18 Nov CDA asks veterinarians to watch for dogs with distemper virus from New Hope Rescue
The Colorado Department of Agriculture, through the Pet Animal Care and Facilities Act (PACFA) program, has suspended the license of, and issued a cease and desist order to New Hope Rescue, Inc., an animal shelter facility in Colorado Springs.
Upon the conclusion of a parallel investigation with the Animal Law Enforcement Division of the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region, CDA has determined that New Hope Rescue violated PACFA regulations, which require pet animal facilities to properly isolate dogs with communicable disease and provide timely veterinary care to sick, diseased, or injured dogs. Colorado veterinarians are asked to watch for dogs that may exhibit symptoms or suggest testing for communicable diseases, especially if the adopter got their animal from New Hope Rescue in the last 4-5 months.
“To preserve the safety, health, and welfare of pets and pet owners in Colorado Springs, it was imperative that CDA take this emergency action to immediately suspend the PACFA license for New Hope Rescue,” said Nick Fisher, PACFA Program Section Chief. “CDA has serious concerns about the potential for the community spread of distemper through dogs from New Hope Rescue and through unknown exposure to dogs in the community via dog parks, boarding facilities, dog daycare facilities, and at retail establishments that allow dogs on premises. We recommend anyone who has adopted or fostered animals from New Hope Rescue in the past two months to contact their veterinarian for an examination of their pet animals.”
Many veterinarians may not know how to handle distemper since the virus is not very prevalent in Colorado — veterinarians can learn about distemper diagnosis, treatment, and disinfection here.
The Colorado Office of Administrative Courts will conduct a hearing on the merits of the summary suspension to determine New Hope Rescue’s future license status. CDA has worked with HSPPR and the Dumb Friends League to find suitable space and veterinary treatment for more than 30 animals currently housed at New Hope Rescue.
Anyone currently fostering a pet animal from New Hope Rescue should immediately contact the Dumb Friends League at 303-751-5772.
Distemper is a serious and highly contagious viral disease that affects dogs, felines, and wildlife. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), it causes severe illness and is often fatal; mortality rates of up to 50% have been reported. It affects numerous systems, including the respiratory, gastrointestinal, and central nervous systems. Patients that survive can have lifelong deficits. In addition, patients are at risk for intermittent shedding of the virus even after recovery. More information on the distemper can be found on the AVMA website.