CANINE DISTEMPER VIRUS
December 14, 2017
• Four weeks ago, we rescued a transport of puppies from Houston, Texas area affected by Hurricane Harvey. Being a part of the solution to help save these animals does not come without risks however, and sometimes heartbreak. Despite all vaccinations and protocol, one puppy from that transport has tested positive for Canine Distemper. We are asking for the public's support in helping us address this occurrence of the Canine Distemper Virus within our community.
• This is an unusual occurrence because all animals are quarantined, vaccinated and examined by a licensed veterinarian prior to transport. While this is an extremely rare and hopefully isolated incident, we cannot be too careful when dealing with a virus as serious as Canine Distemper.
WHAT ARE WE DOING?
• We have been consulting with veterinary experts at the UC-Davis Shelter Medicine Program, who have experience in managing Canine Distemper in shelters nationwide. We are so grateful to this organization for their expert assistance.
• Little Traverse Bay Humane Society is reaching out to all families with animals of this transport and will cover the costs of an exam and testing done at Little Traverse Bay Veterinary Clinic. In the event of a positive result, we will address additional dogs in the home at that time.
• Little Traverse Bay Veterinary Clinic will be performing two kinds of tests on all of the dogs on this particular transport: blood titer levels and swab tests. These tests confirm a dog's resistance to the virus, and to ensure the dog is not spreading the virus.
• In the effort to contain the virus and prevent transmission, no owner surrenders are being admitted, and any transfers from other shelters or rescue groups have been suspended at this time to the Little Traverse Bay Humane Society.
• All dogs adopted from the Little Traverse Bay Humane Society have been vaccinated prior to adoption for Canine Distemper. Although the vaccine is not immediately effective, full effect is usually within hours of administration.
WHAT IS CANINE DISTEMPER?
• Canine Distemper is a very serious, sometimes fatal viral illness that affects dogs and other members of the Canidae family. The illness can strike a dog at any age, but young, unvaccinated dogs and puppies are most susceptible to Canine Distemper.
• The Canine Distemper vaccine is recognized as one of the most effective vaccines and can offer protection against Canine Distemper within hours. The Little Traverse Bay Humane Society vaccinates every shelter dog in its care.
HOW IS IT TRANSMITTED?
• The Distemper Virus is transmitted by coming in contact directly with an infected dog, or indirectly with its saliva or urine. Even the most stringent sanitation protocols cannot eliminate the risk at any shelter. Canine Distemper virus has an incubation period in which symptoms are not always recognizable upon intake.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
• While Canine Distemper cannot be cured, it can be easily prevented. We ask that everyone who has a dog make sure their dogs are up-to-date on the Canine Distemper Vaccine.
• Please be patient if you have adopted an animal from this transport. This has been devastating for all involved, and we are dedicated to doing everything possible to ensure the health and safety of all animals in our care, as well as adopted animals that are already in their forever homes.