This is Cheyenne. She came from a rescue group here in San Diego. She was pulled from a shelter with 6 other siblings and mother. Sadly this litter had been exposed to the distemper virus before receiving vaccinations.

Canine distemper is very contagious and one of the most deadly viruses dogs can get. It is even worse than the Parvo virus, which is spread through the air and by direct or indirect (i.e. utensils, bedding) contact with an infected animal. The virus initially attacks a dog’s tonsils and lymph nodes and replicates itself there for about one week. It then begins to affect every system in the body – respiratory, gastrointestinal and nervous systems. It starts with a fever and lethargy and can progress into debilitating tremors, seizures, and blindness. It kills roughly 80% of its victims.

That being said some are lucky and with diligent care and supportive treatment they can pull through! These photos are of Cheyenne in the hospital a few months ago and now happy and healthy. This was the most difficult few months for us. In addition to the huge medical expenses related to her hospitalization, the emotional stress of not knowing if she was going to succumb to this terrible disease was terrible. She is very lucky and most of her litter mates did not make it. Young, unvaccinated puppies and non-immunized older dogs tend to be more susceptible to the disease. The best prevention for canine distemper is routine vaccinations and immediate isolation of infected animals. Special care must be taken to protect new-born pups from exposure, since they are especially susceptible to the disease.

Please always always vaccinate your pets! We can’t stress enough how important this is!