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Wayne Valley

Animal Hospital

582 Valley Road
Wayne, NJ 07470

Canine Distemper Disease in Animals

Canine Distemper Disease in Animals

Two canine puppies swinging in a hammock.Canine distemper is a disease that is highly contagious with no known cure. It is a viral illness that not only attacks dogs but other animals as well.  Wolves, pandas, skunks, coyotes, and foxes are just some of the wildlife that can be attacked by this disease. The house pet, the ferret, is a carrier for this disease as well.

What is Canine Distemper?

It is a disease caused by a single stranded RNA virus of the family Paramyxoviridae. This virus is in the family that causes measles, mumps, and bronchiolitis in humans. This is why that you should always have your dog or pet that may or may not be a carrier, vaccinated for distemper.

In canines, distemper has major impact on the gastrointestinal system. As well it can affect the respiratory tract, brain, and the spinal cord. The symptoms that this disease can cause are quite staggering. Vomiting, diarrhea, labored breathing, inflammation of the eyes, and coughing are just a few that this disease can cause in your animals. It can also carry a secondary bacterial infection which can lead to neurological symptoms.

A pet that survives this disease will have non life threatening and life threatening symptoms for the rest of it’s life. The most common non life threatening symptom is hard pad disease. This disease causes the skin to harden on the paws of the animal as well as it’s nose. Another common side effect is enamel hpoplasia.

Life threatening signs are those caused by the degeneration of the nervous system. Pets infected with distemper can suffer with deterioration of their motor skills and mental abilities. Seizures and sight loss can also show up later on as well.

To help protect your pets from distemper,  have your local vet vaccinate them.