2 March 2024

In the world there are many diseases for which there is still no definitive cure, they affect both humans and animals. One of them is the canine distemper, an illness viral and very contagious which can be lethal to our fellow dogs.

Origin of canine distemper

known as distemper or distemperIt is a viral disease that affects dogs of all breeds and of any age. The origin of this pathology was attributed to the canine distemper virus (VDC).

He exact origin of the virus not known exactly, however, experts believe it came from wild animals such as wolves, foxes or coyotes, which carry the virus. These canines can spread domestic dogs directly or indirectly, that is, by contact with some type of secretion, such as mucus or saliva.

As for his taxonomy, It is classified within the family of Paramyxoviridae and the species that are vulnerable to the virus are:

  • Canidae (wolves).
  • Mustelidae (Weasels, ferrets).
  • Mephitidae (skunks, skunks).
  • Hyaenidae (Hyenas).
  • Ailuridae (Red Panda).
  • Procyonidae (raccoons).
  • Pinnipedia (seals).

Other species:

  • Viverridae (civets).
  • Felidae (does not include domestic cats).

The distemper is very virulent, That is why, once the dog is infected, the virus multiplies and spreads through very important systems such as the nervous, lymphatic, digestive, and respiratory systems. This is the reason why a wide variety of symptoms appear during the development of the disease. It is considered a endemic pathology, although it is present in many parts of the world.

Routes of transmission of canine distemper

Is very contagious and severe with a complicated prognosis, to such a level that it can cause death. The primary means by which it is transmitted is through the air, followed by contact with bodily fluids from infected animals.

The time of incubation of the virus varies from 14 to 18 days. VDC has a certain affinity for the tissues of the nervous, lymphatic and other epithelial systems, causing a immunosuppression in the sick patient, which produces a vulnerability to other diseases, such as:

  • Interstitial pneumonia.
  • Encephalitis
  • Pad hyperkeratosis.

Symptoms of canine distemper

Distemper causes a great variety of signs and symptoms which can appear simultaneously or at different times, depending on the most affected system. From the first warning signs it is of great importance that dogs are taken to a veterinarian, since the infection can be lethal.

General symptoms:

  • Fever and diarrhea.
  • Lack of appetite.
  • Decay.
  • Weightloss.

Early symptoms of canine distemper

The first symptoms to appear may be fever and diarrhea, which do not improve after administering medication. The bowel movements are characterized by being soft or too liquid and if not treated can lead to a dehydration.

The cough it also appears early, worsening as time goes by. It can cause a viral pneumoniawhich can be lethal without treatment.

Advanced symptoms of canine distemper

At the neurological level, the most serious manifestations are seizures. These seizures can be mild such as tremors, or severe in cases of tonic-clonic seizures. The same if they are not handled appropriately and quickly can be lethal.

In addition, it can present:

  • Ataxia, with evolution to paresis and subsequent paralysis.
  • involuntary movements of some extremity such as the head or legs (chorea, spasms).

Ocular and respiratory manifestations of canine distemper

In the eyes, can present:

  • Conjunctivitis, with high production of crusts.
  • Ulcers and edema of the cornea (the eye is observed with a blue coloration).
  • dry keratitis, it is due to the effects of the virus on the tear-producing glands.

The most frequent respiratory symptoms are the following:

  • Cough
  • Difficulty breathing (dyspnea).
  • Nasal secretions.

Other symptoms:

  • Mental alterations.
  • Problems coordinating the extremities.
  • Dermatitis
  • Desquamation of the nasal tissue.
  • Formation of pads on the feet.
  • Rashes.
  • Enamel hypoplasia on teeth.

In general, the symptoms will depend on gravity. Likewise, the disease will last depending on the care provided to the patients. It can last from days to months with ups and downs during the process.

Treatment of canine distemper

Once the virus is well established in the host, no treatment that can eradicate it completely. Starting from this, the medicines that are indicated will only serve to alleviate the clinical manifestations that appear and to avoid complications. Since it is possible that the dog is vulnerable to infection by bacteria.

What veterinarians usually indicate, depending on the clinical picture, are:

  • Antiepileptic drugs to control seizures.
  • Oxygen therapies, to relieve respiratory problems.
  • Azathioprine, an antiviral that has shown good results.
  • antibiotics
  • vitamins
  • Hydroelectrolytic fluids.
  • mucolytics
  • expectorants
  • Antiemetics
  • Antidiarrheals.

It should be noted that taking dog patients immediately to the vet is essential for a best evolution and driving of the illness. In addition, it is important to provide a lot of support and affection to your canine companion. Doses of love always go down well!

Diagnostic process of canine distemper

To diagnose this sickness It is not an easy task, since the first symptoms are very common in any other type of infection. In addition to the fact that the most relevant clinical manifestations do not appear until the virus has already spread a lot in the dog’s body.

Nevertheless, basing in the clinical findings such as fever, neurological, respiratory problems and hardening of the paw pads, you can deduce the disease you are facing.

On the other hand, in addition to physical examination, the main diagnostic method is PCR tests. Which consists of the detection of the genetic material of the canine distemper virus, that is, the RNA. For it, samples of cerebrospinal fluid or conjunctiva must be taken, then the laboratory will be in charge of determining if the dog is positive for the disease.

Histological tests are also included in clinical examinations, in which eosinophilic bodies in the plasma and nuclei of a wide variety of epithelial cells.

Treatment Approaches for Canine Distemper

Although there is no specific protocol to follow, since the drugs are not specific. If there are different approaches to managing symptomatology, as much as possible and boost your weakened immune system. These are:

Support therapy: consists of the administration of hydroelectrolytic fluids intravenously to rehydrate the patient. Remember that one of the main symptoms is diarrhea, in addition to loss of appetite. Therefore, fluid loss must be replaced. The therapy also consists of the indication of antiemetic drugs to counteract vomiting and antidiarrheals.

Antibiotic-therapy: As already mentioned, infected dogs are immunosuppressed, that is, they have a high susceptibility to other microorganisms such as bacteria. So they must be indicated antibiotics, either as prophylaxis or as a treatment to combat an already developed infection.

Antiviral drugs: they are used only to relieve symptoms and to decrease the spread of the virus. However, their effectiveness is limited and they are not fully effective.

Vitamins and nutritional supplements: It is necessary that these elements are included in the diet and in the medical indications, since the immune system must be reinforced and thus can help fight the disease. Includes omega-3, minerals and vitamins.

Prevention of canine distemper

There are various ways to prevent the spread of the disease, among which are the immunizations, awareness by the owners and good measures of biosecurity in veterinary centers.

Importance of vaccination against canine distemper

Currently there is a quite effective vaccine against distemper, so the disease has decreased in the canine population in some parts of the world. It is of great importance that people become aware and vaccinate their dogs to protect them and others with whom they interact.

Remember that the ability to contagion of distemper is very highTherefore, we must contribute and avoid its increase. Also, puppies have the worst luck if they don’t get vaccinated, since their underdeveloped immune systems don’t help much.

The vaccination plan must be established with a veterinarian well trained in managing the disease. To vaccinate is to protect!

Good hygiene and biosecurity practices

In veterinary clinics, infected dogs should remain isolated from others, that is, in quarantine. In cases where the sick patient is a recently adopted puppy, it is of great importance that they be inform the owners above, since it is possible that the mother or the other puppies could be infected.

Warning in time can be key for other dogs to be diagnosed and treated on time.

For the destruction of the particles viral a fairly strict cleaning must be carried out, using:

  • disinfectants
  • detergents
  • Antiseptic solutions.

It should be mentioned that the virus No survive many hours in environments with temperatures of 25 °C, but yes manages to do it in places with temperatures to the freezing point.

Canine Distemper Awareness

It is very important that people who have pets know about this disease, so that they understand the importance of vaccinating them and the risks that exist if they don’t. Likewise, canine sterilization is key to prevent infected female dogs from becoming pregnant and having infected litters.

Veterinarians should also emphasize the precautionary measures and of care. All actions that contribute to stopping transmission are key, and we must all be part of it.

What is distemper canine adenovirus type 2?

Like distemper, it is a viral disease. very contagious and dangerous that affects dogs. It is produced by the canine distemper virus.

Forms of contagion:

  • The main way is by contact with fluids body parts of another infected animal, these may be discharges from the eyes or nose.
  • It is also given for inhalation aerosols contaminated with the virus.

General symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Nasal and eye fluids.
  • Cough
  • lethargy
  • Threw up
  • Diarrhea

Neurological manifestations due to damage to the Central Nervous System:

  • seizures
  • Paralysis
  • Death.

Prevention: In these cases, the key to caring for and protecting dogs is immunization through vaccines.

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