Canine Distemper Virus in Cambodia

Canine Distemper Virus in Cambodia

Do you own a dog and want to make sure he is fully protected against preventable diseases? Then this blog post by Dr. Seร n is for you!

What is Canine Distemper Virus (CDV)?

Canine distemper is a viral disease that affects mostly dogs. It targets the respiratory, gastrointestinal and nervous systems. CDV is an acute and often fatal disease.

Who is at risk?

Young puppies below 4 months of age and unvaccinated dogs are most at risk. Although other mammals can also potentially get it, this is rare. Humans are not at risk.

Canine distemper is an air-borne pathogen that is spread mostly through coughing and sneezing but can also be shed in other bodily secretions including through placenta to unborn puppies and from sharing water and food bowls with infected dogs.

What are the symptoms?

  • Initial symptoms consist of nasal and eye discharge.
  • Symptoms then usually progress to coughing, lethargy, vomiting.
  • When the virus begins to attack the nervous system we begin to see neurological signs which can include seizures, paralysis, circling behaviour, spasms particularly in the jaw. Due to these symptoms the disease can resemble rabies at times.
  • Another common symptom of distemper is a hardening or thickening of the pads of the feet.

How is it diagnosed?

CDV is usually diagnosed by vets based on clinical symptoms with lab tests also available at VSL.


What is the treatment?

There is no cure for CDV and it is most often considered a fatal disease, with the very small percentage that do survive having irreparable neurological damage.

What should I do if I think my dog has CDV?

Contact your vet immediately and inform them of the symptoms. Avoid contact with any other dogs in the meantime.

How do you protect your pet?

  1. All it takes is a core vaccination (available at VSL for 38.50$) to protect your new puppy or unvaccinated dog.
  2. Keep up to date with annual boosters to avoid any gaps in protection.
  3. Take precautions for your new puppy or unvaccinated dog in how and where they are socialised until they are fully vaccinated.
  4. When getting a new puppy, choose a reputable shelter like Animal Rescue Cambodia to adopt from. Make sure that the shelter has a vaccine and infectious disease control protocol for all their animals.
  5. Remember: Canine distemper is air borne, and can be passed with shared food and water bowls (beyond direct contact). So, any contact of unvaccinated dogs/pups with potentially CDV infected dogs can cause transmission.

By following these steps we can help to reduce the incidence of Canine distemper virus in Cambodia.