Winter can be a time when there is a higher incidence of distemper. This is a a serious and highly contagious disease among dogs. Caused by a virus, and initially with symptoms similar to that of a cold occurs via inhalation of airborne viral particles which present in secretionsof other infected dogs. To prevent dogs from being infected, the best remedy is vaccination.
According to the veterinarians the virus can infect dogs of all ages, but the incidence is higher in the young dog. The younger dogs have less immunity protection, especially if they have not been properly vaccinated. In some ares, 90% of the animals that develop the disease may die. The main symptoms of the disease are fever, lethargy, nasal and ocular discharge, vomiting, diarrhea, incoordination and convulsions.
To avoid infection, the recommendation is to vaccinate 6-8 week old puppies every 3 weeks until 16 weeks of age, then re-vaccinate at one year. Generally, adult dogs are re-vaccinate annually. Vaccines confer high levels of protection and allows the veterinary decide what the best protocol is best for each pet.
The first vaccine dose of an immunization program for puppies should be applied around the sixth week of life and, ideally, contain only the essential components, distemper and parvovirus, for this stage of life. After the initial vaccination at least two doses should be given at intervals of 21 days each. In addition to the canine distemper virus and parvovirus, the additional vaccinations should also contain other components that will protect dogs from diseases such as hepatitis, tracheobronchitis and leptospirosis.
According to the vets, the dogs become infected more frequently in areas with high traffic and or concentration of animals, such as parks, squares, humane groups, animal control facilities and pet shops. Therefore, the it is important that puppies remain confined indoors until the completion of the vaccination protocol.