CARUTHERSVILLE, Mo. -- In recent weeks, the Caruthersville Humane Shelter has seen five confirmed cases of distemper among dogs that have been brought in by the city's animal control officer.
Karol Wilcox, president of the Caruthersville Humane Society, is recommending that city and county residents be extra vigilant in assuring their pets receive the necessary vaccinations.
"This is a serious situation and any dogs that are not vaccinated could be susceptible," Wilcox said.
Wilcox said the dogs in question were immediately taken to the veterinarian's office, where the disease was diagnosed. She said that since the city's shelter is a vaccinating shelter, the animals there are safe and extra sanitary precaution have been taken. She said the danger lies with the nonvaccinated animals in the city and county contracting the highly contagious and often fatal disease.
The shelter has taken the necessary steps and contained the disease quickly but new cases are being reported every day, Wilcox said.
Symptoms of distemper include disorientation, drooling and signs of respiratory infection.
"You do not want your animal to get to the later stages without seeking veterinary attention," Wilcox said. "It is also important that if you have had a puppy die, that you sanitize the area where the puppy was. Washing hands frequently when handling animals can help. The most important issue is still to vaccinate your animals as soon as possible and keep them up-to-date."