Virus shuts down animal shelter

April 18, 2012 2:14:32 PM PDT
A viral disease affecting dogs has caused a Wayne County animal shelter to close its doors for several weeks and euthanize all infected animals.

Staff at the Wayne County Animal Adoption and Education Center are taking measures to sanitize the center after puppies infected with distemper were brought into the shelter.

"We don't want to take any chances with this spreading," said Animal Control Director Vicki Falconer. "That's why we decided to close the shelter for the next few weeks. We will spend the time cleaning the building and scrubbing the porous surfaces every day."

Distemper spreads through aerosol droplets and through contact with infected bodily fluids including nasal and ocular secretions, feces and urine from six to 22 days after exposure. It can also be spread by food and water contaminated with these fluids.

The virus is destroyed in the environment by routine cleaning with disinfectants.

There will be no dogs accepted from pet owners and no adoptions from the Center for the next three weeks, but staff will continue to pick up strays.

Dogs currently at the shelter exhibiting symptoms of distemper will have to be euthanized, but healthy dogs will not be euthanized.

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