In August alone, the Austin Animal Center has recorded 39 positive test results for canine distemper virus.
Some symptoms of this sickness include watery eyes, fever or vomiting.
To help ease the burden, Austin Pets Alive! has taken 33 of these dogs — 15 of which have the canine distemper virus — into its own shelter.
This partnership was put in place to avoid overcrowding while helping slow the spread of this deadly disease.
Some of the critical puppies are fighting for their lives and in need of round-the-clock care while requiring IV fluids to help get them through the day.
Yet, Austin Pets Alive! medical director Dr. Alexis Bardzinski says that the dogs’ odds of survival increase dramatically when they’re healing in a home.
“The distemper virus is very bad, there’s a high chance that they’re going to die,” she said. “But we do see success, which gives us the hope to try and go forth with treatment.”
Dr. Bardzinski added that most of their distemper-positive patients are healthy enough to live in a foster home, where they could thrive and heal faster than at the shelter.
Pam Martin regularly fosters dogs from APA! Throughout her lifetime, she’s housed over 130 distemper dogs.
“It’s worth giving them a chance at life,” Martin said. “It’s wonderful to see them get better and find an adoptive home.”
The veterinarians at APA! also insist that your own pets are safe interacting with the distemper-positive puppies, as long as they are up to date on their vaccines.
Anyone hoping to help foster distemper puppies, can fill out this online application.