Distemper Vaccines For Dogs - What You Need To Know

Distemper Vaccines For Dogs - What You Need To Know

Like us, dogs get shots for different reasons. Most of them protect against viruses and diseases that can put our dogs and families at risk.

Let’s take a special look at the distemper vaccine:

What is a distemper?

Distemper is a deadly disease that affects dogs. It can wreak havoc on your dog’s nervous, respiratory, and gastrointestinal systems, causing multiple organ damage and failure. Cases of distemper will vary by symptoms and severity and can affect dogs neurologically or physically.


Some of the most common symptoms of distemper include:

  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Dehydration
  • Coughing
  • Nasal discharge
  • Pneumonia
  • Seizures
  • Muscle tics

While your dog can recover from distemper, it is important that he/she receives treatment at a hospital. In some instances, the symptoms may linger and you may have to have your dog euthanized to prevent suffering.


Distemper is spread between dogs. It is an airborne virus that is spread through small droplets of particles of saliva which also includes drool and spit, and is highly contagious. Your dog can get distemper from an infected dog from a cough, sneeze, or even bark.

Luckily, the virus cannot survive in the environment very long and can easily be cleaned from sinuses. The vaccine also helps to reduce the spread and reduces the severity of infections.

The distemper vaccine

The purpose of the distemper vaccine is to prevent dogs from getting infected with the virus. It comes in two main forms. The first is a modified-live virus form where the virus is modified to build immunity without causing illness. The second is a recombinant vaccine, where a weakened form of the virus is used to teach the dog’s body to fend off against the real thing.

All dogs of all ages, breeds, locations, and lifestyles are recommended to get a distemper vaccine. It is often bundled with vaccines for other viruses that protect against other common illnesses such as parainfluenza, parvovirus, and adenovirus.

Distemper shots should start at 6 weeks old and should be given every two to four weeks until 16 weeks old. The vaccine is more effective at this stage, and boosters should happen every year or every other year.

The price will vary and is sometimes free at shelters. Walk with at least $50.

Side effects

There are rare adverse reactions to the vaccine. Some of the most common side effects include face swelling, sleepiness, and soreness.

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