Canine Distemper Information

Canine Distemper is a disease that can be transmitted through sharing body fluids with another animal.

It can affect all types of animals, though with this particular viral disease, it can not affect domesticated cats. Domestic cats have a similar virus called feline distemper, which only affects cats.

As stated by the virus's name, dogs are mostly affected, but ferrets have been known to have this disease as well. This disease is a close relative to measles and rinderpest as they all come from the paramyxovirus family.

Symptoms for distemper are quite similar to that of the measles virus. However, distemper is far more common than measles at this current time.

Its occurrence rate is far higher and, due to the lack of vaccination usage, the virus is present in a large population of dogs in some countries.

Measles are particularly non-existent in major cities. A vaccine was created in 1950 for canine distemper, yet it is not widely used despite the virus running rampant.

It is believed that domesticated dogs were the ones to expose wild life to the virus in the first place. Many wild life conservation centers are experiencing problems because the virus has caused a huge threat to many carnivorous species.

Because of this, certain animals have been extinct or about to become extinct. The black-footed ferret, for example, was driven to near-extinction and the Tasmanian tiger no longer exists because of canine distemper.

Wild dogs in Africa have also been affected. The virus struck the country Tanzania and had did extensive damage to their wildlife. They experienced about a 20% decrease in their lion population in 1991. In current affairs, the virus has been able to mutate itself to affect seals.

As canine distemper is a viral disease, feces, urine, contaminated food, water, and other fluids can spread it. The virus primarily targets the lymphoid, epithelial, and nervous tissue.

It mimics lymphatic tissue so that the body will allow it to enter the blood stream. It can begin to infect the respiratory, gastrointestinal, epithelium, optic nerve, and the central nervous system.

Canine distemper will first reach the lymph nodes and tonsils after two days of being infected. On the third day, the virus will have had successfully entered the blood stream. It is around the three to eight day mark that you will start to notice that your dog will have a high fever and suffer flu-like symptoms.

The fever will drop, but it will come back again later when there is a nasal and eye fluid discharge. Around the three week mark, your dog will either die from neurological trauma or be recovering. About 50% of dogs die from the diseases without treatment.

There is no short term dog first aid for this dog disease.

The best way to prevent it is through vaccination. Dogs who already have this virus will be given antibiotics along with intravenous electrolyte fluids to restore nutrients lost.

If the virus has already reached the central nervous system, there is no treatment available at this current time.

Canine Distemper to Dog Diseases