Fronton Resident Claims a Dangerous Virus is Killing her Family's Dogs

3 years 10 months 3 weeks ago Saturday, September 02 2017 Sep 2, 2017 September 02, 2017 7:19 PM September 02, 2017 in News

FRONTON- A woman claims dogs in her neighborhood have died from a deadly disease.
     Rosie Guerra was born and raised in Fronton. She enjoys living in the small community surrounded by family. 
     "Everybody is related, one way or another. From great great great to cousins brothers sister," Guerra said.
     Guerra said in the last three months something's changed in her small community. 
     "A lot of our pets have been getting sick and dying," Guerra told CHANNEL 5 NEWS.
     She said one of those pets was her mother's beloved dog Chiquita. Her mother began noticing something was wrong with Chiquita. She explained Chiquita began shaking continuously. Guerra and her mother took to Chiquita to the families vet. They were told she contracted distemper. 
     "Chiquita died not too long ago. And we saw her through all the changes from not eating to sometimes eating. Um she got really thin, I mean bone thin and she just passed," Guerra said.
     We spoke to Veterinarian Diane Debruyn. She explains distemper is a disease passed between dogs similarly to the common cold. It can also be passed through urine. She said distemper begins as a repertory infection than may affect the nervous system. 
     "The final stage is if the virus gets into the nervous system the dogs can actually develop neurological symptoms of muscle twitching, sometimes a twitching of the jaw and sometimes full blown seizures," Dr. Debruyn explained.
     She told CHANNEL 5 NEWS the disease can be deadly to dogs who are not up to date on all of their vaccinations. She said once an non-vaccinated dog contracts the virus, there is no cure. She explained being a responsible pet owner is the best way to keep your dog safe. 
     "There are a lot of people that don't understand that vaccines need to be boostered because of the puppy's immune system. Then they never boostered them and they were able to get infections later on," Dr. Debruyn explained.
     Dr. Debruyn said the disease is common in the valley partly due the amount of wild dogs.  

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