19 August 2014. The Cape of Good Hope SPCA (CoGH SPCA) today issued an important reminder to pet owners, particularly of dogs, to vaccinate their puppies and dogs against Canine Distemper (CD). This comes after the society has experienced an increase in the amount of CD cases recently.
The CoGH SPCA has taken the decision to place its Gorfinkel Animal Hospital under quarantine for the next 4 weeks.
CD infection is preventable through up to date vaccinations against the virus. The CoGH SPCA urges all dog owners to make sure that their pet’s vaccinations are up to date – this includes an annual booster vaccination.
Pet owners who take their dogs for walks in public areas like parks or beaches, should make sure to visit their vet annually for a booster vaccination against this, and other viruses that can affect their dog’s health.
When Is it Time to See the Vet?
Immediately! Please see your vet right away if you suspect your dog has been infected with the canine distemper virus. The virus spreads rapidly and must be aggressively treated as soon as it’s discovered.
How Can Canine Distemper Be Treated?
There is currently no available medication that can destroy the virus that causes canine distemper. Rather, supportive care is the mainstay of treatment.
Which Dogs Are Prone to Canine Distemper?
Puppies and adolescent dogs who have not been vaccinated are most vulnerable to the distemper virus. They are typically rescues with unknown vaccination histories or have been bought from pet stores.
Serious infections are most often seen in puppies or adolescent dogs. Often the virus travels to the brain, causing seizures, shaking and trembling. A weakened immune system leaves an infected dog open to secondary infections like pneumonia.
Are There Lasting Health Issues?
Dogs who recover from canine distemper may have seizures or other central nervous system disorders that may not show up until many years later—sometimes in their old age. They may also be left with permanent brain and nerve damage, and these symptoms also may not show up until years later.