AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Many communities are seeing a rise in distemper cases among pets. Alexis Adams, a veterinary technician at Hope Vet Clinic (also known as Cadillac Vet Clinic), said they have seen a big incline of pets that are diagnosed with distemper at the clinic.
“We’ve seen it just kind of take a big uptake. Sometimes you’ll see them gradually trundle in, but we’ve seen it take a big incline in the last couple of weeks,” Adams said, “We’re seeing a lot more dogs generally present with it.”
According to Adams, distemper is an airborne virus dogs and cats can come into contact with and it has an incubation rate of 14 to 30 days. She said this rate makes it difficult to track where the animal got the virus from and where they have been.
“Once they get in contact with it they can have three main presenting signs. One of which can be GI signs. They vomit and have loose stools. Another one could be an upper respiratory issue. They tend to cough a lot and have discharge from their eyes and nose. The other sign is seizures and neurological activity. It can be jerking and kind of twitching in some cases. Sometimes they can go into full-blown seizures,” she said.
Raven Springs, office manager at Hope Vet Clinic, said if you see any of the symptoms then you should take your pet to a clinic right away as the virus has a high mortality rate.
“Even if your dog has a mild cold. It’s upper respiratory. That’s one of the first signs we’ve been catching. The earlier the better, especially with the chances. Some get in a little too late, but we still try. It’s really all you can do,” she said.
Springs said getting your pet regularly vaccinated helps prevent animals from catching distemper. She said there are low-cost options in Amarillo, as well as rescues that host shot clinics throughout the year.