ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Canine Distemper: The World's #1 Killer of Dogs

Updated on January 1, 2016
Bob Bamberg profile image

Bob has been in the pet supply business and writing about pets, livestock and wildlife in a career that spans three decades.

Source

Silver Lining: It's Preventable

According to studies, it’s the number one cause of infectious disease deaths in dogs worldwide, however in the U.S. distemper is one of the core vaccines so we only encounter it sporadically.

Core vaccines, by the way, are not required by law, but are considered by 2006 American Animal Hospital Association guidelines to be vital to all dogs based on risk of exposure, severity of disease or transmissibility to humans.

Although it sounds like a behavioral issue, canine distemper is a serious and highly contagious virus, affecting many organs of the body, including the brain, lungs, gut, skin and eyes.

It’s similar to human measles and has nothing to do with violent behavior.

While there’s no cure, it is preventable. And unlike rabies, canine distemper cannot be passed on to humans. But, wild animals can infect dogs so it’s wise not to let your dog stray too far from you while you’re outside lest he engage a wild animal either as a playmate or prey.

In addition to wild canids such as foxes, the disease can also be passed on by raccoons, skunks, coyotes, otter, mink and fisher.

Distemper is highly contagious because it can be transmitted through the air and is shed in all bodily fluids. And it can be fatal.

The highest mortality rate occurs among the very young and the old, those that are unvaccinated, and those not generally well cared for nor in good health.

Dogs that survive the disease may carry "scars" the rest of their lives.

Puppies that survive often have badly mottled teeth because the virus affects the developing enamel.

Adult survivors frequently have permanent vision damage, neurological disorders and a thickening of the nose and foot pads.

Source

Symptoms and Treatment

Although the canine distemper virus is very similar to the human measles virus, the symptoms are closer to those of the flu. The most common symptoms of distemper are runny eyes and nose, cough, diarrhea, vomiting, and sometimes seizures.

There's no specific treatment for canine distemper. The symptoms are treated as they occur, an IV is often started to prevent dehydration, and, if necessary, medications that block seizures are administered.

The key to the whole thing is prevention. Highly effective vaccines have been available for years. Check with your own veterinarian, but in general, puppies should be vaccinated at six, nine, twelve and fifteen weeks, and at one year of age. Boosters should be given annually for life.

And, of course, there's the usual advice about not trying to catch or handle wild mammals. Remember that it is impossible to determine if distemper (or rabies) is present based on behavior.

With wild animals bedding down under our decks and sheds, feeding from, and hunting at, our birdfeeders, and using our property as an access route from here to there, it's absolutely necessary that you keep your pets' shots up to date.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Bob Bamberg profile imageAUTHOR

      Bob Bamberg 

      5 years ago from Southeastern Massachusetts

      Nice to meet you, bodylevive, thanks for stopping by. Eragon certainly is a handsome dude and Squeaky is a heart-stealer. You shouldn't have to worry about the disease as long as you get them their distemper shot and annual booster.

      It's too bad pit bulls are saddled with a bad reputation. It has caused some communities near me to regulate, or even ban them through Breed Specific Legislation. Unfortunately, "dog bites man" is a cliche, "pit bull bites man" is a headline. Thank you for commenting.

    • bodylevive profile image

      BODYLEVIVE 

      5 years ago from Alabama, USA

      Thank you for this information. I'm glad you provided a photo, that way I will know immediately if Eragon or Squeaky comes down with distemper. Would you like to see my babies?

      http://www.bubblews.com/news/627686-meet-my-dog-ch...

      https://hubpages.com/animals/My-Pet-Is-A-Dog

    • Bob Bamberg profile imageAUTHOR

      Bob Bamberg 

      5 years ago from Southeastern Massachusetts

      Good point! I completely forgot, "I read on the Internet," which drove me crazy, too, because many people take almost anything on the net at face value. Thanks for bringing that up.

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 

      5 years ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

      Or worse "I read on the internet that vaccinations will kill my dog". There are sites out there telling dog owners that homeopathic nosodes are better, or no vaccines at all.

    • Bob Bamberg profile imageAUTHOR

      Bob Bamberg 

      5 years ago from Southeastern Massachusetts

      There may be parts of the U.S. where it is seen as well, but in my neck of the woods it's very unusual. If nothing else, social pressure guides pet owners down the path to good husbandry. That's probably the way in most heavily populated areas.

      Pet owners form a community and share stories, problems and solutions everywhere they meet...dog parks, supermarkets, soccer practice, etc. Most everyone wants to do the best for their pets, and it starts with proper medical care and a good diet.

      People learn a lot by networking with other pet owners, and in my experience, that's their primary source of information. It's the "They and Someone School of Animal Husbandry." Customers would come into my store looking for a specific product because, "They say that..." or "Someone told me that..."

      But now, a lot of folks are questioning the wisdom of vaccinations, so I hope that doesn't change their mind about annual distemper boosters because "They say that vaccinations are harmful" or "Someone told me that vaccinations..."

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting, DrMark. Always nice to have your input. Regards, Bob

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 

      5 years ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

      We still see this a lot, unfortunately. It is a horrible disease, and so easily prevented, so the cost of the vaccine is really minimal compared to the pain a dog has to go through. Thanks for pointing out the importance of getting those shots!

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)