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Deadly canine virus spreading in Abilene

By Jennifer Kendall, jkendall@ktxs.com
Published On: Feb 05 2013 10:20:20 PM CST
dog
ABILENE, Texas -

Distemper is a virus that affects a dog's respiratory, digestive and nervous system and it’s on the rise in Abilene. There is no treatment for the virus and most dogs that contract it will have to be put down.

Veterinarians in Abilene are worried about the number of dogs they have seen infected with the virus.

"There’s quite a bit of it down at the shelter and starting to get into some of the feral dogs," said Dr. Allen Bolt, a veterinarian at Animal Health and Medical Center of Abilene.

"Normally we don't see distemper very often, so when you start seeing some cases, that's elevated," he added.

Dr. Bolt said the best way to keep your pup safe is to focus on prevention.

"We’ve got excellent distemper vaccines, but it's impossible to treat," said Bolt.

The virus spreads from dog to dog, but people can also carry the virus home on their clothing after petting another canine.

Bolt said to get your dog checked right away if it has symptoms like watery eyes, runny nose, fever, pneumonia or convulsions. He recommends anyone who owns a dog that hasn’t been vaccinated for the virus yet does so as soon as possible.

Bolt said to keep your pup away from other dogs until it is vaccinated and take extra precautions to wash your hands and your clothing after you pet a dog that hasn't been vaccinated.