Dog at Georgetown Animal Shelter tests positive for canine distemper

The Georgetown Animal Shelter is dealing with an outbreak of canine distemper, and is urgently calling on community members to foster or adopt dogs to help stop the spread of the disease.

"The shelter needs the community's help to make sure we can move our healthy dogs out of the shelter, so we can appropriately care for the dogs that need to be in isolation," said Jackson Daly, the Georgetown Assistant Public Works Director.

A dog was brought into the Georgetown Animal Shelter on July 31 slowly showing symptoms of the canine distemper virus, prompting the staff to take immediate action.

"The dog went to the vet on August 18, and tested positive for the virus on August 22," Daly said.

According to the shelter, the dog was not found in Georgetown, and how the dog contracted the disease is unknown.

"The shelter staff is doing a tremendous amount of work to ensure disease control has been placed to mitigate the further spread of the virus," Daly said.

Daly says there is a possibility that six additional dogs could have the virus, and that all the canines in the facility will be tested for distemper.

"The virus can impact all systems of the dog’s body, but it typically starts with an upper respiratory symptom and then progresses, if untreated, towards neurological symptoms, and even can be fatal," he said.


The animal shelter is in urgent need to adopt out or foster 15 dogs, under a few conditions. 

"Emergency fosters for healthy dogs should be limited to homes that have either no dogs or homes where all the dogs are vaccinated," Daly said.  

The shelter says it is not taking in owner-surrendered dogs during the outbreak, and intake is limited to emergencies only.