HOUSTON — Houston's BARC animal shelter is temporarily suspending some services after a dog tested positive for distemper.
BARC said it's suspending public dog intake appointments for the next few weeks and is activating quarantine protocols in response to the positive distemper case. All existing dog intake appointments will be rescheduled once all animals under observation receive negative test results.
BARC will remain open for all other services, including animal control and bite case investigation, intake of cats and drive-through clinic assistance for foster animals.
"I commend the fast actions of our team at BARC in identifying the symptomatic dog and swiftly implementing their infectious disease protocols. While intake appointments are closed, all other services remain available, so I continue to encourage existing and new collaborations with our partners and the public," Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said. “Our staff will closely monitor the animals under our care and any that come into the shelter at this time. We urge Houstonians to please have their pets vaccinated to prevent the possible spread of illness among other pets in the community.”
The animal shelter said it noticed a dog showing signs of distemper on Thursday so they immediately had the dog tested and euthanized, per a BARC veterinarian's direction, to prevent the spread of the disease. A few days later, the shelter said it received the positive test results.
BARC said it immediately implemented its distemper protocol and is waiting for the results on all the other animals that were tested to determine if additional precautions need to be taken.
According to BARC, distemper impacts communities with large populations of stray animals and affects certain mammals, excluding humans and cats. Symptoms include thick nasal discharge, coughing and sneezing. In severe cases, distemper can impact the neurological system, causing seizures, tremors and death.