Amarillo Animal Management and Welfare euthanizes dogs due to distemper

Published: Jun. 30, 2022 at 6:07 PM CDT
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Distemper has been a virus tied to the Amarillo area and Amarillo Management and Welfare is currently seeing a rise.

The shelter has recently had to euthanize its dogs because of the distemper.

In the past 45 days, AAMW has had two confirmed cases of distemper, the latest results coming back Monday.

“Any animal that has not had its full vaccine and any animal that had been in contact with that positive tested animal and was showing symptoms were the animals that were compassionately euthanized,” said Victoria Medley, director, AAMW.

According to the shelter’s daily report card, that Monday the results came back, 37 dogs were euthanized.

Medley blaming it on a lack of vaccinations and strays and owner surrenders coming in.

One area veterinarian says once a dog has distemper there is no cure.

“If people will just vaccinate their dogs as puppies, do the series, build up the immunity and then keep their dogs vaccinated from then on appropriately, we don’t see distemper in those dogs, but if the dogs are not vaccinated, it’s a train wreck, it is a heartbreaking train wreck,” said Dr. Merten Pearson, Noah’s Ark Pet Hospital.

He adds he has never treated a dog who was vaccinated.

“I have never treated distemper in a dog that I put at least two shots in myself ever. 29 years practicing, I have never treated distemper that I vaccinated,” said Dr. Pearson.

Medley says around this time last year, there was a distemper outbreak causing the shelter to stop in-person adoptions, however she does not believe it will go back down that road.

“What we learned from last year is we’ve tightened up our protocol, our field and intake staff are really good at really focusing on maybe possible symptoms, so I think we’re in a better position then we are, but we still have to be diligent in how we handle it,” said Medley.

For more information on Amarillo Animal Management and Welfare, click here.

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