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Dangerous Dog Virus Found At FT. DE SOTO PARK




Pinellas County park authorities advise caution to campers at Ft. De Soto State Park due to the discovery of a dangerous dog virus on the campground. On Wednesday, a notification surfaced on the reservation website, confirming the existence of canine distemper disease.

As per the American Veterinary Medical Association, canine distemper results from a virus that targets dogs’ respiratory, gastrointestinal, and nervous systems. Experts note the virus usually spreads through airborne exposure via sneezing, coughing, or barking, and through shared food and water items. Infected dogs can be contagious for up to four months. Although the virus can affect dogs of all kinds, it poses a significant risk to unvaccinated dogs and puppies under four months old.

  • Discharge from the eyes and nose
  • Fever
  • Coughing
  • Lethargy
  • Reduced appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Walking in circles, unable to follow a straight path
  • Head tilt
  • Lack of coordination
  • Muscle twitches
  • Convulsions with jaw-chewing movements (“chewing gum fits”) and drooling
  • Seizures
  • Partial or complete paralysis
  • Hard footpads and nose

Experts say about one in two dogs will die after being infected with canine distemper. There is no cure or antiviral medication for the disease, so treatment focuses more on supportive care and hydration.

Pinellas County officials said the disease does not affect cats or people. They also warned to not leave food or water outside.

If you see a sick animal, call 727-582-2100.


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