TULSA, Okla. — Tulsa Animal Welfare is closing indefinitely Wednesday as they work to stop the spread of canine distemper virus at its facility.
The City of Tulsa announced the closure following confirmation of several recent cases.
So far, five dogs at the shelter have tested positive for canine distemper virus while others are showing symptoms.
“Every dog currently in our care is considered potentially exposed," said Dr. David Bailey, veterinarian at Tulsa Animal Welfare. "And we are working to test any that are symptomatic. And establishing different zones for the different animals whether they be symptomatic, positive, exposed."
The facility will still go on with its animal control and bite investigation services and return to owner services following sanitation protocols.
"CDV is a very serious and sometimes fatal viral illness that affects dogs and other members of the Canidae family. It also affects ferrets. 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 to the respiratory, gastrointestinal, urogenital and central nervous systems.
Despite its seriousness, many dogs are subclinical or only mildly affected."
The shelter says all dogs they've had that have been adopted have been vaccinated for CDV, but that the vaccine isn't immediately effective. They're suggesting that adopters follow up with their personal vets to receive any necessary boosters.
To protect the dogs, the shelter is isolating infected animals and are deep cleaning the building. It’s working with other shelters in the community to take the dogs that are vaccinated and healthy as well as any new stray dogs that are dropped off
“Eventually, once we are able to do so safely, we will be starting to get those dogs out," Dr. Bailey said. "Trying to partner with other organizations to transfer them out as well as partnering with the community to get them adopted out.”
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