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Foothills Animal Shelter Suspends Bird Intakes After Avian Influenza Detected

GOLDEN, Colo. (CBS4)- The Foothills Animal Shelter has received a positive test result for bird flu, or avian influenza. That means the shelter is not able to accept any birds for at least 14 days from Friday.

The confirmation comes from the National Veterinary Services Laboratory after the sudden death of two stray ducklings at the shelter. Foothills will not accept any birds, including chickens, ducks, geese, or exotic birds, for at least 14 days.

"As a Socially Conscious Shelter, Foothills is committed to protecting the people and animals in our community and will continue to follow the guidance of the Colorado State Veterinarian and the Colorado Department of Agriculture following this positive test result," said Foothills Animal Shelter Lead Veterinarian Dr. Claire Vaiden in a statement. "We are saddened by the outcome of this test and appreciate the support of our community during this challenging time."

According to the Colorado Department of Agriculture, this type of avian flu has a mortality rate of 90%-100% within just a few days. Foothills performed "humane euthanasia" on the remaining birds in its care that were exposed to the highly contagious and fatal virus. This included three ducks, a chicken, and one pigeon.

"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 legs," said Colorado State Veterinarian Dr. Maggie Baldwin. "Anyone who notices any signs of illness or disease in their flocks should immediately notify the State Veterinarian's office at 303.869.9130."

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