An outbreak of a contagious, serious viral canine disease at the Madera County Animal Shelter prompted staff Wednesday to ask both the Mountain Area and Valley communities for help in temporarily sheltering dogs and puppies.
Known as canine distemper, the illness is similar to upper respiratory diseases, quickly spreads through contact with bodily fluids, has a 50 percent fatality rate, and no known cure.
Due to the Madera County Animal Shelter’s lack of size or equipment to properly isolate those with the sickness, even all animals vaccinated on intake can be exposed to the disease.
Puppies are at a much greater risk, officials said in a release, and foster homes are desperately needed to help provide homes for the happy canines.
“Foster homes are in critical demand to keep healthy dogs and pups out of the shelter until the distemper outbreak is under control,” officials said. “Foster time may range from a few days to a few weeks.”
The shelter is able to provide food and transport crates, if needed, and ideally, a small pen or other secured area should be used for proper housing.
It’s also important to keep them in a warm environment, given the latest cold wave throughout the state.
To help house one of the pets under threat, call the Madera County Animal Shelter at (559) 675-7891.
To provide further assistance, residents are asked to sign up as a volunteer for the Friends of Madera Animal Shelter.