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Tulsa Animal Welfare closes again due to distemper outbreak

Tulsa Animal Welfare
Posted at 8:52 AM, May 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-06 10:08:22-04

TULSA, Okla. — Tulsa Animal Welfare (TAW) is closing indefinitely for the second time in six months on Friday due to another canine distemper virus outbreak at the shelter.  

Starting May 6, TAW is closing to treat animals and prevent further spread. TAW first closed indefinitely last November when distemper broke out in the shelter. While closed, they took proactive measures to fight the spread, including holding vaccine clinics to help Tulsans protect their pets from the virus.

In early March, TAW re-opened with shortened hours of operation while trying to contain a few isolated cases.

Tulsa Animal Welfare Reopens

Officials said the shelter is seeing higher-than-normal intakes of animals that brought in distemper which has led to its second indefinite closure in six months.

TAW is going to continue:  

  • Emergency animal control and bite case investigations   
  • Return to owner services, following proper sanitation protocols 

Effective immediately, TAW is instituting the following safety protocols in place:  

  • Identify and isolate infected animals   
  • Carefully monitor healthy but exposed animals for future symptoms   
  • Ensure no animals are placed into the community until they are without symptoms or past the incubation period   
  • Conduct a deep cleaning to reduce further contamination 

What is distemper?

Distemper is a very serious and sometimes fatal viral illness that affects dogs and other animals. The illness can strike a dog at any age, but young, unvaccinated dogs and puppies are most susceptible.

The virus is found in bodily secretions and spread via inhalation. Once inhaled, the virus can move to the lymph nodes and then to the blood, spreading through the body into the respiratory, gastrointestinal, urogenital, and central nervous systems.  

I just adopted a dog from TAW. Are they safe?

According to TAW, all dogs adopted from the shelter are vaccinated for CDV, but the vaccine is not immediately effective. Adopters should follow up with their veterinarian to receive any necessary boosters or recommendations for safety.

The City asks all dog owners to ensure their dogs are up to date on the distemper vaccine, as it is recognized as one of the most effective vaccines. For more information on distemper and other supportive care, click here.  

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