Here Are The Top 8 Ways To Prevent The Spread Of Distemper
Looking for the top ways that you can prevent the spread of disease? Here they are! Distemper is a serious and potentially fatal illness that impacts cats and dogs, as well as many other animal species. Thankfully, this disease is also very preventable, and with the proper precautions, you too can prevent the spread of the Distemper virus!
1. Vaccinate your pet! This is the number one best way to prevent Distemper. Make sure your dog or cat receives the full series of the Distemper vaccine. The shot is applied by an injection under the skin that introduces a small amount of an infectious organism into an animal’s immune system. Vaccines allow an animal’s immune system to identify the virus and then to respond quickly in the future if the body ever comes into contact with it again.
2. Bleach everything in your home. If an animal in your home has ever had Distemper, make sure to bleach everything non-porous with a solution of 1 part bleach to 32 parts water. If you don’t like using liquid bleach, you can view our favorite non-liquid bleach products here.
Before a disinfectant is used, it is recommended that the area is first scrubbed with water. Some disinfectants are deactivated by urine, feces, vomit, and other soaps and detergents, which is why it is necessary to clean with water beforehand.
Other products that have been noted as successful viral disinfectants include Quaternary ammonium compounds (QUATs). They are some of the most common disinfectants found in households and include benzalkonium chloride and dodecyl dimethyl ammonium chloride. Routine cleanings are just as important as cleaning after an infected pet, so make sure to periodically isolate your animals in a section of your house, and disinfect the rest of your home. If you don’t know which disinfectant to get, you can click here to see our top picks!
If there are items in your home that you plan to throw away, bleach and disinfect them as well in order to prevent the spread of the disease outside of your home. Let the bleach sit on each item for 10 minutes, and then rinse thoroughly with water and let air dry. Clean your carpets with a bleach solution and a carpet steamer. Scrub the bottom of the carpet steamer after using, and pour the leftover bleach water down the toilet.
3. Wash Your Hands. Washing your hands or using hand sanitizer is a great way to prevent the spread of any disease, not only Distemper. You should wear gloves when handling animal feces or touching unfamiliar animals, and always wash your hands directly afterward. Check out the top hand-washing soaps on Business Insider, and why Dial Original Gold Antimicrobial Soap has ranked the best antimicrobial soap for preventing disease.
4. Wash Fabric and Clothing. If a sick animal has been in your home, or if you have handled an infected dog or cat, put your dirty clothes and linens directly into the washing machine. Use a bleach solution with your detergent if you can, or toss your soiled fabrics. Keep your potentially contaminated clothing away from clean clothes to prevent the spread of disease. Remember, the Distemper virus can be transmitted on shoes, clothing, and other fabrics, so it is important to keep yourself clean!
5. Isolate/Quarantine Potentially Sick Animals. Potentially sick animals must be kept in a separate room from healthy animals. Your veterinarian will give you specific instructions for quarantine based upon the severity of the disease and when your pet was exposed to the virus (if known). Distemper can be passed from animal to animal very easily through bodily fluids, secretions, and on shoes and clothing, so isolating an animal while he or she is sick or still shedding the disease is vital! For more information on quarantine, check out our blog, The Who, What, When, Where, and Why’s of Animal Quarantine.
6. Keep Distemper vaccinations up-to-date. Your pet will receive all of his or her core vaccinations a few weeks after birth, and most vaccinations require a booster shot throughout an animal’s life to remain effective. Talk to your veterinarian about the best schedule for your pet, and schedule an appointment to have your four-legged friend vaccinated against the deadly disease.
7. Keep your dog away from infected animals and wildlife. Many other animal species such as raccoons, foxes, and wolves can carry the Distemper virus. Keep food bowls, food, and trash inside or locked away in order to discourage wildlife from coming into your yard. Not only can wildlife transmit the disease to your animals, but your animals can make wildlife ill as well. If a wild animal becomes sick with Distemper, entire populations and species can suffer, so it is very important to take the precautions listed above.
8. Be careful socializing. Distemper is rapidly spread in confined areas where there are many animals in one place, such as dog parks, pet stores, and doggy daycares. Keep your unvaccinated dog or cat away from these areas as much as possible.
Prevention is always the best practice and far easier than treating an illness. Many preventable diseases including Distemper do not yet have a cure and may require a lifetime of managing symptoms. Follow the 8 prevention steps listed above to ensure that your furry friend is happy and healthy for a long time!