Animal Update: Canine Distemper

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(credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

(credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Jeff Bell20100908_KCBS_0122r Jeff Bell
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(KCBS) — A warning for dog owners: could your canine be at risk for canine distemper?

“Canine distemper is caused by a virus which primarily affects a dog’s lungs, intestinal tract and nervous system. It’s highly contagious and spread through the respiratory secretions of an infected dog during close contact,” described Dr. Jack Aldridge, Director of Veterinary Services at the San Francisco SPCA.

Puppies and unvaccinated older dogs are most at risk for catching the disease.

“The good news is that effective vaccination programs have dramatically reduced the incidents of canine distemper,” explained Aldridge.

Symptoms vary greatly, but typically include discharge from the eye, a “snotty” nose and cough, fever, loss of appetite, vomiting, pneumonia or diarrhea.

The virus can also damage the brain or spinal cord.

KCBS’ Jeff Bell Reports:

If you think your dog has canine distemper, seek veterinary care for your pet immediately.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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