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Canine Distemper

Image of two puppies laying in the sand.

Canine distemper is caused by a virus that is shed in bodily fluids of infected animals. The virus affects primarily the lungs, intestines, and nervous system.

Symptoms of the infection can include coughing, diarrhea, vomiting, inappetance, dehydration, weight loss, seizures, and encephalitis. Secondary infections can present as discharge from the eyes and/or nose, and pneumonia. Puppies, especially those from shelters, are at the highest risk.

Currently there are no antiviral medications to treat canine distemper. Treatment is aimed at controlling secondary bacterial infections with antibiotics and supportive care as needed. Vaccination aimed at preventing distemper is the best strategy. Puppies should be isolated from other dogs until they have completed their series of vaccinations at 16 weeks of age.


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  • "Wow! Thanks to all the staff at Anderson Vet Clinic. I feel like you all truly love what you do! My kitty, Lola and I always have such a pleasant experience when we come in. Fortunately, it’s usually just for a check-up, but I would not leave Lola in anyone else’s hands but yours. Thank you for your caring commitment!"
    Maya Smith / Los Angeles, CA
  • "I have benefited tremendously from the care my pet received from Dr. Anderson."
    John Doe / San Diego, CA