Texas SPCA Ellis County Animal Care Center Suspends Operations

Animal welfare organization takes action against distemper, needs public help.

The Texas SPCA announced a two-week suspension of admissions and adoptions at all of its shelters, including the Ellis County Animal Care Center, to ensure that all of its dogs are disease-free for adoption.

Following a positive distemper test for only two dogs in the care of the animal welfare organization, the Texas SPCA immediately quarantined all animals in all of its shelters. This decision is a proactive measure prescribed by the organization’s veterinary staff to prevent the spread of the canine distemper virus which affects dogs and wildlife and is often fatal. People are not affected by distemper.

The Ellis County Animal Care Center is closed until at least June 22, 2022.

Animal caretakers have seen an increase in the rate of canine distemper infection across the state in recent months, in both wild animals and dogs. Many Texas animal care facilities have already been impacted by the viral spread, including shelters in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and near Lubbock.

Distemper infections affect a dog’s respiratory system, gastrointestinal tract, and central nervous system. Symptoms range from no visible signs of illness, to mild respiratory problems such as runny nose and eyes, to severe respiratory symptoms, thickened footpads or nasal skin, seizures, neurological deficits and decline. Animals can be contagious for months. Animals receiving medical attention may survive the course of the infection, although some die.

The infection is easily prevented by a vaccine which has an effectiveness rate of 99%.

“This disease is highly preventable when dogs are properly vaccinated,” said Texas SPCA Chief Medical Officer Dr. Amber Alu. “The vaccine is effective and costs much less than treating the disease or losing your pet to the virus. I strongly recommend that all dog and ferret owners ensure their pet’s distemper vaccination is up to date. Dog owners should also exercise caution when socializing puppies or unvaccinated dogs where dogs congregate, such as in parks.

The Ellis County Animal Care Center will be closed to adopters, volunteers and community members until at least June 22, 2022. Adoptions and animals outside the shelter are not affected. Offsite adoptions of cats and kittens at Dallas-area PetSmart stores will continue, as will equine and livestock adoptions at the SPCA of Texas’ Equine Center in McKinney. Some foster dogs will be available for adoption by appointment. Additionally, the Texas SPCA’s Mary Spencer Pet and Spaying Clinic will remain open to the public. Food and supply pickups for the Russell H. Perry Pet Resource Center will continue and customers will be met at their cars. The Ellis County Animal Care Center will quarantine animals if bitten. Receiving urgent animal cruelty inquiries will also continue.

“The Texas SPCA respectfully asks for the patience of the public as we do everything in our power to protect and care for animals in our facilities and in our community,” said Karen Froehlich, president and CEO of the Texas SPCA. “This situation indicates that the distemper virus is circulating in the community, and the Texas SPCA urges all pet owners to vaccinate all of their animals against all species-specific diseases under the direction of their veterinarian as well. than to have their animal neutered or neutered. neutered and microchipped.

The Texas SPCA ensures that all dogs adopted from its shelters are vaccinated and disease-free. The quarantine was put in place as part of the organization’s mission to provide exceptional care for every animal. Suspending operations at its shelters and quarantining the animals will cost the Texas SPCA dearly. Any donation made through the organization’s support page, even as little as $5, can help the 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization meet the needs of the animals in their care.

Benjamin M. Yerger