Canine Distemper Vaccine: How Dangerous is It to Pets?

How Dangerous is Distemper in Dogs?

At his yearly checkup, your pup was likely vaccinated with a DA2PP.

What is the DA2PP vaccine?

This vaccine protects dogs against canine distemper, hepatitis (canine adenovirus-2 and -1), parvovirus, and parainfluenza.

What is canine distemper?

Explaining Canine Distemper

Unvaccinated puppies and non-immunized older dogs are more susceptible to distemper.

Canine distemper is a virus with no known cure.

Distemper is a relative of the measles, members of the Morbillivirus class of viruses, and the Paramyxoviridae family, according to Dr. Katy Nelson of petMD.

The virus, which initially attacks a dog’s tonsils and lymph nodes, spreads through the air or direct/indirect contact.


Distemper lives in the tonsils and lymph nodes before attacking the respiratory, urogenital, gastrointestinal, and nervous systems.

Early symptoms include high fever, red or watery eyes, and watery discharge from the nose.

Dogs eventually becoming lethargic and refuse to eat.

End-stage distemper includes persistent coughing, vomiting, and diarrhea, before affecting the dog’s nervous system, leading to seizures or paralysis.

Distemper in dogs is also referred to as “hard pad disease,” because some virus strains cause thickening of the animal’s footpads.

Death typically results from two to five weeks of exposure.


Distemper in dogs is typically diagnosed with blood and urine tests.

A blood test is necessary as the initial stage of the disease, lymphopenia, causes reduced white blood cells.

Sometimes diagnoses are tough, as some test does not distinguish between vaccination antibodies and exposure to the virus.

Unfortunately, there is no cure. Treatment of symptoms is the only available option.

Most dogs’ chances of survival depend on the dog’s immune system and the strain of the virus.

Although full recovery is possible, seizures may continue for a few months.

Recovered dogs do not carry and cannot spread the virus.

Caninne Distemper in the News

Distemper in dogs was recently in the news.

Minnesota is experiencing an uptick in diagnoses, KARE-TV reports.

Unvaccinated dogs are increasingly contracting distemper from exposure to the state’s raccoon population.

Tennessee, Virginia, and Texas are also experiencing an uptick in diagnoses.

As holistic, open-minded people, we know some of you avoid vaccines.

However, at PET | TAO, we believe in applying the best of Eastern and Western medicine.

For the safety of your pets, we recommend dogs receive vaccines.

Dogs also need to stay healthy and keep their immune systems strong.

An energetically balanced diet is one way to maintain your pet’s overall well-being.

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