tempera is a contagious, often fatal disease that attacks the respiratory, gastrointestinal and nervous systems of dogs. Dallas Animal Services has seen 112 cases of distemper since November, according to its website.
That’s a small number out of the total number of dogs, but distemper is a serious disease, Dallas Animal Services spokesperson Marlo Clingman said.
“This disease can spread like wildfire,” she said.
Dallas Animal Services tries to reduce the number of distempers in several ways, primarily by vaccinating dogs and keeping them out of the shelter until their vaccines go into effect. This is why the shelter asks people to foster newly abandoned and vaccinated dogs for three days.
“Those hours really matter,” Clingman said. “We say three days, but it’s really only 72 hours [that] give that canine distemper vaccine time to get through their immune system and make sure they have some level of immunity before they walk through our doors.”
The shelter also wishes to avoid welcoming unvaccinated dogs. Dallas Animal Services asks people who bring stray animals to schedule a vaccination and bring them home for 72 hours if possible.
“You need a crate, we’ll give it to you. Food, whatever you need to keep this dog for three days, we’ll give it to you,” Clingman said.
Until disease levels improve, Dallas Animal Services will also stop accepting owner surrendered dogs, unless the owner is in an emergency or has already made an appointment. . Dallas Animal Services Website Lists Resources for those who need help feeding their pets and offers ways to rehome an animal while avoiding the shelter.
Vaccinated dogs that show no signs of illness or test negative for distemper will still be available for adoption. Dallas Animal Services has also partnered with the Spay Neuter Network to offer several free vaccination clinics in May and June.
Dallas Animal Services isn’t the only local organization to have suffered from a distemper outbreak in the past year. The Humane Society of North Texas had to close animal admissions in July 2021 because of illness.
Do you have any advice? Email Miranda Suarez at [email protected]. You can follow Miranda on Twitter @MirandaRSuarez.
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