The St. Landry Parish Animal Shelter is closed because of a distemper outbreak. The parish is now making sure more dogs aren’t infected by the deadly disease.
“It starts out with flu like symptoms, runny eyes, runny nose and a loss of weight,” Parish President Bill Fontenot said.
The illness eventually causes brain damage. That’s led the shelter to put down infected dogs.
“We’ve had a few, maybe less than 10, and that’s too many,” Fontenot said. “That’s why we’re taking this action. We’re limiting the intakes. We’re not having any rescues. We’ve stopped the rescues now in the next week or two.”
Fontenot says all dogs are vaccinated when they come to the shelter, but if a dog is already infected the vaccination won’t help.
“We want to do our best to control it here and not spread it. We’ve upgraded cleaning. We’ve gone to some steel bowls instead of plastic bowls. We’re cleaning more often with power washers and cleaning . We’ve also looked up what is the best and effective cleaning solutions.”
Veterinarians from LSU and other doctors from across the state plan on coming to the shelter in the next two weeks to help the dogs. The parish is waiting for doctor approval on when they can re-open the shelter.