It is a disease that mostly affects canines like dogs and some rodents like raccoons, wolves, foxes and skunks. This disease does not have a known cure and is always fatal to the animal. The virus that causes this disease is a cousin of the measles virus in humans.
How is it spread?
Canine distemper is contagious and can be spread through the air when an animal comes in close contact with another that is infected. If the animal also gets into bedding of an animal that is infected, it may also get infected.
What are its symptoms?
The disease spreads through the animal by attacking its tonsils and lymph nodes. There after the following symptoms can be observed.
• The animal can becomeanorexic- meaning it is not able to keep anything in the stomach.
• It has red watery eyes.
• It then develops a running nose.
• It becomes lethargic.
• Sometimes the animal may start coughing, and sneezes.
• As it progresses, the animal may start vomiting profusely and coupled with diarrhea too.
• With time, the nervous system and the animal may start having fits, seizures and paralysis.
How can one help a sick animal?
While most animal die, some are generally given antibiotics and hydrated and with time their immune systems are rebuilt and they survive. However because there is no know sure cure for the disease, sometimes all one can do is get the animal comfortable. He/she may die, so you need to prepare for that out. Unfortunately, this is the most common outcome.
Is it preventable?
Yes, you can prevent Canine distemper. This is by having your pet vaccinated when they are still young or in their early teens. Because it is a virus that affects the animal’s immune system, it does not hurt to ensure your animal is well vaccinated against any diseases that may attack them as they grow. You may also need to be very protective of your animals before they are vaccinated. This is because if they get into contact with others that have the illness, they will most likely get it. This is because they may be incontact with their urine, feces or saliva as they eat and play together. If you have a sick animal, it is best to isolate it from others and inform family and friends so that they may not pass the disease to their own pets by touching or petting your pet.
What is Canine Distemper?