Distemper Outbreak at Miami-Dade Animal Services

Intakes, adoptions, rabies and microchip clinics and neuter surgeries for dogs have been suspended at the Miami-Dade pound due to a distemper outbreak.  Several dogs have been killed by the pound (this article says 18 while this one says 23) and the remaining 211 dogs are being given antibiotics even though they appear healthy.

On Saturday, 16 additional dogs tested positive [for distemper].

The pound is waiting on further lab results, expected this week.

I will update this post if I see any more news on this item.

10 thoughts on “Distemper Outbreak at Miami-Dade Animal Services

  1. “Last week, 18 of 23 dogs euthanized at the shelter tested positive for the virus. On Saturday, 16 additional dogs tested positive.”

    They euthanize first and then test for distemper?

    1. how do you test for distemper (i’m actually asking as i’m not sure).
      I had always been under the impression that it’s mostly based on symptoms…

      1. You can’t test for it on live dogs – the pathology is done from tissue samples after the dog is dead…even then it’s not always conclusive.

        My question is what happened to the so-called new protocols supposedly implemented after their last distemper debacle? Isolation of incoming dogs, vaccination upon intake, and better cleaning/disinfection procedures?

  2. Testing for distemper is tricky – the tissue needed for pathology cannot be obtained from a live animal. Even then they can’t always determine definitively if it’s distemper. The respiratory symptoms can mimic many things, so unless they are seeing CNS symptoms they can’t be sure it’s distemper. My question would be what happened to their “new and improved” intake protocols after last year’s “distemper outbreak”…better disinfection practices, isolation for incoming animals, vaccination for all incoming?

  3. It’s like a merry-go-round at MDAS. The same bungling errors over and over and over. Wait, it’s coming around again…

    Here’s the last episode in October = http://blogs.miaminewtimes.com/riptide/2011/10/troubled_miami-dade_animal_she.php

    Then there was the “depopulation” last March = http://www.nbcmiami.com/news/local/Diseases-Force-Miami-Dade-Animal-Shelter-Shut-Down-118611024.html

    When does MDAS begin to learn from their horrible “mistakes?”

  4. Btw, Maddie’s Institute (the educational arm of Maddie’s Fund) hosts regular webinars on various shelter-related topics. The leading researcher in the USA on vaccines for animals presented a fascinating 90-minute forum recently on a webinar all about the use of titer tests. One of the primary points was this simple and cost-effective method can quickly determine which animals in an uncontrolled shelter environment (like MDAS) are immune to killer diseases like distemper. Those animals can be isolated and their lives saved.

    This informational webinar was free. Are you listening, MDAS?

  5. This is horrible, just horrible! I rescued a dog that I am fostering now out of that crap hole last month..thank god! When is someone going to lay the law down @ MDAS and make this stop!?! These poor helpless animals…breaks my heart and pisses me off because no one @ MDAS gives a crap about the animals..NO ONE!!

  6. Just weeks before the Memphis Animal Services bust in 2009, one of my dogs was reclaimed from there. He came out after 2 days with distemper acquired from them. $300 vet bills later, I had to have him “euthanized” because of the pain he was in.Thankfully, he only passed on Kennel cough to 2 of my other dogs but not the distemper.

    He was only here a week before he darted out the gate & apparently arrested by an ACO within minutes. He was rescued from an entire life at the end of a chain, so he didn’t really have much of a happy life. I feel MAS was responsible for shortening his life & the pain he endured, but there was nothing else I could do. So when the big bust went down at MAS, I was very “interested.”

    It seems contagous disease happens all too frequently at crowded “shelters.” What can be done? I sympathise with all the folks who’s dogs are caught up in such circumstances & my heart goes out to the many lives lost.

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