Distemper warning for Chicago-area pet owners

December 17, 2010 (CHICAGO)

It's a highly contagious disease that can kill house pets.

An outbreak six years ago affected more than 100 dogs.

The city's Department of Animal Care and Control recommends vaccinating dogs and cats that haven't already had their shots.

"Distemper is highly contagious to dogs and cats that are unvaccinated," said Cherie Travis, Animal Care and Control. "The vaccine is the best protection for preventing the spread of this disease, and so our best opportunity is to educate the public now, to make sure people vaccinate their dogs and cats."

Distemper attacks the nervous system. Symptoms include trembling and seizures.

Humans can not contract the distemper virus.

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