What is canine distemper?
Canine distemper virus can cause a variety of symptoms related to the central nervous system.
Canine distemper is a member of the parymyxovirus class. It is spread from dog to dog in secretions like saliva, urine and tears. It affects a variety of systems within the dog, such as the immune system (by suppressing the ability to make white blood cells and fight off infection), the central nervous system (resulting in seizures and erratic behavior), the gastrointestinal system (resulting in vomiting and diarrhea), and the respiratory system (resulting in coughing). In short, canine distemper is a very nasty little virus.
Classically, however, canine distemper affects puppies and dogs that have not been vaccinated against it. Most dogs are presented to the veterinarian for depression, lethargy and thick green eye discharge. Some dogs will come in for seizures. Dogs that recover initially from the disease may have seizures or other central nervous system disorders later in their old age.
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