TODAY -

Get to know more about canine distemper
What, why and what should pet owners do about it

Chonyurso Zimik *



What is canine distemper?

Canine distemper is a contagious multisystemic viral disease that affects a wide variety of animals but it occurs most commonly in domestic pets like dogs. It also goes by many other names such as canine influenza ,carres or hard pad disease .

The canine distemper virus affects the respiratory system, gastro-intestinal as well as the central nervous system. The mortality rate of canine distemper is quite high .

What are the symptoms?

Initially the infected dogs will develop watery or pus like discharge from their eyes. Then they develop fever, coughing, nasal discharge, vomiting, reduced appetite, diarrhea and the dog become lethargic.

Infection occurs around the eyes which leads to keratoconjunctivitis. In chronic infections the nose and paws of the animal may become hardened and thus the name of the disease “hard pad”.

After the respiratory symptoms, central nervous systems sets in and it is characterized by muscle incoordination, increased sensitivity to touch or pain, muscle twitching, spasm, and partial or complete paralysis occur. The animal enters into a stage of depression. Once these systems set in, the animal dies.

How is it transmitted ?

Puppies and dogs most often become infected through airborne exposure like sneezing or coughing from an infected dog. Close dog to dog contact or direct contact with fresh contaminated materials like food bowls for atleast 30 minutes.

Infected dogs spread the disease by coughing, sneezing, salivating and urinating. In 5-6 days, the virus reach the stomach, intestine, spleen and liver after which infection sets in and there is production of fever.

The spread of the virus inside the body is rapid and it is difficult for the host immune system to clear it from the central nervous system. Severity of the symptoms depend on the immune status of the dog.

How to protect your pet from the Canine distemper virus ?

The disease has high mortality rate and when the symptoms of CNS became apparent the animal is sure to die as no treatment can kill the virus inside the animal.so the safest way to prevent CD is getting a core vaccination series performed by a licensed veterinarian.

Vaccinate the puppies at 6–8 weeks of age. Get primary and secondary booster in time as per routine guidelines advice by the doctor. Revaccinate every 1–3 years. Keep puppies away from unfamiliar dogs until they have finished their complete vaccination series.

“A pet is the only thing in the world that loves you more than you love yourself. You are truly blessed if you have a pet in your life”.

Protect your pet at all cost.


* Chonyurso Zimik wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer is a BVSc 3rd year student
This article was webcasted on October 07 2023 .



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