Distemper outbreak sparks 30 shelter dogs to be euthanized

December 22, 2018

ATHENS, Ala. (AP) — Thirty dogs sheltered at the Athens-Limestone Animal Shelter were euthanized after an outbreak of canine distemper virus.

Shelter director Dr. Robert Pitman told local news outlets the sickness was traced to a Great Pyrenees dog brought in several weeks ago.

According to the American Veterinary Medicine Association, canine distemper is a virus that attacks the respiratory, gastrointestinal and nervous systems of puppies and dogs. The virus is often fatal and dogs that do survive usually have permanent, irreparable nervous system damage.

There is no cure but the virus can help be prevented through vaccinations.

Vaccinated healthy dogs are being placed with foster families while a deep cleaning of the facility is underway. Pitman says he expects to reopen after Christmas.

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