RSPCA Victoria is urging caution among dog owners in the Bayswater area after a puppy in their care, who was surrendered to RSPCA’s Inspectorate from the area, tested positive for distemper – a highly contagious viral disease affecting domestic dogs.
Though preventable through vaccination, distemper is often fatal after affecting the respiratory, gastrointestinal, and central nervous system of the dog. Distemper is contagious to other dogs, ferrets and some wildlife, but not humans or cats.
While this is an isolated case, given the highly contagious nature of the virus the RSPCA is asking the community to remain cautious of the symptoms and ensure their dogs’ and puppies’ vaccinations are up-to-date.
Signs of the virus may include one, some or all of the following:
- thick yellow discharge from the eyes and nose
- cough, and
- in severe cases, seizures and neurological signs like stumbling, head tilt, and paralysis.
Anyone concerned about the health of their dog or puppy should contact their local veterinarian or RSPCA’s Veterinary Clinics.
For those in the Bayswater area, it’s recommended they contact their veterinarian before bringing them into the clinic if they suspect they may have or have been exposed to distemper. It is also recommended that contact with other dogs be limited – particularly if their vaccines are not up-to-date or their vaccine status is unknown.