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Memorial Road Pet Hospital

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What Is Distemper?

"Vaccines are among the most successful and cost-effective health investments in history." - Seth Berkley

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What Is Distemper?

The canine distemper virus is closely related to the human measles virus.

While the virus is shed in most body secretions, including urine, the infected dog typically spreads the disease through coughing, shedding infected secretions that get inhaled by the new host.

Golden Retriever in a field of lilacs.

Mucosal Stage

Symptoms begin with:

  • Gooey eyes

  • Nasal discharge

  • Fever

  • Poor appetite

  • Coughing

  • Vomiting

  • Diarrhea

  • Callusing of the nose and footpads

Whether or not the virus is able to penetrate the central nervous system depends on the dog's ability to make antibodies.

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Neurological Stage

Symptoms at this stage of the disease may become permanent or long-lasting:

  • Tremors

  • Twitching

  • Imbalance

  • Limb weakness

  • Seizures, classically starting with snapping or tremors of the jaws that progress to convulsions of the whole body.

To learn more about Distemper, click here.