Highly contagious bird flu discovered at Foothills animal shelter


The positive case was discovered after the sudden death of two stray ducklings.

GOLDEN, Colo. – The Foothills Animal Sanctuary in Golden will not accept any birds for at least 14 days after the highly contagious bird flu virus was found in a stray duckling.

The positive case was discovered after two stray ducklings died suddenly at the shelter, according to a statement. One of them tested positive for the H5N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) virus.

RELATED: Yes, a strain of bird flu is spreading in the US, but infections in humans are rare

The shelter was informed of this positive test on May 20 by the National Laboratory for Veterinary Services.

> In the video above, our 9Health expert talks about avian flu.

They are now working with the Colorado State Veterinarian and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and complying with the requirements they established as a result of the test result.

The remaining birds in their care that have been exposed to the highly contagious virus have been euthanized, which is a USDA requirement. This included:

  • three ducks
  • A chicken
  • A pigeon
  • Three goslings were exposed to the virus and were later euthanized by Colorado Parks and Wildlife

Under the direction of the state veterinarian, the sanctuary will not accept any birds, including chickens, ducks, geese, or exotic birds, for at least 14 days.

RELATED: Bird Flu in Colorado: How to Protect Your Flocks

“As a socially responsible shelter, Foothills is committed to protecting the people and animals in our community and will continue to follow the advice of the Colorado State Veterinarian and the Colorado Department of Agriculture following this outcome of positive test,” said the lead veterinarian at Foothills Animal Shelter. Dr Claire Vaiden.

“We are saddened by the outcome of this test and appreciate the support of our community during this difficult time.”

According to the Colorado Department of Agriculture, HPAI has a 90-100% mortality rate within just a few days. Herd monitoring and disease reporting are therefore essential to contain the spread of the virus.

“Avian influenza has a high mortality rate and flock owners should actively monitor their birds for clinical signs of HPAI, such as ruffled feathers or swelling and purple discoloration of the comb, wattles, eyelids and paws,” said Colorado state veterinarian Dr. Maggie Baldwin. .

“Anyone who notices signs of illness or disease in their flocks should immediately notify the state veterinarian’s office at 303-869-9130.”

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