SPRINGDALE — Animal Services closed its shelter for the week after finding two cases of canine distemper.
Courtney Kremer, director of animal services, closed the shelter, and all dogs are being monitored on site for symptoms.
Shelter staff are cleaning everything at the shelter from floor to ceiling, according to a news release from the city.
Distemper is spread through contact.
The initial dog was picked up by animal services March 15, according to the news release. The animal, as protocol states, was given vaccinations upon arrival at the shelter.
Staff of Springdale Animal Services is contacting residents who might have adopted a dog during the time the sick animals were in the shelter.
Dogs infected with the virus likely will develop fever and seem lethargic. In the next week, pet owners might notice secretions from the nose and eyes and vomiting and diarrhea, according to Kate Williams of St. Francis Animal Hospital in Springdale, representing the American Veterinary Medical Association.
All dogs are at risk, but puppies younger than 4 months old and dogs that have not been vaccinated are at increased risk.
Springdale voters approved a $5.2 million bond project in 2018 to build a new animal shelter, that is in the design phase. The facility will have an isolated containment area for preventative care when animals arrive at the shelter, according to the release.
Justine Lentz, superintendent of animal services for the city of Fayetteville, reported no shut downs of the shelter in the past 10 years.
But the shelter has not been immune. Lentz reported the shelter has received dogs with parvovirus and other illnesses that are easier to contain.
With stray dogs with unknown backgrounds coming in and out, disease can be hard to contain, she said.
“But anything’s possible,” Lentz continued. “If we had the same set of circumstances it could happen to us.”