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Animal Services Newsroom

LMAS Disease Control And Prevention

Monday August 22, 2011

Metro Animal Services’ new management team is implementing a set of standards to ensure disease control is a top priority for staff, volunteers and the community.

“One of the biggest concerns we discovered in our first 14 days on the job is disease control and prevention,” Director of Metro Animal Services Justin Scally said.

Multiple canine distemper cases have been reported this summer in Jefferson County. Shelter experts think the resurgence of these diseases is the result of people not vaccinating their pets due to the sluggish economy; therefore the “herd” immunity declines and all dogs and puppies in the community are at risk. As a result, animal shelters in the southeastern United States are reporting a higher incidence of canine distemper and parvo.

“We have implemented a new standard operating procedure that involves proper sanitation measures at our Manslick and Animal House facilities including daily disinfection, scrubbing and proper handling of animals,” Scally said, “but we need the help of the community in our efforts to help prevent the spread of these diseases via vaccination and responsible pet ownership practices.”

“This is a community problem,” said Carolyn E. Congleton, DVM (Louisville Metro Animal Services Staff Veterinarian). “We vaccinate every dog that comes into our shelter, but we know some are already carrying the virus. We have made adjustments to our intake protocol to control these issues. We want to stress the need for everyone who has a puppy or dog to get the vaccine to protect them from these highly preventable diseases. Pet owners should also know that puppies (much like children) may need a series of vaccinations to protect them fully from these diseases.”

While simultaneously addressing the sanitation and disease control measures at Louisville Metro Animal Services, many animals still need a second chance at life in a new, loving and adoptable home. Therefore, Metro Animal Services will continue the August adoption. For the remainder of the month, potential adopters can take home a new best friend who is current on vaccinations, spayed/neutered and ready for a new family for only $9 with the donation of a $25 gift card or bulk cleaning supplies such as bleach, hand sanitizer etc. Animal lovers are encouraged to visit Animal House Adoption Center, 3516 Newburg Road, where numerous furry friends await their chance to be a member of a family!

Advice from the experts:

· Get your puppy or dog vaccinated each year for distemper and parvo even older dogs in the Jefferson County area need distemper boosters every year!

· Ferrets are also susceptible to canine distemper virus and need vaccinations

· Ask your Veterinarian to vaccinate your dog or puppy for kennel cough and check for intestinal parasites annually

· Kentucky State law requires all dogs, cats and ferrets be vaccinated for Rabies


More about Parvo:

There is no specific cure if a dog becomes ill with the virus, only symptomatic treatment can be given, and the condition can often prove fatal.

Symptoms of Parvo include:



loss of appetite


profuse, smelly, bloody diarrhea.

Prevention is through vaccination and good hygiene. Puppies should be vaccinated at

8, 12 and 16 weeks of age, even if they have had a 6 week vaccine. Adult dogs’

vaccinations should be kept current. The virus is extremely resistant to disinfectants and

can survive in the environment for a long period of time. Therefore, until a puppy or dog

has completed the necessary vaccine series, an owner should limit the animal’s

exposure to areas where dogs congregate, such as dog parks. In general, it is good

practice to prevent a dog’s exposure to the feces of other dogs for many health reasons, including the prevention of canine parvovirus.

Death of the affected dog can also occur and in acute cases, sudden death may be seen, without any other symptoms.

More about Distemper:

Canine Distemper is a disease that affects a dog's respiratory system but most importantly their neurological state.
Symptoms of Canine Distemper include:

• Hard Foot Pads
• Watery Eyes with or without pus-like liquid
• Paralysis
• Seizures
• Aggression
• Weight Loss
• Depression
• Fever over 103 degrees
• Irritability
• Lowered Respiration

How is Canine Distemper contracted?

Puppies are most likely to contract the disease, but adult dogs are easily at risk. Canine Distemper is a lethal disease that spreads quickly through the dog's feces, urine, breath, any secretions that include but not limited to the nose and eyes. Even the dog's contaminated dog bowl can spread the disease. But, a dog bite-related injury can easily transfer and spread Canine Distemper. The disease is not only fatal for the dog, but can be fatal for the person who comes in contact with the dog. There are no drugs that can kill or treat the viral disease, only the symptoms.

Prevention of Canine Distemper
Dog owners can vaccinate their puppy to prevent Canine Distemper. Also, until the puppy is established in its new environments, dog owners should prevent their puppies from coming into contact with a new dog. For an adult dog, keeping vaccinations up to date will help in the prevention of Canine Distemper and other diseases. If you believe you have suffered injuries from a dog with Canine Distemper, seek immediate medical attention in order to prevent more injuries.