Add this to the list of things to be on the lookout for, especially if you're a dog owner. There are distemper outbreaks happening across Texas.

Distemper is Highly Contagious and Fatal

Canine distemper is a serious disease among dogs and is highly contagious. It attacks the nervous and gastrointestinal systems.

Dogs that do happen to survive a battle with distemper often end up with permanent damage to their nervous systems.

Symptoms for Distemper

Symptoms for distemper include:

  • watery discharge around the eyes
  • fever
  • nasal discharge
  • a lack of energy
  • coughing
  • loss of appetite
  • vomiting
  • circling
  • head tilt
  • muscle spasms
  • chewing gum fits (spasms causing chewing movements and salivation)
  • seizures
  • paralysis

Another symptom would be the foot pads of your dog hardening. This is where the nickname "hard pad disease" comes from.

Distemper Outbreaks Happening Across Texas

Outbreaks aren't unique to just one region of the state. There have been reports in Fort Worth, Snyder, Odessa, Bastrop, Houston, and now it has been found in Amarillo.

In some places that have reported an outbreak of distemper, several dogs have had to be euthanized. In others they have been able to isolate the infected dogs for treatment.

In Amarillo, there are changes being made to the adoption and in-take process for dogs. You can keep up with the latest by following this link for their website.

According to the reports in Amarillo, they are temporarily suspending in-person adoptions and surrender services due to the distemper outbreak.

How to Protect Your Pet

There are several things you can do to keep your pet safe. Don't allow your dog to be around unfamiliar dogs. Make sure your dog is up to date on their vaccines. Try to avoid contact with wildlife. Believe it or not, distemper can affect a range of animals outside of just canines.

Also, just in case you have one, pet ferrets are also susceptible to distemper. If you have a pet ferret, be sure to keep an eye on them as well.

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