Odessa shelter asks rescues to treat dogs amid respiratory illness outbreak

ECTOR COUNTY -- Ten dogs at the Odessa Animal Shelter are showing signs of a respiratory illness and the shelter is looking for help to treat them.

“Animal control shelters often do have that um obstacle to overcome because there’s not a vet to order that medication and to give the prescriptions and to talk about what that dosage would be, anything like that,” Shelter Management Advisor Faith Wright said.

Without a vet the shelter is trying to find rescue organizations to care for dogs plagued by coughing, sneezing and diarrhea.

“We’re asking the rescue groups to step forward and take these dogs that are showing signs of illness because they’re not getting any treatment,” Wright said.

American Pets Alive has also been working with the staff to figure out how to prevent outbreaks like this in the future.

The shelter has been dealing with the outbreak since late November when they took in a dog that later died of a respiratory disease.

“We were notified on the twenty-eighth of November of some animals that had come in through the shelter, had been reclaimed by the owner and then went back home and a few days after being reclaimed, one had died, and one had showed symptoms,” Odessa Police Administrative Lieutenant Kevin Chance said.

Because those dogs taken into the shelter likely spread the disease among the shelter population, American Pets Alive is recommending new vaccine protocols for incoming animals.

“So, they’re going to be able to be vaccinated in the car or on the truck then they’ll go to our triage area where they’ll get their flea and heartworm prevention and all that stuff … and then go to the intake holding area.”

The shelter is also waiting for city approval for a new program where citizens can help keep the shelter healthy.

The program would allow people who find lost dogs to keep them in their homes for three days after they’ve been vaccinated to make sure the vaccinations kick in before releasing them into the shelter population.

The shelter has resumed adopting out symptom free dogs.