What is Canine Distemper? Is your pet at risk?

What is distemper?

Distemper is a highly contagious viral disease of domestic dogs and other animals such as ferrets, skunks and raccoons. It is a contagious, incurable, often fatal, multisystemic viral disease that affects the respiratory, gastrointestinal, and central nervous systems. Distemper is caused by the canine distemper virus (CDV).


How is the disease spread?

The disease is spread mainly by direct contact.  Coughing and sneezing can spread the virus over short distances.  A  susceptible dog that comes in contact with another symptomatic dog or wildlife could be at risk of contacting the virus.


What are the clinical signs?

As with all infectious diseases, clinical signs can vary. The main clinical signs are diarrhea, vomiting, a thick yellow discharge from the eyes and nose, cough and eventually seizures and neurological signs. Dogs that recover from the disease are often left with persistent nervous muscle twitches (chorea) and recurrent seizures.


Are there other diseases causing similar signs?

There are many diseases that cause diarrhea and vomiting, several that cause similar respiratory and neurological signs, but few diseases that cause all of these at the same time.


What is the treatment?

As with most viral infections, there is no specific treatment. Antibiotics are not effective against viruses, but do help in controlling the secondary bacterial infections that often occur with distemper. The treatment for distemper is aimed at helping reduce the signs and symptoms. This is accomplished with hospitalization providing rest and intensive nursing care, intravenous fluid therapy and symptomatic treatment for the vomiting, diarrhea, cough, etc.


How can I prevent my dog from becoming infected?

Fortunately we have highly effective vaccines to use. These are given to puppies along with other routine vaccines. Although in the majority of dogs the protection from initial vaccination may last more than a year, annual vaccinations are recommended because some dogs may be at higher risk for contracting the disease.


How common is distemper?

Canine distemper is seen worldwide but because of the widespread use of successful vaccines, it is much less common than it was in the 1970’s. The virus may persist in recovered carrier dogs and in wildlife such as skunks and raccoons.  Recently, local officials have reported an increase in the number of potentially infected wildlife in our area.  For this reason it is essential to continue annual vaccinations to prevent the spread of the distemper virus.


For additional information or concerns regarding your pet and the distemper virus, please contact our veterinary hospital at 979-266-7080.

Spring has sprung!



Spring is finally here and summer is just around the corner! Warm sunny days and spring showers bring out fleas and mosquitos.   As we begin to spend more time outside it’s very important that we ensure our pets are protected from these pesky parasites.

Did you know that your pet doesn’t even have to enjoy the outdoors to be exposed to these parasites?

Fleas are able to come into our homes and find their way onto our pets simply by hitching a ride on our clothes.  Adult fleas are only part of the problem.  Immature fleas (eggs, larvae, and pupae) contribute to flea infestations too.  Fleas can cause serious illnesses like allergic dermatitis and anemia, and are even responsible for transmitting tapeworms to our pets.

Mosquitos can easily find their way into our homes, putting our pets at risk for heartworms.  For this reason Dr. Suazo recommends your pets be on year-round monthly heartworm and flea preventative medication.


Here are a few helpful tips from Dr. Suazo to help you manage fleas around your home:

  • Bathe your pets in Dawn dish washing detergent or baby shampoo.  You should avoid using over the counter flea shampoos as they tend to be pyrethrin based and could cause a toxicity reaction to your pet.
  • Choose a prescription flea preventative that can be purchased from a licensed veterinarian who has an established relationship with your pet.  Your veterinarian will be able to recommend the best flea product for you and your pet’s needs.  Remember to follow prescription label instructions from your veterinarian to reduce the risk of life threatening illness or reaction.
  • If your pet is on prescription flea product and you still feel like you’re losing the flea battle, the product is most likely overwhelmed with the current flea population.  This means you should seek the support of a professional exterminator to treat your home and yard.  Please remember pets should not be in the home during treatment and should remain out of the home for at least 8 hours after treatment.
  • Outdoor areas should be treated every three to four weeks with an appropriate insecticide, paying special attention to shady areas.
  • Dr. Suazo prefers oral flea preventative products since fleas thrive in our warm humid climate.
  • Remember, for best results give your pet’s flea prevention year round.


Dr. Suazo’s recommendations for heartworm prevention:

  • Heartworms are transmitted by infected mosquitos that bite our pets.  It only takes one bite from an infected mosquito to put our pets at risk for developing heartworms.  Monthly heartworm prevention helps to reduce the risk of infection.
  • Due to our potential to have mosquitos year round it is more beneficial to your pet to remain on heartworm prevention all year long.
  • Oral heartworm prevention reduces the margin of error during administration to your pet.
  • Heartworm prevention should only be purchased from a licensed veterinarian who has an established relationship with your pet.  There are several heartworm prevention products on the market, and your veterinarian is a great resource for helping you decide which product is best for your pet.
  • Though ticks are not as common in our area as others, they still have the ability to transmit serious diseases like Lyme disease.

To ensure that your pet stays healthy, Pecan Acres Pet Care can help with parasite testing, prevention, and treatment.

Please visit with one of our veterinary team members for more information.