Understanding Canine Distemper And The Distemper Vaccine

If you have recently adopted a dog, then you will need to take your pup to the vet for pet vaccinations. The injections will protect your canine from illnesses so he can stay as healthy as possible. One of these vaccinations is for distemper. If you are unfamiliar with this illness, keep reading to learn more about it and also about the vaccination.

What Is Distemper?

Distemper is a viral infection that affects several of a dog's body systems. These systems include the gastrointestinal, nervous, respiratory, and urinary systems. Distemper produces a wide variety of symptoms, including vomiting, diarrhea, fever, coughing, and mucus discharge.

These symptoms are similar to ones noted with other types of viral infections. Unlike other viruses though, once the virus progresses, it creates some serious neurological issues. These occur in the late stage of the disease, and you may see your canine experiencing seizures and paralysis. 

Canine distemper is extremely contagious, and it can be fatal. It is passed from canine to canine through the air and can be passed without contact, meaning a dog does not need to touch an infected pup to contract the illness. Canines at the same doggy daycare, kennel, groomer, or dog park can easily pass the illness to one another, even if they are not kept close together.

What Is The Distemper Vaccination?

The good news is that distemper can be prevented entirely through a vaccination. The most common vaccine that protects your dog from distemper is a combination vaccine called the DHPP vaccine, and it is most often provided when a puppy is between 14 and 16 weeks old. Alternatively, if you want your dog to be provided with protection early, then a vaccine for distemper alone can be given between six and eight weeks.

Distemper is one of the core vaccinations that is given to canines once every one to three years. Speak with your vet to see how often the vaccine should be given to your dog, and make arrangements to see your vet when it is time for the new injection.

Side effects are not common when it comes to the distemper vaccine. However, there is a chance that your dog could have an allergic reaction. Like humans, this reaction is often associated with the egg products within the vaccine. Swelling, respiratory distress, and itching are signs of an allergic reaction.

Other than allergy concerns, you may notice a bit of redness at the injection site, but this should resolve within a day or two.