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Can A Dog Get Distemper If Vaccinated?

If you’re wondering, “can a dog get distemper if vaccinated”, the unfortunate answer would be yes. Yet, with proper awareness and caution, you can reduce the chances for your dog to contract distemper.

Reasons For Dog Vaccination

Vaccines aren’t constantly 100% effective, but skipping on it might cause more complications.

Vaccination may induce your dog to acquire swelling of tissues near the injected spot, fever, lethargy, soreness, and allergic reactions; these reactions range from mild to threatening. Nevertheless, the benefits outweigh the risks, with vaccines aiming to fight against various severe diseases that might lead to life-threatening circumstances.

Age, geography, and lifestyle may influence what vaccines your dog receives. According to AAHA, core vaccines for dogs include canine distemper, infectious hepatitis, parvovirus, and rabies; explore their site to understand additional vaccines that veterinarians may recommend too.

Vaccines are proper for your dog because:

  1. They provide antibodies that can fight against infectious viruses.
  2. Reduce the severity of clinical illness while also maximizing the possibilities of recovery.
  3. Manage the incidence of infection by promoting the usage of vaccines in many areas. 

Skipping on this wouldn’t benefit you in the long run, so it’s still best to consult and follow your veterinarian’s recommended vaccination schedule for lesser risks.

Symptoms Of Distemper After Vaccination

Canine distemper, or distemper disease, is described by the American Veterinary Medical Association as a contagious and severe disease brought by a virus that attacks the respiratory, gastrointestinal, and nervous systems of dogs and other canines.

Puppies younger than four months old and dogs that weren’t vaccinated are more at risk for contracting distemper disease. Vaccination might not work for various reasons, like not following vaccination schedules and protocols, not being specifically targeted to distemper diseases, constant contact with sick ones, and many more.

After knowing the answer to, ‘can a dog get distemper if vaccinated’, it’s time to recognize the signs that may indicate this disease. The indications vary, so you’ll have to be patient and know how to decipher these. 

The disease may affect the gastrointestinal, immune, respiratory, skin, and central nervous systems. Here are the symptoms of canine distemper that you’ll have to look out for:

  • Appetite Loss
  • Breathing Difficulties
  • Coughing
  • Diarrhea
  • Eye Discharge
  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Muscle Twitches
  • Nasal Discharge
  • Pain
  • Paralysis
  • Pneumonia
  • Seizures
  • Sneezing
  • Thickening and hardening of footpads
  • Vomiting

The infection might get passed on to your dog through contact with infected urine, blood, saliva, and respiratory droplets from coughs or sneezes. The indications stated above might appear after exposure for up to two weeks, and it differs based on the mildness or severity.

What should you do if your dog exhibits signs of distemper?

After observing and assuring that your dog did contract distemper disease, the best course of action is to visit the nearest vet at once. This disease is highly contagious, so if you have more than one dog and one exhibits symptoms, directly get them treated and place them far from the others.

You can also visit a vet if you don’t know the history of your dog’s vaccination or if it is ready for vaccination, and when your dog got exposed to another canine with distemper.

Your dog will undergo various tests before concluding that it is canine distemper. They first have to rule out other diseases with similar conditions to ensure that they would proceed with proper treatment.

Some testing would include throat, nose, or eye swabs, urine or bone marrow samples, blood tests, and so on. It’s best to immediately visit a vet for suspected diseases to get immediate treatment and help your dog recover fully before the infection worsens.

Preventing Canine Distemper

The best way to prevent a dog from contracting a distemper disease is to be vaccinated. Being vaccinated doesn’t prevent all possibilities, but this ensures minimal risks.

Other than that, here are some of the other actions you can take note of:

  1. Consult your vet about what you have to look out for regarding this disease. 
  2. Be aware of your dog’s specific vaccine schedule. Ensure that it is up to date.
  3. If your dog or puppy still hasn’t undergone a vaccination, it’s best to avoid other dogs that are not in good condition. Be cautious with who they would get in contact with.
  4. Maintaining a balanced and healthy diet alongside a proper exercise program would help strengthen your dog.
  5. Maintain cleanliness in your dog’s resting and living spot.

For more engaging content, visit this article about dog treatment and prevention against parasitic worms.


If you’re worried and you keep on asking “can a dog get distemper if vaccinated”, you have learned all you need to know throughout this post. Make sure to constantly bring your pup to your trusted veterinarian for thorough check-ups. It’s always better to be safe than sorry in the end.

Dogs are one of the best companions we can ever have. If you think you are ready to have one or welcome another to your family, visit Doobert for assistance. Don’t let risks, diseases, and overthinking hold you back; be a volunteer, adopt, and help animals to the best that you can.

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