Have you ever heard of distemper?
Have you ever heard of distemper? It is a canine disease viral and highly contagious that can lead to death or leave serious sequels in the dogs that cure it. However, we were able to prevent distemper and thus prevent our dogs from suffering and transmitting it to other animals. But before we talk about prevention, symptoms, treatment and cure, let’s understand exactly what distemper is.
What is distemper?
Canine distemper is an infectious disease that affects dogs caused by a virus of the Paramyxovirus family, of the genus Morbilivirus. It is highly contagious and usually affects dogs that have not yet completed the vaccination schedule (puppies) or that do not usually receive the annual reinforcement of the multiple vaccine (V8, V10 or V11).
The virus replicates in the animal’s blood cells and central nervous system. In the early stages of the disease, a very common symptom is diarrhea, since the digestive system is usually the first to be affected. In a slightly more advanced stage of the disease, the respiratory system is affected, with normally yellowish and dense secretions appearing through the nose and eye region.
In the later stage of the disease, the central nervous system is affected, which is when the animal begins to have disoriented gait and muscle tremors that can progress to seizures.
Check out all possible symptoms of distemper:
- Loss of appetite
- Eye secretions (remela in large quantity)
- Nasal secretions (pus)
- Nervous tics
Lack of coordination
In the blood test, a decrease in the animal’s immunity is observed due to the replication of the virus in the lymphatic system. An infected dog eliminates the virus through urine, feces and secretions (nasal and ocular) up to 90 days after exposure to the virus. It is therefore important to avoid contact with other dogs during the period when you are sick.
How is distemper transmitted?
The dog can get distemper, that is, be infected by the virus, in several ways. Among them, by contact with secretions, urine and feces infected by sick animals. In addition, the house, blankets and food of infected animals are also sources of infection. Puppies and the elderly are more susceptible to infectious diseases because their immune systems are a little less active.
Remember that the contact does not necessarily need to be direct / close. The infection can happen, for example, when we walk with our pet in places where sick animals passed that eliminated the virus in the street, in parks or other public places.
Veterinary practices also require attention. If your pet does not have the complete vaccination chart, do not allow him to have contact with other dogs, with the floor or cages that have not been cleaned.
What is the treatment for distemper?
There are no effective antiviral drugs to fight the disease. However, treatment consists of treating the symptoms caused in the different systems affected:
Antibiotic and anti-pyretic for secondary infections in the digestive and respiratory system, in addition to combining expectorants, bronchial dilators and antiemetics.
Serum (fluid therapy), to correct dehydration caused by diarrhea.
Anticonvulsant for convulsive crises due to the involvement of the nervous system.
Nutritional supplements and alternative therapies, such as acupuncture, to improve the animal’s immune response to fight the virus are also used.
Sequelae of distemper:
The animal that had the disease evolved to the stage of involvement of the nervous system may have muscle tremors, disordered walking and / or convulsive crises throughout its life, even if it no longer carries the virus.
In this case, the sequelated animal will have to be assisted by physiotherapy and acupuncture sessions to improve the condition, in addition to using anticonvulsants in some cases.
How to prevent distemper?
Just perform your dog’s annual vaccination. The distemper vaccine is included in the package offered by the V8, V10 and V11 vaccines. In the case of puppies, they should receive three to four doses of the vaccine after 45 days of life, with an interval of 21 to 30 days between applications. Only after the last dose will your immune system be able to fight the virus if there is contact with it, being allowed to walk on a leash.