LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Lufkin's Kurth Memorial Animal Shelter will be closed today because of a positive case of canine distemper.
Aaron Ramsey, the executive director of the Kurth Memorial Animal Shelter, said that the employees at the facility will spend the day sanitizing and checking temperatures of other animals. He said they also plan to stop adopting puppies out for a week because younger dogs are the most susceptible to distemper.
A post on the Friends At Kurth Memorial Animal Shelter Facebook page stated that the shelter will re-open Wednesday at 10 a.m., and it will remain open until 4:45 p.m.
"If you have questions, you may call and speak with a member of our staff," the Facebook post stated.
The phone number for the Kurth Memorial Shelter is (936) 633-0218.
Dr. Wendy Blunt said the symptoms of distemper include a very high fever and respiratory issues.
Blunt said that canine distemper has a survival rate of about 20 percent.
"They begin to have very bad neurological symptoms like twitches and seizures and things that are very severe," Blunt said. "Once that happens, it's usually irreversible."
Blunt said that pet owners often chose to forego getting their dogs vaccinated for distemper because their animals never leave their yards. She said that mistake may have fatal results for dogs because distemper is carried by wildlife.
Wildlife professionals like Dr. Mike Nance at the Ellen Trout Zoo say that raccoons, coyotes, and even skunks often carry distemper.
"If you keep food dishes that you may leave out, keep all of that kind of food sources picked up every night, so there's nothing for those raccoons to eat," Nance said. "Then, they'll go somewhere else."
Should a dog recover from the virus, it can still infect other animals for two to three months.