Canine distemper is a highly contagious and potentially fatal disease that affects dogs, puppies and many species of wildlife. Caused by the Canine Distemper Virus (CDV), distemper targets multiple body systems—respiratory, gastrointestinal and nervous—and has up to an 80 percent mortality rate. Even after recovery, this disease can still have lasting effects, making the canine distemper virus one of the most dangerous pathogens your dog can encounter.

How Canine Distemper Spreads

Canine distemper is transmitted between dogs via coughing or sneezing, or by shared objects such as food and water bowls. Distemper can be passed by pregnant dogs to their puppies, and dogs who interact with infected wildlife are also at risk.

Any dog can potentially contract canine distemper, but puppies under 12 months and unvaccinated dogs are at greatest risk. Dogs in crowded settings such as animal…

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