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  • Long Beach Educational Article of the Month - What is Long Beach canine distemper?

What is Long Beach canine distemper?

Canine distemper is a disease that can affect Long Beach dogs of all ages. This disease comes from a virus similar to the measles virus in humans. As of yet, there is no known cure for this canine killer. The virus is known to be extremely contagious and is also found in species of raccoons, foxes, skunks, and many more animals. It tends to affect older dogs and young puppies who are yet unvaccinated, so the recommendation is to get your dogs vaccinated.

California dogs with canine distemper display symptoms similar to a common cold in a human. These include red eye, fever, plus watery discharge from the nose as well as eyes. Further symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea and extreme fatigue. Initial onset of these symptoms can occur as early as 1 to 2 weeks after the animal contracts the illness. As the disease progresses the dog may also start having seizures as a result of the virus beginning to attack the brain. Death can occur anywhere between 3 to 6 weeks after onset of the virus. If you suspect your dog may have this virus, separate them from any other animals and immediately call your veterinarian.

As there is no cure, treatment is mainly focused on easing symptoms to make the Long Beach dog's life a little easier. Dogs with distemper may easily accrue pneumonia as well as become dehydrated from the vomiting and diarrhea, so they are often watched closely and put on IV to receive fluids and sustenance. The dog will also be kept isolated from other animals as to not risk secondary infections or infecting other animals.

Canine distemper can be prevented by vaccinations as a California puppy as well as precautionary measures. If your dog is exposed to dogs who have not had the distemper vaccination it would be wise to clean everything the other dog has come into contact with, as the virus itself can be killed on surfaces with soap and hot water or antibacterial measures. Any bedding should be washed immediately and surfaces wiped down. Toys, water and food dishes should be decontaminated as soon as possible. The disease is spread through the air, through direct contact, and also in utero. If your dog has not been vaccinated and has puppies, those puppies are highly susceptible to the virus. Usually a vaccination is recommended at 8 weeks and again at 12 weeks.

Because of the closeness of the Long Beach canine distemper virus and the human measles virus, the virus itself can be passed on from animal to human. However, the virus will cause no illness and no symptoms in humans. Unfortunately, the virus can also be passed the other way. If you are a carrier of the virus you can pass it to your dog and this can be fatal to them. The only way to really prevent the spread of this virus is to get your dogs vaccinated.

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