It's the "Dog Days of Summer," and most owners are just trying to help their dogs stay cool. However, there is a troubling trend that some veterinarians are reporting to be on the rise: the canine distemper virus.
"Canine distemper is a viral disease in a dog, and the problem with canine distemper is it's a killer virus," explains Butch Shroyer, a veterinarian at the Animal Care Clinic.
While threatening, Shroyer does say your dog can avoid contracting the potentially deadly disease.
"There are vaccines out that are very, very effective. So if you will get your puppy and get them into your veterinarian and get your vaccine series done, and keep it up to date, you should really never have to worry about distemper."
If you think you can skip it, Shroyer quickly warns that the virus isn't pretty. He says 25% of dogs that contract the virus will die regardless of treatment, and another 50% may survive the virus but have some major health problems, like seizures, after.
"About 25% of them can survive the virus and be normal again, but that means 75% of our animals that end up with distemper are going to have some sort of residual problem or death," states Shroyer.
Already cases are turning up around the state. Just last week, a massive outbreak was discovered in Perry County.
"One of the sad cases we just had, was that 200 dogs down in Perry County, at the Humane Society, there. (The dogs) had to be euthanized because they had been exposed to distemper."
The virus can be spread from other wild animals such as raccoons, and several veterinary websites say it's best to get puppies treated in the first three- to six-months.
So before you let "Fido" run free, Shroyer wants you to be sure that your dog is up to date on the vaccinations because he and other vets want to see this trend stopped.
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