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Ask the Vet About Canine Distemper in Dogs

Canine Distemper in Dogs
Symptoms & Diagnosis
Treatment
Ask the Vet
Ask the Vet About Canine Distemper in Dogs
MichaelDym, V.M.D.
Michael Dym, V.M.D.
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine

As a practicing veterinarian, Dr. Dym has over 19 years of experience and dedication to enhancing the overall health and well-being of pets. His commitment and passion for pet health continuously drives him to learn more about the art and science of homeopathy through ongoing training and education.

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Showing 1 - 15 of 82
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Showing 1 - 15 of 82
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Date: Feb 10, 2020
Category: Distemper
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: Quality of life

Question:My husband picked up an abandoned puppy on his way home a few weeks ago. When we first got him his eyes were matted and he couldn¿t see or walk straight or stay standing. He got better for about a week and then had a day or two where he didn¿t take food or water very well and was more lethargic than usual. Fast forward two weeks and his eyes are still getting goopy and progressively cloudy. His back end doesn¿t work very well either. He wants to live and tries his best- but if he does have distemper, will his symptoms continue to get worse or can we nurse him through it? And if he does survive what will his quality of life be?

Answer:You really need a clear diagnosis from a veterinarian that has examined the dog before I can give you any kind of useful advice. If you are in the United States, Distemper is very rare. If you are not, definitely consult a veterinarian in your country who sees the virus more often than we do and can give you a better idea about his prognosis.

Date: Jan 28, 2020
Category: Distemper
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: Distemper in my pup and my dog

Question:Hello Doctor, My pup got her vaccine when she was 5 weeks, we missed the booster dose in 10 weeks and gave her the booster when she was 14 weeks. Before the next dose could be given, she became infected. The vets didn't diagnose it when I took her for symptoms like red eye,secretion in eyes and nose. This was from Jan 5th to 16th. On jan 17th, they said she has distemper when there were muscular convulsions in her head. She is about 24 weeks old. She is active and eats well except for the cerebral spasms and gel like drool. My older lab about 5 years old tested negative for CDV on January 17th. However, he developed similar spasms today and I'm worried. I did keep them away from each other. Both of them show convulsions and weak limbs. He doesn't eat while the pup does. Please can you advise and also indicate how long before they recover?

Answer:We so rarely see Distemper in the United States, it is ideal to consult your veterinarian about Distemper for the best advice. I have seen one case in 25 years and that was 20 years ago. Here is a good article about Distemper, written by another veterinarian, from a site that I trust: https://veterinarypartner.vin.com/default.aspx?pid=19239&id=4952099

Date: Jan 24, 2020
Category: Distemper
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: Preventing possibility of distemper

Question:We live in a very rural setting and have a large number of raccoons and other wildlife in our yard. We will be bringing a Bernese Mountain Dog puppy (8 weeks old) home soon. Last week, we saw raccoon tracks in the snow, my husband saw one in our backyard and our security cameras caught them in the front and backyard and on our decks. I want to make the yard as safe as possible when puppy is outside for potty breaks, play time and training. What is the best way to sanitize the yard? Thank you.

Answer:Oh, distemper is not a very stable virus. You don't really need to do much to the yard. The virus cannot live in the environment for extended periods. Transmission must be by direct contact with fresh secretions. So he would have to come into direct contact with a infected raccoon and honestly, we rarely ever see Distemper in the United States. In 24 years of private practice I have seen it once. Go ahead and get his DHPP (Distemper, Parvo, etc) vaccine if you haven't already and continue his puppies series every 3-4 weeks until he is 4 months old.

Date: Jan 21, 2020
Category: Distemper
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: Can dogs recover from distemper?

Question:My daughter's puppy has been diagnosed with distemper. They took her to Ft. Collins to a training hospital (I don't know the name). They have since brought her home. She had severe seizures and many other symptoms. Currently, it seems that she does not hear and is unstable when she walks and incontinent. I assume this is brain damage from the distemper. Is there a chance that her brain can heal or recover?

Answer:Since we really don't see Distemper much in the United States (last case I saw was 23 years ago), asking a veterinarian that specializes in infectious diseases will get you much better advice. Here is a good article about Distemper, written by another veterinarian, from a site that I trust: https://veterinarypartner.vin.com/default.aspx?pid=19239&id=4952099

Date: Jan 16, 2020
Category: Distemper
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: Distemper Treatment advice

Question:My dog has distemper and having seizures. She keeps crying all day and after seizure it becomes even worse. Although she was very active during first 4-5 days but since last 24 hours she is having trouble in maintaining body balance. We are giving her anti seizure medicines, vitamins, and dog food. Please let me know weather she will survive a this or not. If yes then how many days will these seizures are expected to come. Also I read the same kind of problem in one of the comments. Its dated 23/May/2019.Can you let me know any contact details of that person so that i can contact him/her to get help.

Answer:Since we really don't see Distemper much in the United States (last case I saw was 23 years ago), asking a veterinarian in your country will get you much better advice. Here is a good article about Distemper, written by another veterinarian, from a site that I trust: https://veterinarypartner.vin.com/default.aspx?pid=19239&id=4952099

Date: Jan 13, 2020
Category: Distemper
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: Distemper treatment

Question:My dog has tested positive for distemper. He has developed a nuerological twitch in his jaw and arm. I know there is no cure for it but is there something I can give him to help with the muscle spasms?

Answer:Since we really don't see Distemper much in the United States (last case I saw was 23 years ago), asking a veterinarian in your country will get you much better advice. Here is a good article about Distemper, written by another veterinarian, from a site that I trust: https://veterinarypartner.vin.com/default.aspx?pid=19239&id=4952099

Date: Jan 9, 2020
Category: Distemper
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: Distemper

Question:I am not sure that my dog has distemper or not but one doctor said that she has distemper but other said this is not sign of distemper she is not able to walk now but she never lost her appetite and never had seizure she is just twitching her upr head area and paralysed i read that paralysis is the last stage of distemper i am giving her neurobion and wysolon tablets daily twice so what should u do i don't know

Answer:We really don't see distemper in the United States, so I am not a good veterinarian to ask - a veterinarian in your country will definitely know more about distemper. Here is a link to a good article about Distemper, written by another veterinarian, from a site that I trust: https://veterinarypartner.vin.com/default.aspx?pid=19239&id=4952099

Date: Jan 4, 2020
Category: Distemper
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: Distemper

Question:I have 4 dogs, all of them are Aspin. Last December 2019, one of them has this dry cough and I though it was just kernel cough but later, he started having seizures and fever. I just gave him antibiotics and force him to drink water when he's not eating. After a few days, he's jolly and wags his tail again, he started to eat food again. And so I thought it's over but last January 1, my 2 other dogs starts to have this cough again, have seizures and fever, also losses their appetite, My other dog which just survived (I think) still has the cough and still eats few food but no more fever. I googled it and found this viral disease distemper. I don't have enough money to get them to supportive care :( I want to ask if how long could the virus live in my dogs? For now, I'll just give them antibiotics and also I can force them to drink water, they eat sometimes also, but not as much as the normal.

Answer:In the United States, distemper is rare in adult dogs that have received even just a couple of vaccines in their life, so it's probably not that, but here is a good article about distemper, written by another veterinarian, from a site that I trust: https://veterinarypartner.vin.com/default.aspx?pid=19239&id=4952099

Date: Nov 7, 2019
Category: Distemper
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: Distemper

Question:My dog who¿s approximately 3 years old got diagnosed with distemper. The vet gave him antibiotics, vitamins as well as muscle relaxers. Once the course of the medications were over she said the best we can do is over supportive care. It¿s been a week and he has declined. He has muscle tics and breathes rapidly. Every time he gets up he loses his balance and he doesn¿t want to eat anymore. What can I do to help him.

Answer:Since Distemper is a virus and there are no good anti-virals, supportive care is about all that is available right now. Here is a really good article about Distemper, written by another veterinarian, from a site that I trust: https://veterinarypartner.vin.com/default.aspx?pid=19239&id=4952099 and here is a link to our page about treating Distemper and various treatment options, both over-the-counter and prescription: https://www.1800petmeds.com/education/canine-distemper-treatment-dogs-49.htm

Date: Nov 7, 2019
Category: Distemper
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: Distemper

Question:I am looking at adopting a dog from a rescue. He is about 4 years old and a few months ago he caught Distemper. The rescue said he survived the virus but is left with a head tic/ Spasm. I was wondering if a dog survives distemper will they always have the virus in them or are they completely clear of the virus?

Answer:A recovered dog may shed the virus up to 2 to 3 months. It is important to keep this in mind when taking a recovered pet anywhere where there are other dogs. The most intense viral shedding occurs in the first 2 weeks of infection. If it was > 3 months ago, he should be free of the virus.

Date: Nov 4, 2019
Category: Distemper
Pet Type: Others
Topic: Disease

Question:what is the difference between mad cow disease and chronic wasting disease?

Answer:Well, technically mad cow disease is a chronic wasting disease(CWD). Mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), is a disease that was first found in cattle. It's related to a disease in humans called variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD). Both disorders are universally fatal brain diseases caused by a prion. CWD belongs to a group of diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs). Within this family of diseases, there are several other variants that affect domestic animals: scrapie, which has been identified in domestic sheep and goats for more than 200 years, bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in cattle (also known as ¿mad cow disease¿), and transmissible mink encephalopathy in farmed mink.

Date: Oct 23, 2019
Category: Distemper
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: Behavioral issues

Question:For background, I have had my dog for 2 and a half years now, I adopted her when she was 7 and 1/2 (estimated, because she was in and out of shelters). She is now 10 years old. My ex and I had her for a year and a half as an only dog, then for financial reasons moved in with my parents. They have four other dogs currently, two female puppies around a month and a half and two approximately 2 year old dogs. My dog has had an ongoing issue of attacking other dogs. Resource guarding has been a main issue I haven't been able to correct, food and water bowls of hers are not to be touched by other dogs, her chew toys are highly guarded. She had attacked other dogs touching her toys, chews, or food/water bowl. She has gotten in fights with many dogs at dog parks, usually after playing fine for awhile. She lunges and barks at dogs when out for walks, fur up, intense pulling. Most recently she attacked one of my parents puppies, many puncture wounds, some near the puppies eye. My dog kept going after the puppy even after my mother intervened multiple times and the puppy was trying to get away. This is not the first time an issue like this has happened and I'm running out of options. At this point my parents have decided when I'm not home she will stay locked in my room, approximately 10 hours worth of the day, and all day when I would be gone on the weekends. Is it okay for me to consider euthanasia to 1- stop her from further attacking the other dogs, and 2- to stop her suffering from sitting around all day long, doing nothing? Since they got the puppies she had done nothing but sit in the room anyways, barely wanting to come downstairs to go to the bathroom. Her joints crinkle when she walks up the stairs, and she seems to have a limp. She doesn't like playing and tends to get irritated very quickly with the puppies as they bite her legs. However with me she is still very happy and loving. She is a mixed breed, 23.3% Chow chow, 13.7% dalmatian, 13.1% golden retriever, 10.6% Australian cattle dog, 9.4% American Staffordshire terrier, 9.2% bulldog, 8.1% Rottweiler and 12.6% unidentifiable due to low percentage of dna. (Information provided via embark DNA test)

Answer:All behavior/anxiety cases are so different, it is hard to recommend anything for your pet without knowing any more about her and behavior problems are so multi-factorial and individualized, it is ideal to work with a behavior specialist in your area that can work directly with her (and you). Her staying locked in your room when you aren't there does seem safest and, at her age, I don't consider that inhumane.

Date: Aug 12, 2019
Category: Distemper
Pet Type: Cat
Topic: frequency of FVRCP in indoor only cats

Question:I have been hearing varying recommendations regarding the FVRCP vaccine in indoor only adult cats. My cats are the only cats in the four unit building and there are doors to enter the building in addition to my door so escaping into the outdoors from the second floor would be practically impossible. My cats are never boarded and do not come into contact with other pets aside from each other. I have been told that given their living/lifestyle circumstances, the FVRCP could be given every 2-3 years by our new vet. However, I have also been told that once a year is the routine for all cats by my last vet. I do not want to over vaccinate my cats if it is unnecessary. Could you provide some insight, please?

Answer:Once every 3 years is the recommendation for your cats based on their lifestyle.

Date: Aug 6, 2019
Category: Distemper
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: Distemper in Puppies

Question:Hi, Last thursday I took my 10 week old puppy to the vet, we found out Saturday that he has distemper, it is now the following Tuesday. He will eat only eat chicken I cook but he eats it every meal and pretty much all of it. He drinks pedialyte and water and sometimes we give him water and pedialyte by syringe just to be sure. We put him in a room during the day and at night with a humidifier. He only has maybe 2 cough fits a day. His temperature is normal. He is very active now.. Do these seem like he is getting better? -A very concerned new puppy owner

Answer:It does sound like he is getting over the respiratory part of the disease. Some dogs will seem better and then break with neurologic symptoms, which are much more worrisome and can be fatal. If you are in the United States, Distemper is really rare so he may just have a cold from another virus/pathogen. Here is a link to a good article about Distemper, written by another veterinarian, from a site that I trust: https://veterinarypartner.vin.com/default.aspx?pid=19239&id=4952099

Date: Jul 22, 2019
Category: Distemper
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: Is her dog going to die

Question:My mother¿s dog recently collapsed we thought it was from the heat we got her cooled down and she seemed fine till a couple days ago she started diarrhea and throwing up couldn¿t hold food down and was rapidly breathing head shakes every so often and couldn¿t walk very well. Took her to the vet they said she has tick disease and heartworm and is currently being tested for distemper which the vet thinks she has. She¿s currently in vets care get treatments but my question is will she survive? Or should my mother put her down? The dog was a stray she took in two years ago had her spayed and all her shots everything. What¿s her chance of survival? Will she always have the head shakes and unable to walk right if she has distemper?

Answer:All of those are questions that are only answered (well) by the veterinarian who is looking directly at her and knows the actual diagnosis (probably not Distemper if she has been vaccinated) and the severity of her symptoms and what her blood work looks like etc etc.


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