Canine distemper is a very life-threatening disease, which is triggered by a highly contagious virus that attacks the gastrointestinal, respiratory and the nervous systems of dogs. Canine distemper disease can also affect other wild members of the canine family, such as coyotes, raccoons, foxes as well as wolves. Younger dogs are more susceptible to becoming infected although; older dogs can become infected as well, however without as much regularity.
Once a dog develops the disease, more than fifty percent of them die from canine distemper, with and even lower survival rate in puppies by twenty percent. Therefore if a dog is able to survive canine distemper, it is highly likely that is general health is damaged permanently.
Some cases of canine distemper can leave the animal impaired by its nervous system with no real hope of recovering totally. It is common to find either complete or partial paralysis, as well as negative effects on the dog’s perception of sight as well as in its sense of hearing and smelling. Once infected the animal is more susceptible to other diseases, like pneumonia. However, CDV or the canine distemper virus is not contagious to humans.
Contact with mucous or discharges from the infected animal, such as run off from the eyes and nose can transmit the canine distemper virus. As well as the exposure to an infected animal feces and urine can also produce the canine distemper virus.
It is possible for a healthy dog to contract the canine distemper virus when exposed to any areas that have hosted an infected animal, such as kennels and even your back yard. Since the canine distemper virus is an airborne virus, it is able to stay alive outside of its host animal for long periods of time.
There are some scientists who predict that every living dog of twelve months in age has had contact with the canine distemper virus at some point in its life, therefore it is nearly impossible to prevent your pet from becoming exposed to the virus.
The canine distemper virus and its symptoms are not so easily recognized. Since this is so, it is rare for immediate treatment to be given to the infected animal. Often the canine distemper virus is confused with other ailments such as a bad cold since the majority of infected dogs show signs of a stuffy head and run high fevers. Other internal problems can develop, such as severed inflammation of the stomach as well as bronchitis and pneumonia.
One of the symptoms you should be aware of when looking for signs of the canine distemper virus is a discharge from the eyes as well as squinting. Especially if this occurs along with sudden weight loss and diarrhea as well as vomiting, nasal drips and coughing, as these are sure signs that there is good reason to be concerned for your dog’s health.
In the more advanced stages of the disease, the nervous system will give signs such as complete or partial paralysis or even strange twitching or nervous ticks. Generally, dogs that have become infected will show signs of having no energy and become limp, with little to no appetite. Some cases of the canine distemper virus can cause a surge in the dog’s keratin cells, which will result in the dog’s footpads becoming hardened by its sudden growth.
Methods of Preventing CDV
Since canine distemper has varies signs and is far spread it is best to visit your veterinarian as soon as possible for a diagnosis if your pet does display any of the signs mentioned above.
Comparable to many diseases, which are viral, surviving an infection will generally cause the development of an ample immunity; this is required for the protection of the animal from the infection of distemper, lasting the remainder of their lives for a dog. On the other hand, there are many dogs who do not survive the infection, especially puppies.
The surest and safest manner of protection is still with a vaccination. Until there are scientific developments in distemper vaccine, which can give a life long, immunity with a single series of inoculations with a guarantee, vets will recommend that your dog be vaccinated yearly for distemper.
Puppies that are born to a mother dog who has survived the disease will pass on certain immunities to their litter when the first milk produced is fed to the puppies during their first few days of life. The amount of antibodies a mother has will differ, in the amount of immunity a puppy can receive from her. Even so, it will never be complete immunity and it will diminish quickly over time, by approximately half in eight days and then again by nearly three-fourths in two weeks time.
Since the proper time for vaccination will vary from one animal to another, it is not possible for a pet owner to know exactly when it is time for their pet to be vaccinated. A veterinarian can best determine when is the proper time to begin your animal’s vaccination by basing their decision on the dog general health and his own experience as a vet.
It is imperative to closely observe any hints of ill health as well as regular care to maintain and assure a general good condition and health, for your animal. If your pet shows any of the signs below, experts encourage you to consult with your veterinarian immediately:
1. Foul breath
2. Abnormal limping
3. Loss of appetite
4. Excessive water consumption
5. Abnormal viciousness or lethargy
6. Excessive tarter deposits on teeth
7. Abnormal eye and or nose discharge
8. Fluctuating weight losses and gains
9. Difficulty getting up or lying down
10. Abnormal and uncontrolled stool production
11. Loss of hair, open sores, ragged or dull coat
12. Constant head shaking, scratching, licking or biting of body
The canine distemper virus infection may not always be the case when concerned with these symptoms in your pet; however, it is better still to consult an expert with these concerns so that the problem may be attended to as soon as possible.
By using good sense, taking the proper actions to any symptoms you find and staying in constant contact with your veterinarian, you will be able to give your pet the most favorable result in overcoming this serious disease.