Canine distemper is a highly contagious—and often fatal—disease caused by the canine distemper virus (CDV). It attacks the gastrointestinal, respiratory, and, sometimes, the nervous systems of dogs and puppies. Canines can become infected through non-contact exposure to respiratory fluids of infected animals.
Canine Distemper Symptoms
The first symptom of canine distemper is usually a discharge from the eye. Additional symptoms include:
- Nasal discharge
- Fever (which often comes and goes unnoticed)
- Lack of appetite
- Vomiting and diarrhea
In later stages of distemper, the virus can attack the nervous system, causing:
- Hardened footpads
Canine Distemper Treatment
Your veterinarian can diagnose canine distemper based on physical appearance as well as lab tests. Unfortunately, there is no cure for canine distemper. If your dog is infected, treatments will only alleviate the symptoms. Treatments by your vet will include I.V. fluids such as Lactated Ringers and antibiotics such as Clavamox. Severely effected animals may require pain medication and anti-seizure medication. Dogs which are recovering will benefit greatly from a high calorie food such as Hill’s Prescription a/d.
It is critical that you vaccinate your dog for canine distemper.
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