Shelter Dog Diseases on the Rise
Amarillo is seeing a rise in deadly dog diseases. Distemper and parvo have always been a problem at local shelters, but numbers of dogs affected are now on the rise.
The Amarillo SPCA recently put down more than 60 dogs to keep the highly contagious diseases, which are spread through the air or through contact, from affecting more animals.
"Until you actually see an animal with distemper you just have no idea", Gayle Luna of the Amarillo SPCA said.
Distemper, is a neurological disorder that kills the majority of dogs who get the disease.
Parvo is digestive, and terminal 50 percent of the time according to vets.
Both are hard to eliminate once they have set in
"Since I have been in veterinary medicine for 35 years, our treatment methods have not improved any. Its a disease that defies treatment" Dr. Janice Wolf said.
Both diseases originate in unvaccinated dogs like puppies, but can still be given to older dogs.
While parvo can be identified in days, distemper can take up to 6 weeks to begin showing signs of the illness.
"The best to prevent problems is to make sure all of your pets at home are adequately vaccinated", Wolf said.
Local shelters do have policies in place to protect consumers. The humane society will allow you to return a dog after the first vet visit if there is a problem, and will issue you a refund.
The SPCA will also take a dog back if the owner no longer wants it, but will not give a refund.