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Distemper dogs

Distemper dogs symptoms, risks, causes, diagnosis and prevention

Distemper is a contagious viral disease.

A type of virus known as Canine Distemper Virus (CDV) causes distemper in dogs. This viral disease affects the respiratory, gastro intestinal and central nervous system in dogs. It is important to diagnose canine distemper in dogs because if left untreated, it can prove fatal.

Canine distemper is particularly dangerous among puppies as compared to infected adults. Rendering proper distemper vaccinations can reduce the risks of contracting this virus.

Types and Symptoms of Distemper in Dogs
Untreated distemper in dogs may cause neurological complications or death.

The key symptoms of distemper in dogs are:

  • Mild eye discharge
  • Loss of appetite
  • Running nose
  • Fever for a long period of time
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Hardened feet pads

Risks associated with Distemper in Dogs
Canine distemper affected dogs pose an increased risk to neurological complications. Depression is one of the top most emotional disorders that affect a dog infected with canine distemper. Other neurological disorders include:

  • Partial or Complete paralysis
  • Seizures
  • Deteriorating mental abilities and motor skills
  • Inability to coordinate muscles
  • Increased sensitivity to pain or touch.


Causes of Distemper in Dogs
Airborne particles carrying the Canine Distemper Virus are inhaled by dogs or transmitted through urine or feces of the infected dog. The virus attacks and breeds within the white blood cells, lymphatic system and cells that line the intestinal tract. Humans also pose a risk of contracting the disease from an infected dog. Measles vaccination protects humans from contracting this disease.

Diagnosing distemper in dogs can be a difficult exercise given that tests may provide contradictory results. It is also important to note that various other canine diseases exhibit similar symptoms. Some dogs may only exhibit coughing symptoms and can be misdiagnosed as having kennel cough. Pin pointing canine distemper among dogs is possible only through testing the dog’s cerebral spinal fluid. This is a very expensive procedure and can also be dangerous for your dog. Usually clinical diagnosis, vaccination schedule and routine tests help determine the possibility of canine distemper.

Home Care and Prevention of Distemper in Dogs
There is no specific medicinal treatment that can help cure this viral disease. The only way to cure this disease is by rendering care and medicinal treatment to cure the symptoms and reduce chances of new infections. Antibiotics and IV fluids helps prevent pneumonia and restore lost fluids respectively. You can prevent this disease with distemper vaccinations for dogs. The distemper virus is also easy to eliminate with the help of disinfectants, heat or sunlight.

  Submitted on June 1, 2010  

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