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What is Distemper Distemper is a name that refers to at least three different diseases found in animals Canine Distemper Feline Distemper and Strangles Horses I will be focusing on Canine Distemper Canine Distemper is a highly contagious systemic affecting the whole body viral disease of dogs worldwide It chiefly affects young dogs but it often infects other animals such as wolves foxes coyotes raccoons skunks minks and ferrets The disease is spread by an airborne filterable virus that can also be circulated by infected clothing brushes and utensils Canine Distemper is a morbillivirus a group of viruses which also includes Measles Rinderpest and Seal Distemper called phocine distemper virus The virus does not survive long in the environment and is easily destroyed by disinfectants Symptoms Canine Distemper is often fatal Fifty to eighty percent of infected dogs die from the disease Symptoms include loss of appetite fever reddened eyes dehydration apathy depression vomiting diarrhea and discharges containing pus from nose and eyes Eventually the victim will catch pneumonia breathe heavily and cough The disease often spreads to the brain and results in jerking motions of the head jaw and other body parts This motion is called chorea Brain infection frequently leads to death If the animal recovers central nervous system complications such as weakness convulsions localized muscular twitches seizures seizures confusion involuntary urination and defecation incoordination clumsiness head pressing and poor balance will occur If pregnant dogs contract this disease the puppies could become stillbirths abortions or the puppies will have Fading Puppy Syndrome for the first month after birth Fading Puppy Syndrome makes puppies weak and puppies usually die from it within five to ten days If a dog with Distemper recovers it will be immune to the disease for several years Fighting Back - Prevention and Treatment Canine Distemper was a prime killer of young dogs before a vaccine was created
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