Distemper Hits Stray Rescue- We Need YOU!


Stray Rescue of St. Louis is an organization that has been saving animals lives for over 20 years and a staple in the community rescuing tens of thousands of abused and strayed animals. But as any shelter in America, diseases can pose a threat to even the best of the best.

On Saturday, October 29th Stray Rescue of St. Louis had multiple test results confirming that the shelter is experiencing an outbreak of distemper.

Distemper is a viral disease, which affects the gastrointestinal, respiratory, and central nervous systems in dogs. The canine distemper virus (CDV) causes the disease. It is highly contagious, and can be fatal. Vaccination against the virus is the best defense.  The primary symptoms include high, reddened eyes, and a watery discharge from the nose and eyes. An infected dog will become lethargic and tired, and will usually become anorexic. Persistent coughing, vomiting, and diarrhea may also occur. In the later stages of the disease, the virus starts attacking the other systems of the dog’s body. 

We’re taking every preventive measure and not accepting any rescues for the next 30 days while we give our facility the level of care needed as we identify quarantine and treat any dog at risk. Our team of adoption experts is reaching out to those who have adopted recently and are fostering.

The Bi-State Wildlife Hotline is warning parents and dog owners about a serious outbreak of distemper in several St. Louis communities caused by infected raccoons.


   Stray Rescue has close to 400 animals in our care. In our efforts to test, isolate and treat our dogs, the costs will be devastating.  We are hoping to raise $100k immediately to help us save our wonderful, loving canine victims.

  We ask that the public please continue to drop off donated supplies such as towels, laundry detergent, bleach etc… 

As we Titer test the entire population, we hope the community will step up and foster or adopt low risk dogs. Medical foster homes are needed as well. 

This will be so hard on us all and in true Stray Rescue spirit we will pull through and continue making miracles happen everyday. We need donations for this outbreak to become a miracle.

Check back often for updates!




To use PayPal instead, click here. 


Please mail your check to:

Stray Rescue of St. Louis

Attention Weng Horak

2320 Pine Street, St. Louis MO 63103


Please call to make a credit card donation if you prefer to not use PayPal.  Regular business hours are from 8am until 7pm.  After 7pm, please leave a message in our voicemail:

(314) 771-6121

When Is it Time to See the Vet?

Immediately! Please see your vet right away if you suspect your dog has been infected with the canine distemper virus. The virus spreads rapidly and must be aggressively treated as soon as it’s discovered.

How Is Canine Distemper Diagnosed?

Canine distemper tests do exist, but the results alone are not always reliable. Rather than just testing for the infection, your vet has to look at the whole picture, including a dog’s specific symptoms and health history. 

Which Dogs Are Prone to Canine Distemper?

Puppies and adolescent dogs who have not been vaccinated are most vulnerable to the distemper virus. They are typically rescues with unknown vaccination histories or have been bought from pet stores.
Serious infections are most often seen in puppies or adolescent dogs. Puppies younger than seven weeks, born to mothers who haven’t been vaccinated against the virus, are extremely susceptible. Once infected, puppies are severely weakened. Often the virus travels to the brain, causing seizures, shaking and trembling. A weakened immune system leaves an infected dog open to secondary infections like pneumonia.

How Can Canine Distemper Be Prevented?

Make sure your dog has completed his series of vaccinations. The vaccine for dogs is called the distemper shot. If you have a puppy, make sure he gets his first vaccination at six to eight weeks of age. Be sure to keep him away from any possibly infectious dogs or environments until he’s finished with his vaccinations at four or five months old.
Also, routine cleaning and disinfecting your home (or kennel) will ensure that the virus is not in your dog’s living environment.

How Can Canine Distemper Be Treated?

There is currently no available medication that can destroy the virus that causes canine distemper. Rather, supportive care is the mainstay of treatment. Veterinarians can offer intravenous fluids to prevent dehydration and antibiotics to ward off secondary infections while the infected dog builds up his immune response. Some dogs are able to survive the infection, while for others canine distemper can be fatal.

Email Subscription

Animals for Adoption

Terrier mix
Terrier mix
Shepherd mix
Terrier mix
Terrier mix

Rescue Stories