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Distemper in Dogs: Causes, Symptoms, & Treatment

Distemper in Dogs: Causes, Symptoms, & Treatment

If you are boarding your dog in a kennel or introducing them to other dogs constantly, you should be aware of infectious viruses in dogs and how to prevent your pup from contracting them. In this post, our Fremont veterinarians discuss the causes, symptoms, and treatment of canine distemper.

What is distemper in dogs?

Distemper in dogs, or "canine distemper," is a highly contagious viral disease. When contracted by mammals, it infects the respiratory, digestive, and nervous systems of the animal. This disease is often fatal in dogs, which is why preventive care and vaccinations are the key defense against distemper in dogs.

Below, our Fremont veterinarians have broken down the causes, symptoms, and treatment of distemper in dogs that all dog owners should know.

What causes canine distemper?

Puppies, senior dogs, and unvaccinated dogs are at higher risk of contracting canine distemper. The most common cause of distemper contraction in dogs is through contact of the bodily fluids of an infected animal, such as urine, vomit, feces, and saliva. 

This puts unvaccinated dogs and puppies at higher risk of contracting canine distemper in spaces with high volumes of other dogs and/or contaminated food bowls and grass. This includes areas like dog parks, boarding facilities, kennels, and doggy daycares. It is also important to note that canine distemper is not exclusive to domestic pets, and it can be carried by wildlife such as foxes and raccoons. 

Distemper Symptoms in Dogs

Below are some signs of distemper in dogs.

Common Symptoms

  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Nasal discharge/dryness
  • Depression
  • Food avoidance

Severe Symptoms

  • Seizures
  • Paralysis
  • Shaking/tremors
  • Chewing motions of the jaw
  • Relentless vomiting
  • Crust on the nose and/or paw pads
  • Death

If you notice any of the above symptoms of canine distemper in your dog, seek veterinary attention right away. The sooner your pup is diagnosed and treated for infection, the better. Your veterinarian will be able to provide better help if the condition is promptly called to attention, so don't hesitate to give Ace Animal Hospital a call before bringing them in!

Treatment of Distemper in Dogs

As soon as you notice symptoms of distemper in your dog, you should bring them in to the veterinary clinic for medical attention. Your vet will begin with a full physical examination. They might order diagnostic tests in order to confirm if your pooch is suffering from an infection.

Some common treatments of canine distemper in dogs includes intravenous fluid therapy to treat dehydration, antibiotics, oxygen therapy, or neurological support to combat seizures. The treatment your veterinarian performs may vary depending on the symptoms your dog is exhibiting.

One important thing for owners to remember during treatment is to remain calm. Your pup can detect anxiety in you, so staying relaxed and comforting your dog can help in the diagnosis and treatment process.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Do you suspect your dog has some sort of infection? Have you noticed any of the above symptoms of distemper in your pup? Contact our Fremont vets to book an examination right away.

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Ace Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Fremont companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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