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Animal Care Services Encourages Owners to Seek Medical Screening for Pets Adopted from Texas

Release Date: 2017-10-10

Long Beach Animal Care Services, the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control, Southern California Veterinary Medical Association (SCVMA), and Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles (spcaLA), urge residents who recently adopted or rescued a dog or cat from Texas following Hurricane Harvey to have the animal seen by a veterinarian, screened for infectious diseases, and treated if necessary. 

“We applaud the efforts of the rescue groups and the community assisting animals in need during crises, and we just want everyone to take precautions to protect their pets and the community,” said Ted Stevens, Long Beach Animal Care Services Manager.

Recommendations for owners/guardians of pets rescued from Texas:

  • Take your pet to a veterinarian to be screened, and treated if necessary, for heartworm and possibly other infectious diseases. 
  • Obtain medications to remove any fleas, ticks or internal parasites.
  • Ensure the new pet is up-to-date on its immunizations.
  • Contact your local animal control agency to license your pet.
  • Dogs from stressful environments may be incubating infections even if they are not showing clinical signs. Therefore, keep your newly rescued pet at home for 30 days to minimize stress and for monitoring and protection from possible infections.

“Pet disease risk varies state to state. Some diseases, such as heartworm and leptospirosis, are much more common in Texas than Southern California. Canine influenza was also on the increase in the area prior to the hurricane,” said Executive Director of SCVMA, Dr. Peter Weinstein, DVM, MBA. “So, if you are adopting or fostering a dog that has been transported, ask the rescue about their screening protocols and request any medical records they may have. If you have a pet, keep them separate until you receive the ‘all clear’ from your veterinarian.”

Southern California typically has very low instances of heartworm disease. To prevent this parasite from spreading among local pet populations, please use caution when adopting or interacting with dogs transported from Texas, or other areas where the disease is prevalent. Heartworm disease is potentially fatal and spread by mosquitos.  Heartworms infect the heart, lungs and other internal organs. If left untreated, it can be fatal.  Even with treatment, the effects of heartworm can impact quality of life due to the resultant organ damage.

“We are grateful to all who wish to help the animal victims of Hurricane Harvey,” said spcaLA President, Madeline Bernstein. “It is important to work with experienced, legitimate animal welfare organizations and take health precautions to ensure your goodwill does not unwittingly endanger your pets, shelter animals, or the health of people in the Southern California community.”

Canine Influenza Virus (CIV), or ‘dog flu’, is a relatively new, highly contagious viral infection affecting dogs. Affected dogs may develop coughing, nasal discharge, fever, lethargy, and loss of appetite. With proper care, most dogs will recover. However, in some cases, CIV can progress to a more severe or even life-threatening condition, such as pneumonia. CIV is spread through direct contact with respiratory secretions from infected dogs (coughing, barking, and sneezing) and by contact with contaminated objects (toys, water bowls, food dishes, leashes). Dogs may continue to spread CIV for weeks, even after symptoms are no longer present. 

About Long Beach Animal Care Services

The goal of Long Beach Animal Care Services (ACS) is to make Long Beach the safest large city in California for people and animals through the promotion of responsible pet ownership and recreation. ACS serves 600,000 residents and pets in the Cities of Long Beach, Cerritos, Seal Beach, Los Alamitos and Signal Hill.

Visit Animal Care Services at the P.D. Pitchford Companion Animal Village (Village) to adopt, volunteer, donate, license your pet or obtain resources regarding low cost vaccination and spay/neuter clinics throughout the City. ACS is located at 7700 East Spring Street in Long Beach. The Village is open Wednesday through Friday from 10:00 am to 5:30 pm, Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, and is closed on Mondays, Tuesdays and holidays. For more information, please visit www.LongBeachAnimalCare.com.

About Long Beach Parks, Recreation and Marine

The Long Beach Parks, Recreation and Marine Department (PRM) is one of the premier parks and recreation departments in the country, is consistently recognized for excellence in management practices and programs, and has received the national Gold Medal Award four times. PRM operates 170 parks with 26 community centers; two major tennis centers; an animal shelter; one of the busiest municipal golf systems in the country with five courses; and the largest municipally operated marina system in the nation with over 3,200 boat slips. More than 3,200 acres are developed for recreation. The Department offers approximately 2,400 contract classes (fitness, health, enrichment) to people of all ages (newborn to senior) every year; after-school programs at 26 sites during the school year; and summer programs for youth 5-12 years old. Other unique sites include multiple community gardens, a municipal cemetery, more than 38 miles of bike trails, 10 dog parks, and eight skate parks.

For more information about Long Beach Parks, Recreation and Marine programs and services, visit www.lbparks.org. Please “Like” us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.