Fort Worth animal shelter distemper outbreak has deadly consequences

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by TERESA WOODARD

WFAA

Posted on October 11, 2012 at 10:59 PM

Updated Friday, Oct 12 at 10:15 PM

FORT WORTH -- A rare outbreak of distemper has been detected at the Fort Worth Animal Care and Control Center.

The city-owned shelter euthanized infected and potentially-exposed dogs Thursday. The city said 45 dogs were euthanized. All the dogs in the same holding area at the shelter.

Veterinarians at the shelter at 4900 Martin Street detected more than one sick dog this week, and when the dogs tested positive for distemper, those animals were put in isolation. However, it remains unclear how widespread the infection is.

According to a Facebook posting by the shelter, the veterinarians decided to euthanize the infected dogs, and others that had been potentially exposed. The posting said Thursday was a "tough, sad day with difficult decisions."

Over the summer, the shelter tried to avoid putting down animals by making a public plea and successfully adopted out hundreds of animals.

But Thursday, no rescue groups or adopters were allowed to take the infected dogs, because veterinarians said distemper is just too highly contagious, and often fatal.

Distemper is a virus, similar to measles in humans, which spreads quickly through the air or through bodily fluids.

E-mail twoodard@wfaa.com

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