Distemper | Distemper in Dogs | Information on Canine Distemper

Canine Distemper

Definition of Distemper

Canine distemper, also called Carre’s disease or hard pad disease, is a highly contagious and frequently fatal disease that primarily affects young domesticated and wild dogs between 2 and 6 months of age. It is especially life-threatening to unvaccinated puppies and wildlife. Distemper is caused by a virus that is closely related to the virus that causes measles. Most dogs are exposed to the canine distemper virus either by inhaling respiratory secretions from an infected animal or by coming into direct contact with an infected dog’s saliva, urine or feces. Once that happens, the virus reproduces in the dog’s respiratory tract and spreads in the blood to the lymph nodes and throughout the body. Infected dogs can develop a wide array of respiratory, gastrointestinal and neurological symptoms. Fortunately, vaccination is extremely effective at preventing distemper in dogs. Most routine puppy vaccine protocols include vaccination against distemper.

Causes and Prevention of Canine Distemper

Canine distemper is caused by a Morbillivirus from the family Paramyxoviridae. It is closely related to the measles virus and to the Rinderpest virus of cattle, and it now is referred to as the Canine Distemper Virus, or CDV. Most dogs are exposed to this virus either by inhaling respiratory secretions from an infected animal or by direct contact with infected saliva, urine or feces. Once that happens, the virus reproduces first in the dog’s

Symptoms of Canine Distemper

Canine distemper is a highly contagious and potentially deadly viral disease that primarily affects young dogs between 3 and 6 months of age. It also can affect wildlife. The virus usually settles in a dog’s respiratory tract first, replicates there and then spreads through the lymphatic system and the blood to other parts of the body. Once an animal is exposed to the canine distemper virus (by inhaling respiratory secretions or coming into direct contact

Diagnosing Canine Distemper

Most veterinarians presented with a sick puppy will draw blood for a complete blood count (CBC) and serum biochemistry panel, which can provide a great deal of information about infection, organ function and overall health. A urinalysis is also routinely performed. Thoracic radiographs (chest x-rays) may be taken and may reveal early stages of distemper and associated pneumonia. There are advanced blood tests that can identify antibodies to the distemper virus. However, these may not

Treatment and Prognosis of Canine Distemper

Distemper in domestic dogs is a highly contagious, often fatal viral disease that affects respiratory, urogenital, gastrointestinal, ocular and central nervous system tissue. Distemper is most commonly seen in young dogs, although unvaccinated, immunocompromised or otherwise stressed dogs of all ages are at risk of contracting the virus as well. The disease causes a range of clinical signs that can include a fluctuating fever, nasal and ocular discharge, cough, depression, loss of appetite, weight loss,

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