How dangerous canine distemper really is?
Much has been said about canine distemper. you will find much information all over the internet and text. Still, I felt a need to write something about this disease because I have something to say based on my experience. This is a disease of dogs which when affecting dogs more than half of them dies in two weeks to two months. The survivor dogs suffer from some kind of nervous disorder throughout their life. Only a few dogs with strong immune system recover without any symptoms.
Cause and how it spreads
Caused by a virus of family paramyxoviridae. This virus is resistant to phenol and many disinfectants.
This means that if you are keeping your dog in a very clean environment but unvaccinated your dog has a chance to get the disease.
This disease is transmitted via aerosol droplets and transmitted via sneeze. A recovered dog can give this disease to a healthy unvaccinated dog after up to 7 months from recovering from the disease. Therefore, A dog which you see very healthy after recovering from distemper sneezes in front of your dog can give distemper to your dog.
Symptoms and signs that disease have affected your dog
There are some symptoms that show up in dogs suffering from Canine distemper. This may come in vaccinated dogs also particularly so if you are living in India. In India, most pet owners like to get their dog vaccinated by dog seller or a dog breeder- who have no knowledge of the disease, vaccine, schedule of vaccination. As a result, there is a fairly good chance of contracting the disease, even if you are thinking that your dog cannot have since vaccinated. So here are the signs to watch for in your dogs. If you ever find these signs in your dog rush to your vet.
- Hardened foot pads and nose or tip of the nose
- thick and dirty eye discharge with lack of interest in food
- Chewing movement of lower jaw
- twitching of muscle in some part of the body
- Twitching in legs
- inability to walk or stand
- making noise all time as if the animal is in some kind of pain.
This is the saddest part. There is no cure. In western countries, the veterinarian will advise euthanasia. Vets like me living in Asia advise treatment to alleviate the pain and suffering. In my personal experience, i have seen dogs recover from this disease through my treatment plan. Though they too live with a minor degree of disability. The treatment varies from dogs to dogs, but I would like to say there is over the counter drug you can give. As in Distemper dog is mostly off fed, and do not show any interest in food. In addition to food and intravenous drips etc, I prefer giving all plant protein powder.
Control and prevention
The only way you can prevent canine distemper in your dogs is by vaccination. These vaccines are expensive. This is why I always advise not to keep a dog if you cannot afford it. According to Merckvetmanual, The puppies should be vaccinated three to four times with the distemper vaccine.
I do not want to end on a sad note, so, I want to tell you that I have not seen a single case of canine distemper in dogs I had vaccinated. Therefore, keep your dogs Vaccinated.
Small animal veterinarian for last 20 years. works in self-owned pet clinic in Ranchi, India called Pluto Pet Clinic. Published several articles on pets and social media in various national and international pet magazines, blogs. Part of many international organisations including Nabuur, Mission Rabies, Asian Society of small animal dermatology, WSAVA.