Distemper outbreak causes local animal shelter to close

Published: Sep. 19, 2022 at 5:49 PM CDT
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MIDLAND, Texas (KOSA) -A distemper outbreak forced the Midland Animal Shelter to close for two days to clean and heal the dogs affected.

The dogs that were affected by this disease were taken to other local shelters to be monitored meanwhile.

The animal shelter had two days of cleaning to make sure this virus was gone.

Distemper is a viral infection that can affect dogs.

Some symptoms can include fever, coughing, tremors, and seizures in dogs.

Although it is possible for dogs to recover from distemper,

They can take months to recover and even sometimes, aren’t the same afterwards.

“It’s more deadlier than Parvovirus. Parvovirus you can treat, distemper you cannot, the long term effects are neurological on the animal,” said Ty Coleman.

Fix West Texas, Midland Animal Shelter Adoptables and the Permian Basin Animal Advocates are some of the organizations that volunteered to quarantine some of the dogs.

Meanwhile animal services cleaned out cages.

“We shut down Thursday and Friday. We want to get a lot deep cleaning done, we hit the air vents, every single bar in the cage, door handles, we want to do as much as we could to eradicate the disease,” said Ty Coleman, Midland Director of Animal Services.

Coleman says the disease probably came in from a stray dog who had distemper, and similar to other diseases, these dogs didn’t exhibit any symptoms until it was too late.

“So it takes up to 14 days for an animal to test positive for distemper after being exposed. Right now we have a separate pod right now that animals are being isolated from that have possibly been exposed to distemper,” said Coleman.

One member of the Midland Animal Shelter Adoptables says they took in 14 dogs that are closely being monitored for the virus, and 12 dogs unfortunately had to be euthanized since this outbreak.

As of today, the cages are clean and they’re expected to be used sometime today.