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Deadly Canine Virus Detected In Tuolumne County

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Jamestown, CA – Pet owners beware, a deadly canine virus has been detected in Tuolumne County.

Animal Control reports confirmed cases of the deadly distemper virus. According to shelter officials, it is transmitted through sneezing or coughing, shared food and water bowls, and equipment. They detailed, “All dogs are at risk, but puppies younger than four months old and dogs that have not been vaccinated against canine distemper are at increased risk of acquiring the disease.”

Symptoms to watch out for initially are watery to pus-like discharge from their eyes, fever, nasal discharge, coughing, lethargy, reduced appetite, and vomiting. As the virus attacks the nervous system, dogs develop circling behavior, head tilts, muscle twitches, convulsions with jaw chewing movements and salivation (“chewing gum fits”), seizures, and partial or complete paralysis, shared Animal Control officials, who also noted that the virus may also cause the footpads to thicken and harden, leading to its nickname “hard pad disease.”

Shelter officials gave this warning to pet owners, “Distemper is often fatal, and dogs that survive usually have permanent, irreparable nervous system damage. There is no cure for canine distemper infection. Vaccination is crucial in preventing canine distemper.”

To prevent distemper, shelter officials provided pet owners with these precautionary steps:

  • Avoid gaps in the immunization schedule and make sure distemper vaccinations are up to date.
  • Avoid contact with infected animals and wildlife
  • Use caution when socializing puppies or unvaccinated dogs at parks, puppy classes, obedience classes, doggy daycare, and other places where dogs can congregate.

Of note, wildlife infected with canine distemper exhibits signs that closely resemble rabies, according to animal control officials.

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