Fort Worth, TX

A Contagious Disease Called Distemper Was Found In Texas Dogs

Matt Lillywhite
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Unfortunately, Covid-19 wasn't the only disease that Texas had to deal with during 2021. Media reports emerged of an outbreak of a viral disease amongst dogs at The Humane Society of North Texas (HSNT) Shelter in Fort Worth. And while the disease is continually spreading throughout the animal population, the outbreak in Fort-Worth has thankfully been contained.

What Disease Caused The North Texas Outbreak?

Known as Distemper, it's a deadly disease that affects several household animals such as Dogs, Ferrets, and Raccoons. Quoting WebMD: "Your dog can get canine Distemper by being around other dogs or wild animals that have the virus. Puppies or older dogs that haven't been vaccinated are most vulnerable. Dogs in shelters may also be vulnerable since their vaccinations may not be up to date."

So, if you haven't already, it's worth getting your dog vaccinated to reduce the risk of it contracting Distemper (or any other deadly virus). After all, vaccination is proven to reduce the risk of deadly disease and death.

The Symptoms Of Canine Distemper.

It can take up to two weeks for symptoms to appear after exposure. In essence, the virus attacks the gastrointestinal, respiratory, skin, immune, and central nervous systems of a dog (or another type of animal). Symptoms typically include (but are not limited to):

  • Fever
  • Nasal discharge
  • Sneezing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Thickening of nose and footpads
  • Pneumonia

It's important to remember that the disease can't be transmitted from dogs to humans. So, there's no need to panic or socially distance from your dog. But if your pet displays any of the above symptoms, it's worth taking them to a veterinarian or calling a healthcare professional specializing in animals.

Here's What Texans Need To Know About The Outbreak.

It took several weeks for the Fort Worth center to get the outbreak under control. But now, the outbreak of Distemper has been contained. It's worth mentioning that the HSNT advises pet owners to make sure their pets are up to date on necessary vaccines since these have been shown to protect dogs against Distemper.

Are you concerned about outbreaks of disease amongst animals in Texas? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments. And if you think more people should read this article, share it on social media.

Update: This article has been updated to reflect the containment of the disease in North Texas. However, it is still spreading amongst wild animals.

This article is for informational purposes only. It should not be considered health advice. Please consult a doctor or veterinarian before making any significant decisions that may impact your pet's health.

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Matt Lillywhite publishes national news and local stories. He can be reached via email at


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