Canine distemper is a viral disease that can affect many different body systems. Your dog’s respiratory, gastrointestinal, and central nervous systems can be affected. The disease is often fatal especially when it strikes young puppies.
The distemper-causing virus is mainly transmitted through the air. After breathing the airborne particles in, your dog will become infected. Dogs that have been infected will shed the virus through their bodily secretions. They continue to shed the virus a few weeks after the symptoms of the disease have subsided. However, dogs stop shedding the virus after they have completely recovered from it.
Various bodily systems can be affected by distemper as mentioned earlier. Some of the most common symptoms that dogs experience include conjunctivitis, diarrhea, and vomiting. Pneumonia or other signs of an upper respiratory infection may also occur.
Loss of appetite, eye inflammation, and fever are also common signs that your dog is infected with this virus. The central nervous system can also be affected. Symptoms like seizures, loss of motor skills, and depression are common signs. Something more serious may be wrong with your dog if he experiences any of these signs.
Canine distemper can sometimes be hard to diagnose since other conditions can cause some of its same symptoms. A laboratory test will need to be done to confirm a diagnosis. There are various methods used to detect the virus and dogs that are affected will have low white blood cell counts.
Antibiotics may also be given to prevent secondary bacterial infections. If diarrhea is a problem, medications can be given to the relieve that. Some dogs become dehydrated because of the diarrhea. They will need to be given intravenous fluids.
There is a vaccine available to prevent infection by the canine distemper virus. It is best that all dogs are given this vaccination as part of the normal routine. Depending on the specific shot given, your dog may need to receive a booster shot every three years.
As an owner unfortunately, you will have to think about plenty of other illnesses that can affect your pet. If you want to be on the safe side, then you will be aware of the common signs that your dog is suffering from one of these diseases. The best thing that you can do is seek help as soon as you possibly can from a qualified vet.
Author: Darrin Swain