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Distember outbreak at Georgetown, TX animal shelter

Posted Jan 06 2010 10:11pm

Due to a distemper out break at the Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter, 24 dogs have been euthanized.

The Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter has euthanized 24 dogs and placed dog adoptions on hold until Jan. 12 because of an outbreak of a contagious respiratory virus. The dogs, euthanized last week, had symptoms of distemper, director Cheryl Schneider said.

The staff has placed 20 other dogs in quarantine, Schneider said. “Two-thirds of them are doing well and will come out of quarantine, and the others are having a runny nose but not running a temperature, so we are treating them for kennel cough,” she said.

Cats, which are not susceptible to the disease, are still available for adoption at the shelter.

The shelter in southeastern Georgetown has sent letters to people who adopted dogs from it temporarily over the holidays during a special program, Schneider said. A few of those animals that were returned to the shelter had a cough, she said.

Read the rest of 24 dogs killed in distemper outbreak.

According to News 8 Austin, Liat E. Zilkha, a veterinarian with White Angel Animal Hospital here in Austin has been using an experimental treatment for distemper.

After seeing stories about distemper, Dr. Liat Zilkha-Shohamy called News 8 about an experimental treatment she’s used on several dogs that have come down with distemper.

“We’re really hesitant to say this is a cure, but so far everything’s looking promising,” Zilkha-Shohamy said.

For the process to work, she has to inject another dog with a similar virus to distemper. That dog then creates antibodies that help treat the dog with the disease.

So far, she’s treated six dogs with confirmed distemper. Four of the dogs have fully recovered from the disease. Two dogs died of complications caused by distemper.

Here’s the rest from News 8 Austin.

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