Arizona Humane Society: Several cases of distemper confirmed in the Valley

Officials with the Arizona Humane Society have issued a warning to pet owners, as there are several confirmed cases of Distemper in the Valley.

In a statement released Tuesday, officials said the virus is a highly contagious airborne virus that is often fatal. The virus spreads through body excretions and inhalation. Signs of Distemper can mirror canine upper respiratory infections and can vary from dog to dog, making a diagnosis very complicated.

Signs of Distemper include:

· Coughing

· Ocular or nasal discharge

· Fever

· Lethargy

· Vomiting

· Diarrhea

· Tremors

· "Bubble gum" chewing

· Seizures

· Callusing of nose and/or foot pads

"AHS has had five of its dogs test positive for Distemper and sadly, four of them had to be euthanized for advanced, neurological stages of the disease," read a portion of the statement.

According to AHS officials, there is no known cure for distemper, but it is preventable as the vaccine is highly effective. They recommend every dog to be vaccinated, starting with booster shots every three to four weeks from six to 20 weeks of age, and then annually based on veterinarian recommendations.

Officials are asking pet owners to not take unvaccinated pets to public places.