The City of Oak Ridge Animal Shelter has received results from the canine distemper tests that were conducted by the University Of Tennessee College Of Veterinary Medicine. The tests came back positive and the Animal Shelter is taking measures to prevent widespread infection within the canine community. The Animal Shelter is currently closed and expects to reopen on Tuesday, October 28 at 11:00 a.m.

The Animal Shelter had a distemper outbreak in March of this year and they started taking precautions by vaccinating all animals on intake; however, this time the animal was turned into the Animal Shelter already infected with distemper. The Animal Shelter is working with the Staff Veterinarian in creating a quarantine area, where animals will remain for two weeks after intake to observe the animal for signs of disease.  All dogs in the Animal Shelter that have tested positive for distemper have been euthanized to prevent this disease from spreading. 

No cats have tested positive for distemper. Cats and dogs cannot pass this disease to each other. The virus can be passed from dog to dog through sneezing, coughing and sharing food and water bowls. Early signs of canine distemper include sneezing, coughing and discharge from the eyes and nose.  Depression and/or loss of appetite are also symptoms.  The disease was all but eradicated about 40 years ago but is seeing resurgence, particularly in rural areas where dogs have not been vaccinated. 

The Animal Shelter staff are cleaning and disinfecting all the kennels and disposing of items such as towels and blankets that might be contaminated.  Pet owners should keep their pet’s vaccinations up to date and also be cautious of wild animals, such as raccoons and foxes, which can carry the virus.

For more information on prevention of distemper, visit the following ASPCA web page:

Media contact Candice Brogan at (865) 425-3546 or