Canine distemper is a type of viral disease and is often fatal and highly contagious. It damages the gastrointestinal, respiratory and central nervous system. Dogs are commonly infected by this disease but it may also be seen in other types of animals such as wolf, fox and etc. This may also harm the eyes. It may also damage the optic nerve of the eye and may lead to blindness. Dogs who have already suffered from this disease can also suffer from chronic symptom like the nose pads may be hardened or the foot may also be hardened. If the puppy gets the disease before its second teeth have been erupted then the teeth erosion can occur. This is the virus that kills the cells which makes a teeth enamel. But it is also possible to re-enamel the tooth. It is a severe and potentially fatal disease. If any of the above symptoms are seen, immediately the vet should be called.
Canine distemper is contracted initially through the airborne viral particles that the breath which is taken in by the dog. Dogs who are infected with this disease i.e., canine distemper shed the virus through its body like secreting by respirations and by feces and urine secretions. By shedding the virus it may also affect other objects or dogs. Directly coming in contact with the urine, feces, kennels, toys or bedding might hold the virus. Even if all the symptoms have been disappeared the dogs still can shed viruses through any secretion during the time of recovery period. When a dog who was suffering from canine distemper is fully cured it does not shed viruses any more.
Typical signs do not always reflect canine distemper. But the canine distemper may include symptoms given under:
1. When the fever is between the range of 103F to 106F (39C to 41C).
2. When cough is noted
3. Discharge from nose
4. Tends to vomit
7. When there is a lack of appetite
9. Inflammation of eye
10. Partial or complete paralysis
12. Twitching of muscles
13. When the mental abilities deteriorate
15. Fever is the first symptom of canine distemper but it may also be unnoticed. Symptoms gradually become more and more severe as the disease develops.
At this point of time there is no particular solution for this disease but the treatment is supportive. The dog should be kept at the very comfortable level i.e. in a warm and dry area, with regular nursing. This disease includes intravenous fluids and antibiotics to help the infections and seizures medications and at the same time the treatments to control the additional symptoms. Puppies should get the vaccines starting from the age of 1.5 to 2 months. Boosters should be given in every 2-3 weeks intervals till the puppy comes to the age of 3.5 to 4 months. It is important to note that no vaccine is 100% safe but it keeps the dogs on the safer side. It is a saying that prevention is better than cure.