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Oct

Battling Distemper

battling distemper on the street

Dog suffering with distemper

We found this dog lying on the side walk outside the supermarket and he is showing symptoms of a
disease called distemper. This is an infectious, viral disease that affects domestic dogs and other canids.
It has a very high fatality rate, and with so few dogs vaccinated against distemper here in Valdivia and
throughout Chile, the disease is sadly very common. It is a terrible animal welfare problem and is
compounded by the fact that it is transmissible to susceptible wildlife as well.
After the earthquake and tsunami in Concepción in south-central Chile in 2010, the GAAP attended a call
for help in a small town called Dichato that was almost obliterated by the tsunami. Reports were that
many dogs were dying from some kind of disease. After a field study in which we took blood samples
from sick dogs, we found that there was a distemper outbreak causing the die-off in town. Read more
about this outbreak here: http://www.mdpi.com/2076-2615/3/3/843. Stressful events, like natural
disasters, can cause population outbreaks of distemper and other diseases.
At the GAAP clinic, we are trying to educate people about the importance of regular vaccination against
highly contagious and fatal diseases like distemper. To effect change in the spread of any disease it is important for us to approach the issue for two directions, in education of the public as well as through running vaccination programs.
If you want to help us battle distemper and to help dogs just like this one, by supporting our vaccination program at the clinic, please
contact us directly at info@thegaap.org or DONATE HERE.

Learn more

To learn more about the specifics of distemper virus please check out the online Merck manual, or the ASPCA.

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