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Canine Distemper 

Is Distemper a contagious disease?


According to the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association), canine distemper is an airborne dog-only (Canidae) disease that is caused by a virus. This virus invades your pets nervous, gastrointestinal, and respiratory systems.

How can canine distemper spread?

Other wildlife can carry this virus including raccoons, foxes, coyotes, wolves, ferrets and skunks. The interactions between wildlife animals and our pets can expedite the spreading of the virus. Although more commonly transmitted through a cough or sneeze, the disease can be spread through shared objects such as toys or drinking bowls. Every dog can be at risk of this virus, however, puppies and unvaccinated dogs are at a higher risk.


What are the symptoms of canine distemper?


The first sign of canine distemper is a pus-like discharge from their eyes. Followed by a possible fever, nasal discharge, and loss of appetite. Dogs are also at risk for “hard pad disease,” which is the hardening and enlargement of the paw pads. Other symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, pneumonia, muscle twitches and seizures.


How is canine distemper diagnosed and treated? 

Your local veterinarians diagnose distemper through clinical signs and diagnostic tests. Because there is no cure, veterinarians typically choose supportive care treatments and try to prevent secondary infections. Your veterinarian will mostly likely recommend your pet be quarantined/isolated for a period of time because of the contagious nature of the virus.

What can I do to prevent canine distemper?

Canine distemper is something you and your pup can prepare for ahead of time. A series of vaccinations is offered as preventative pet care by your local animal hospital. This increases the likelihood your furry friend’s immune system will be able to fight off the virus in the future. Keeping updated with your pets vaccination schedule is very important, as to avoid gaps between immunizations. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!  Bringing your dog to the store, or other dog parks may sound fun, but until he is fully vaccinated, it is just not worth the risk.  If you have any questions, or would like to talk to one of our doctors about this topic, please call any location for availability!

Article credit:  Lance Baltzley, DVM
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