MOBILE, Ala. (WPMI) Mobile County Animal Shelter officials alerted LOCAL 15 news that 49 dogs have been euthanized to prevent the spread of distemper.
Nancy Johnson, public affairs director with the Mobile County Commission, confirmed a pointer mix obtained nearly four weeks ago on January 2 showed signs of distemper.
It's a contagious virus that affects a dog’s respiratory, gastrointestinal, respiratory and central nervous systems. Officials say it leads to encephalitis, a brain disease.
48 other dogs were put at risk for this disease when the pointer mix was placed from the stray hold to the adoptable kennel on January 10.
Saturday, January 26, officials say the pointer mix showed signs of distemper.
Johnson said January 28 the dog began seizing and walking into walls, telltale signs of having the contagious virus.
MCAS called veterinarians, who confirmed the dog had this disease, and that all the dogs in the adoptable area were at risk.
"Acting quickly to protect other animals and to isolate the health threat, all 49 dogs were euthanized," Johnson said.
In addition, the shelter contacted folks who adopted animals over the weekend, informing them that their dogs could be at risk.
All adopted dogs were returned, and are among the animals who were put down.
MCAS officials tell LOCAL 15 News that the entire adoptable kennel area has been disinfected, and will air out Monday night.
They are also sending letters to all individuals who adopted animals as of January 10.
MCAS officials want to warn people to take precautions. If you think your dog has distemper, isolate your animal and contact a veterinarian.
"Distemper has an period of 12 to 14 days, so watch your animals closely," Johnson said.
The airborne virus has noticeable symptoms, causing a dog to have red eyes and yellow discharge. It is an autoimmune disease, which can lead to encephalitis, inflammation of the brain.
Also, routine cleaning and disinfecting your home (or kennel) will ensure that the virus is not in your dog’s living environment.
Animals at the shelter will be phased back starting Tuesday.