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Distemper, parvo outbreak causes temporary shutdown of Abilene Animal Shelter

The increase in distemper and parvo at the shelter coincides with both a recent increase in dogs coming into the shelter, and an August break-in, the City said.
Credit: Nereyda Vera

ABILENE, Texas — The City of Abilene announced Thursday that the Abilene Animal Shelter is temporarily closing to the public in an effort to properly contain an outbreak of distemper and parvo observed by several area veterinarians and the City’s veterinary staff.

The shelter will not be able to accept new animals or release animals within the shelter that may have been exposed to distemper or parvo, regardless of their vaccination status, until further notice.

Vaccination against distemper and parvo is the most effective way to protect dogs against the virus, although a vaccinated dog can still pass the virus to others.

Shelter staff vaccinates every dog on intake and administers booster vaccines for dogs 1 year and under. Unfortunately, if a dog has already contracted distemper or parvo before arriving at the shelter, or if the vaccine has not had enough time to take full effect before exposure, infection is still possible.

This increase in distemper and parvo at the Abilene shelter coincides with both a recent increase in dogs coming into the shelter, and the shelter break-in on Aug. 26, 2022, the City said.

Dogs released from their kennels during the break-in were subsequently exposed to each other for an extended period of time, allowing for the spread of the virus among unprotected dogs.

Animal Services is reminding the public of the importance of vaccinating animals and making sure vaccinations are up-to-date on an annual basis.

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