May 20, 2024

A dead fox was found infected with the distemper virus in Landsberg am Lech in Upper Bavaria. The Weilheim-Schongau district office therefore advises residents to protect their dogs through vaccination. Authorities announced Friday that the risk of infection in unvaccinated dogs while walking in nature cannot be ruled out. According to insurance companies, vaccinations for dogs cost between 50 and 70 euros.

Deadly to dogs, harmless to humans

This virus is highly contagious and can be fatal to dogs. It has been repeatedly found in dogs and wild animals such as foxes, badgers, martens, and raccoons. It is transmitted by droplets from infected dogs and other infected animals, through feces and urine, and through infected food and water. Distemper virus does not occur in cats. It is harmless to humans.

Diarrhea, cough, and disturbed movement patterns

Dog owners can primarily diagnose their animal’s illness through diarrhea and coughing, but distemper can also be accompanied by behavioral changes, convulsions and paralysis, reports the Bavarian Hunting Association. The animals appeared sleepy, moved erratically, lost their natural shyness, and could become aggressive. Depending on the course of the disease, the chance of an animal dying from distemper is up to 80%.

Distemper virus flares up in Bavaria

Distemper has been repeatedly detected in Bavaria, for example in April 2023 in the Weissenburg-Gunzenhausen region, shortly afterwards in the Upper Palatinate, and a year earlier in the Freising region. Experts attribute the resurgence of the virus to, among other things, vaccination fatigue among animal owners and the importation of animals from Eastern Europe.

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