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Felines under quarantine and cat services curtailed at Lake County Animal Shelter

Cats at the Lake County Animal Shelter during happier times. Photo: Lake County via Facebook
Cats at the Lake County Animal Shelter during happier times. Photo: Lake County via Facebook

Lake County has suspended its cat adoptions and other cat services, after three kittens introduced feline parvo into the animal shelter.

The highly contagious panleukopenia virus is often fatal in unvaccinated cats and kittens but does not affect humans or other animals.

Animal services director Whitney Boylston said it all started a week ago when a family brought the sick kittens in for treatment. 

"The foster family, while they were waiting for us to provide care to the kittens, went into our adoptable cat areas," she said, "and so we had to assume that all of those cats in all of those rooms were potentially exposed to the virus as well."

The cats are in two-week quarantine. As of Friday, the one surviving kitten and others that got sick were receiving supportive care.

Boylston said people who recently adopted a cat -- or came in for services -- have been advised to be on the lookout for symptoms.

The shelter opened a drive-through to treat kittens in its fostering program. Newly arriving cats are being housed off-site.

"If I have my way," Boylston said, "we'll be throwing a party when this is over. This is entirely stressful for the staff and it's heartbreaking. It's a very difficult time for us and the animals. And so we will be celebrating when we get through it."

She said the shelter will have to restock all its towels and blankets and donations are welcome.


Joe Byrnes came to WMFE/WMFV from the Ocala Star-Banner and The Gainesville Sun, where he worked as a reporter and editor for several years. Joe graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and turned to journalism after teaching. He enjoys freshwater fishing and family gatherings.
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