New Westminster Animal Services discovers calicivirus at animal shelter
New Westminster, BC – The City of New Westminster Animal Services branch has discovered an outbreak of calicivirus at the animal shelter in Queensborough. Calicivirus is an infectious viral feline disease. The particular strain discovered at the shelter has a very high mortality rate and spreads easily and quickly if not properly contained.
Evidence of calicivirus was first discovered at the animal shelter on Sunday November 6th. When the disease was confirmed by a veterinarian, staff took appropriate steps to contain the outbreak which included isolating the cat population on site and re-directing any new feline intakes to other animal shelters in the region. Further assessments later in week indicated that the virus had spread to other cats in the shelter. Six cats exhibiting calicivirus symptoms have been euthanized to date in an effort to contain the outbreak. Calicivirus is a feline-based disease that does not infect other species or humans, though it can be transmitted to other cats through physical contact.
Animal Services staff have been in consultation with a team of veterinarians on protocols to deal with the outbreak. All volunteer programs at the shelter have been suspended until further notice and access limited to staff only.
“This is a very unfortunate situation and we are making every effort to deal with this and prevent further spread of the disease,” said Nancy Millar, Senior Animal Services Officer for the City of New Westminster. “We continue to consult with our veterinarian as to the best course of action.”