SC Shelter Kills Dog to Test for Distemper

Horry Co shelters seem to be continually closing due to Distemper outbreaks. The latest:

The Grand Strand Humane Society shelter in Myrtle Beach will remain closed to the public indefinitely as officials seek to ensure no more dogs contract distemper.

One pup of three that showed symptoms last week was euthanized so a brain-tissue sample could be sent to Clemson University for analysis. The results received late Wednesday showed the 3-month-old St. Bernard-mix turned in by a good Samaritan did have the airborne disease that shuttered Horry County’s shelter twice and resulted in a mass euthanization at that facility.

But the other two pups, about the same age, seem to be recovering, Grand Strand shelter Executive Director Sandy Brown said at a news conference Thursday afternoon.


“They are so much better you can’t even tell they were sick,” she said.

Distemper is treatable, but there is no test for it that doesn’t require a brain-tissue sample.

*sounds buzzer* Vets diagnose and treat Distemper all the time without killing the animal for a brain tissue sample. According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, “the typical clinical case is not difficult to diagnose” and blood tests are used for diagnosis.

A Vet speaks on the recurring outbreaks:

Frank Murphy, vice president of the S.C. Animal Control and Care Association, a voluntary association that reviews best practices of shelters and makes recommendations for better operations, said last week when the Horry County shelter reopened that cleaning and disinfecting should take care of the virus. The Horry County shelter remained closed and empty for more than 30 days the first time it had an outbreak, and Murphy said the distemper virus could not have survived those conditions, even without cleaning.

Horry Co shelters seem to be able to kill everything but Distemper. I hope the animals – both the sick and the healthy -who rely on them for care fare better in this outbreak than in past.

Leave a Reply