How to tell if your dog has canine distemper?

Canine distemper is a viral disease that affects various organs in dogs, including the skin, brain, eyes, respiratory system, and intestines. While it is highly contagious, it can be prevented through vaccination. Puppies under six months of age are particularly vulnerable.

Here are some key symptoms to watch for:

  1. Respiratory Tract Signs: Keep an eye out for sneezing, coughing, and thick mucus in the nose. Labored breathing may indicate chest infection, and inflamed nasal passages can lead to snotty discharge⁴.
  2. Eye Abnormalities: Dogs with distemper often have thick mucus around their eyes, resembling sticky discharge. This, along with a snotty nose, could be indicative of the disease⁴.
  3. Fever: Distemper can cause a high fever (over 103.5°F or 39.7°C). Dogs may become lethargic, preferring rest over activity⁴.
  4. Appetite Changes: Dogs with distemper may stop eating or drinking due to fever or general discomfort. Vomiting and diarrhea can also occur⁴.
  5. Paw Pad Abnormalities: Distemper can lead to thickening or enlargement of the paw pads, affecting a dog’s gait. Be cautious when examining, as the pads may be tender⁴.
  6. Teeth Issues: In puppies, distemper can affect permanent teeth, resulting in weak or misshapen adult teeth. Discolored teeth may also appear⁴.

Remember, early detection and prompt veterinary care are crucial. If you notice any of these symptoms, consult your veterinarian to ensure timely treatment and prevent further complications⁵⁶⁷.

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Source: Conversation with Bing, 2/21/2024
(1) How to Recognize Distemper Symptoms in Dogs: 12 Steps.
(2) Distemper In Dogs: Symptoms And Treatments – Forbes Advisor.
(3) Canine distemper | American Veterinary Medical Association.
(4) Distemper in dogs – PDSA.
(5) How to Recognize Distemper Symptoms in Dogs (TREATMENT & PREVENTION).
(7) Distemper in Dogs.

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