World Renown Animal Behaviorist And
Radio Talk Show Host, Dr. Dennis Fetko, Dr. Dog Reveals His
Proven Dog Training Methods. Stop Barking, Fighting, Biting,
Chewing, Digging, Soiling, Jumping, Pulling And More--with
No Jerking, Clicking, Or Squirting! Click Here!
housebreak your puppy in 7 days or even
less. If you
need to potty train your puppy NOW - this
best selling system will show you how! Click Here!
Distemper in Dogs
Symptoms, treatment and prognosis
What is Canine Distemper
Distemper is a highly contagious, viral disease which
is often fatal. It affects the gastrointestinal, respiratory
and central nervous systems. Canine distemper infects dogs but
can be found in other animals:
signs of dog distemper are not always typical.
Symptoms may include
Fever 39C to 41C
(103F to 106F)
Loss of appetite,
Neurological Symptoms of dog distemper include
Deterioration of mental abilities
Loss of motor skills
Complete or partial paralysis
Increased sensitivity to sensory stimuli, such as pain or
A fever is often the initial symptom but may go unnoticed.
Symptoms become more serious and noticeable as the disease
progresses. The symptoms become exacerbated by secondary
Complications involving the eyes can also occur. Some
complications of the eye can be serious enough to damage the
optic nerve and cause the dog to go blind.
Encephalomyelitis is a complication that can develop. It is an
inflammation of the brain and spinal cord.
Dogs who have recovered can
also suffer chronic symptoms such as hardening of the foot and
nose pads. Erosion of the teeth can occur if a puppy contracts
the disease before its second teeth have erupted. (The virus
kills the cells that make tooth enamel) It is possible to
re-enamel the teeth.
Canine Distemper is a very
serious, potentially fatal disease.
If your dog has any of the above symptoms take it to your
is Canine Distemper contracted?
It is contracted primarily
through airborne viral particles that the dog breathes in.
Infected dogs shed the virus through bodily secretions such as
respiratory secretions, and urine and feces excretions. Dogs
contract the virus by direct contact with urine, feces, or
secretions from infected dogs. Also contact with kennels,
bedding, toys, or other objects that may also hold the virus.
During the recovery period
(which can last several weeks) dogs can still shed the virus
even if all symptoms have disappeared. Once fully recovered
previously infected dogs no longer shed the virus.
What is the treatment for
At this time, there is no
cure for the actual virus which causes canine Distemper.
Treatment is supportive. That means that your vet will treat
the symptoms as they occur. For example the dog may need an
intravenous drip if it is dehydrated, or anticonvulsants if it
is having seizures. The dog is kept as comfortable as possible
with constant nursing in a warm dry draft free area.
Prognosis for Canine
Distemper is fatal in over fifty percent of adult dogs who
contract the virus and eighty percent of puppies. Death occurs
between 2 weeks and 3 months after infection. The main cause
of death is from complications to the central nervous system.
Many vets will recommend euthanasia when there are progressive
incapacitating neurological symptoms.
Nervous problems can persist many weeks after the animal has
recovered from all other symptoms of the infection.
Some dogs appear to recover but
may develop chronic or fatal nervous system problems.
Is there anyway to
prevent canine distemper?
Vaccination is the best way to prevent Canine Distemper.
This article has
not been written by a veterinarian & should not be
considered a replacement for a veterinarian visit. The
articles are provided for informative purposes only. While
great care has been made in the creation of these articles,
we cannot guarantee the accuracy or omissions on these
pages. If in any doubt whatsoever, seek professional medical
advice from your veterinarian.