Canine distemper is one of the most serious diseases common in dogs. It is highly contagious and lethal. It is most closely related to the measles or rinderpest, and is caused by a paramyxovirus. When it affects a host, the animal can develop severe illnesses and widespread infections in multiple systems that become very difficult to treat.
This may sound scary, but the good news is that it is highly preventable, so long as dog owners stay up to date on distemper shots for dogs in Phoenix, AZ. The distemper vaccine, along with the rabies, adenovirus and parvovirus vaccines, are all considered by veterinarians to be core vaccines that every dog should get.
Still, it is important to be aware of the symptoms of canine distemper, especially if you’re dealing with a dog that has an unknown vaccination history. Here’s a quick overview of some of these symptoms, which come in two primary stages.
The first symptom of canine distemper that people are likely to notice is a pus-like discharge from the eyes. If this is followed by a fever, nasal discharge (generally clear) and a loss of appetite, these are all signs that the dog could be experiencing early stages of distemper. The fever typically sets in three to six days after initial infection, though the symptoms will vary depending on the severity of the illness.
In addition to the aforementioned symptoms, some of the symptoms most likely to manifest during this first stage include general lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, coughing, pustular dermatitis (in rare circumstances) and potential inflammation of the spinal cord and brain. The virus could also cause secondary bacterial infections as a result of the compromised immune system.
If infected dogs survive the acute stages of the illness, they could develop hyperkeratosis in the paws and nose, causing those areas to harden and enlarge.
In some cases, dogs may develop neurological problems as the disease progresses, as it will eventually attack the central nervous system. Some of the signs dog owners might notice include head tilting, circling, seizures, muscles twitching, convulsions, increased salivation and chewing motions, nystagmus (repeated eye movements of a certain type) or partial or full paralysis. The condition may worsen to the point of death.
All dogs are at risk for distemper, but particularly dogs that have not been vaccinated, or puppies that are less than four months old. This is one of the reasons why it’s generally not recommended to take puppies out to dog parks or day care facilities until they are at least six months old.
There is, unfortunately, no cure for canine distemper. All care provided for distemper is generally aimed at managing the dog’s condition and to support the dog as much as possible. Veterinarians can try to prevent secondary infections from occurring, but the distemper itself cannot be cured, which is why vaccination is so important.
For more information about canine distemper vaccines in Phoenix, AZ, or to schedule an appointment for your pet, contact Christown Animal Hospital today.
Categorised in: Dog Vaccinations
This post was written by Writer