An outbreak of distemper at the Gregg County Humane Society's animal shelter will force most of the dogs there to be euthanized later this week.
For many of us, our pets are an extension of our family. So, how can we keep those pets healthy? And to make sure our pets won't get sick from other animals when we leave them in the care of kennels?
Veterinarians say, dogs with distemper often won't even show it until the disease is in its later stages. But potential dog owners can take some simple steps, to increase their chances of adopting a healthy dog.
"Specifically, does a dog's hair coat look healthy? Does the dog itself look healthy? Look at the environment the dog's coming from, that's always a good clue. What kind of environment is this dog coming from?" says Veterinarian Dr. C.R. Shilling.
Distemper is an air-borne disease. One infected dog in a kennel or shelter can infect many more. That's why kennel owners take many precautions to ensure the safety of their canine guests.
"Anyone who makes reservations, we tell them that we require a current set of shot records to accompany the dog before he can actually enter into the kennel. We have two inches of rock in all of our play yards, and that's because if you only had a couple of dogs in your back yard, that's fine, but when you start boarding numbers of dogs, dirt or grass is a health hazard." says Michael Swearingen, who owns and operates Happy Days Kennel in Lufkin.