Animal Welfare Professionals

  • 1.  Canine Distemper

    Posted 10-03-2021 02:25 PM

    Hi, It's my first time posting here and I hope it's the right group.

    I am from country Georgia and we have thousands of stray dogs therefore quite often we have Canine Distemper outbreaks... Not very good situation, to be honest.

    One month ago I rescued a 3 months old puppy on the beach of the black sea. I had a doubt that she might had a contact with an infected dog therefore I took her to vet and tested for CD, she was negative and her blood sample seemed fine so three vets advised me to vaccinate her.  Exactly one day after vaccination nausea started and Canine Distemper test was positive... We started treatment and for 15 days she was doing fine though everyone was telling me that she was very young and at risk, also vaccinating her during incubation actually worsened her situation... Neurological signs started on 19th of September and our precious girl passed away on 27th... We thought she was recovering when suddenly her lungs started to fail. We are so heartbroken that from now on I intend to help other people with such cases.

    The lady who was helping us, has saved hundreds of dogs from Canine Distemper and she told me that every time a Husky or Laika is infected, it's almost impossible to save them and my puppy was a mix of Laika too. We really wonder if there is a statistic somewhere about breeds and CD, maybe there is some genetic issue or maybe it's about the treatment because she told me, she only to managed to save one Husky, any other time the cases get very complicated. She even has a suspicion that the drug Ribavirin does not have positive effect on these breeds so I it would be really helpful to hear from some of you who have experience with distemper. Is it coincidence with our country or are Huskies and Laikas or are they really more vulnerable to CD?

    Many Thanks


    Natalie J

  • 2.  RE: Canine Distemper

    Posted 10-04-2021 05:54 AM

    I suggest you contact Univ. Wisconsin Shelter Medicine team to talk directly to one of them. They will provide you with the scientific data. They work with various groups all over the country.  I don't have their emails with me but if you email me, I'll send them to you​​​

    Mandy Evans
    Better Together Animal Alliance

  • 3.  RE: Canine Distemper

    Posted 10-05-2021 09:36 PM
    Thank you very much for the response, I have sent an email.

    Natalie J

  • 4.  RE: Canine Distemper

    Maddie's Fund Staff
    Posted 10-05-2021 01:28 PM
    Hi Natalie,

    This response is from Dr. Cynda Crawford:

    There are no studies showing any breed prevalence for distemper infection globally. Your experiences are likely because you see many Husky-like and Laika-like dogs in your country. Distemper virus is an equal opportunity virus - it will infect any dog of any age or breed that does not have protective immunity from proper vaccination. Another myth is that vaccination of infected dogs worsens the disease - this is totally false. In addition, there is no published clinical study showing that ribavirin provides effective antiviral treatment for infected dogs.

    Sheila Segurson, on behalf of: 

    Cynda Crawford, DVM, PhD

    Fredrica Saltzman Endowed Professorship Chair in Shelter Medicine

    Maddie's Shelter Medicine Program

    College of Veterinary Medicine

    University of Florida

    Sheila Segurson, DVM
    Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Behaviorists
    Maddie's Fund

  • 5.  RE: Canine Distemper

    Posted 10-05-2021 09:36 PM


    Thank you very much for the response.

    I will definitely pass this to some vets here. We don't have that many Laikas or Huskies here, probably it was a coincidence that the most of the patients were weak.  
    When we vaccinated our rescue puppy during incubation which was vet's mistake, literally everyone started telling us that it worsened her immunity and her survival rate lowered... I was even told things like "what happens with vaccinated patients during CD''...

    I believe Ribavirin is used by lots of vets locally and they believe in it's benefits.

    As I mentioned, the field is not quite developed here and that's why I always want to double check things...


    Natalie J