What Every Pet Owners ought to know about Distemper on Dogs | Pet Grooming Products

What Every Pet Owners ought to know about Distemper on Dogs

Joanna Nape, July 6, 2021

Canine Distemper

Canine distemper is a deadly viral disease that affects dogs of all ages around the globe. Although it affects dogs of all ages equally, the mortality rate is quite high in young puppies. Canine distemper affects the gastrointestinal system, respiratory system, and central nervous system. It is caused by a virus known as paramyxovirus. The incubation period of paramyxovirus is 14 days. The incubation period means the time that the virus requires to multiply and show symptoms after entering the body of the dog.

Transmission of canine distemper

Canine distemper is transmitted from an infected dog to a healthy one through urine, blood, saliva, and respiratory tract secretions. Secretions dispersed by coughing and sneezing are the major reason for the spread of disease. Contaminated water, clothes, and feed bowls also play an important role in the transmission of the disease. The disease is particularly prevalent in dogs who haven’t been vaccinated. You must ensure that your dog does not come in contact with stray dogs. When taking your dog for a walk outside, keep him away from other dogs.

Difference between Canine and Feline distemper

Although Canine and feline distemper sound quite identical but they are different diseases caused by two different viruses. Viruses are host specific. A dog cannot get infected with feline distemper from a cat and similarly a cat cannot get infected with canine distemper.

Signs of canine distemper

As mentioned earlier, canine distemper has an affinity for the nervous, respiratory and gastrointestinal systems so the signs shown by the affected animals are mostly from these systems. Following are common signs shown by affected dogs. It is noteworthy that an affected dog might show some of these signs.

  • Discharge from the eyes and nose
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Thickening of foot pads

Canine distemper may also cause neurological symptoms and brain inflammation, often confused with rabies. Nervous signs may be present in some severe cases. Adult dogs can recover from canine distemper but often have lasting neurological or central nervous disorders such as:

  • Seizures
  • Head tilt
  • Excessive Saliva
  • Muscle twitching
  • Jaw spasms
  • Involuntary muscle contractions, eye movements
  • Paralysis may be seen in extreme cases


As canine distemper is a viral disease, it has no definite treatment. Supportive therapy is given to the dog to help him fight the disease and prevent secondary infection. Apart from conventional medications, the holistic approach is quite popular among pet owners. Natural foods like seaweed, algae, krill, citrus fruit,turmeric etc. have proven their antiviral properties. Their major advantage over conventional medicines is that they have minimum side effects.

It is important to consult your veterinarian before you start feeding anything for treatment. Every dog has unique requirements and your veterinarian may ask you to add or remove some ingredients from his diet according to your dog’s health requirements.


Vaccination is the best preventive measure you can take to save your dog from deadly disease like canine distemper. Initial vaccine shots are given at age of 6-16 weeks and the booster shot is given after a year. A booster shot can be given after every 3 years for the rest of the dog’s life.

Maintain a hygienic environment and don’t let your dog interact with dogs who aren’t vaccinated. Failure to do so can lead to transmission of the virus. Therefore, regular veterinary care is very important for your pet.


Petzvogue assumes no liability for the content of this page. This information is not a substitute for an official consultation with a vet and is only intended as a guideline. Please contact your local veterinary practice for advice or treatment immediately if you are worried about your pet’s health – even if they are closed, there will always be an out-of-hours, 24/7 emergency service available in some communities.

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