Miami-Dade Animal Services began the year by euthanizing 23 dogs January 1 after the animals showed signs of an upper respiratory infection. Lab results show 18 of those dogs tested positive for distemper, and now the animal shelter has put a stop to dog adoption for the next two weeks.
This is the second time in less than a year that an outbreak of distemper has spread through Animal Services' Hialeah shelter. In March 2011, dog adoption was halted for two weeks after an outbreak of the disease, which causes respiratory, gastrointestinal, neurological problems and sometimes results in death.
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Any dog adopted between December 24, 2011, and January 6, 2012, might have been exposed to the incurable virus. The shelter is offering free testing to those animals. If your animal is showing any possible signs of distemper the shelter is offering free testing at 7401 NW 74th Street from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. through January 14.
Don't worry cat owners. Felines are not affected by the disease.