Distemper - Puppy Illness

By Refadoc, Posted on : Monday, 09 March 2015 - 11:08 am IST

Distemper is a common condition which affects young puppies all over the world. It is a contagious and a serious viral condition for which there is no known cure. Canine Distemper belongs to the Morbillivirus class of virus. Young and unvaccinated dogs are more prone to suffer from the condition as compared to the older ones.

Cause of Distemper:

The disease can be acquired due to improperly attenuated vaccines, though this is a rare case. Bacterial infections of the respiratory and the gastrointestinal systems are known to increase the vulnerability of the animal to the disease. Non immunized dogs which come in contact with a dog which has been infected with the condition can also be affected.

Symptoms of Distemper:

The disease can emerge to be very ugly for dogs, the signs and symptoms of the condition are visible in two major ways: the initial stage of the distemper appears as the upper respiratory disease accompanied with sneezing and eye discharge. Then later on, it can develop into pneumonia or could lead to neurological problems such as fatal encephalopathy.

Distemper often tends to be poorly diagnosed in case of dogs as the owners tend to think that the puppy is suffering from a common cold. So, by the time they are able to witness a large amount of discharge from the animal, it is too late. Discharge from the eyes and the nose accompanied by high fever and general depression are some of the major symptoms of the condition.

Diagnosis of the Condition:

The disease can be easily diagnosed with the help of biochemical tests and urine analysis of the pet. These tests are able to reveal a reduced number of lymphocytes in the bloodstream which are known to work for the immune system management of the pet. A serology test can be done in order to identify the positive antibodies in the test. However, this test cannot be used in order to check the exposure of the virus. Radiography can be done in order to check if the infected animal has contracted pneumonia. CT and MRI Scan can also be used in order to examine the brain for any signs of lesions.

It is very important to seek medical attention for distemper in case of dogs. Inpatient supportive care is also needed to care for your ailing pet. It can take weeks for the canine distemper to heal.

The only bad news about the distemper is that in case your puppy has survived it, the disease can lie dormant and can break out when the puppy is older. In the later stages, the disease can lead to neurological problems such as seizures.  

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