Doggy daycares in Waco increasing health, cleanliness procedures in the wake of distemper cases at city shelter

Published: Oct. 31, 2022 at 6:32 PM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - Doggy daycares are stepping up health and cleanliness procedures after cases of distemper shut down the Waco Animal Shelter and Humane Society of Central Texas last week.

This virus caused the Humane Society to isolate its dogs and shut its doors for two weeks.

KWTX learned most of the doggy daycares in Waco require that animals be vaccinated before they enter facilities.

Although being vaccinated is a good practice, there’s additional procedures workers are taking to keep dogs safe.

Assistant manager of Happy Hounds Aquatic and Daycare Center, Shelby Hunter, said one of best friends is her dog, Hank, but Hank isn’t her first dog.

Hunter said she rescued some that, unfortunately, died from distemper. “They have runny eyes and nose; it causes compulsions in their head. If you don’t have immediate action, even then, it’s a possibility that they won’t make it,” said Hunter.

Distemper is a highly contagious virus that develops runny eyes and nose, pneumonia, and neurological symptoms.

“That’s one of the easiest things to spread in a community of dogs. On the streets for street dogs, it’s the number one killer,” said Hunter, who also reassured pet owners that dogs at the daycare aren’t showing signs of distemper.

However, workers are still cleaning the facility, recommending owners to avoid dog parks and checking for up to date vaccine records.

Hunter says if a dog’s vaccination at the center expires, it will not be allowed back until it gets a new one.

“There are a lot of people that think it’s ok to miss a few days or a few weeks after that vaccinate is expired, it’s not.”

Tidy Tails Dog Grooming and Boarding are upping its procedures too.

Owner, Shirlene Miller, said the daycare is sanitizing the center more, increased vaccine requirements to three shots and aren’t allowing new dogs.

“Distemper can be fatal, parvo can be fatal and if you care about your dogs, which most people do, they treat their dogs like their family members, you sure don’t want them to get sick and lose them,” said Miller.

Hunter says dogs are still our friends, just with fur, which is why their safety is the top priority.

“Like with kid daycare, these are still our kids. We want to make sure that everybody is staying safe and not spreading anything because we obviously love our kids,” said Hunter.

Both daycares said there’s no dogs showing distemper symptoms.

Tidy Tails said it usually gets many pets from out of town during the holidays since facilities are fully booked.

This year, the daycare isn’t taking any new pets because of distemper.