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What Dog Owners Should Know About Canine Distemper(CDV)

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What Dog Owners Should Know About Canine Distemper(CDV)

Update Time:2023/8/7
Canine distemper is a disease that:

  • Caused by canine distemper virus (CDV)
  • Highly contagious
  • High fatality rate
  • Non-infectious to humans and cats
  • Vaccines can effectively prevent


Pathogen

Canine distemper virus (is an enveloped single-stranded RNA virus)


Contagious

Dogs infected with canine distemper virus (even dogs in the incubation period or with mild symptoms can transmit the virus) are the source of infection. The virus is extremely contagious and can be transmitted through the air.
Puppies that have not been immunized are very likely to be infected if they come into contact with infected dogs, because the virus enters the dog's body through the mouth and nose when the dog breathes.


Is It Contagious to Humans (and Cats)?

No. But canine distemper can be transmitted to ferrets (owners who raise ferrets should remember to vaccinate) and raccoons (this kind of animal can also infect rabies and canine distemper, so be careful with them), as well as various canine and many carnivores.


Symptom

Canine distemper virus has an incubation period of about 10-14 days. Although the dog will have symptoms of fever and loss of appetite in about 3-6 days after infection, these symptoms will disappear relatively quickly, so it is difficult for the owner to detect and take measures in time. If your dog has the above symptoms, you should consult a doctor in time.
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The virus first invades the dog's lymphatic system, spreads throughout the body, and then enters the blood circulation. Main impact:

  • Respiratory system
  • Digestive system
  • Central Nervous System

Therefore, the symptoms of the disease are generally concentrated in the organs related to these systems. Because the affected area is large, the symptoms of dogs will be very different. Common symptoms include runny nose, increased eye mucus, anorexia, lack of energy, pneumonia, blindness, and epilepsy after severe illness.


Diagnosis

Because infected dogs exhibit very different symptoms, it is generally difficult to diagnose based on external symptoms alone. However, when there are obvious neurological symptoms accompanied by respiratory/digestive system symptoms, the diagnosis can usually be made directly.

If the symptoms are not obvious, doctors will use quantitative RT-PCR, ELISA, immunofluorescence detection and other methods combined with clinical symptoms to judge. (Canine distemper can be detected by CDV test strips)
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Treat

Unfortunately, canine distemper is a disease with a very high fatality rate. It is conservatively estimated that the mortality rate of general puppies is about 80%, and that of adult dogs is about 50%.

However, there is no very effective antiviral drug available at present, and the treatment is generally based on the existing symptoms, with the focus on preventing and reducing secondary bacterial infections. Because the dog is very weak and continues to shed the virus, sick dogs generally receive quite a long infusion treatment, and the treatment must be carried out in isolation.

If the virus has invaded the dog's nervous system, the damage caused is generally irreversible. After the dog recovers, it may still have the neurological symptoms that occurred when it was sick, such as epilepsy, and even blindness due to the virus eroding the eye structure.

In addition, surviving puppies often have incomplete teeth due to lack of tooth enamel; cracked noses and paws are also very common. The recovered dog will also continue to shed small amounts of residual virus, so it is best for owners to wait at least a month after bringing home a lucky recovered dog before exposing the dog to other animals.


Prevention

Vaccines play a protective role by stimulating the animal's own immune system to produce immunoglobulins, and puppies that have just been fed colostrum from their mothers will carry immunoglobulins from their mothers, and this part of the residual immunity will affect the vaccine. Play a role. Therefore, puppies are generally immunized for the first time when they are 6 weeks old, and they are boosted every 3-4 weeks until they are 16 weeks old, and then they can be immunized regularly.
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