Canine Distemper is a viral disease that effects a dog's respiratory, gastrointestinal and central nervous systems. The Canine Distemper Virus effects not only dogs but also certain wildlife such as raccoons, skunks, coyotes, etc. It is highly contagious, and unfortunately, almost always fatal. Puppies 3-6 months of age are most susceptible as they have not had all of their necessary shots. Adult dogs who are not up to date on their vaccinations are also at risk. Distemper is normally spread through airborne exposure to the virus as well as exposure to fluids and secretions from other infected dogs and wildlife.
Houston veterinarians have been seeing a large rise in the number of distemper cases in recent months. The best way to keep your dog safe is to make sure they are current on all their vaccinations. Puppies who have not received all of their shots should avoid going to dog parks, pet stores, and any location large numbers of dogs are known to congregate.
The signs of distemper are not always typical. At times, the disease can start with symptoms similar to a cold and progress from there, other times it can begin as a gastrointestinal problem .
Some common symptoms could include:
Fever 39C to 41C (103F to 106F)
Loss of appetite
If your dog is experiencing any of these symptoms it does not necessarily mean he has distemper. These symptoms could also be signs of a more common and easily treated illness, however it is always better to be safe than sorry. You should always contact your veterinarian with any questions or concerns you have.