What is Distemper?
Canine distemper is a virus that affects a dog’s respiratory, gastrointestinal, respiratory and central nervous systems, as well as the conjunctival membranes of the eye.
The first signs of canine distemper include sneezing, coughing and thick mucus coming from the eyes and nose. Fever, lethargy, sudden vomiting and diarrhea, depression and/or loss of appetite are also symptoms of the virus.
Puppies and adolescent dogs who have not been fully vaccinated are most vulnerable to the distemper virus. Rescues with unknown vaccination histories can also be vulnerable to this disease.
Serious infections are most often seen in puppies or adolescent dogs. Puppies younger than seven weeks, born to mothers who haven’t been vaccinated against the virus, are extremely susceptible. Once infected, puppies are severely weakened. Often the virus travels to the brain, causing seizures, shaking and trembling. A weakened immune system leaves an infected dog open to secondary infections like pneumonia.
How Do Dogs Get the Virus?
The virus is passed from dog to dog through direct contact with fresh urine, blood or saliva. Sneezing, coughing or sharing food and water bowls are all possible ways for the virus to be passed on.
There is currently no available medication that can cure canine distemper. Vaccinating is the best way to avoid your pet from getting infected.
Please see your veterinarian right away if you suspect your dog has been infected with the canine distemper virus. Call Falls Road Veterinary Hospital at 301-983-8400 today to schedule an examination and discussion with a doctor about any questions or concerns you may have about this disease or anything else affecting the health of your pets. Or fill out our contact form and we will get in touch with you.