Cases of distemper detected in some animal shelters in Louisiana

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Cases of distemper have been confirmed at Acadiana Animal Aid in Carencro and St. Landry Animal Rescue in Opelousas.


Both places have stopped taking in animals and adoptions for now
Jeanine Foucher, executive director for Acadiana Animal Aid, said on Friday night, they received test results that two adult dogs in their care tested positive for distemper. ​​


“We saw that some animals had an upper respiratory infection,” said Foucher. “We put an intake hold so we weren’t taking animals for two weeks prior so we were really able to minimize the number of animals exposed and in our care and right now, we are testing potentially any dog that could’ve been exposed.”

​​Canine distemper is a contagious and serious disease caused by a virus that attacks a dog’s respiratory, gastrointestinal and nervous system.​


Symptoms of the virus include watery to pus-like discharge from the eyes, fever, coughing, vomiting, and other similar symptoms.

​​ “For us, we had several dogs come in that were coughing and sneezing and so we did a random sample to see if anyone had distemper,” Foucher explained. “At that time they did not, and the animals continued to remain sick so we did another round of testing on random animals and then two dogs tested positive at that point.”​​

Acadiana Animal Aid isn’t the only place dealing with distemper.​ St. Landry Animal Rescue recently confirmed a case, too.​


Director of St. Landry Animal Rescue, Stacey Alleman McKnight, added,​ “Knowing that we have had the one puppy here we want to make sure that every dog gets a little extra so we are actually re-vaccinating almost every dog here.”​​

Shelter employees are performing double health checks on dogs for any signs of distemper.​​
“It’s not our desire to put down the dogs here,” said McKnight. “A lot of these dogs are like family here to us. We’re going to do the best we can for all the pets here.

“​​The canine distemper vaccine is highly effective in adult dogs and the risk is low if your animal has been properly vaccinated. ​

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