Canine distemper is on the rise in Amarillo - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Canine distemper is on the rise in Amarillo

Amarillo, TX - Local veterinarians are warning pet owners of an increase in the canine disease distemper in our area.

Distemper is a fairly rare disease among the pet population, but in the last few months veterinarians have seen almost 40 cases in puppies and young dogs."I could go a year or more without seeing a case of distemper that I knew actually was distemper, and lately we've probably seen three or four cases in the last two to three months," said Dr. Lavita Bryan with Animal Medical Center.

"In the last three months, we've seen 30 or so cases of distemper," said Dr. David Faulkner with Hope Veterinary Clinic.

Distemper can be easily prevented with proper vaccinations, but if a young dog contracts the viral disease it can be fatal because there is no known cure.

The disease is typically found in stray dogs who end up in rescue facilities or shelters because they have never received the vaccination. Infected dogs pose a danger to other dogs because the virus is airborne and highly contagious. "It is very contagious from dog to dog, but it is spread mainly in secretions like saliva or coughing," explained Dr. Bryan.

"Distemper dogs cough and sneeze a lot, so that's the main route. But it can spread even in urine and other things."Diagnosing distemper can sometimes be difficult because the disease has a variety of symptoms. "Distemper has several forms. It will have a respiratory form, it will have a gastrointestinal form like vomiting and diarrhea, and it has a neurological form," said Dr. Faulkner.

Symptoms include coughing, sneezing, vomiting, diarrhea and seizures. Since there is not a cure for distemper, veterinarians can only treat the symptoms. However, even then the disease can still be fatal.Veterinarians said their best recommendation for pet owners is to vaccinate their dogs.

Although the disease is typically found in animal shelters, the Amarillo Animal Management and Welfare Shelter said there have been no known cases of distemper, only cases of parvo.

Madison Alewel - NewsChannel 10
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  • Madison Alewel

    Madison Alewel

    Madison anchors the 4, 6, 9 and 10 p.m. newscasts. She joined NewsChannel10 as a reporter in October 2013.

    Madison anchors the 4, 6, 9 and 10 p.m. newscasts. She joined NewsChannel10 as a reporter in October 2013.

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