In St. Louis, the devastating news of a distemper outbreak at Stray Rescue causing the deaths of 17 dogs was announced on the organization’s Facebook page early Sunday afternoon.
According to the rescue’s founder, Randy Grimm, the dogs, mostly puppies, succumbed to the virus called distemper with 24 dogs now having tested positive for the disease so far. The virus affects the central nervous system and respiratory systems causing coughing, vomiting, diarrhea and extreme fatigue. Initial symptoms of the disease can easily mimic kennel cough.
Stray Rescue of St. Louis currently has 400 dogs in their care and will not be accepting any rescues for the next 30 days. Grimm is just heartbroken, and on the group’s Facebook page, expressed how badly he feels:
“guys, the news is devastating but we are doing everything we can to save the dogs we have in our care. be patient with us and will be updating very often. love randy http://strayrescue.org/helpdistemper“
Grimm believes the outbreak started because of distemper-infected raccoons in the area, and the dogs with the suppressed immune systems who have never been vaccinated have been at the highest risk. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Grimm stated they are taking precautions with all the dogs and administering vaccinations.
“This could bankrupt us,” Grimm stated.
The rescue is asking for towels and cleaning supplies such as laundry detergent and bleach. They are also hoping to raise $100,000 to cover the costs of treatments. Distemper is not communicable to humans. Grimm is encouraging everyone to make sure their dogs are vaccinated to prevent the virus from spreading. To donate, please click here.
(Photo of dog with distemper via Stockton Hill Animal Hospital)
Follow the National Pet Rescue on Facebook.