Dog flu sickens every dog at local animal shelter

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An outbreak of the dog flu has infected every single dog at the Humane Society Calumet, and one dog has died.

The shelter is going to remain closed for weeks, possibly even for a month, as they try to control the illness. It started with two dogs getting sick with respiratory problems one week ago and then spread frighteningly fast.

"By Saturday there were 25 animals sick, Sunday 50, pretty much Monday almost all of them, and surely Tuesday every single animal so all 99 of the dogs were all sick," said Humane Society veterinarian Brenda Dines. "Sometimes in a shelter, you have maybe 10 out of 100 sick, and that's scary. But when you have almost 100 animals sick, that's terrifying."

One of the most obvious signs is the croaking bark caused by the respiratory congestion. Staff here are giving the dogs nebulizer treatments several times a day, along with a lot of extra TLC.  But sometimes that's not enough.

"We actually did lose one dog, which was really heartbreaking for us," Dines said. "Nothing that anybody ever wants."

A couple of dogs are in critical condition and at least five are sick enough that staff are "very concerned."

Another room is being scrubbed down with bleach so it can be used as an additional treatment area.  Dogs are getting outside if they feel well enough, but many just sit in their cages, waiting to feel better.

It's really hard to see a lot of dogs that are normally really energetic and happy and running, lethargic and coughing and we can't help them," said shelter director Jessica Petalas

The shelter put out a call for donations of cleaning supplies, soft dog food, treats and many other items to care for the dogs. Medical supply companies and neighboring clinics as well as people in the area have responded generously.

It just shows how amazing the community comes together and just everything that people will do to take care of the animals," said Humane Society special events coordinator Mari Angotti.