Earlier this month, the Humane Society of Southeast Missouri temporarily closed its doors due to a possible distemper outbreak. The shelter underwent a deep cleaning and quarantined animals, after learning one of its recently adopted dogs showed possible signs of having the virus.
Development Director of the Humane Society of Southeast Missouri, Lindsey Morales, said although they have reopened, the public still does not have access to the kennels.
“If someone walks back there and they get it on their shoes, and they walk down two more kennels and try and let the animals sniff them and lick them,” explains Morales, “unfortunately as they do that, you're spreading the disease from animal to animal.”
According to the American Veterinary Medical Foundation, distemper is airborne, and starts attacking at a canine’s lymph nodes and tonsils, then spreads to the respiratory, gastrointestinal, and nervous systems.
She says they had a couple of confirmed distemper cases, but no animals currently show signs of it there. It will be at least another two weeks before the shelter is in the clear, but adoptable animals can be viewed on their website or in their adoption book.
Morales recommends that pet owners vaccinate their animals to avoid the spread of the viral disease, especially in the event they end up back at the shelter. Although distemper is preventable, there is no cure for it.