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Animal Service Issues Warning on Dog Distemper


Dog looking through kennel at an animal shelter. | Image by Cristalov

Dallas Animal Service has issued a warning to pet owners since seeing an increase in cases of canine distemper, a viral infection. It is highly contagious in dogs and is dangerous for unvaccinated or immunocompromised dogs.    

The Dallas Animal Service advises pet owners to isolate their dogs if they see the signs and symptoms of distemper that include a pus-like discharge from the eyes, loss of appetite, vomiting, and fever.     

Distemper can affect the respiratory tract, gastrointestinal tract, and nervous system. So far, the Dallas Animal Service has seen 15 cases of distemper recently, according to the Dallas Observer.    

“We’re continuing to monitor all of our dogs here and making sure to isolate any dog with any upper respiratory or cold symptoms,” Leah Backo, a Dallas Animal Service spokesperson shared.  

In an effort to stop the spread of distemper, Dallas Animal Service is now taking emergency cases only. Dogs that have been diagnosed with distemper are being quarantined. Employees and techs are donning the proper equipment to stop the spread and utilizing a new cleaning regimen.     

Dallas Animal Service is working with Dr. Cynda Crawford from the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Florida. Crawford is assisting DAS with its distemper cases while consulting on stopping the spread of the virus.    

“The public needs to understand that this is not a dirty shelter problem,” Crawford stated in a press release, addressing the matter. “Distemper can enter shelters like Dallas Animal Services that follow healthcare best practices, and they need community support and understanding to assist them as they work to resolve the situation.”    

“This has been an exceptionally bad year for distemper in Texas; so far, our program has worked with seven Texas shelters,” Crawford added.     

Crawford and DAS encourage dog owners to get their animals vaccinated if they have not done so yet and keep a watchful eye for any potential symptoms. Call your veterinarian if you believe your dog may be infected.