Canine distemper

(Last Updated On: 31/01/2017)

Canine distemper

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One of the major diseases in dogs is the Canine distemper. This is a viral disease which can also be found in felines, ferrets and others. Just like measles and chickenpox in humans, this viral disease is very contagious in dogs and is fatal if not treated on time. Those dogs and puppies who are not vaccinated, they have a poor system thus making them an easy target for Canine distemper.

Canine distemper is a single stranded negative RNA which can spread through feces, urine, aerosol droplets in the air. It’s highly recommended that if you are walking your dog and you see dog feces from a distance then change your direction and don’t let your dog smell another dog’s privates or excretions left on the road. This virus can also spread through water and food and the signs of your dog catching Canine distemper may start after 3 to 4 days where you will notice high body temperature.

Sometimes there are dogs who may not show any signs of catching Canine distemper because of their good health; however dogs with low immunity system and malnourishment may have signs appearing from the third sign and this can very fatal. If your dog is around an infected dog then it can catch by just inhaling air in the surroundings. The highest ration of this disease is in pups who are young and unvaccinated. If your pup has it then it’s better to keep it away from the rest of the litter and parents, seek your vet’s attention for treatment otherwise they are usually fatal in pups because of their young age and low immunity system.

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Canine distemper attacks body cells on the skin, and then travel through respiratory system where they get into the blood and then infect brain cells and other body organs. The first symptom of distemper viral disease is the high body temperature (fever). Other symptoms include a fluid releasing from nostrils and eyes, laziness, loss of appetite, and your dog ignoring whatever you are saying as if it is deaf. Some people might confuse it with cold and may start giving their own way of medications. It doesn’t matter if it’s cold or any other disease, vet’s immediate attention is required, nothing is more important than your furry four legged children.

After a few days you will notice that the discharge from the nose and eyes is getting thick and brownish color and is very sticky. Blisters will start to appear on the abdomen area, your dog will have a dry cough followed by diarrhea and vomiting. At times when the treatments start for a week your dog starts getting in a better shape and you might want to stop the medicines, however this is not recommended because Canine distemper is highly strong and immune to drugs, a second bacterial infection may start which may affect the respiratory system or gastrointestinal tract.

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If your dogs are in the second stage of the viral disease, then this is a very complicated and scary stage. Your dog may show symptoms by chewing on its jaw (which will look like as if it’s chewing a bubble gum), there will be continuous head shaking and at time seizures attacks. Your dog will start running in circles, will start kicking its paws, will fall more often when walking, will bump into things, will be shy and at times will show aggression and may even attack. Your dog will also have hard pads which can be a serious stage sign.

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Your vet can diagnose Canine distemper viral by performing different tests. To confirm if the viral activity is taking place in the head, your vet will use the spinal tap method which will take the analysis of cerebro-spinal fluid. Another step is to involve distemper myoclonus, through this method a rhythmic contraction of muscles will be noted, if it is 60 per minute then it is a confirmation that your dog has Canine distemper. Your dog may have pain and at times it will whine and cry because of it.

Your vet will treat this virus by different antibiotics and IV fluids for dehydration, controlling bacterial growth, and fever.  The proper treatment of your dog depends on its age, immune level and health. Your dog may recover or may not. You can prevent Canine distemper by proper vaccination of your dogs and giving immune boosters to your bitch before mating.

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