BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) – A highly contagious viral disease is currently affecting the Bakersfield Animal Care Center. The center told 23ABC they had been forced to euthanize many dogs because of distemper. The shelter is urging the community to vaccinate their pets to help control the outbreak.
It comes after the center announced a temporary halt to the admission of new and stray dogs due to the spread of distemper.
The Bakersfield Animal Care Center explained that while, yes, distemper has been around for years and years, the shelter has never seen it spread at an alarming rate like it is now.
“In the last month we have had to kill almost 100 dogs, these are outrageous numbers for us, we have never had to do anything like this before and at the moment there is nothing we can do.”
The center says distemper comes in stages. It can start with a runny eye or nose, and community engagement coordinator Nicole Gitzke said if they are not caught at the first stage, symptoms can then progress and become fatal.
“It gets neurological, they start having seizures, it’s just a really, really sad process to watch.”
To further prevent distemper, healthy dogs are kept in their kennels here ready for adoption, while dogs with distemper are quarantined here for at least two weeks or until they are getting better.
Gitzke said the center was also receiving help from an infectious disease specialist and taking proactive steps to control the spread.
“The first thing we do is make this shutdown so that we can just have our population right now so we can start figuring out who’s sick and who isn’t, then we send our tests on the sick dogs. who will make him determine who has distemper and who does not and who is sick with what.
Gitzke said the center is still overcapacity and the shutdown is not affecting adoptions.
“Just because we’re talking about diseases in the community, it’s an isolated area that these healthy dogs aren’t exposed to, and we don’t want them to be, we want them to come out of a refuge so that they can be in a house and not exposed to anything. “
The center said the fight against distemper is a community-wide effort and urges you to vaccinate your pets.
“If you have pets at home and you love your pets, protect them, give them injections, they need it, there are options for low cost options and I hate to say it if you can’t. not afford it, then you shouldn’t have an animal, to begin with, it’s like a child, it’s a person.
It is not known exactly how many dogs at the center currently have distemper. The shelter swabbed 50 dogs today for the disease and will receive test results on Thursday.
The center says if you see a stray dog, they will continue to provide the vaccines the dog needs, but ask you to keep them at home.