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Known as the “dog killer”, distemper is a deadly disease that can infect all breeds. Otherwise healthy, strong dog are not immune from this terrible disease. Early detection of distemper is vital in saving your loved dog from eventual death, so please read up on the tips below and we all can help save as many pooches as possible.
Early detection of distemper
Puppies are very susceptible to distemper so visits to your vet over the first few months of a pup’s life are essential. Your vet will examine and run the appropriate tests seeking any indication the pup has distemper. If detected at this early stage in a pup, when their immune system is at its weakest, the chances for survival increase dramatically. Once your vet starts the pup’s vaccination regimen, the dog should be safe.
The main “window” where you should be especially observant occurs at the age of 6-12 weeks. As briefly described on the Pets.WebMD.com website:
Worldwide, it is the leading cause of infectious disease deaths in dogs, although in the United States it occurs only sporadically. All unvaccinated dogs are at high risk of infection.
…The highest incidence of the disease occurs in unvaccinated puppies 6 to 12 weeks of age, at which time maternal antibodies fall below protective levels.
The early detection of distemper can begin at home by paying attention to your dog or pup. If you notice them becoming lethargic and the dog is sneezing look closely at their eyes and nose. Distemper is most likely present in the dog if you see any formation of a greenish-yellow or dark green discharge from either the nose or eyes. If you see this immediately take the dog to your vet. Sadly, many dog owners see this discharge and assume their dog has a cold or other common ailment. When the owners finally realize their dog is truly ill it is usually too late to save the animal.
Distemper has another very visible indicator that all dog owners will see in their pooch. The dog will be exhibiting uncontrollable and constant shaking and twitching. This is due to the disease having reached the advanced stage. The shaking and twitching are a result of the dog’s neurological system being infected and sending constant signals to the dog’s muscles to move. When a dog is exhibiting these conditions, it is unfortunately usually too late for successful treatment of the distemper. The humane choice at this point is euthanasia. While never an easy decision to make this is what your vet will recommend preventing the dog suffering and any chance of the distemper spreading to other pets.
Before assuming the worst have your dog examined by the vet for other possible causes. There is a possibility the dog does not actually have distemper so never assume he or she does. Your vet will be able to give you a definitive answer.
Early detection of distemper can save the life of your puppy and adult dog so know what to look for and act quickly if you see the indications.
Have you had a dog with distemper? Comments and advice are welcome below.