How to know if my dog has distemper
We love our pet, with whom we share a lot of time every day. That's why when we see her down and apathetic we immediately worry about her health, an important reaction to determine if something really serious is happening to her. There are different diseases that can affect our dog, of all of them the canine distemper or distemper is one of the most serious, and is that if it is not treated in time can cause the death of the animal. That's why we give you some important signals so that you know how to know if my dog has distemper and the way in which you should proceed to take care of it.
What is distemper?
Distemper, also known as canine distemper, is a very dangerous virus that affects dogs and other canid species such as foxes, jackals, dingo, etc., and other animals such as raccoons, red panda, otter or the weasel, among others.
It is a viral disease produced by a virus of the paramixoviridae family that is very close to measles in humans. It significantly affects the animals that it infects, especially puppies and older dogs, which can develop more complications or even cause their death.
Although there is a vaccine against distemper, many animals are still vulnerable to this virus that is widely spread in the world. In fact, most dogs that are not treated promptly die and many of those who survive end up having problems in their behavior and in their health because the nervous system is affected or damaged. For this reason it is so important to follow the vaccination schedule of our pet.
How is it spread?
Being a virus, the form of infection lies in the contact with the fluids of infected animals, including water or food that has been consumed by them. The disease is able to travel through the air, so the oral route is another form of habitual infection.
The dogs that are most at risk of catching this viral disease are puppies under 4 months of age and those that have not been vaccinated against it. Once in the body of the animal, the virus takes between 14 and 18 days to incubate, after which the first symptoms begin to show.
Discover here everything related to the spread of distemper of dogs to humans and among them.
Symptoms of distemper
The key to detect if our pet is in poor health is to always watch their behavior carefully. In the case of distemper, there are very clear symptoms that, with the progress of the disease, are attacking different parts of the body of the dog at the respiratory, intestinal, cutaneous and neurological levels.
- Fever, which may appear 6 days after infection. It disappears and reappears as the infection progresses.
- Apathy, loss of appetite and decay, the dog stops being as active as usual.
- Decrease in water consumption, which leads to dehydration . At this point there are enough reasons to take the animal to the veterinarian, however there are other clearer symptoms that point directly to distemper.
- Major respiratory problems, with cough, shortness of breath and green nasal secretions.
- Intestinal problems such as constant and yellow diarrhea and vomiting.
- Conjunctivitis or ocular secretions.
- Eruptions on your skin and hardening of the pads on your legs.
- Tics, convulsions and in more severe cases paralysis.
How to diagnose distemper?
The first symptoms of distemper can point to various diseases, but one way to determine if it is this virus or any other infection is by analyzing the ocular secretions produced by conjunctivitis. The respiratory problems and the hardening of the pads are important symptoms that usually point to distemper, however, tests will always be done to confirm the diagnosis.
Treatment of dogs with distemper
The distemper is a disease of serious gravity that has no specific treatment, to which point the veterinarians is to apply medication to counteract the symptoms that are presented and allow the dog to develop its own defenses against the disease. Antibiotics to fight against the infections that the disease generates, vitamin supplements and medications to relieve specific symptoms are the usual treatment in cases of distemper.
The earlier the distemper is detected, the better the life expectancy for the dog, preventing the virus from advancing and causing irreversible neurological damage. It is very important to go immediately to the veterinarian if your dog has never been vaccinated against distemper and suspicion of its existence, or if it has been exposed to the environment of another infected animal.
How to prevent distemper
Before any disease the best tool is always prevention, and in the case of distemper, it is possible to achieve it with timely vaccination . The dog should be vaccinated for the first time against distemper between 6 and 8 weeks of age, and receive reinforcement of the vaccine every year.
If you plan to mount your dog to become pregnant, it is best to immunize before doing so, in this way will transmit vaccine antibodies to puppies during lactation.
Never take the dog to the field or put it in contact with other animals without first having received all of its vaccines, especially the distemper, as you will be putting your life at risk.
Caring for a dog with distemper
If your dog has been diagnosed with this virus, we recommend that you give specific care so that it can be recovered more easily. Thus, to take care of a dog with distemper you will have to help him feel better by relieving some of the symptoms, thus facilitating his stability and comfort. In addition to following the advice of your veterinarian, you can follow these care guidelines:
- Maintain proper hydration: as we have already mentioned, one of the symptoms is dehydration. Thus, if we try to get our pet to drink some water frequently or else chicken broth, without salt or seasonings, it will be easier to recover. If you see that you do not want to drink, you can give the liquid with a syringe syrup directly into the mouth, but always small and often.
- Feeding: it is one more symptom that the affected dog loses its appetite, so when the veterinarian tells you that it can eat you must offer moist or canned food as it is more appetizing than the feed. In addition, if you can offer a special for convalescent animals you will be providing a very good nutrition supplement to improve yourself.
- Vitamin B: the vitamins of group B will also help you to reinforce the effect of general veterinary treatment since it favors the musculature of the dog. So, if it is not already included in the treatment indicated by the veterinarian, tell him if it is favorable in the case of your pet to try this reinforcement option.
Frequently asked questions about distemper
If your dog has been diagnosed with this condition or suspects that it has it, there are some frequent questions that you will surely do, that's why we give you your answers:
Does distemper infect humans?
No, distemper is not a contagious virus for humans, but it is for other animals.
Can an infected dog be near the other healthy ones?
No, if one of your dogs has distemper, it should be immediately separated and isolated from the rest in a different room that the other dogs can not access, as it is a very contagious disease. You should clean very well and with disinfectants and bleach the area where the dog was and the whole house to prevent other animals from getting infected.
Should my dog have all the symptoms to make it distemper?
No, each dog can develop different symptoms, the important thing is that if you detect several of the signs of the canine distemper, take your dog to the veterinarian as soon as possible.
How do I know if my dog will be saved?
This is something that, unfortunately, it is not possible to know. Each dog responds differently to medical treatment and many recover from this disease. Follow the directions of the veterinarian will be very important to help the animal.