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The Invention of the Fromm-D Distemper Vaccine

Research on the once-world’s-largest fox farm, completed by Dr. R. G. Green in 1938 while employed under the Fromm Bros. in the Fromm Laboratory, is the reason dog and ferret owners have access to the distemper vaccine today.

Advertisment for the former Fromm Laboratories, Inc. of Grafton, Wisconsin featuring the Fromm-D distemper vaccine.

Advertisment for the former Fromm Laboratories, Inc. of Grafton, Wisconsin featuring the Fromm-D distemper vaccine.

Research into a possible vaccine was initiated after the Fromm Bros. encountered huge losses in their fox herd due to distemper. Losses due to distemper , the single largest factor, ranged from 5,000 to 8,000 animals per year. With large annual losses confronting them, Fromm Bros. decided to do something about the problem of disease and prevailed upon Dr. R. G. Green, Department of Bacteriology, University of Minnesota, to undertake a program of investigation. A long period of study and research ensued. With the building of a modern laboratory and the construction of extensive quarters for experimental animals, the investment in research exceeded a million dollars.1

The result of Dr. Green’s investigations was a modified canine distemper virus which completely freed the Fromm farms of distemper. All scientific findings and the new distemper vaccine were made available to the entire fur farming industry in 1938. The use of the new vaccine on fur farms throughout the United States demonstrated beyond question the efficacy of the modified canine virus in bringing violent outbreaks of distemper under control.1

The success of the new vaccine in controlling distemper among foxes led to investigations as to the application of the new principle to the immunization of dogs. A new vaccine was developed from the modified canine distemper virus to be used specifically in the protection of dogs against distemper. This vaccine, Fromm-D, is used to this day (under a new brand name) to vaccinate dogs as well as ferrets.1

For additional information on the Fromm-D Distemper Vaccine, contact:

Fromm Bros. Historical Preservation Society, Inc.
436 County Road F, Hamburg WI 54411


Phone: (715) 539-8574

For further reading on this topic:

The Quest for a Safe and Effective Canine Distemper Virus Vaccine for Black-footed Ferrets

Clinical trials with canine distemper vaccines in exotic carnivores

Kathrene Pinkerton. 1947. Bright With Silver. Sloane, New York, First Edition.

1. Fromm Bros. Historical Preservation Society. Content retrieved May 2, 2012 from