POLKTON — The Anson County Animal Shelter recently reported an outbreak of canine distemper and is working to contain the virus by temporarily suspending dog admissions and adoptions, re-vaccinating and quarantining possibly exposed dogs.
“We vaccinate all dogs against distemper upon entry to the shelter, after a 72 hour hold on strays,” said Maureen Lett, director shelter.
Lett said that some animals were already exposed prior to entering the shelter and the virus had began to spread.
“We are actively working with Maddie’s Fund Shelter Program through the University of Florida, our shelter veterinarian and our animal welfare inspector with the N.C. Department of Agriculture,” Lett said. “A plan is in place, and steps are being carried out to control the situation.”
The shelter is encouraging all dog and ferret owners in Anson County to contact their veterinarians to ensure their pets are up-to-date with vaccinations. This virus is preventable with proper vaccinations.
The canine distemper virus is easily transmittable from wildlife to pets running at large. Symptoms of the virus are similar to a common cold or kennel cough at the beginning of an infection. Unlike a cold, however, this virus can quickly progress to pneumonia and death. It is not transmissible to cats or humans, but is transmissible to ferrets. Puppies are at the greatest risk.
“Due to this outbreak, it is more important than ever for pet owners to keep their pets well vaccinated and safely confined, so they won’t come in contact with unvaccinated or sick animals,” Lett said.
Dog adoptions at the shelter will resume after all the animals at the shelter test free of the disease.
For more information, call the Anson County Animal Shelter at 704-994-2738. The shelter is located at 7257 Hwy. 74 in Polkton.