The distemper

viral diseases

distemper dog sick

The triggering cause of distemper is a paramixovirus and its transmission occurs through the air through the secretions of the infected animal. The infection establishes itself in the upper respiratory tract affecting the tonsils: from here the virus spreads through the bloodstream to various organs.

The dog shows the first symptoms showing listlessness, poor appetite, temperature rise above 40 ° C. Since the virus can localize itself in different tissues we will have various manifestations:

  • respiratory form , generally the most frequent. In addition to the symptoms already listed in this case, the dog shows cough, first dry and then wet with phlegm, nasal discharge, conjunctivitis. Respiratory tract involvement can lead to bronchopneumonia.

  • intestinal form , where vomiting, diarrhea with liquid and sometimes hemorrhagic stools occur. In this situation the dog's health can deteriorate if intestinal parasites or bacteria are present

  • nervous form , before it involves the nervous system, the virus has already caused one of the two forms mentioned above. If there is involvement of the central nervous system the symptoms are represented by behavioral changes, seizures, hyperactivity, spasmodic muscle contractions. If the optic nerve is involved, blindness may appear and if the spinal cord is affected, walking disturbances are observed. There may be paralysis of a limb and muscle atrophy. However, in this form the distemper puts our dog's health in serious danger, and if the disease is overcome, nerve lesions remain.

Unfortunately there is no specific antiviral therapy: the veterinarian will prescribe the appropriate treatments on a case by case basis. Sanitation measures in distemper therapy are of the utmost importance.

Given that distemper is a viral disease that frequently affects puppies, vaccination prophylaxis is recommended, carried out under medical supervision. Puppies older than two months are already receptive to the virus and it is therefore advisable to intervene with vaccination

The vet advises

Take care of the dog's hygiene, keep it in a warm and well-ventilated environment, encourage the intake of foods with a significant energy intake, rich in vitamins and proteins, helping the body to fight the debilitating pathology.


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