In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, many local rescue organizations have taken dogs and cats abandoned prior to the storm or relinquished afterward to help ease the burden on the Texas animal welfare community. There has been discussion in various online forums about diseases that had been prevalent in southeast Texas prior to the storm. We reached out to the Texas Veterinary Medical Association (TVMA) for verification so that we all will have a better handle on what some of the rescue organizations could be facing.
Canine Influenza – H3N2 – There had been confirmed cases of H3N2 around Webster, TX earlier this year with most confirmed cases connected to one boarding facility. There have been no confirmed cases in recent months.
Other diseases that have been diagnosed in Texas include Heterobilarzia, Pythiosis, Histoplasmosis and Coccidiomycosis. There have also been confirmed cases of Chagas disease in the evacuated areas.
As is our recommendation with any newly rescued animal, it is important to isolate those dogs and cats in the shelter environment or foster care for 14 days to prevent the potential spread of disease to any animals or people where they are being housed.
Proper precautions should also be taken when handling animals as well to prevent the spread of any diseases. Routine practices to control disease transmission include:
Setting up an isolation area for new animals that is away from other pets in the home or other animals in the shelter. This area should have easy to clean flooring, be pet proof, have a stock of cleaning supplies and be a low traffic area.
If an animal becomes sick, please give the veterinarian as much information as possible, including where an animal originated from.