Tulsa Animal Welfare closes again due to distemper outbreak


TULSA, Okla. – Tulsa Animal Welfare (TAW) is closing indefinitely for the second time in six months Friday due to another canine distemper virus outbreak at the shelter.

As of May 6, TAW is closing to treat animals and prevent further spread. TAW first closed indefinitely last November when distemper broke out at the shelter. While they were closed, they took proactive steps to combat the spread, including holding vaccination clinics to help Tulsans protect their pets from the virus.

In early March, TAW reopened with shortened hours while trying to contain a few isolated cases.

Tulsa Animal Welfare reopens

Officials said the shelter was seeing higher than normal animal inflows that caused distemper, leading to its second indefinite closure in six months.

TAW will continue:

  • Emergency animal control and bite case investigations
  • Return to owner services, following proper sanitation protocols

Effective immediately, TAW is implementing the following security protocols:

  • Identify and isolate infected animals
  • Carefully monitor healthy but exposed animals for future symptoms
  • Ensure that no animal is placed in the community until it has symptoms or is past the incubation period
  • Perform a thorough cleaning to reduce further contamination

What is tempera?

Distemper is a very serious and sometimes fatal viral disease that affects dogs and other animals. The disease can strike a dog at any age, but young dogs and unvaccinated puppies are most susceptible.

The virus is found in bodily secretions and is spread by inhalation. Once inhaled, the virus can travel to the lymph nodes and then to the blood, spreading through the body in the respiratory, gastrointestinal, urogenital and central nervous systems.

I just adopted a dog from TAW. Are they safe?

According to TAW, all dogs adopted from the shelter are vaccinated against CDV, but the vaccine is not immediately effective. Adopters should follow up with their veterinarian to receive any necessary reminders or safety recommendations.

The City asks all dog owners to ensure their dogs are up to date on the distemper vaccine, as it is recognized as one of the most effective vaccines. For more information on distemper and other supportive care, Click here.

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