By Jacob Sturm
With the reports of a respiratory outbreak impacting other local animal shelters, Mustang’s
Animal Welfare Center has temporarily been closed to public according to the city website.
The closure occurred on June 7 under the advice of the Animal Welfare Center’s veterinarian
and will run through June 20, when the decision will be reevaluated.
According to the city’s information, Officers of the Mustang Animal Welfare Center will still be responding to animals at large, animal bite incidents and other calls for service in the
community. The public is asked to not pick up strays at this time, but to instead call the shelter if you see or find a stray.
Strays brought into the shelter or other pets will not be accepted until further notice as a way
to prevent the spread of the Canine Influenza-viral and Streptococcus zooepidemicus (strep
zoo) diseases and protect the animals currently in the shelter.
Dr. Terry Wood of the Mustang Veterinary Hospital mentioned coughing in the canines, nasal discharge and also signs the animal is feeling bad as symptoms of upper respiratory infections for these animals.
According to information provided by the city, signs of these diseases include coughing similar to Kennel Cough, Lethargy, Not eating, Coughing/Honking Cough, Sneezing, Labored Breathing, Mucus from eyes or nose, Choking sounds/reverse sneezing, Loose stool and Fever.
Wood mentioned the outbreak of Canine Influenza and Streptococcus zooepidemicus (strep
zoo) at the Oklahoma City Animal Shelter more than a month ago.
He mentioned the canine influenza is considered to be a 10% death loss unless the pets are
treated in time.
“Even our national organization, the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association) has said is that the big thing is to avoid exposure,” Wood said. “… With the dogs, we definitely
recommend staying away from boarding, the daycare, the dog parks until this thing kind of
Wood said, in his practice, he is asking people to do just that and he has not seen an uptick in
infections. For the businesses catering toward canine care, Wood suggests getting their pets
groomed and immediately sent home before the next customers come in. As for the kennels, Wood suggests meticulous cleaning of the bedding and kennels, and sanitation.
Wood also mentioned a site with air purification systems being set up. He said so far, the site
has done absolutely fine.
“As a holistic veterinarian, I’m more about just not letting the pet get exposed to it,” Wood
said. “Feeding them a healthy diet, giving them correct supplements to boost their immune
system. (I’m) not a big fan of the vaccinations because a lot of people will get their pet
vaccinated and then put them in a bad situation and then wonder why their pet got sick.”
Wood said the diseases spread through the air, but can also potentially spread through
sneezing on food bowls or toys that are then used by other canines.
He indicated this year has been the first major outbreak Oklahoma has been impacted with,
even though surrounding states have dealt with the canine flu.
Mustang’s Animal Welfare Center had been shut down between April 6 and April 24 before
reopening to the public and resuming normal operating hours.