TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Pima Animal Care Center has a dozen dogs in need a place to stay while they can recover from distemper, a potentially deadly disease that can cause pneumonia if left untreated.
Distemper has the potential to spread rapidly in animal shelters because of the high number of previously unvaccinated dogs. Because of this threat, PACC is housing these dogs who are no longer sick but still carrying the illness in strict isolation, unable to interact with volunteers or the public.
"People often ask us, 'What pets are in the greatest need at PACC?' The answer is the dogs recovering from distemper," PACC Director of Animal Services Kristen Auerbach said in a recent release. "We are seeking foster homes to care for 12 pups who are now healthy but are still carriers of distemper. They need to be in homes with no other pets or with fully-vaccinated dogs who have healthy immune systems."
Distemper is a contagious disease of dogs, coyotes, and other wildlife. It can cause fever, lethargy, anorexia, and respiratory illness. The virus is spread in the respiratory secretions and urine of infected animals. It's easily prevented with routine vaccinations and vaccinated pets are not at risk. Distemper does not infect domestic cats, people, pocket pets (like hamsters or sugar gliders), or birds.
"All of these dogs are loving family pets, with several puppies in the group," Auerbach said. "Without foster homes, these pooches will have to wait in isolation kennels, with little human interaction, for a month or more while we wait for them to stop shedding the virus. If you want to truly save a life, these are the dogs who really need a lifeline."
Distemper is commonly found among shelter dogs that have never been vaccinated. In the old shelter, these treatable dogs were euthanized due to a lack of isolation space, but the new building allows PACC to try and save them.
If you can foster one of these dogs for any amount of time, email PACC.email@example.com and use the subject line, 'distemper dogs.'
For more information on other foster opportunities, visits PACC's shelter, 4000 N. Silverbell Road, during normal business hours Monday through Friday, noon-7 p.m. or weekends from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. or visit our foster webpage at www.pima.gov/foster.