 2521 U.S Highway 68N, Bellefontaine OH 43311.
The shelter is expected to reopen the public on December 16.