ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The Mohawk Hudson Humane Society (MHHS) has confirmed cases of the canine distemper virus. The Society is limiting its intake of dogs and halting all dog adoption to stop the spread of this highly contagious disease.

MHHS received dogs from an interstate transport that were later found to be carrying the canine distemper virus. The virus is a contagious viral infection that can cause respiratory, urogenital, gastrointestinal, ocular, and central nervous system symptoms in dogs that are unvaccinated or have weakened immune systems.

The Society quarantined all dogs who were exposed, increased extensive cleaning protocols,
increased the use of personal protective equipment (PPE), and repeated testing of the shelter population.
Only in an emergency will new dogs be allowed at the shelter, and they will be designated to a clean space, away from dogs under quarantine, to ensure every canine’s safety.

The virus cannot be spread to cats, or humans, but is transmissible to wildlife including raccoons, foxes, skunks, and coyotes. It may also spread to ferrets. Canine distemper virus has an incubation period of 14 days, and it may take weeks for an animal to show signs. MHHS vaccinates every dog upon admission to the shelter to prevent the spread.

MHHS currently utilizes a grant that offers free distemper vaccinations to the public. MHHS CEO Ashley Jeffrey Bouck explained that the health and safety of the animals in their shelter and the community are their top priority.