City of AustinFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
AAC continues to see increases in distemper.
In the month of August, the Center has received 39 positive results from 94 dogs tested.
“As expected, the dogs testing positive are generally under a year old and have only been in the shelter for a few weeks, meaning they didn’t have time to build up appropriate vaccination immunity before being exposed,” said AAC’s head veterinarian Dr. Debbie Elliott. “We are seeing a range of symptoms, from dogs that aren’t showing any signs to dogs developing seizures. We have been working with experts at the University of Wisconsin Shelter Medicine Program as well as our partners at Austin Pets Alive! to provide treatment and slow the spread of disease through the shelter.”
Canine distemper affects domestic dogs and ferrets, and can infect wildlife (including raccoons, coyotes, foxes, and skunks). It is caused by canine distemper virus (CDV). The virus is spread through close contact with infected animals, most commonly from respiratory droplets and less commonly from urine or feces. The virus does not survive well in the environment, but there is still potential risk of spread via contaminated items like bowls and toys.
“Prevention through vaccination is hands down the most effective tool our community has,” Dr. Elliott said. “It is vital that dog owners make sure their dogs are completely vaccinated.”
Austin Animal Center continues to seek fosters and adopters for healthy, vaccinated dogs at the shelter. All adoption fees are waived and staff is available to process walk-in fosters from 11 am to 5 pm every day.
“Getting healthy dogs out allows us to create space to isolate sick animals and protect incoming vulnerable dogs,” said Dr. Elliott.
This Saturday, August 26, is Clear the Shelters, a national adoption promotion. AAC will have dozens of volunteers available between 11 am to 7 pm to help families find a new pet.