Over a dozen dogs have died at Stray Rescue in St. Louis, MOafter an outbreak of Canine Distemper has infected dog after dog. Many other dogs have fallen ill and volunteers are scrambling to save the sick ones and contain the deadly virus from infecting any more animals. Canine distemper is a viral infection that is highly contagious and if untreated can spread rapidly. It attacks both the respiratory and the nervous system of infected animals.

One animal can cause devastation for many

Per a KSDK News report, it is now believed that one dog had the virus when it came into the shelter.

A pregnant dog, about to give birth may have been infected. Even though dogs are kept in intake, the virus might have spread to other dogs through volunteer contact. Randy Grim, the owner of Stray Rescue, stated the mother-to-be dog showed no symptoms of any illnesses, so they chose not to vaccinate her, because she was about to deliver puppies.

Grim has spoken to experts on Canine Distemper at the University of Wisconsin and now plans to implement stricter protocols on the intake methods at Stray Rescue.

He plans to build another intake room for new strays and they will stay away from the other animals for a longer period of time.

Canine Distemper can mimic many other things and doesn’t always show up for weeks after being exposed. This can be especially bad for a shelter that has many dogs to house and tend to daily. Years ago, distemper was a death sentence for dogs. Most did not survive. Now, symptoms can be treated but often, even if the dog survives, the distemper causes neurological problems along with other lasting issues.

Stray Rescues mission is to save as many strays as possible

Randy Grim founded Stray Rescue back in 1998 with the purpose of rescuing strays from the streets of St. Louis and making them healthy and adoptable. He and his team have scoured through abandoned buildings and alleys in search of stray dogs and brought them back to the shelter, giving them food, warmth and medical attention.

They trudge the colder winter nights, hunting and hoping to save a dog from a horrible cold existence as the temperatures drop to below freezing on some winter nights.

In the summer, they help get them out of the scorching sun. They often leave food and bowls of water, in hopes of saving another dog from the heat.

What started as a one-man rescue mission has evolved into a state of the art facility, with over 60 staff members and hundreds of volunteers. The shelter has saved thousands of dogs from the streets and from being abandoned and abused. They hope to find homes for the rescued dogs or train them for other rescue dog services.

Now Stray Rescue facility needs everyone's help

The very shelter that has rescued thousands of dogs has had a devastating blow due to being contaminated with Canine Distemper.

They have had to make the decision to shut down for at least 30 days and care for the sick animals that are still there and to make sure that the Canine Distemper virus has run its course and is no longer a threat to any other animals.

Along with caring for sick animals that still need food, water and medication, the staff must also clean and disinfect the entire facility. Stray Rescue of St. Louis is asking for donations to help them care for the sick dogs and to disinfect the entire facility. This is an expensive undertaking and Grim says the support and help from the community has been great and that anything anyone can do is greatly appreciated.

If you want to help in any way, you can check out Stray Rescue’s website or visit them on Facebook. All monetary and supply donations will be greatly appreciated by the staff and volunteers and will help them get going again. Randy Grim and his staff and volunteers have been helping strays for many years. Let’s hope they will receive the help they need after this Distemper outbreak to keep helping strays for many more years.

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