Distemper outbreak prompts temporary closure of Logan Pound - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Distemper outbreak prompts temporary closure of Logan Pound

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The Logan County Pound is closed to the public until further notice.

A sign on the door alerts anyone who approaches that there is a quarantine in place.

The move comes after three confirmed cases of distemper. Distemper is an illness among dogs that produces a variety of symptoms ranging from fevers, to a running nose, to seizures and death. Distemper is highly contagious.

There are currently over 25 dogs and puppies at the facility.

Until the quarantine is lifted there will be no adoptions and no new animals will be allowed to enter.

Volunteers with a Logan based rescue group called SAFE found a facility where they could move the animals so that the shelter could be disinfected. They were later told they would not be allowed to move the dogs out of the pound to the new location.

"If they are not laying there dying they are being put down," said SAFE volunteer Michelle Starr. "There are a lot of puppies and that is what our group is here for, to save the animals."

Although only three cases of distemper have been tested confirmed by a veterinarian, volunteers suspect up to 17 animals have died from distemper in the past several week.

Logan County Humane Officer Jerry Browning said there had only been one animal put down at the pound due to illness relating to this outbreak. Browning said he has been working with the West Virginia State Veterinarian for advice on how to clean the facility. Monday employees planned to disinfect the facility top to bottom with a bleach solution. Browning also said they have vaccinated the animals currently at the pound to try to prevent the distemper from going any further. Many of the animals had already been exposed however prior to vaccination.

SAFE volunteers said the distemper outbreak is not an unusual problem. They provided 13 News with a letter from Michael Koch, a veterinarian at Tug Valley Veterinary Clinic in Williamson. Koch said in the letter that he has treated several animals from the pound. In the document Koch writes:

"All of the patients I have examined have been afflicted by at least one infectious or contagious disease. Some of them have had multiple diseases. I have diagnosed Sarcoptic mange, infectious canine tracheobronchitis, canine distemper, parvovirus, coccidiosis, hookworms, roundworms and whipworms. All of the patients have been in a very poor state of health."

Pound officials said they do the best they can to regularly care for the animals and disinfect the facility, pointing out that animals are often not vaccinated when they come to the facility and are already in very poor condition. Browning said many animals arrive needing to be seen by a vet.

Browning said the quarantine could last up to several weeks. During that time no dogs will be adopted out and no new ones will be accepted. The dogs currently at the pound are being monitored for signs of illness.

Some of the animals that SAFE had already pulled from the pound are currently in treatment for distemper symptoms.