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Nov 30, 2012 7:00 PM by Danielle Lerner

Humane Society working to contain cat virus outbreak

TUCSON - All cats at the Humane Society of Southern Arizona, now under quarantine as it works to contain a mild Calicivirus outbreak. It is also not accepting any new cats or kittens until the treatment is complete.The virus only affects felines so there is no danger to dogs or people.

"We're trying to avoid euthanasia at all costs," said Samantha Esquivel of the Humane Society of Southern Arizona. "We're going to treat them, antibiotics, fluids, whatever they need."

Nearly 150 cats from both the main shelter and off-site adoption locations, now off limits until further notice. Shelter staff think the outbreak started when someone dropped off a litter of infected cats.

Crowded conditions and close quarters helped the virus spread quickly. Symptoms include fever, joint pain and tongue lesions. All sick cats have been transferred to an off-site location for treatment. It is an innovative, but pricey solution.

"It's going to cost a lot of money to get all these cats off site, bring them back, treat them, and so we will definitely be looking for donors and grants eventually," said Esquivel.

If you recently adopted a cat from the Humane Society, just keep an eye out for any symptoms. You can also call the shelter any time with questions and concerns at (520) 327-6088.

Dogs and pocket pets are still up for adoption, but if you're looking to adopt or drop off a cat in the next few weeks, go to Pima Animal Care Center. That's located at 4000 North Silverbell Road and the phone number is (520) 243-5900.

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