ROCKINGHAM — Despite being closed for 10 days due to a dozen cases of a deadly dog disease, County Manager Bryan Land says “all is good” at the Richmond County Animal Shelter.
“We have had some cases of canine distemper and all appropriate actions are being taken,” he said in an email on Monday, adding, “… this was brought into the shelter …” and did not start at the county-owned facility.
According to Land, 12 dogs tested positive for distemper and had to be euthanized. While there were no signs of distemper on Monday, he said there were still some dogs in quarantine.
“We are making sure all protocol is being followed by disinfecting the entire building, discarding all items that potential infected animals came in contact with, as well as disinfecting the yard,” Land said.
“At this time we are re-vaccinating all animals that are due and making sure all animals are vaccinated that require vaccinations,” he added, stressing that county residents should have their pets vaccinated annually.
The shelter did not announce the closure on its Facebook page, but a sign posted on the front door reads: “Due to illness in surrounding Counties, we are on a Medical Watch” and will be closed until further notice.
Land said the shelter voluntarily closed May 3 and plans to re-open next Tuesday, May 15.
Canine distemper can be spread airborne through sneezing or coughing or by shared food or water bowls from infected dogs or wild animals and is very contagious and attacks the nervous, respiratory and gastrointestinal systems of dogs and puppies, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association.
Early symptoms of the viral disease include discharge from the eyes, nasal discharge, coughing and loss of appetite and can lead to muscle twitches and paralysis.
The Anson County Animal Shelter recently opened back up following a distemper outbreak.
Seventeen dogs had to be euthanized in that case, but 37 were saved through testing, shelter Director Maureen Lett told the Anson Record.
Moving forward, she said, all incoming dogs will be vaccinated against distemper.
Adoptions also were put on hold at the Robeson County Animal Shelter following an April 17 inspection by the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the Robesonian reported. The inspection came after several pet owners complained their adopted dogs died from distemper.
That shelter is scheduled to resume adoptions May 8.
Reach William R. Toler at 910-817-2675 or [email protected]