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Animal Services Newsroom

Animal Services Takes Precautions After One Case of Distemper

Tuesday July 5, 2011

Staff moving forward with cleaning protocol
to prevent potential spread of disease

Metro Animal Services is temporarily suspending some of its services Thursday at the Animal Care Center, located at 3705 Manslick Road, after one case of canine distemper was confirmed. The Animal House Adoption Center, located at 3516 Newburg Road, is not affected.

The animal involved, a Jack Russell terrier, was involved in a biting incident before he was brought to the shelter and was in quarantine for observation during his stay. The dog was not exposed to other animals in the facility’s general population.

Following the dog’s death while in quarantine, an autopsy was performed the University of Kentucky’s Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in Lexington. The results revealed the dog died from the distemper virus.

Distemper is spread much like the flu. It can become airborne when an animal coughs and live up to two hours outside the host. Distemper is passed from dog to dog and is not a danger to humans. All movement in the Animal Care Center has been restricted and a cleaning protocol is in effect. All animals remain under close medical surveillance.

As a precautionary measure, the following services have been temporarily suspended for Thursday, June 30th. Services will resume Friday, July 1st.

Stray dog pick up by Animal Control Officers (if unconfined)
Spay/Neuter surgery for current shelter dogs and puppies
Owner surrendered pets

The following services will continue:
Cat and kitten intake, adoption

Adoption of puppies and dogs with disclaimer regarding Distemper exposure
Lost and Found/Return to Owner
Investigations (animal cruelty, dangerous dogs, etc.)
Purchase of licenses
Payment of citations

MAS officials have consulted with several other agencies and known experts on the subject of distemper, including top officials at Miami-Dade County Animal Services and the University of Florida.