Dogs | Animals

Experts Warn More Dogs Are Catching "Hard Pad Disease" - Here's How To Protect Your Pet

Veterinarians and government departments in multiple states are warning about an increase in the number of cases of canine distemper, also known as "hard pad disease."

An outbreak of cases in Minnesota has gotten so bad that the state's Department of Natural Resources is telling dog owners to be cautious and learn how to recognize the disease. Hard pad is caused by a virus that's usually spread by wild animals like foxes and raccoons.

While most dogs are vaccinated for distemper, older and younger dogs are still vulnerable to the disease.

Keep reading to learn how to keep your pets safe from this nasty virus.

The most common way dogs catch distemper is from wild animals, but unlike rabies your pet doesn't need to come in contact to catch it.

Bodily fluids from infected animals and even the air around them can spread the virus to your dog. It's also important to dispose or bury any dead wild animals you find in your neighborhood, because their bodies can spread the virus.

You'll known your pet has caught distemper if you notice these symptoms:

  • Sneezing and coughing
  • Excess mucus and eye fluid
  • Fever
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Loss of apetite
  • Seizures
Racooons, foxes and roadkill are common sources of distemper.

If you suspect your dog has distemper, take them to see a vet right away. Also, keep your other pets away from them, because you don't want the disease to spread while your dog is being treated.

Unfortunately there's no "cure" for distemper, but with medication to manage the symptoms dogs can make a full recovery in a few months.

As the weather gets nicer there will be even more diseases threatening your pet, so it's important to know how to protect them.

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