Changes have been made, and the Oak Ridge Animal Shelter will reopen Tuesday after a temporary closure last week following the second distemper outbreak this year, city officials said.
The shelter staff will show reporters the changes that have been made to protect animals during an 8:30 a.m. Tuesday tour, and the shelter will open to the public at 11 a.m.
The Oak Ridge Animal Shelter is located at 395 Belgrade Road.
City officials said last week that 51 animals were euthanized because of this month’s distemper outbreak, and the shelter was temporarily closed after canine distemper tests came back positive. All dogs that tested positive were euthanized to prevent the disease from spreading.
Oak Ridge officials said the shelter staff has taken steps, including cleaning and disinfecting, to prevent widespread infection within the canine community. And the Animal Shelter was working with the staff veterinarian to create a quarantine area, where animals will remain for two weeks after intake to observe the animal for signs of disease, municipal officials said last week.
The Animal Shelter had a distemper outbreak in March of this year, when 30 dogs had to be euthanized, and the staff started taking precautions by vaccinating all animals on intake. However, this time the animal was turned into the Animal Shelter already infected with distemper.
No cats have tested positive for distemper. Cats and dogs cannot pass the disease to each other, a press release said.
The virus can be passed from dog to dog through sneezing, coughing, and sharing food and water bowls. Early signs of canine distemper include sneezing, coughing, and discharge from the eyes and nose. Depression and/or loss of appetite are also symptoms. The disease was all but eradicated about 40 years ago, but it is seeing a resurgence, particularly in rural areas where dogs have not been vaccinated.
The press release last week said the Animal Shelter staff was cleaning and disinfecting all the kennels and disposing of items such as towels and blankets that might be contaminated.
“Pet owners should keep their pet’s vaccinations up to date and also be cautious of wild animals, such as raccoons and foxes, which can carry the virus,” the release said.
For more information on the prevention of distemper, visit the following ASPCA web page: http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/dog-care/distemper.