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Distemper warning to dog owners

A dog has died after contracting a virus which vets have not seen for years. The nine-year-old animal was treated by Craig Robinson Vets, in Carlisle, after contracting distemper in the city. Unfortunately, because it is a virus, there are no antibiotics or treatments and so it is often fatal.

Mari Reay: Vet

Mari Reay: Vet

Mari Reay has been a vet for a decade, but has not seen a dog with distemper for five or six years. “It is a virus that affects dogs, foxes and ferrets,” she said. “It first appeared in about the 1960s or 70s and was really virulent – it spread really easily and was very nasty. “A lot of dogs died because of it.”

Cases of the highly-contagious virus were all but eradicated in recent years, thanks to a rigorous vaccination programme. Mrs Reay said: “It was obviously still going about, but we really got on top of it – it is one of seven nasty diseases which dogs are vaccinated against as puppies, and then in their yearly boosters.”

This case of distemper is believed to have been caught from a fox as they are increasingly more common in urban areas.  “Prevention is really key and so we want to urge all owners to make sure their dog’s vaccinations are up-to-date,” said Mrs Reay.

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