FORT WALTON BEACH — Two shelters in Northwest Florida will soon reopen for adoptions barring any further contagious virus outbreaks, which has caused the shelters to quarantine some of their animals for two weeks.
The virus that affected animals at the Panhandle Animal Welfare Society and Santa Rosa County Animal Shelter is called feline panleukopenia, or feline parvovirus (FP).
According to the American Veterinary Medical Foundation, FP is a highly contagious viral disease among cats that attacks cells such as those in the bone marrow and intestines. Kittens and young cats are most susceptible.
FP is not transferable to humans.
At PAWS, the quarantined kittens are being held and monitored by two people in the adoption area, Director Dee Thompson said.
"We've kept a very watchful eye on them," Thompson said. "We did remove anything that could hold the disease, and everything that's in there has to be a one-and-done kind of thing."
According to Thompson, no other animals have come down with the virus since the quarantine started nearly two weeks ago. If no other kittens are affected, the quarantined animals will receive their final vaccination next Thursday and will be available for adoption.
The shelter suspended the intake of animals. Thompson said the Animal Protection League helped ensure the shelter does not take in any cats.
"That's been huge to keep this all under control," she said.
The Santa Rosa County Animal Shelter experienced a similar situation as PAWS. Its quarantine will be lifted Tuesday.
Megan Arevalo, the shelter's veterinarian, said they haven't had any cats suddenly die since the quarantine started.
"If everything continues as it has, the cats will leave the quarantine and go to their forever home," Arevalo said.
The shelter will not take in animals or put them up for adoption until the quarantine has been lifted.