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Distemper outbreak closes Emporia animal shelter

EMPORIA, Kan. (AP) -- The Emporia animal shelter is under quarantine because of an apparent outbreak of distemper among animals at the facility.

A temporary intake center has been set up at the Lyon County Fairgrounds in response to the outbreak, which has killed more than 60 dogs since February. Veterinarians say early test results confirmed the illness was distemper. The Capital Area Animal Rescue Team will operate the temporary shelter for at least three weeks.

Animal Shelter manager Peggy Derrick says the remaining dogs at the animal shelter are healthy.

Emporia veterinarian Floyd Dorsey told KAKE (http://bit.ly/18VlgHP ) that officials suspected distemper from the beginning.

"We've had 26 dogs euthanized since the start of the month," Dorsey said. "My biggest scare was that we had some new type of virus that was not going to be protected from the vaccine."

Dorsey suspects the outbreak started with unvaccinated animals being taken to the shelter.

"It's definitely a situation where the dogs are not protected. Had they been protected and vaccinated, I don't think we would have seen this," he said.

Dorsey says getting dogs vaccinated and staying up to date with the shots can not only save a pet's life, but it will keep other dogs healthy too.

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Information from: KVOE-AM.