What is Canine Distemper Virus?
You hear about distemper when your dog gets vaccinated, as it is one of the core diseases dogs are vaccinated against, but what exactly is this disease? The canine distemper virus is a highly contagious virus that can affect dogs, raccoons, skunks, foxes, coyotes, and large cats. Thankfully distemper does not cause disease in domesticated cats and humans. In LA county, a common carrier is the raccoon.
The virus can cause serious disease and possibly death in our four-legged canine companions. Distemper is spread through either respiratory secretion such as coughing or direct contact. Common initial symptoms of a dog contracting the disease are: respiratory signs such as coughing, discharge from the nose and eyes, lethargy, and a decreased appetite. As the disease progresses neurologic signs such as twitching, tremors, disorientation, and even seizures can occur. The virus can cause serious illness and possibly death in our four-legged canine companions.
There are blood tests that can be run to determine if a dog has distemper. Unfortunately, there is no specific treatment to cure the disease, but supportive therapy can help patients during the treatment process while their body tries to fight the virus.
This disease is one where an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. There are many ways to prevent this disease such as ensuring your dog is up to date on its vaccinations, keeping your dog away from wildlife, and keep food and water indoors and away from wildlife. Thankfully dogs that are fully vaccinated are not likely to contract the disease.
Stevenson Ranch Veterinary Center is located at 25832 Hemingway Ave. Santa Clarita, CA 91381. For more information please call 661-799-0655 or visit our website at www.srvc.com.
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