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NEW VIRULENT DISTEMPER STRAIN HOAX

 

Barbara J. Andrews, Editor-In-Chief

 

Pet owners! Rush your dogs to the vet for a vaccine against the new distemper and while you’re there, get all booster shots updated!

 

Pet owners rush to get dogs innoculated against new distemper strain - great for vets and vaccine manufacterers, stressful and expensive for dogs and owners.May 2012 | Was that the intended message in the press release from the Arizona Humane Society? What and where are the facts? We can’t speak to the intent of the AZ Humane Society nor could we find a shred of evidence to back up the story. Not one reference, not one case of the new distemper virus.

 

But don’t let that stop us. We get it. Distemper is a scary word to pet owners who might not have reacted as predictably to a “new virulent leptospirosis outbreak”. The Phoenix Examiner “pet news” edition must have driven hundreds of dog owners to the vet. As a side note, many veterinarians today are members of the HSVA - Humane Society Veterinary Association {1}, which tries to compete with the trusty old AMVA.

 

It quickly spread across the country -excerpts from the press release that is. Dog owners panicked when they learned of a “highly contagious, often fatal, disease of distemper”. Most missed that it was the Arizona Humane Society that issued “a community-wide health alert to pet owners within Arizona.”

 

What they probably absorbed from the panicked bulletins is this quote from the AZ Humane Society “Extra caution is urged as earlier than usual cases have also emerged as far away as Florida, Ohio, and Georgia. While increased occurrences of distemper typically arise in the spring due to an increase in the number of litters of puppies, signs of the disease are appearing much earlier.”

 

New distemper in Florida, Ohio, and Georgia? Nope, couldn’t find a single case.

 

BARBARA "BJ" ANDREWS BIO“Evidence exists to suggest that 2 new strains of distemper have made their way to the US from Europe, putting elderly dogs at risk as well as the young. While the typical incubation period for distemper is 1-2 weeks, the 2 new strains may have even longer incubation periods.”

 

Well! New Distemper from Europe? Our friends in England just shrugged it off. And not one but TWO new distemper strains? And don’t think your dog is okay because he has no symptoms of distemper. The Humane Society press release said he could still be infected and need the distemper vaccine. One might ask (we did) if another distemper shot, made for the old form of distemper, would make the new distemper strain leave your dog’s body? The answer from a SAAB Member {2} was a laugh, followed by a resounding NO. Surely Arizona Vets would disagree. Or not, depending on how many new clients came, money in hand.

 

But enough poking fun at the Arizona Humane Society press release. Here’s what the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) said it its press release.

 

The title is "False rumors of new strains of canine distemper virus" and the AVMA states:

“It was recently brought to our attention that there are rumors circulating online about the existence of two new strains of canine distemper virus. These rumors are untrue.”

 

AVMA goes on to explain that there may be distemper strains previously not detected but that may be from improvements in testing and that minor changes don’t affect the “antigenicity of the virus” do they diminish the effectiveness “of currently available vaccines.”

 

For those who like their knowledge served with a dose of quirky humor, go to this video “cocaine vaccine uses mutated cholera bacteria.” We thought after the “new distemper” ruse perpetuated on dog owners, you would find this entertaining video vastly illuminating.

 

 

And then, if you feel like a beagle on a hot trail, go to Vaccine Project {3} to learn when vaccines were discovered, and what a great boon to humanity and our animals immunizations have been. And always, remember that old proverbial saying “Too much of a good thing can be a bad thing.”

 

Barbara J. Andrews, Editor-In-Chief

 

Get related information and dig for gold below.

 

Ref {1} HSVA - Humane Society Veterinary Association

Ref {2} SAAB Member

Ref {3} Vaccine Project

 

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