On Apr. 24,Yolo County Animal Services Shelter had an important message for the public.The Yolo County Animal Services Shelterlocated at 2640 East Gibson Road in Woodland had its first definite case of canine distemper, as reported in the press release. The diseased dog was from the Yolo County community.
“This is the first time distemper has been found ina dog at our shelter since our chief animal services officer began her career over20years ago,” said Michele Wallace,public information officer at theYolo County SheriffDepartment.
The shelter has not been able to accept dogs for the past two weeks and has closed all night deposit boxes.The shelter hopes to start accepting dogs again by today.
“Once it reachesMay7and we still have problems,we mayhave to extend.But bless[the dogs‘] hearts,everything will be back to normal,” Wallace said.
Distemper is a single-strand RNA virus.It is a paramyxovirus,like measles,said Patricia Pesavento,associate professor of clinical and anatomic pathology at UC Davis.It can invade the immune,respiratory and skin systems andcan also cause neurological problems,she added.
In order to keep the low-risk dogs safe from the virus,many dogs have been sent to other shelters,Wallace said.Infected dogs cannot transmit distemper to humans,butthe viruscan harm other dogs.
“Dogs with distemper need to be isolated,as it is a virus that can be spread to other dogs,“ Wallace said.
Not all Yolo County Shelter dogs have been spared from the disease.
“Sadly,some [dogs] haveneeded to be euthanized at the shelter.But that is not something that the shelter does when other means of saving an animal can be accomplished,” Wallace said.
TheUC Davis Koret Shelter Medical Program is helpingwiththis case of distemper.Dr.Kate Hurley,director at the UCD Koret Shelter Medical Program,said theprogram works closely with theYoloCountyshelter.
“When they do have a problem,we work with them,” Hurley said. “They have vets contracted with us and they are the only shelter with our contracted vets.“
Hurley added that distemper is not a common problem in this area.Distemper is preventablewith a vaccine.
The Yolo County Shelter is dedicated to vaccinating their dogs,and all dogs that come to the shelter have been vaccinated for distemper,Pesaventosaid.
“The [veterinarians] are now trying to figure out why in the face of vaccination this happened,“ Pesavento said.
Signs of the disease can take one to two weeks after exposure or even longer,so most likely an infected dog came into the shelter then was vaccinated,she said.
“Vaccination is an absolute necessity in prevention,” Pesavento said. “You can protect a dog with the vaccination.“
SASHA LEKACH can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org XXX.