130 dogs at Jacksonville shelter in quarantine for rare respiratory virus

Healthy strays and owned dogs won’t be admitted to shelter during quarantine for at least 14 days; Foster homes needed

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – One dog has tested positive for pneumovirus at Jacksonville’s Animal Care and Protective Services shelter.

It’s a contagious respiratory virus that ACPS does not commonly see in its dog population.

Symptoms of pneumovirus are similar to other respiratory viruses and include coughing, sneezing and nasal discharge. In more severe cases, symptoms may progress to include pneumonia or difficulty breathing, city officials said.

The last time this virus was identified in a dog at the shelter was in 2020.

There is no vaccine to protect dogs against pneumovirus, so preventing it from spreading to healthy dogs and eliminating it from the shelter is the priority, city officials said.

To do that, 130 dogs have been placed under quarantine and are being closely monitored for symptoms of pnuemovirus. One additional dog has shown mild symptoms and testing is being conducted to determine if pneumovirus is the cause.

At the recommendation of infectious disease experts, healthy strays and owned dogs that are not a threat to public safety will not be admitted to the shelter, officials said.

This will allow ACPS to isolate and quarantine the exposed population of dogs while minimizing the risk of healthy dogs being exposed. This limitation will be in effect for at least 14 days and will be dependent on the identification of additional cases within the shelter.

If you find a lost dog and choose to intervene, the city asks that you commit to helping it find its way home.

  • Post flyers in the area in which it was found
  • Have it scanned for a microchip
  • Ask around in the neighborhood to see if anyone knows who the dog belongs to
  • Post on social media sites such as Facebook and Nextdoor

Please do not bring healthy stray dogs to the shelter, city officials said. If you feel a stray dog is in danger or poses a risk to public safety, call 630-CITY so ACPS can assess the situation and determine the best course of action.

The adoption center will remain open, but public access to dog housing areas will be limited. Adopters will be made aware of the possible pneumovirus exposure, educated on symptoms to watch for (coughing, sneezing, nasal and ocular discharge), and instructed on how to receive follow up medical care should it be needed.

Adopters and fosters will also be counseled on separating their new dog from other dogs as well as avoiding dog parks, pet stores, and other areas frequented by dogs.

ACPS’ greatest need right now is foster homes and adopters for medium and large adoptable dogs that shelter personnel do not believe have been exposed to pneumovirus as well as those that have been exposed.

Foster homes should be able to commit to caring for a medium or large size dog for a minimum of two weeks.

All supplies and medical care will be provided. The body’s ability to fight illness is greatly compromised by stress so dogs are best supported by being cared for outside of the shelter.

If you have adopted a dog from the shelter in the last two weeks and have noted coughing, sneezing, or discharge from the eyes or nose, please contact the adoption center by emailing JaxPets@coj.net.

For general questions regarding canine pneumovirus, contact shelter staff by emailing JaxPets@coj.net.

“We appreciate your patience and understanding while we take the necessary steps to ensure the health and safety of the pets and people in our community,” ACPS said.

About the Author:

A Jacksonville native and proud University of North Florida alum, Francine Frazier has been with News4Jax since 2014 after spending nine years at The Florida Times-Union.