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Dogs and Distemper

The stray dogs of Sochi had many obstacles to overcome in order to find safe, loving homes, and it turns out that distemper is one of them.  Amanda Bird, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation is still waiting to get her Sochi dog home.  Her pup, that she even named "Sochi", is currently under care in California fighting parvo, but has also now been found to have distemper.  Being that most dogs in the U.S. are vaccinated against distemper, many don't even know what exactly it is or what to look for.

Distemper is an extremely contagious virus in dogs, similar to what measles is in humans.  All dogs that are not vaccinated are at risk.  It is less common in the U.S. due to vaccine requirements, but worldwide it is still the leading cause of infectious disease fatalities in dogs.

Dogs can pick up distemper by coming into contact with any secretion from an infected dog, and also through virus particles found in the air.  This is why it's crucial to have your dog vaccinated against distemper.

Symptoms can include and will worsen over time:
Inflamed, runny eyes
Nasal discharge
No appetite

There is no cure for distemper, just treatment of the symptoms.  The sooner a dog is treated by a veterinarian the better.  Many dogs lose their battle anywhere from weeks to months after being infected, even if after a time of being seemingly recovered.  A positive outcome becomes less likely when there are neurological issues due to the illness, and even some dogs who do live, go on the rest of their lives with central nervous system problems.

Protect your pup!


  1. We're protected. But there are loads of pups in Australia that aren't.

    XXXOOO Bella & Roxy

  2. Another good and informative post! I'm sorry to hear about the Sochi dogs...We had a foster dog several years ago that had parvo--I think that is as close to death as a dog can get without dying. It's just horrible... The good news is, is that it's treatable, but must be caught early and it's not inexpensive to treat. I will hope that the Sochi dogs regain their health, and live the lives that all dogs should!

  3. That is terribly sad specially after all the efforts have been made to find good homes.
    We hope they all pull through. We say bravo to all who have tried to help. Have a terrific Tuesday.
    Best wishes Molly

  4. That is so sad about her pup having Parvo and Distemper! :( I guess the good part about this is that even though Distemper can't be cured, at least the pup will have known love and safety instead of just being on the streets of Sochi her entire life.

    Elyse and Riley

  5. We knew nothing about distemper. We are so sorry to hear about all the sick pups.


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