Mystery outbreak at Lubbock Animal Shelter kills 14 dogs

Published: Aug. 3, 2023 at 6:53 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Earlier this week, the Lubbock Animal Shelter halted all intakes and adoptions due to an outbreak among the animals. LAS is now working to isolate and treat the unknown deadly disease.

“In my ten years here, I have never seen something quite like this,” Steven Greene, the director of Lubbock Animal Services, said.

It all started last Wednesday during morning rounds when Lubbock Animal Services employees found three dogs dead inside of their kennels. Greene stated it is not uncommon for new intakes to fall ill after arriving at the shelter, but that was not the case for these dogs.

“One thing that’s really odd is they were in our long-stay rooms,” Greene said. “These dogs have all been here anywhere from three to six months.”

Greene stated they are not sure how the illness got into the shelter. The mystery outbreak has only killed adult dogs, and although there are no clear diagnoses, yet, Greene said this does not match the typical viruses they see.

“Being in West Texas, there is a lot of distemper and parvo; we haven’t seen distemper in about four years, and we see parvo regularly in puppies,” Greene said. “So, for adult dogs that have been here and been vaccinated, this is really an odd situation.”

Aside from the concerns inside the shelter, Greene confirmed that one dog died that was adopted from LAS.

“They took it to a local veterinarian, and we didn’t get that cadaver, so we weren’t able to send it off. We don’t know that it’s related, but it’s very possible it’s related to this,” Greene said.

However, the rest of the bodies have been sent to a lab in Canyon for testing. This will hopefully determine what the illness is and whether it can be passed to humans. Greene stated everyone should keep a close eye on their pets for the time being.

“If they see any of the symptoms I have described, like blood in the mouth, bloody diarrhea, lethargy, just anything out of the ordinary, contact us and let us get a field officer out there so we can assess the animal,” said Greene.

Greene stated the outbreak is only affecting dogs at this time; 14 have died at Lubbock Animal Shelter so far. The shelter will remain closed until further notice.