A distemper outbreak in central Texas is now top priority for Austin Pets Alive. The shelter has experienced a sharp rise in the number of cases of distemper from dogs they have received from the Town Lake Animal Center.
According to Vet Info (http://www.vetinfo.com/dencyclopedia/dedistemper.html), canine distemper is caused by a virus in the same family as human measles. Signs of distemper are: fever that may come and go, behavioral changes, and seizures. The virus has no cure and is often fatal. Some animals may recover but later develop teeth or vision problems.
It is imperative that all dogs and cats that have not been vaccinated visit their vets. Puppies, kittens and older dogs or cats are at a higher risk of contracting the virus due to their immune systems being lower than that of a healthy adult dog or cat. Distemper is also carried by wildlife such as skunks and foxes, so once an outbreak occurs, it can spread rapidly.
Austin Pets Alive has spent $10,000 so far this year in treating 63 cases of distemper. APA has teamed up with Dr. Liat Zhilka in performing an experimental treatment to cure the neurological phase of the virus that includes seizures. Most of the dogs treated have recovered and survived, giving new hope to dogs everywhere.
To help APA save even more lives in this time of great need, donate at their website (http://www.austinpetsalive.org/2010/04/distemper-outbreak/) by clicking on the green "seeking financial help".