Dog plague is a fairly common infectious disease of viral origin, caused by a dangerous paramyxovirus canine distemper. This infection, familiar to many by its name Distemper in dogs, appeared in the USA in the second half of the XVIII century.

Other existing names are the plague of carnivores or Carré’s disease. It can occur in acute or subacute form. Canine distemper is accompanied by serious symptoms. Timely started and properly chosen treatment helps to speed up the recovery stage and keep your pet alive. Otherwise, a “neglected” disease can be fatal.

What is distemper in dogs?

Plague in dogs is a ubiquitous reality. It is very difficult to protect your four-legged friend from the penetration of a terrible virus into the body. How do dogs get sick with distemper – this question worries many and it is often asked by veterinarians.

There are only two ways of infection: through the digestive tract or the respiratory tract. Potentially dangerous can be the surrounding airspace and any objects on which the pathogen resides. “Bring” the infection to the house can be a person on the sole of a shoe. Cats are also carriers of infection, and they themselves are not infected with canine distemper.

Direct contact with a sick representative of the animal world will easily start the process of infection. The first days after the infection enters the body, the four-legged friend behaves as usual. On average, the incubation period lasts from several days to three weeks, in some cases, it can take up to three months.

At the end of the latent period of time, the initial symptoms of the disease are shown. The infected animal secretes the virus and spreads the infection during the entire period of its activation. The causative agent that provokes a debilitating disease is present in the urine and feces of the animal, in saliva and in the air inhaled by the tailed friend.

The mucus formed from the eyes and nose also contains a viral infection. Infection in a comfortable environment for her is able to live from a week to two months. A half-hour exposure to a high temperature of about 60 degrees leads to the destruction of the infection, and with an increase in temperature to 100 degrees, the structure of the pathogen is instantly destroyed.
Distemper in dogs has characteristic symptoms. The onset of the disease in general can be determined and fixed, by paying attention to the following points:
  • decreased appetite,
  • weakness
  • dry nose,
  • timidity,
  • anxiety
  • swelling, redness of the eyes,
  • disturbances in the perception of light,
  • the desire to hide in a dark place,
  • disorders in the digestive system.

The symptomatology of the disease in each individual is expressed individually. The nature of the manifestation and severity of the main signs of Carré’s disease depends on the state of the immune system, the regime of the day, the quality of nutrition and other factors.

Distemper in dogs manifests itself specifically regardless of the age at which our four-legged friends are sick. Any four-legged pet is susceptible to infection with canine plague, regardless of breed and age. The risk group consists of individuals with weakened immunity, stray dogs, as well as puppies for up to a year.

Statistics on the breeds of quadrupeds shows the following picture: shepherds are hard to tolerate the disease, terriers – easier. Representatives of hunting breeds often suffer from this painful ailment, since wild animals that are objects of their hunting also have a causative agent of distemper.

Such representatives of wild fauna as foxes, weasels, wolves, and arctic foxes can be carriers of viral infection. 

Forms of plague in dogs 

Science has established five variants of the course of the murderous disease. The classification presented below is based on pronounced symptoms relating to certain organs and vital systems of the animal.

Pneumonic distemper in dogs

It has symptoms such as fever, refusal to eat and drinking a huge amount of water. There is a transparent discharge from the eyes and nostrils, which can later become purulent. The dog has sniffling and increased breathing. A four-legged family member begins to sneeze and cough. The infection affects the respiratory system and descends into the lungs. With delayed treatment, the disease turns into purulent pneumonia.

The intestinal form of the plague 

It is characterized by malfunctions in the digestive tract. The tailed comrade refuses to eat, and lethargy and apathy are observed. A white coating is visible on the tongue. An unpleasant smell comes from the mouth of a dog. Palpation of the abdominal cavity creates pain and discomfort for the pet. The liver increases in size. Vomiting and diarrhea, inherent in this type of disease, are considered the most depressing features of this scenario of Carré’s disease. In the vomit are found the remains of an undigested diet, mucus and bile of a foamy texture.

Nervous form of plague in dogs 

Irritability and aggressiveness on the part of the pet are fixed. There is a muscle tremor and a constant desire to drink. A significant sign is a violation of the coordination of movements and a strange reaction to external stimuli. Apathy can abruptly change to activity, especially at night. Dogs begin to howl, make whining sounds and bark at night.

Paralysis of the hind legs and epilepsy can be added to the above phenomena if you slow down the implementation of effective therapy. With the nervous development of Carré’s disease, serious complications arise: meningitis, encephalitis, paralysis and others. This scenario of the disease most often entails unfavorable forecasts of specialists. The death of the dog with the progression of the nervous form occurs from the paralysis of the heart and lung muscles.

The cutaneous form of the plague 

It is the simplest type of course for the ailment in question. Most often, the skin type of plague manifests itself initially, it is already followed by a pulmonary or intestinal variation. The cutaneous form of distemper is characterized by a papillous-pustular rash protruding on the body of the individual. Rashes are localized on the inner thighs, on the abdomen, in the ears, near the eyes and mouth. Subsequently, the bubbles that appear burst, forming brown crusts. Also, in the skin course of Carré’s disease, you can notice swelling of the paws, ears, eyelids, and lips.

Practice demonstrates that most of the facts of infection of beloved tetrapods contain identifiers of several of the above-described species of the plague of carnivores. We are talking about a mixed type of distemper, also called generalized. It is the latter variety that is most often diagnosed in unvaccinated individuals, especially in small puppies for up to a year.

Distemper in dogs: what treatment is necessary?

Vaccination against distemper in the dog is recognized as a necessary preventive measure. When the puppy reaches three months of age, he is given the first vaccination against the plague of carnivores. Further, an expensive household is strongly recommended to be vaccinated once a year.

Dog fever involves complex treatment. The therapeutic treatment regimen is drawn up by the doctor on the basis of an analysis of the individual well-being of the tailed patient and the overall clinical picture.

It is strictly forbidden to engage in independent healing of the tailed member of the family. If you suspect that your dog has distemper, you should immediately consult a doctor who will tell you in detail what to do in each specific situation. Immediately seeking help from a qualified medical professional will reduce the duration of the painful condition, save you from the development of complications and help save the life of the dog.

The therapy plan includes a set of mandatory procedures aimed at:

  • normalization of the gastrointestinal tract and central nervous system:
  • elimination of hypoxia,
  • elimination of dehydration,
  • removal of intoxication,
  • restoration of the normal functioning of the liver, kidneys and respiratory system.

Modern pharmaceuticals provide a wide range of high-quality drugs that allow for symptomatic treatment. In veterinary medicine, methods of specific treatment of Carré’s disease are also used, which include blood transfusion and the formulation of a special serum. Recently, blood transfusion is practiced extremely rarely, and the introduction of serum contributes to a positive result in the early stages of the development of the disease.

Many owners of four-legged friends are interested in whether a vaccinated dog can get sick with distemper. The vaccine does not give an absolute guarantee against infection, but in the case of a disease in a vaccinated dog, the ailment passes in a mild form. There are several reasons explaining the ineffectiveness of the vaccination performed. These include improper transportation or non-compliance with the required conditions for storing the vaccine, performing the procedure on an unhealthy pet, factory marriage and others.

Whether dog distemper is contagious to humans is the second most popular question to discuss at a consultation with a veterinarian. The owner should not worry about his own health if his dog has been diagnosed with carnivore plague. Carré’s disease does not pose a threat to people’s well-being.

Prevention of distemper in dogs implies the support of the animal’s immune system and compliance with simple hygiene rules. The stronger the dog’s immunity, the less likely it is to be infected with any virus. A full balanced diet, periodic intake of vitamin preparations, and regular walking are regarded as necessary items for keeping a pet, and at the same time, the above measures have an important preventive effect for the prevention of many ailments.

Washing the paws after walking serves as a measure of additional protection of the quadruple from infection if the owner and a four-legged friend live in the same living space. In the process of walking, it is advisable to exclude the communication of your friend with suspicious brethren.

If the dog is sick with distemper, you should immediately visit a specialized clinic, and not waste time on independent experimental healing. Engaging in intuitive self-medication and using folk remedies, can cause significant harm to the body of the adored pet. A visit to the veterinarian will save the life of a four-legged friend and the peace of mind of the owner.


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