JASPER, Ala (WIAT) – The City of Jasper animal shelter is temporarily closed to the public after 8 dogs tested positive for a deadly virus called distemper.
Mayor David O’Mary says the city became aware of the issue after one dog tested positive for the virus. The city then had 10 dogs showing symptoms of being sick tested. 8 dogs tested positive for distemper.
“Where did it come from? How did it get there? We don’t know.” said O’Mary.
The city is in the process of having all animals at the shelter tested for the virus. O’Mary says the city is working with veterinarians and other professionals to determine how to move forward. O’Mary says the animal shelter will work to save as many of the infected dogs as possible. He says some may unfortunately have to be euthanized.
“If we have infected animals we can’t let those animals go and infect other animals. That would be irresponsible on our part.” said O’Mary.
Doctor Monica Hall is a veterinarian at Animal General in Jasper. She says distemper mostly spreads from one dog to another though particles in the air
“We have a really high mortality rate with distemper. Clinically we usually see really bad respiratory pneumonia.” said Hall.
According to Hall the virus can spread and effect the dogs entire immune system. Hall says it can be a serious issue at animal shelters.
“You can never blame one shelter or anything like that because they have so much that they’re dealing with… they have no way idea the history of these guys. There’s no medical history at all. You never know if they’ve been vaccinated.” said Hall.
Hall says the best way to prevent the virus from spreading is to make sure your pet is up to date on all vaccinations.
According to the city the shelter will remained closed until the issue is resolved.