Symptoms: The first signs of canine distemper include sneezing, coughing and thick mucus coming from the eyes and nose. Fever, lethargy, sudden vomiting and diarrhea, depression and/or loss of appetite are also symptoms of the virus.
Distemper in dogs is frequently misdiagnosed because owners think their puppy has a cold.
How do dogs get distemper: The virus is passed from dog to dog through direct contact with fresh urine, blood or saliva. Sneezing, coughing and sharing food and water bowls are all possible ways for the virus to be passed on.
Treatment: There is currently no available medication that can destroy the virus that causes canine distemper. Rather, supportive care is the mainstay of treatment. Veterinarians can offer intravenous fluids to prevent dehydration and antibiotics to ward off secondary infections while the infected dog builds up his immune response. Some dogs are able to survive the infection, while for others canine distemper can be fatal.
Recovery time: It can take weeks to recover from canine distemper and pets usually go home from the hospital with respiratory medications.
The bad news about canine distemper is if your puppy survives it, the disease can lie dormant and break out again when she’s older. At that point she has an even worse prognosis because the disease can lead to neurological problems such as seizures.