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Many dog owners only know about distemper from hearsay – or at best from regular vaccinations. To keep it that way, everyone should keep an eye on their dog’s distemper vaccinations.

Distemper – a dangerous viral disease

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Distemper is a disease caused by a paramyxovirus. Infected animals can transmit them through all body fluids. Many wild animals, including martens and foxes, can infect dogs with distemper. Dog owners can also carry distemper into their homes via shoes or clothing and thus infect their dog. There are different forms of distemper. Distemper and pulmonary distemper are associated with discomfort in the respective organs.

The most dangerous is the “nervous” form of distemper, nerve distemper.

The virus attacks the brain and nerves. The dogs suffer from tremors, cramps, balance, and movement disorders. If dogs survive the nerve distemper, they often have a nervous “distemper tic”.

Why is distemper vaccination so important?

On average, every second dog suffering from distemper dies from the consequences. Distemper epidemics keep coming back, killing hundreds of dogs. All these animals could have been protected with vaccination. As soon as the illness and its often fatal consequences fade in the mind, vaccination fatigue increases. If everyone strictly adheres to the recommended vaccination intervals, no dog in Germany needs to die of distemper.

Recommended basic immunization for puppies

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The distemper vaccination is one of the core vaccinations for dogs. Experts understand this to mean the main vaccinations that the “Standing Vaccination Commission for Veterinary Medicine in the Federal Association of Practicing Veterinarians e. V. “, abbreviated to” StIKoVet “, recommends. They protect against dangerous diseases that every dog ​​should have a vaccination against. Non-core vaccinations are only recommended for certain dogs and living conditions. For example, the Lyme disease vaccination for hunting dogs. The core vaccinations include distemper, the vaccination against parvovirus – also known as cat disease – rabies, and against the contagious hepatitis HCC. In some countries or affected areas, vaccination against leptospirosis is one of them. Veterinarians usually vaccinate with multiple vaccines. Accordingly, a basic vaccination for puppies looks like this:

  • 8 weeks: distemper, HCC, and parvovirus
  • 12 weeks: distemper, HCC, parvovirus
  • 16 weeks: distemper, HCC, parvovirus, and rabies
  • 16 months: distemper, HCC, parvovirus, and rabies

Vaccinate adult dogs against distemper

For dogs that have completed a primary series of vaccinations, a booster vaccination every three years is sufficient to maintain protection. The recommendations may vary depending on the spread of the disease and the vaccine manufacturer. Your vet can advise you on the rhythm that is right for your dog. Anyone who takes in an adult dog with an unknown vaccination status can also seek advice from the vet. If the dog has never been vaccinated, the same recommended intervals apply as for the primary vaccination of puppies. Using an antibody test, the veterinarian can find out whether the dog has been vaccinated against distemper.

Can a distemper vaccination have side effects for my dog?

The vast majority of dogs can tolerate the distemper vaccination with multiple vaccines without side effects. In rare cases, there will be swelling and itching around the injection site. A live vaccine is used against distemper, which should only be done in healthy animals. Vaccination critics warn against the distemper virus encephalitis. This is an inflammation of the brain that occurs two weeks after the vaccination. It can be fatal for affected dogs. However, the disease can only occur in dogs that have been vaccinated too early – before the age of six weeks – or who have a weakened immune system. In the case of sick or very old four-legged friends, it is the vet’s job to assess whether a vaccination makes sense.

Side effects of the distemper effect occur less often than distemper in unvaccinated animals!

What does a vaccination against distemper cost?

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Since veterinarians not only vaccinate against distemper but also use multiple vaccines, this cannot be said for sure. A single vaccination with multiple vaccines costs around $75, depending on the region. The basic veterinary examination is already included in the price.