Distemper at Smyth County Animal Shelter

In Smyth County, Virginia the local Animal Shelter has had to temporarily close it's doors after being alerted to the fact that several dogs they have released have been diagnosed with Distemper.
Posting on their social media page that they are stopping donations for the next while and will only do 'intakes' in extreme situations; while disinfecting the facility before reopening. They also suggested that anyone who has already adopted a dog from them to contact a veterinarian.
Canine Distemper is a contagious and serious viral illness with no known cure. The disease affects dogs, and certain species of wildlife such as raccoons, wolves, foxes and skunks. Another common house pet, the ferret is also a carrier of this virus.
This sometimes fatal disease has greatly diminished due to vaccination. Animals usually become infected by direct contact with the virus particules from the secretions of other infected animals, generally via inhalation. Indirect contamination is not common because the virus does not survive long in the environment.
Some of the signs and symptoms to look for are fever, discharge from the eyes and nose, loss of appetite, lethargy, vomiting and diarrhea, coughing, labored breathing, hardening of footpads and nose. Inflammation of various parts of the eye, along with secondary bacterial infections and neurological symptoms.
Vaccination is effective at preventing distemper beginning at six weeks of age and usually every two weeks until they are fourteen to sixteen weeks old. Vaccinationd should be repeated a year later and then at regular intervals as appropriate for your dog's history and risk factors.
 

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