Puppy At Sebastian County Shelter Tests Positive For Canine Distemper

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SEBASTIAN COUNTY (KFSM) - A puppy at the Sebastian County Humane Society animal shelter tested positive for Canine Distemper, according to a news release.

As a result, the humane society announced on Friday (June 19) that it will be temporarily suspending all dog adoptions, the release states.

The virus is not transmissible to cats, officials said.

"While this is an extremely rare incident, we can't be too careful when dealing with a virus as deadly as Canine Distemper,” said JoAnn Barton, executive director. “Aside from the puppy who tested positive for the virus, we have a few other suspicious cases, so we are erring on the side of caution by suspending all dog adoptions pending test results.”

Canine Distemper is a "very serious and often fatal viral illness" that affects dogs, according to the humane society. Puppies often receive their first vaccination for the virus at the age of six weeks and a second vaccine one month later.

"The Sebastian County Humane Society vaccinates every shelter dog in its care and urges animal guardians to make sure their animals are up-to-date on vaccinations," the release states.

Shelter vets will be performing extensive tests to determine if any other dogs in the shelter have contracted the virus.

"While the humane society doesn't expect the illness to affect recently adopted dogs, representatives are advising people to watch for signs that include runny nose, watery eyes, fever and lethargy, neurological symptoms like twitching, and to contact their vet and SCHS if their dog does display those signs," the release states.

Anyone thinking about surrendering their dog to the society is encouraged to wait a few days or call to make an appointment.