Protecting Your Pet From Distemper
If you live in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, you may have heard stories about distemper being found in certain wildlife populations. For instance, in early 2015 there was an outbreak among the wild gray foxes living near Waynesboro. This was big news because distemper is a viral disease that can be passed to domestic pets. This means that if your animal has contact with any wildlife, it is important that you keep current on their vaccinations for both your animal’s safety and also for the benefit of the ecosystem.
Distemper can afflict many wild animals. Just check out this range: coyotes, foxes, wolves, ferrets, skunks, badgers, wolverines, raccoons and bears—as well as Asian elephants, Japanese Macaques, and large wild cats. The wide range of species susceptible to distemper infection creates large natural reservoirs for the disease. An infected animal can carry and shed the virus in high numbers for weeks, infecting any animal it comes in contact with. Does this remind you of any other infamous diseases? That’s right, distemper has a lot in common with rabies.
And while it isn’t exactly like rabies—distemper isn’t always fatal, for instance—it is incurable. The upside is that rabies and distemper are both very preventable diseases. The most important thing an owner can do to protect their pet, and household, from these diseases is vaccinate their pet. Second, be conscious of where your pet is playing when you let them run free in natural areas.
Occurrences like the distemper infected foxes in Waynesboro are very concerning. They can have serious implications for local wildlife populations, and to the pet owners in the affected area. Please do your part to limit the spread and the impact of this disease by vaccinating your pets and keeping them from interacting with wild animals.
If your pet has come in contact with wildlife, contact CEDARCREST Animal Clinic at 540-943-7577 to schedule an examination for distemper, rabies, and other possible infectious diseases.
CEDARCREST Animal Clinic provides medical and surgical care for every stage of your pet's life including preventive wellness care exams and vaccines, spays/neuters, and a variety of specialized care for your dog, cat, avian, or exotic. We are home to the only veterinarian practitioner in Virginia to be double Boarded in Avian and Canine/Feline care and provide care for birds, small mammals, and reptiles of all sorts! Plus, we are home to Virginia's most exclusive dog boarding resort that includes heated floors, an expansive play area, and even webcams so you can watch your pet while you're away. We're located in Fishersville, Virginia, and serve Augusta County and surrounding areas including Waynesboro, Staunton, Harrisonburg, and Charlottesville.