Distemper outbreak forces SPCA of Texas pause adoptions, close shelters

The SPCA of Texas will be suspending all intakes and adoptions for two weeks due to an outbreak of the canine distemper virus. 

At least two dogs have been infected with CDV, a highly contagious and sometimes fatal virus. There is no cure for distemper infection.

The two-week quarantine period will be in effect until June 22.  

The quarantine period will affect adopters, volunteers, and community members due to the closure of the following locations: Jan Rees-Jones Animal Care Center, Myron K. Martin Spay/Neuter and Veterinary Care Clinic, Russell E. Dealey Animal Rescue Center, Ellis County Animal Care Center. 

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Shelters in the North Texas area have seen an increase in similar outbreaks, so all their dogs will be tested and monitored for infections out of caution. 

Some SPCA of Texas programs and services will still be active during the quarantine period, such as offsite adoptions of cats and kittens at PetSmart locations and adoptions of foster dogs by appointment only.  

CDV affects the respiratory, gastrointestinal, and nervous systems of dogs, ferrets, and other wildlife animals. The virus spreads through respiratory secretions and exposure to bodily waste of wildlife animals. Cats and humans are not at risk of infection from the virus.  

Young animals and unvaccinated dogs of all ages are most susceptible to the virus.  

"This disease is highly preventable when dogs are properly vaccinated," said Dr. Amber Alu, SPCA of Texas Chief Medical Officer. "The vaccine is effective and is far less expensive than treating the disease or losing your pet to the virus. I highly recommend all dog and ferret owners make sure their pets’ distemper vaccination is up-to-date. Dog owners should also use caution when socializing puppies or unvaccinated dogs where dogs congregate such as parks." 

More information and updates will be available at spca.org/distemper