Dog Health Distemper

"Dog health distemper virus requires immediate treatment by a veterinarian. While there are no prescription drugs to help distemper, homeopathic approaches might be effective anti-biotics can help with any secondary bacterial infections."

Dog Health Distemper (also called Canine Distemper) is a virus that is spread through the air as well as by bodily fluids such as nasal discharge and urine. It is very contagious. Your dog should be vaccinated when a puppy since it is the only known preventative. This usually occurs after 4 months since there is a risk the vaccine will not take hold when younger due to antibodies in your puppy that remain from the mother.

Studies show that three weeks after infection dogs either recover or sadly pass away. Distemper dog has a 50% mortality rate.

Symptoms for Canine Distemper

Symptoms for Canine Distemper affects all major systems of the body, including the respiratory, digestive, and central nervous systems. Your dog can show severe symptoms to no symptoms at all.

During the first 3 - 6 days after infection probably will show no symptoms. Immediately after you could see discharge from the knows and eyes, depression and anorexia. Gastrointestinal and/or respiratory signs may follow with some type of bacterial infection.

Other symptoms for canine distemper can include seizures, involuntary movement of the arms or legs, depression, paralysis and muscle tremors. Problems with the eyes and retina are not unusual.

Dog Health Distemper Diagnosis

It can be difficult to diagnose distemper. There are a number of blood tests that can help diagnose the disease, but they are not always accurate. For instance, a very low white blood cell count can suggest a diagnosis of distemper but can indicate other illnesses as well. Vets will also look for special antibodies that may have been produced to fight distemper. If a dog has been vaccinated in the past, however, these antibodies will often be present, regardless of whether or not the dog actually has distemper. There are other blood tests that actually look for the virus itself, but these often give false negatives as the virus "hides" within the cells and does not show up in the blood.

Another test for distemper is a cerebral spinal fluid test. This tests the fluid from around the brain and the spinal cord. It is usually more accurate than blood tests, but is more expensive and can be dangerous.

If none of the tests are positive for distemper but your dog still has all the symptoms, your vet may still make a diagnosis of distemper based on the symptoms, if other illnesses are ruled out.

Dog Health Distemper Treatment

If your dog gets distemper, he will be given supportive therapy, meaning that he will be treated for the symptoms of the condition. Your vet will treat him with antibiotics for any secondary bacterial infections such as pneumonia. He will be given IV fluids for dehydration. He will be given anti-convulsive medication if he has seizures.

There is no cure for distemper, however, many homeopathic veterinarians (those that believe in herbal or natural remedies) believe that there is considerable evidence that homeopathic approaches can either prevent distemper or can be used in treatment. A good commercial source for information on herbal "nosodes" and supporting research is Vi-pro Plus.


Foster, Race DVM, and Smith, Marty DVM

Canine Distemper: Current Status
Appel, M. and Summers, B.

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