Dog Distemper Information

Dog Distemper is a virus that infects many dogs, distemper, is much like the measles that plague humans.

It is the most common cause of deaths by infections in dogs today. With the advancement of vaccinations and the awareness of health issues in dogs, distemper is riskier and more likely for dogs that have NOT been vaccinated.

The virus is most usually contracted through inhalation. Most cases are seen in puppies between six and twelve weeks of age.

Signs and Symptoms of the Dog Distemper Virus

Nearly half of the canines that become infected with distemper will show very mild or no signs and symptoms of the virus. A healthier dog will not become as ill as one that is unhealthy and improperly nourished.

The infectious virus, invades the cells of the brain as well as the skin cells. Many times, the dog will develop secondary infections due to the immunosuppressant effects. After the canine is exposed to the virus, it may take up to nine days for symptoms to begin to appear.

The stages of the infectious process are briefly
discussed in the following:

  • During the first days of the infection, the dog will develop a fever with appetite loss, fatigue and watery eyes and nose.
  • The watering of the eyes and nose turns into a thickened discharge after several days. The sticky discharge is often yellow and thick.

    A cough begins in the dog and blisters often are seen on the stomach. Dehydration is often a complication because of the diarrhea and vomiting.

  • The next stage usually is apparent in two to three weeks. The brain of the dog is usually involved at this time. You may notice slobbering or head shaking by the dog.

    The dog may have involuntary jaw chewing actions. Seizures can occur during this stage. Following the seizures, the canine may be very dazed and confused.

    The dog can appear to blind and shying from owners as he roams around with no purpose.

Treating Dog Distemper

The vet of your choice is the only way to treat dog distemper. Your dog must be given antibiotics as a preventative measure against secondary infections. The antibiotics will not help the distemper.

Your canine will receive supporting treatments to help with the distemper. IV fluids for dehydration and medicines for the diarrhea and Vomiting are given.

When seizures are present, the vet will administer sedatives and medications to control these. The overall outcome of the health of your dog will depend upon the individual dog and how quickly he was treated.

The health of your dog at the time of initial infection will determine the ability of the canine to recover. A dog that is well kept and properly nourished will heal much sooner. One that has received vaccinations from diseases will also have a better chance of surviving this virus.

The best protection from Distemper is to prevent it. This can be done with the proper vaccination. Vaccinating your pet against distemper is usually one hundred percent effective in protection.

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