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    Canine distemper

    Canine distemper, also known as canine distemper, It is one of the communicable diseases more common and lethal for dogs.

    Canine distemper affects the digestive and respiratory tract of dogs. In advanced cases, It can also affect the nervous system.

    This disease is caused by a virus of the family paramixoviridae, similar to the human measles. This virus also affects the other Canids (Australian wild dog, Coyote, Jackal, Fox, Wolf), mustelids (Weasel, Skunk, Huron, Badger, ermine, Otter, Marta) and the procyonid (Kinkajou, coati, Red Panda, Raccoon, bassaricus).

    Recently it has also found that some big cats (leopards and Lions) they can be affected by canine distemper virus.

    The disease is not transmitted to humans.

    Transmission of the disease

    Distemper is transmitted by air. Infection occurs when a healthy animal comes in contact with viral particles that are in the air in the form of spray. Of course, a sick animal must be present, or have been, in the area of infection.

    Any dog at risk of contracting distemper. However, dogs that are at highest risk are dogs that have not been vaccinated against the disease and puppies less than four months.

    Puppies who are still breast-feeding may be protected by the immunity offered by the breast milk (If the mother is vaccinated), but this does not mean that precautions should ignore.

    Symptoms and diagnosis of canine distemper

    The first symptom of distemper is a watery or pus in eye discharge. In later stages, There is evidence of fever, runny nose, cough, lethargy, lack of appetite, vomiting and diarrhea. In some cases, There is a thickening of the plant of the pads of the feet.

    In advanced stages of the disease the nervous system of the dog can be compromised. In these cases, seizures may occur, paralysis or spasms (partial or complete).

    Most of the dogs who contract distemper die. Those who survive the disease often have behavior disorders caused by damage to the nervous system.

    It can be difficult to detect canine distemper in its early stages, Since the symptoms are not always very evident. It could be that the dog may seem a little tired, and one thinks that it is because it performed any physical activity or because it gets very hot. In case of doubt, You should take your dog to the vet immediately.

    Prevention and treatment of canine distemper

    The only proven way to prevent distemper is to vaccinate against disease puppy.

    This vaccine, However, is not 100% effective. Puppies vaccinated may occasionally get sick. This can occur when the immunity offered by the breast milk avoids the vaccine to take effect and leaves the puppies without protection.

    For this reason, It is very important that the veterinarian who decides when the vaccine should be applied and what type of vaccine should be used.

    As long as your dog is vaccinated, You must be very careful that is not exposed to harmful environments. This may be difficult, Since the distemper virus is transmitted by air.

    On the other hand, There is no treatment that can kill the virus when the disease has been. The only treatment that can be currently infected with distemper dogs consists of mitigating the symptoms, avoid dehydration and prevent secondary infections. If necessary, the veterinarian may recommend euthanasia to avoid greater suffering to the dog.