As the canine influenza has ravaged dogs across the Oklahoma City Metro, it continues to impact the Oklahoma City Animal Shelter.
Almost 300 out of 400 dogs at the Oklahoma City shelter have gotten sick from a respiratory virus — due to a lack of testing not every case is a confirmed case of the flu though it was treated as such — and five have died.
Many are doing better, but staff are still treating sick animals.
The closure that began in March is likely to continue for some time. The exact reopening date is unclear but Shelter Superintendent Jon Gary said in an email the soonest it could be is May 3.
“The Animal Welfare team is incredibly grateful to the community for the support we’ve received during this difficult time,” Gary said in a written statement. “The goal was to contain the spread of the virus and save as many lives as possible. The support we’ve received has allowed us to do that.”
Moore and Midwest City shelters have also announced precautions and restrictions. The Norman Animal Shelter says they have not been impacted by the flu and remain open, but they are only accepting dogs with proof of Norman residence.
Symptoms of the flu in dogs include coughing, runny nose, labored breathing and loss of appetite. Animal experts are urging dog owners to talk to their vet about precautions — like vaccinations that are becoming scarce — and when it's safe for their dogs to be around other dogs again.
This story includes reporting by OPMX’s Nyk Daniels.