7 dogs at Kingsport, Blountville animal shelters die from distemper virus

SULLIVAN COUNTY, TN (WJHL) – News Channel 11 has learned that seven dogs have died after they became infected with a deadly virus.

Two Sullivan County animal shelters temporarily closed their doors to quarantine animals infected with the distemper virus.

According to Donna Davidson of the Sullivan County, Bluff City, Kingsport Animal Control Center, the SBK animal shelter in Kingsport closed over a week ago when the virus was discovered. The virus has been confirmed in four animals from that shelter.

The Blountville animal shelter was closed Saturday and there have been three confirmed cases from that location. Affected animals were removed and the staff is monitoring the remaining animals to make sure the virus was contained.

We learned Wednesday evening that all seven dogs had died from the virus.

Davidson said that animals may carry the virus for some time before they exhibit symptoms so they are maintaining quarantine for at least two weeks. If any more cases are discovered, the quarantine period will be reset.

The distemper virus cannot be cured once it has been contracted by an animal. However, according to Davidson, it is easily avoided if people vaccinate their animals. Distemper is often carried by wild animals like raccoons and foxes.

Until the Kingsport and Blountville shelters reopen, SBK is running a small mobile shelter behind the Kingsport shelter and is receiving help from Mount Carmel animal control. They ask that anyone planning to bring an animal to the shelter would keep the animal until they reopen after the quarantine.

This is a photo of the sign that is posted outside the gate of the Kingsport Animal Shelter.
This is a photo of the sign that is posted outside the gate of the Kingsport Animal Shelter.


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