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  • PACC seeing increase in distemper cases

    Feb 11, 2021 | Read More News
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    picture of a dog Pima Animal Care Center has noticed an increase in distemper cases coming through the clinic. Distemper is a contagious disease of dogs, coyotes, and other wildlife. It can cause fever, lethargy, anorexia, and respiratory illness. Once in the terminal stage, it can also cause neurological issues. The virus is spread in the respiratory secretions and urine of infected animals.  It’s easily prevented with routine vaccinations and vaccinated pets are not at risk.

    “These pups always break our hearts,” said Monica Dangler, Interim Director of Animal Services. “They have to fight very hard to make it.”

    Distemper does not infect domestic cats, people, pocket pets (like hamsters or sugar gliders), or birds. It is commonly found among shelter dogs that have never been vaccinated. In the old shelter, these treatable dogs were euthanized due to a lack of isolation space and the potential to infect the main population, but the new building allows PACC to try and save them.

    “Having a facility that allows us to isolate these cases and treat them carefully helps save so many more lives every year,” Dangler said. “Every pet that comes in our doors gets a chance and we work hard to help them survive.” 

    There are several things pet owners can do to help protect their pets:

    • Stay up-to-date with vaccinations. In addition to the distemper vaccine, pets should also be vaccinated against parvo and rabies. Both are also deadly but easily prevented. Here’s a list of affordable vaccines around Pima County.
    • Keep puppies off the ground and away from public areas until they are fully vaccinated.
    • Outdoor pets: Make sure wildlife does not have access to their food and water.
    We are always looking for fosters for pets with distemper as they come into the shelter. They need to be in homes with no other pets or with fully-vaccinated dogs who have healthy immune systems.” If you can foster one of these dogs for any amount of time, email PACC.foster@pima.gov and use the subject line, ‘distemper dogs.’

    Can’t foster but want to help? Consider making a financial donation for their treatment to our official nonprofit partner, Friends of PACC. Every dollar helps save a life.

    The shelter is open for essential services during the COVID-19 pandemic. All non-emergency appointments will require an appointment. People can make their appointments and keep up with the operational changes at pima.gov/animalcare.