What Is Canine Distemper?

Canine distemper persists to be among the biggest health threats to the dog population worldwide despite the great advances in veterinary medicine. It mainly hits younger dogs, normally impacting on those below one year old. Among pups the mortality rate caused by distemper often reaches to about 80 percent. The disease likewise attacks older dogs that are unvaccinated. More than half of the adult dogs that get afflicted with canine distemper don't survive. And those that survive from the disease may live with permanent health impairment such as blindness in one or both eyes caused by discharges affecting the cornea.

Similar discharges sometimes cause deafness or loss of the sense of smell. Lasting damage to the nervous system might cause (muscle twitching), convulsions, and partial or full paralysis.

Canine Distemper is brought on by an airborne virus. It could be acquired by the dog that comes in contact with watery secretions, fecal matter, urine, and mucus from the nose and eyes of infected dogs. Doghouses, runs, dog beds and everything touched by a distemper-afflicted dog could circulate the infection—including the hands, feet, and garments of the individual caring for such a dog.

Canine distemper symptoms become evident within 4 to 10 days following exposure. Noticeable are the eye and nose discharges- initially watery then later thickened with pus, loss of appetite, listlessness, fever, coughing, thirst, vomiting, and diarrhea with black, foul-smelling fecal matter. In late stages of dog distemper, the virus frequently assaults the nervous system causing partial or total paralysis, and tantrums or twitching. Occasionally the virus induces rapid outgrowth of hard keratin cells on the footpads, resulting to a hardened pad.
 

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