Canine Distemper

Canine distemper is a highly contagious and serious disease caused by a virus that attacks the respiratory, gastrointestinal, and, often, the nervous systems of puppies and dogs. The virus also infects wild canids (e.g. foxes, wolves, coyotes), raccoons, skunks, and ferrets.

Puppies and dogs usually become infected through airborne exposure to the virus contained in respiratory secretions of an infected dog or wild animal. Outbreaks of distemper tend to be sporadic. Because canine distemper also affects wildlife populations, contact between wild and domestic canids may facilitate spread of the virus.


This information has been prepared as a service by the American Veterinary Medical Association.


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