Waco, TEXAS (FOX 44) – It has been nearly a week since the Central Texas Humane Society closed its doors due to three cases of distemper.
We spoke to the shelter and found out adoptions are still going on, but nearly 300 dogs are in foster care until the facility recovers.
City of Waco animal services veterinarian Michael Vallon says it has been a standard week of care for the dogs.
Each dog has received antibiotics to treat bacterial infections, few have needed vital fluids.
“We are monitoring for [neurologica] symptoms, which is kind of the sign that distemper is progressing and getting worse. That’s usually where it tends to get really, really bad. Most dogs tend to just show more of a respiratory disease, sometimes gastrointestinal,” said Vallon.
Other symptoms dogs can show include gum chewing, face tremors, and even seizures.
“We’ve had a couple of those right at the onset of this. We have not seen any all this week, which is a good sign, means most of our dogs are doing well and responding to therapy and kind of clearing this virus and doing OK,” said Vallon.
Vallon says the outbreak came with the shelter taking in the three dogs having distemper.
It can be asymptomatic for two to four weeks while still transferable.
Typically seen in the summer, it can always spread.
“It’s not like parvo, it lives in the environment. It’s endemic in different dogs. It kind of moves around in populations of animals that are unvaccinated,” said Vallon. “Unfortunately, we have a lot of stray animals that have no vaccination history whatsoever, so they are very, very, very at risk of catching this disease.”
Humane society staff say the shelter will stay on lockdown through next weekend.
They’ll then assess conditions too see if its safe to reopen.
They’re still accepting donations for dog food for those in foster care alongside toys, treats, and volunteers.