Distemper Disease Symptoms Treatment Prevention Tips

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Distemper Disease Symptoms Treatment Prevention Tips

by John Edwards


Distemper is a viral disease that attacks the cells of the skin, respiratory tract, intestinal tract, and brain. It can cause a change in the dog's appearance, nervous disorders, and death. Young puppies are at highest risk of catching distemper, although all unvaccinated dogs are vulnerable to it.

Distemper is sometimes called the "canine plague" due to its contagious nature. Infected dogs and many other animals, including wolves, raccoons, foxes, and minks, can spread the virus, mainly in their breath. A dog's breath contains the virus particles in minute droplets, much as is the case with human measles. If the infection occurs through inhalation of the virus, it is spread throughout the body by the defensive cells that are trying to capture and kill it. However, you can rest assured for your personal safety because humans are not susceptible to contracting distemper.

What are the symptoms of Distemper?

A puppy may survive a very light infection showing only listlessness and a slight temperature. In acute cases, however, a wider variety of symptoms may appear. In the early stages of the infection, dogs will suffer from fever, a loss of appetite, lethargy, dehydration, vomiting, and diarrhea. A white or green pus-like discharge may run from the eyes and nose, the skin may become spotted with red, pussy abscesses, and the dog's nose and footpads may become broken and dry. In the advanced stages of infection, brain damage and nervous disorders may develop. Your dog may shake nervously, become restless and moody, and experience blindness and paralysis.

How can Distemper be treated?

If your dog shows any of the symptoms of distemper, don't delay. Call your veterinarian immediately. Treatment will be based on the stage of infection. Your dog may be administered canine distemper anti-serum, anti-convulsants, antibiotics to prevent secondary bacterial infection, fluids to cure dehydration, medications to stop the diarrhea and vomiting, eye ointment, and vitamins. If your dog survives this lethal disease, she can recover gradually from the symptoms with constant home care under the direction of your veterinarian.

Are there any preventative measures against Distemper?

The key to preventing distemper is vaccination. The first distemper shot should be given shortly after weaning and before a puppy is brought into a new home where she will be exposed to other dogs. Start vaccinating your puppy against this disease at six to eight weeks. This will consist of a series of shots that end when your puppy is about fourteen to sixteen weeks old.

During this time, keep your puppy out of any situation where she could come in contact with the disease. Afterward, annual booster shots are necessary to adequately shield your dog from infection. Ignore anyone who tries to persuade you that early immunization will last a lifetime - that myth was repudiated long ago.

John Edwards is a long time dog lover. Visit his website for dog constipation treatment and many more tips at: http://www.dogcaretraining.com



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