Buffalo Companion Animal Clinic

1214 Hwy 25 N

Buffalo, MN 55313

Phone: (763) 682-2181


Mon, Tues, Thurs: 7 am - 7 pm

Wed & Friday: 7 am - 6 pm

Saturday: 8 am - 12 pm

Appointment Request

Carlos’ Corner

Routine Vaccination Prevents Canine Distemper

I've heard the stories from my dog friends and canine distemper is nasty stuff. You can make sure your dog doesn't get it by scheduling a vaccination at Buffalo Companion Animal Clinic. Your dog might protest, but all will be forgiven quickly.
All my best,
Canine distemper is serious and highly contagious viral disease that attacks the nervous, gastrointestinal, and respiratory systems of puppies and dogs. Thanks to routine vaccination, you may have never heard about a dog acquiring distemper. Some dog owners skip the original vaccination or booster shots because their pet seems perfectly fine. Not getting vaccinated on schedule is the biggest risk factor for canine distemper.
What is Canine Distemper?
A dog infected with distemper can spread it to another dog through blood, saliva, or urine. That means your dog could acquire the virus just by sharing a food bowl with an infected dog or being getting sprayed by sneeze droplets. The virus can move quickly once inside of your dog’s body. Some of the most common symptoms of distemper include:
  • Coughing
  • Diarrhea
  • Discharge from eyes or nose
  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sneezing 
  • Vomiting
Wild animals can also carry the distemper virus. It has been reported in:
  • Coyotes
  • Ferrets
  • Foxes
  • Lions
  • Leopards
  • Minks
  • Raccoons
  • Seals
  • Skunks
  • Tigers
  • Wolves
For this reason, it’s essential to keep your dog away from any wild animal. Pregnant dogs can transmit distemper to their puppies through the placenta. Once infected, a dog can continue shedding the virus for several months. Puppies younger than four months old and unvaccinated dogs are at the greatest risk of developing canine distemper.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Canine Distemper
If your dog displays the symptoms listed above, please schedule an evaluation at Buffalo Companion Animal Hospital as soon as possible. We diagnose distemper through laboratory testing and clinical observation. Unfortunately, no cure currently exists. All we can do is treat your dog’s symptoms, such as offering fluids to prevent dehydration and anti-nausea medication. Once diagnosed with distemper, you must keep your dog isolated from other dogs until all symptoms have cleared.

The Distemper Vaccination
Puppies receive natural immunity from their mother if she received the distemper vaccination. However, this already starts wearing off by about six weeks of age. We recommend getting your puppy’s first vaccine between six and nine weeks old. Canine distemper is part of a core vaccine that also includes parvovirus, parainfluenza, hepatitis, and adenovirus. Your puppy should get the second dose at 12 weeks of age and then won’t need a booster until one year. The American Veterinary Medical Association recommends that adult dogs receive the vaccination every three years.

Feel free to contact us for more tips about controlling this virus or to request an appointment.



February is Spay and Neuter Awareness Month

It's not that puppies and kittens aren't adorable. I was a kitten once and just look at me now! I'm one of the lucky ones and get to live here at Buffalo Companion Animal Clinic. A lot of dogs and cats aren't so lucky and end up homeless or euthanized in a shelter. It's a good thing preventing this sad fate is so easy with a simple spay or neuter surgery. Keep reading to learn more about the other benefits of spaying and neutering.
Many thanks,
According to the American Humane Society, animal shelter staff euthanizes almost 2.5 million dogs and cats each year because they could not find a home for the animals. That means a healthy pet dies approximately every 13 seconds. As sad as this is, it’s also frustrating because animal shelters could dramatically decrease euthanasia if more people chose to spay or neuter their pets. A successful spay surgery means a female can’t get pregnant while neutering creates impotence in males. 

Several years ago, three animal humane organizations came together to declare February National Spay and Neuter Awareness Month. The purpose was two-fold: to get people to have their pets altered and to promote the other important benefits of spaying and neutering.

Spaying Benefits
An unsprayed cat may go into heat several times a year. For dogs, heat cycles typically occur twice a year. A female cat is fertile before her first birthday and remains so throughout her life. This makes her capable of producing hundreds of kittens. Additionally, a cat in heat can display aggressive behavior and vocalize loudly. She strikes certain body postures and yowls incessantly to attract the attention of unaltered male cats.

A spayed dog or cat is more safe because the procedure decreases her instincts to roam. Even if neighborhood male pets aren’t neutered, they won’t want to mate with your animal if she’s been spayed. Besides reducing unwanted litters of puppies and kittens, spaying reduces your dog or cat’s likelihood of developing ovarian, mammary gland, or uterine cancer. This is especially true when you have her spayed before she goes into heat for the first time.

Neutering Benefits
Aggressiveness and roaming behavior are both common in unneutered dogs and cats trying to mate. They may even become aggressive enough to bite other animals or their human family members. Another unpleasant behavior is spraying urine to mark territory. This odor can be extremely difficult to get rid of. After a male pet has been neutered, his risk of prostate and testicular cancer both drop dramatically.

Improve Your Pet’s Quality and Quantity of Life
The North Shore Animal League states that spaying or neutering increases a cat’s lifespan by three to five years and a dog’s lifespan by one to three years. It also benefits the entire community. That is because city governments don’t have to spend as much money capturing, impounding, and euthanizing unwanted or unclaimed pets. Feral animals are a public health risk as well.

At Buffalo Companion Animal Clinic, we recommend spay or neuter surgery by six months of age whenever possible. If your dog or cat has not been sterilized yet, please click here to request an appointment.

Photo Credit: Global P / Getty Images


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