Many dog owners are unaware of the dangers of distemper in dogs. This highly contagious disease can be fatal, so it’s important to know the symptoms and how to prevent it. Distemper is a highly contagious viral disease that affects dogs, raccoons, and foxes. The virus is spread through the air, contact with infected animals or their feces, and contaminated surfaces. Symptoms of distemper can include fever, coughing, vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite.
The virus can also affect the dog’s brain and spinal cord leading to seizures, paralysis, and death. It’s important to know about distemper and understand what it looks like in order to get your dog help if they become infected. Keep reading to learn more about distemper in dogs.
What are the symptoms of distemper?
Distemper is an extremely contagious and serious viral infection that can affect dogs of all ages but is most commonly seen in puppies. Distemper attacks the respiratory, gastrointestinal, and nervous systems. The first sign of distemper is often a high fever. Dogs may have a thick discharge from their nose and eyes, and they may be lethargic and uninterested in food or water. As the disease progresses, dogs may develop pneumonia, diarrhea, and seizures. In severe cases, the dog may develop pneumonia or inflammation of the brain, which can be fatal. If you think your dog may have distemper, take him to the veterinarian immediately. The vet will perform a physical exam and may order tests to confirm a diagnosis.
How is distemper diagnosed and treated?
If you take your dog to be evaluated for distemper, your veterinarian will likely use clinical appearance and laboratory testing to diagnose the virus. Currently, there is not a known cure for the canine distemper virus. As a result, treatment usually focuses on supportive care to mitigate secondary infections. Supportive care includes medications and fluids to control vomiting, diarrhea, neurologic symptoms, and dehydration. If a dog is infected with canine distemper, it must be separated from other animals to reduce the risk of further infection. The key to the most successful outcomes is early detection and treatment. If you notice that your dog begins to act differently or is lethargic, you should have it evaluated by a vet as soon as possible.
How can you protect your dog against distemper?
The chances of your dog contracting distemper are relatively high if your dog is not vaccinated. There are a few things you can do to help prevent your dog from getting distemper. First, make sure your dog is up to date on vaccinations. A series of vaccinations are administered to puppies to improve immunity. Additionally, your dog will require annual vaccinations to stay fully immunized. You must avoid gaps in the immunization schedule to ensure that your dog is always up to date.
Further, keep your dog away from other animals that may be infected. This means trying to avoid contact with wildlife and taking caution when socializing puppies or unvaccinated dogs at parks, puppy classes, and doggy daycare. As canine distemper can also affect wildlife populations, contact between wild animals and pet dogs can easily spread the virus. For example, an outbreak of canine distemper in a local raccoon or skunk population can signal an increased risk for pet dogs in the area. And finally, if you think your dog may have distemper, take them to the vet as soon as possible.
Overall, distemper is a serious and potentially fatal disease in dogs. It can cause a wide range of symptoms, including fever, coughing, vomiting, and diarrhea. Dogs that contract distemper may also develop neurological symptoms, such as seizures or paralysis. If left untreated, distemper can be fatal. Early diagnosis and treatment are essential for the best possible outcome.
If you have a dog who has died from distemper, you can seek out pet cremation services and have a memorial.