Canine Distemper Quarantine Update

Alachua County Animal Services’ dog kennels remain under quarantine this week as the health of the dogs continues to improve.  Eight dogs tested positive for the canine distemper virus over the past few weeks and were humanely euthanized to minimize the risk of further infection. 

The Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine continues to assist with testing and monitoring the health of the dogs in our facility. 

“Dr. Cynda Crawford and her colleagues have been an invaluable resource to the County, and have helped us develop a response to this emergency that maximized life-saving,” said Animal Services Director Ed Williams.

The shelter will remain closed for dog adoptions and surrender of owned dogs this week, but barring any new outbreaks, is expected to reopen for normal business hours next week, Tuesday through Saturday, from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.  Many of the dogs have been cleared for transfer to our nonprofit animal welfare partners in preparation for North Florida Pet Adoption Days at the Butler Plaza PetSmart this weekend.

The canine distemper virus is carried by local wildlife including raccoons, foxes, skunks, and coyotes.  That coupled with a large population of unvaccinated dogs that have exposure to wildlife, or areas frequented by wildlife, causes strays and dogs allowed to run at large to contract the virus and bring it with them to the facility.  That is why it is so important for dog owners to consult with their veterinarian to ensure that their dog is properly vaccinated.

“Staff have done a wonderful job adhering to the biosecurity protocols that were implemented to contain this infection and maximize the number of lives saved, and we appreciate their continued dedication to both Alachua County and to the animals in our care,” said Williams.

For more information, contact Animal Services at 352-264-6870.

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