Distemper Outbreak in DFW Dallas Fort Worth
I have seen quite a few distemper cases in my career. This is something many newer veterinarians can’t say, and probably for the best. Distemper is a nasty disease and is heartbreaking to watch an animal afflicted with the condition die a slow death from it. For some reason with the change to increase the inter-vaccine interval (reducing vaccination frequency) in adult dogs, many people are not vaccinating their pets at all. It is now well known that an adult dog, in most cases, will derive 3 years of immunity from a PROPER distemper vaccination schedule. This does not mean don’t vaccine. It also doesn’t mean vaccinate once as a puppy and stop.
Distemper virus in the dog can cause a myriad of symptoms ranging from minor respiratory infection and behavior change to full blown pneumonia, total enamel destruction severe seizures, and death. Dogs that survive the condition (less than 50%) may have lifelong seizures and dental problems requiring regular treatment.
Unfortunately there is no direct treatment for Distmper virus. Treatment protocols are centered around supportive care to attempt to increase survival and patient comfort. These may involve IV fluids, anti-inflammatories for fever, anticonvulsants (anti-seizure medication) and regular hygiene to deal with vomiting, diarrhea, and ocular discharge.
Prevention of Distemper is easy. Keep your dog up to date on his or her vaccinations. Puppies are given a vaccine at about 8, 12, and 16 weeks. Adults are usually given this vaccination again at a year of age, 2 years of age, then every 3 years after that.
Valley View Pet Health Center can help you with distemper vaccination if your dog is not current on his or her immunizations.
From WFAA.com: “PLANO — We have a warning for North Texas pet owners: A distemper outbreak is spreading across Dallas and Plano, and it could kill your pets if they are not vaccinated. The epidemic is leaving scores of raccoons sick, dying or dead. Distemper is an infectious viral disease. Symptoms include partial paralysis, seizures, fever, and vomiting.”