The Logan Co pound in WV has been closed for quarantine. A local television station reports that three dogs have tested positive for distemper and volunteers at the pound suspect 17 other dogs have died from the disease recently. Dozens of dogs remain inside the facility:
“If they are not laying there dying they are being put down,” said SAFE volunteer Michelle Starr.
Well that sounds pretty awful. It’s hard to imagine anything worse but don’t give up hope so quickly because there’s this:
Twenty-six dogs had to be vaccinated at the Logan County Animal Shelter after a distemper outbreak, and one dog had to be put down.
*facepalm* Gee we’ve got a confirmed distemper outbreak, I guess we’ll have to vaccinate – there’s just no way of avoiding it at this point.
If the Logan Co pound had been vaccinating upon intake across the board, utilizing routine cleaning practices and quarantining new arrivals, they might not have dogs dying left and right. Vaccination prior to or immediately upon intake is key to preventing and minimizing distemper outbreaks. From the Koret Shelter Medicine Program info sheet on Canine Distemper Virus (CDV):
The most important factor in disease risk is vaccination: a “fully” vaccinated animal over four months of age is at very low risk of CDV infection. However, even incompletely vaccinated animals may survive a possible exposure.
It sounds like Logan Co does little to nothing to prevent disease outbreak at the pound:
SAFE volunteers said the distemper outbreak is not an unusual problem. They provided 13 News with a letter from Michael Koch, a veterinarian at Tug Valley Veterinary Clinic in Williamson. Koch said in the letter that he has treated several animals from the pound. In the document Koch writes:
“All of the patients I have examined have been afflicted by at least one infectious or contagious disease. Some of them have had multiple diseases. I have diagnosed Sarcoptic mange, infectious canine tracheobronchitis, canine distemper, parvovirus, coccidiosis, hookworms, roundworms and whipworms. All of the patients have been in a very poor state of health.”
Pound officials said they do the best they can to regularly care for the animals and disinfect the facility, pointing out that animals are often not vaccinated when they come to the facility and are already in very poor condition.
They’re doing the best they can. It’s the public’s fault for not vaccinating and providing proper vet care – which the pound doesn’t do either but hey, why quibble over details?
Logan County Commissioner Danny Godby confirmed that workers put down at least eight dogs within the past month after testing positive for parvo.
Vaccination upon intake. Vaccination upon intake. Vaccination upon intake.
“We are doing our best to save these animals,” said [County Administrator Rosco] Adkins.
So I’ve heard.
(Thanks Clarice for the links on this story.)