Category Archives: distemper

Can Dogs Get Distemper if They’ve Been Vaccinated?

By Ruthie Bently

Pet owners are required to get their cats and dogs vaccinated against the rabies disease, and there are other vaccinations our pets get depending on their owner’s preference and veterinarian’s recommendations. The distemper vaccination is not a required vaccination in the United States, but it is strongly advised by veterinarians because distemper can be fatal in certain cases.

A dog can contract distemper from a vaccination and this is known as vaccinial distemper; it is exceedingly rare but is possible. I spoke with my vet, and in his 32 years of practice he has never seen a dog contract distemper from a vaccination. If a dog contracts distemper from an inoculation, it is a situation where the dog’s immune system has already been severely compromised by something else.

The distemper virus is related to measles in humans, and in days gone by they used human measles vaccine to immunize puppies. A dog contracts distemper by coming in contact with an infected dog’s bodily secretions such as drool, discharge from a sneeze or cough, even urine; it is introduced to the body through the mouth or nose. In places of the world where vaccines are not commonly used, distemper can affect any age dog.

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