Furry Facts – Canine distemper

CANINE distemper is a virus that affects a dog’s respiratory, gastrointestinal, respiratory and central nervous systems, as well as conjunctival membranes of the eye.

What are the general symptoms of canine distemper?

The first signs of canine distemper include sneezing, coughing and thick mucus coming from the eyes and nose. Fever, lethargy, sudden vomiting and diarrhoea. Depression and/or loss of appetite are also symptoms of the virus.

What is it time to see the vet?

Immediately – see your vet right away if you suspect your dog has been infected with the canine distemper virus. The virus spreads rapidly and must be aggressively treated as soon as it is discovered.

How is canine distemper diagnosed?

Canine distemper tests do exist, but the results alone are not reliable. Rather than just testing for the infection, your vet has to look at the whole picture, including a dog’s specific symptoms and health history. Positive results can help confirm an infection, but a dog can still be infected even if test results are negative.

Which dogs are prone to canine distemper?

Puppies and adolescent dogs that have not been vaccinated are most vulnerable to the distemper virus. They are typically rescues with unknown vaccination histories or which have been bought from pet stores.

Serious infections are most often seen in puppies or adolescent dogs. Puppies younger than seven weeks, born to mothers who haven’t been vaccinated against the virus, are extremely susceptible. Once infected, puppies are severely weakened. Often the virus travels to the brain, causing seizures, shaking and trembling. A weakened immune system leaves an infected dog open to secondary infections like pneumonia.

How can canine distemper be prevented?

Make sure your dog has completed his series of vaccinations. If you have a puppy, ensure he gets his first vaccination against the virus at six to eight weeks of age, second vaccination at 10 to 12 weeks and last vaccination at 14 to 16 weeks. Thereafter it’s once a year.

How can you cure distemper?

There is no known medication to cure distemper. Prevention is always better than cure.

 

READ MORE FURRY FACTS HERE

 

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