Canine distemper is a viral disease seen in domestic dogs as well as various animals such as wild dogs, jackals, foxes, wolves, skunks, raccoons, and pandas. Although distemper is one of the most serious diseases that dogs can get, it can be prevented by vaccination. You can get information about the youth vaccine and other vaccines by reviewing our blog post, which provides detailed information about the vaccination schedule for puppies and adult dogs.
What is Youth Disease?
It should be said that the name of the distemper virus is misleading for those who do not know this disease. This disease affects the respiratory, digestive and nervous systems of dogs at every life stage; It is a disease that spreads very quickly and often has fatal consequences. Distemper is a single-stranded RNA virus belonging to the paramyxoviridae family, that is, the virus family that causes diseases such as measles, mumps and bronchiolitis in humans. Although the rate of illness and death due to this virus differs according to animal species, it is possible to talk about mortality rates of up to 100% in some species. The distemper form, which causes disease in domestic dogs, also has a very high lethality rate. The severity, duration and outcome of the disease also differ according to the dog’s age, general health, immune system, and most importantly, the variance of the transmitted virus.
What Causes Canine Distemper?
Canine distemper is a viral disease and spreads quite easily. Animals become infected by infected urine, blood, saliva, and droplets emitted during respiration. According to the researches, the most common transmission cause of distemper is droplet route. Dogs are likely to get distemper if they cough, sneeze, or spit on food and water containers. Youth disease can spread at any time of the year, the virus is resistant to cold. In studies conducted among domestic dogs, it has been observed that dogs mostly get this disease in autumn and winter months.
Distemper Symptoms in Dogs
Symptoms of distemper vary depending on how advanced the disease is. In a dog infected with distemper virus, the virus first multiplies in the lymphatic tissue of the respiratory tract before spreading to different points. As a result of this proliferation, the symptoms progress gradually.
The first and most common symptoms of distemper in dogs are watering of the eyes and a pus-like discharge from the eyes. The discharge from the eyes is accompanied by short-term fever, loss of appetite and runny nose. Dogs start to have a fever 3 to 6 days after being infected. How the process progresses after the initial symptoms in the infected dog often depends on the severity of the infection and the dog’s general health.
Symptoms of distemper in the first stage;
It can be expressed as fever, runny nose, eye discharge, anorexia, coughing, invasion, inflammation of the brain and spinal cord, and dermatitis. A disease called hyperkeratosis occurs on the paws and noses of dogs that have had distemper and survived the acute period. This disease causes the pads on the dog’s paws to expand and harden.
In some cases, there may be a secondary bacterial infection that attacks the immune system at the time of the canine distemper. In these cases, symptoms such as pneumonia, change in respiratory rate, difficulty in breathing, vomiting and diarrhea may also occur.
In the second stage of the disease, the virus attacks the central nervous system and neurological symptoms appear. At this stage:
- Don’t keep your head down
- Partial or complete paralysis
- repetitive eye movement (nystagmus)
- muscle twitching,
- Increase in chewing and spitting movements,
- Death may occur.
Canine Distemper Treatment
There is no cure for distemper in dogs. The disease can be diagnosed by tests performed as a result of the suspicion arising from clinical symptoms. Special care can be given to dogs that have been diagnosed as supportive therapy. In this case, veterinarians usually focus on preventing dehydration due to problems such as diarrhea and vomiting, preventing the development of a secondary infection, and treating neurological symptoms. The survival rate of canine distemper and the duration of infection vary depending on how strong the dog’s immune system is and the key to the virus. You can find vitamins and supplements that will strengthen the immune system of dogs by clicking here. In some cases, dogs may recover within 10 days, while in others, dogs may continue to show neurological symptoms months later.
Does Canine Distemper Be Healed?
Canine distemper is a highly fatal disease. However, in some cases, it is possible for the dog to fully recover with supportive treatments. Will distemper be cured in dogs? Before answering his question, it is useful to state that dogs must be vaccinated against this disease. After the symptoms, which are diagnosed in the early period and controlled with very fast and aggressive treatments, the dog’s immune system is strong and the distemper is healed in dogs. However, there is a possibility that a full recovery may not be achieved and that neurological symptoms may continue.
- jaw spasm,
- muscle twitching,
- nerve damage,
- Brain damage is among the permanent disorders of distemper in dogs.
Distemper in Puppies
Dogs are very susceptible to viral infections during their puppies. For this reason, along with all the infections seen in puppies, distemper is very serious and unfortunately often fatal. For this reason, one should always be very careful and take all necessary precautions against distemper.
How to Prevent Canine Distemper
The easiest and most accurate way to prevent distemper in dogs is vaccination. The distemper vaccination of puppies can be done as of the 6th week. All necessary doses can be made up to the 16th week. The immunity provided by the distemper vaccine in dogs can last up to 3 years or even more. However, at this point, the opinions of veterinarians should be given importance and care should be taken to determine the frequency of repetition of the vaccine with their decision. Because veterinarians will recommend information about when to repeat this vaccine according to the prevalence of distemper in your area.
Ways to Protect Dogs From Youth Disease
- Make sure that dogs are regularly vaccinated against distemper,
- Vaccination should be done from the puppyhood period, if the dog is adopted, it should be taken to the veterinarian as if it has never been vaccinated,
- The slightest change in vaccination time should be avoided,
- Keep dogs away from wild animals,
- Dogs should not be allowed to come into contact with food and water containers that may be infected during socialization times.