What is Distemper?

Knowing the cruel disease "Distemper"


"The dog lives for the day, the hour, even the moment." Robert Falcon Scott



Anyone with a dog has heard the expression Distemper, but do you know what it is? The subsequent article will give you a concise overview.

Canine Distemper is an extremely contagious disease caused by a virus attacking the respiratory, gastrointestinal, and nervous systems of dogs. Even though dogs are the most commonly affected, Canine Distemper is also seen in foxes, ferrets, mink and several other carnivores. These infected animals are frequently the cause of the spread of this disease to domestic dogs.

Canine Distemper is spread by means of bodily secretions (nasal fluid for instance). The most familiar way it is caught is by breathing in particles secreted by infected dogs. For several weeks after recovery, a dog will still carry the virus that be able to lead to further contamination if not properly quarantined.

Upon contracting the virus, dogs often seem normal for several days. The initial symptoms of the disease are runny nose, watery eyes and a sore throat. The dog’s temperature will increase to approximately 103.5°F (39.7°C).

Over the next couple of days the symptoms get worse with the tonsils becoming enlarged, and the dog may also develop diarrhea. After approximately four weeks the virus starts to affect the brain. The dog will begin twitching, which will progressively turn into bigger convulsions. The convulsions generally become so frequent and violent, that euthanasia (The painless killing of a patient suffering from an incurable and painful disease or in an irreversible coma. The practice is illegal in most countries.) is often carried out at this stage.

At this time, there is no cure for the actual virus that causes Canine Distemper. Treatment consists of controlling the spread and severity of secondary symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea. Constant care is considered necessary to make your dog as comfortable as possible.

The best thing to do is to have your dog immunized against this disorder. This will make it needless to put yourself and your dog through the hardship and heartache associated with Canine Distemper. 


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