While dogs with distemper are most commonly killed in shelters due to the highly contagious nature of it, Austin Pets Alive! is and has been committed to exploring alternatives.
Austin Pets Alive! has been at the forefront of distemper treatment and understanding due to our distinctive philosophy and acceptance of dogs who have distemper, uniquely giving them a chance to survive and overcome this virus.
A highly contagious and potentially fatal virus contracted by canines, distemper is a gruesome reality for many shelters across the country. While dogs with distemper are most commonly killed in shelters due to the highly contagious nature of it, Austin Pets Alive! is and has been committed to exploring alternatives. The APA! Clinic Team routinely pulls in dogs from other shelters and treats dogs for distemper and is uniquely qualified to care for these affected animals. It is highly probable that we treat more distemper from beginning to natural end than any expert in the field of infectious disease – and we have actually furthered the field of distemper treatment through our commitment to this work.
Distemper is found in just about every part of Texas. Shelter pets have a particularly hard time with it because it is a disease that affects the least vaccinated dogs and those that congregate as they do in shelters, which is why we are adamant that shelters vaccinate animals before bringing them into their main kennels. Distemper is a virus, like the flu, so it has to run its course – this means that it has no cure but there are proven treatments to help dogs survive the symptoms and proceed to live full lives. Due to the unfortunate nature of distemper, it can take many days for symptoms to show, which can make this virus even more challenging for shelters. However, APA! believes that every dog deserves a chance at life – including those affected by distemper.
Our trained veterinarians and staff have developed and continue to improve specific procedures when treating dogs with distemper that are adhered to both within our clinic and throughout our shelter. This includes a “Distemper Manual,” public handouts for APA! fosters and volunteers, and specific shelter protocols for handling distemper. Additionally, Dr. Ellen Jefferson and the APA! veterinary staff have even used Botox to treat the effects of distemper symptoms, such as muscular and neurological tics, with proven successes. A new development has been the use of megadose intravenous vitamin C therapies to stave off full symptoms in dogs that are early in the course of the disease. New Castle serum has been a mainstay treatment for many years in a similar attempt to decrease symptoms.
Should your shelter community have questions about handling distemper as a disease and providing these dogs in need a chance at survival, please contact [email protected] for resources.