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Arizona Humane Society Taking Action in Light of Distemper Diagnoses

Written by: Kimberly Ring

AHS is Asking for the Public’s Help in Ensuring Pets are Protected and Safe.

Each Spring, the Valley sees an uptick in the highly-infectious and deadly canine distemper virus and sadly, this Spring is no different. The Arizona Humane Society is taking action to keep our pets safe amongst several confirmed cases of distemper.  Currently, 12 dogs have been confirmed positive for the disease, eight of whom are being quarantined, monitored and treated for their symptoms and four of whom had to be euthanized for advanced, neurological stages of the disease. AHS takes in 130-140 dogs each week and is committed to preventing the spread of this serious disease throughout the shelter. Although a relatively small number of cases have been confirmed, AHS has implemented every precautionary measure and must institute the changes outlined in an effort to protect the health of every dog currently housed in its shelters. Effective immediately and in an effort to contain the spread of the virus, AHS will begin strategically testing, based on risk assessment, the dogs in its care beginning with those on the adoption floors. By testing such a large volume of dogs, it will require that we limit our intake to those pets in need of immediate medical attention coming in via Good Samaritans or through AHS’ Field Operations Team. AHS will then be able to continue to separate our pets and quarantine, monitor and care for those who have been impacted. During this time, AHS will also continue to work with experts at the University of Wisconsin to further understand this strain of the disease. For pet owners who have a surrender appointment with AHS between now and May 4, AHS has begun contacting them to reschedule their appointments. We will continue to offer additional resources to those pet owners through AHS’ Pet Resources Center, but are asking that the public please be understanding as we work to limit the risk in our community. We are hopeful that the test results of AHS’ adoptable pets will be back as early as Friday, April 27. Regardless, as a precautionary measure each adoptable pet will have a medical release stating that there is the potential that they have been exposed to the distemper virus. As always, AHS offers a 100 percent adoption guarantee and if adopters notice any signs of upper respiratory infections, including nasal and ocular discharge and coughing, they are encouraged to call AHS’ Pet Resource Center at 602.997.7585 ext. 3800. For pet owners, it is critical that they vaccinate their pets beginning with puppies and their booster shots and then with vaccinations for adult dogs based on recommendations by their veterinarian, throughout their lives. AHS’ pets receive vaccinations upon intake and a booster schedule throughout their care with AHS based on the age of the animal. AHS’ Veterinary Clinics offer affordable, walk-in vaccine clinics every Friday for just $21 per vaccine and no office visit charge.

Learn More About Distemper

April 25, 2018