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Canine distemper is now an improved combination vaccine

photo of veterinarian giving a vaccine to the labrador puppy

Canine distemper is a virus that your dog can catch from another dog in a number of different ways. Some of the circumstances that may lead your pet to contract canine distemper include:

  • Contact with another dog’s fresh urine, blood, or saliva
  • Being near another infected pets’ sneezes or coughs
  • Sharing food or water with another pet who has the virus


If your dog shows the following signs of canine distemper, it’s urgent that you see your Madison or north Alabama veterinarian immediately. It’s important to vaccinate your pet against this virus that can lead to central nervous system disorders and even death if not detected, treated, or vaccinated against with a canine distemper vaccination. Some of the symptoms of canine distemper may include the following:

  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Thick mucus discharge from eyes and nose
  • Fever
  • Loss of energy
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Depression
  • Loss of appetite


Canine distemper can be prevented in most cases. Puppies and younger dogs are especially susceptible to catching the virus if they haven’t been properly vaccinated, with the first shots given at 6-8 weeks of age. By the time your pet is 4-5 months old, the vaccinations should be completed.

There now exists new and improved combination vaccines to protect your pet against this virus that can spread very quickly. The improved canine distemper combination vaccine is written in a number of different ways on your dog’s health records. It may be recorded as either DHPP, DA2PP, DHPPV, or DA2PPV. This updated combination vaccine protects your dog against canine distemper, canine adenovirus-2 infection, canine parvovirus, and parainfluenza. These are all crucial vaccines included in just one injection to protect your pet from distemper, hepatitis and respiratory diseases, the parvovirus, which can cause death in 90% of untreated dogs, and the canine flu. Your vet may recommend including other distemper combination vaccine elements that protect against leptospirosis, a bacterial infection of the kidneys and liver that can be transmitted to humans. Another component can protect against bordetella, otherwise known as kennel cough. This disease is easily contracted by dogs who are boarded in kennels or regularly interact with other dogs in parks or grooming salons.

If you live in Madison or its surrounding areas and you are concerned about your dog contracting canine distemper, call Dr. Charles Whitworth DVM, who serves the communities of Madison, Huntsville, Decatur and surrounding areas in north Alabama at the Whitworth Animal Clinic.

Keep your pet healthy with the help of our staff at Whitworth Animal Clinic, where you can take advantage of the many services we offer, including pet wellness, surgery, and emergency care. Contact our staff members at Whitworth Animal Clinic today to make an appointment so we can care for your best friend.

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