What is Canine Distemper?
Canine Distemper virus is a viral disease that affects a range of mammals like dogs, foxes, wolves, felines, raccoons and a wide variety of animals. The highly contagious disesae is air spread that spreads from animal to animal. The virus attacks the nervous, respiratory and gastro-intestinal system of the affected animal. It can cause serious effects on the species with more number of animals in the limited area- like the millions of stray dogs in countries like India and where there are higher number of stray animals.
Does Distemper affect humans?
No. Humans do not get canine distemper. Humans are completely safe from CD.
Who are at the risk of Canine Distemper?
All unvaccinated dogs in general. An unvaccinated dog can be affected with distemper at any time, at any age. Puppies and dogs with low immune system are more likely to get distemper.
What are the symptoms of canine distemper?
The early symptoms of distemper includes watery eyes or eye discharge, dry feet, lethargy, cough followed by symptoms like fever, loss of appetite and nasal discharge. Symptoms varies depend on how advanced the disease is. Later symptoms include head tilt, body twitching, circling behaviour, muscle twitch, jaw convulsions, pus like discharge from nose and eyes and the advanced sympotoms includes excessive twitching, seizures, partial or complete paralysis.
Following are some videos of advanced canine distemper cases attended by Bark India from different parts of Pondicherry
How serious distemper is?
Its highly contagious disease and mortal disesas if not treated on time. The infected animal shows symptomssymptoms in 14-18 days usually. But it can take upto 4-5 weeks to show symptoms in some animals. Occassionally neurological symptoms appear after months of infection without showing initial symptoms and can cause the death in a few days time.
Is Distemper painful?
Yes. Distemper is very painful condition to the affected dogs. They suffer a lot from the inflammation in respiratory system, urinary system, nervous and muscles issues. The neurological damage can cause serious pain and discomfort in the animal. Proper care and treatment on time may help reducing the painful condition but never earase the pain, but leaves many discomfort for their lifetime.
What is the treatment for Distemper?
Unfortunately, there is no proper treatment was found out for distemper but the treatment line suggested is to treat the symptoms and to stabilize the animal to the possible extend. Only supportive care and treatment to secondary infections can be given. Homeopathy treatent has been effective in treating CD to a great level, but the other treatments includes IV fluids, anti-biotics, pain killers, nervous stabilizers and sometimes steroids. Treatment line is depend on the health condition and severity of the condition.
Can dogs recover from Canine Distemper?
A great number of dogs recover from CD if the treatment is started early. A healthy animal is more likely to survive with early treatment before going to the later symptoms. The veterinarian does the treatmernt depend on the symptoms and severity of the condition. But the symptoms like twitching, jaw convulsions would remain for the lifetime that would eventually cause flattening the teeth and later jhanging the tongue out etc can make the dog’s life difficult with eating, drinking, maintaining body balance etc.
Following are some distemper recovery dogs with muscle twitching and jaw convulsions.
What vaccination can prevent CD?
Anti-rabies vaccination is to prevent rabies only. In order to protect your pet from distemper, they should be vaccinated with multi-antigen vaccination that provide immunity against distemper. The vaccines varies from company to company but usually priced with rupees 550-1000 in India , but varies from doctor to doctor and clinic to clinic. Vaccination alone may not ensure 100% effectiveness in preventing the disease as the virus are subjected to mutation. But it helps them develop immunity against the virus.
When should I vaccinate my dog?
Puppies has to be vaccinated with first dose of multi-antigen when they are 45 days old. Your veterinarian may suggest 2 or 3 boosters in 21 days duration, depend on the health, breed, immunity of the dog. Once the puppy vaccinations are over, yearly vaccinations has to be done to ensure their safety. Failrure of vaccinations on date can let your dog affected with the virus even if no symptoms are shown.
why do my pet get canine distemper even after vaccination?
It is not the problem with the vaccine or vaccination. If you missed the date of vaccination or if the immunity of the dog is low, they can be affected. Once the dog is affected, it takes 1 week to 4 months to show symptoms and even if you vaccinate a pet that is affected ( You can not realise it until they are symptomatric) , the immunity can go down and can worson the situation. So the only possibility safeguard your pet is to make sure that their vaccination date is not geting due.