Friday, 6 January 2012

Distemper vaccine-is it safe?

Ferrets can contract Canine Distemper and sadly it is nearly always fatal. They can pick up the disease by going out on walks or to shows and meeting infected animals, or it can also be brought into the home on clothes and shoes.
Typical symptoms of distemper include fever, thickened skin around the chin, lips and feet, conjunctivitis, diarrhoea, vomiting and seizures. 
There are vaccines for distemper that can normally be given once a year. Unfortunately the vaccines currently available are not licensed for use on ferrets, which can lead to problems. Most ferrets can have the vaccine and suffer no adverse reactions, however there are a few cases in which ferrets have become very ill from having a bad reaction, even to the extent that it becomes fatal. 
My two are due for their first vaccination soon and I am concerned that this vaccination is going to do more harm than good. However, the number of ferrets that have the vaccine without being affected far outweigh those that do suffer from a reaction. 
Because of the concern that surrounds these unlicensed vaccines I have signed a petition called 'The formation of a regulated vaccine for ferrets against Canine Distemper within the UK'. Does pretty much what it says on the tin! If you would like to find out more or even sign the petition please visit  http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/the-formation-of-a-regulated-vaccine-for-ferrets-agains.html

For more information on Canine Distemper in ferrets you could try http://starescue.org.uk/#/ferret-health-part-3/4541763939 Or http://www.britishferrets.info/index.php?p=1_7_Health-Issues Although most ferret sites will have information on Canine Distemper.

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