Most people, when they hear the word “Distemper”, think of a RABID disease that will make our dog jump through windows just to attack innocent people walking by, foaming at the mouth, and all around dog-craziness.  A lot of clients I’ve dealt with in the past always seemed to have misconceptions on what canine Distemper really is.  It’s not a disease that will affect the temperament of your dog, nor will it cause your dog to go crazy.  But it will make them extremely sick.

Let’s just get straight to the facts…

What is Canine Distemper?

Canine Distemper is a serious viral disease that can affect several different organ systems, and can have varying signs of severity depending on the strain that caused the infection, and the immunity of the dog.  Some dogs may develop an infection, while to others it may be fatal.  The disease can be spread from dog to dog through eye and nasal discharge, feces and urine, and also through contaminated food and water that has come in contact with the virus.

Is my dog at risk of infection?

If your dog has not been vaccinated against Distemper, and has come in contact with an infected dog, there is a high risk that your dog could contract the disease.  Puppies are highly susceptible to this disease due to their lack of immunity.  Even if your dog has had vaccinations against Distemper, there is still a possibility that your dog could become ill, as there is no guarantee that comes with immunization, only a means of prevention.  However, being protected against the disease greatly decreases the chances that your dog will.  Be sure to follow your veterinarian’s advice on your dog’s vaccination schedule, and stick to it!

What will happen if my dog gets Distemper?

Dogs that have been infected with this disease will show varying signs of infection as I stated above.  The initial signs usually appear approximately 9-14 days after initial contact.  Symptoms include, but are not limited to:  fever, anorexia, lethargy, eye and nose discharge, toughening of the pads of the feet and nose, diarrhea, occasional vomiting, dehydration, and coughing.  In severe cases, some dogs may develop evidence of neurologic disease, such as seizures.  If left untreated the disease can develop into pneumonia and even be fatal.  Also, some dogs can seem to recover from the disease, yet weeks or months later develop severe neurologic symptoms that can also be fatal or require them to be humanely euthanized.

What should I do if my dog becomes infected?

If you think your dog has come in contact with a dog carrying Distemper, or is showing any symptoms listed above, call your veterinarian immediately to schedule an appointment for a thorough exam, testing, and treatment.  Be sure to follow any instructions you are given by your vet, and to keep any and all pets you may have isolated from your sick pup.

What should I expect if my dog needs treatment?

Well, that all depends on the severity of the illness and the discretion of your dog’s veterinarian.  Specific testing to confirm that your dog has surely been infected with Distemper, bloodwork may be performed to see how well or how poor the organs are functioning, and then a plan of action for treatment will be set. Since there is no cure for most canine diseases, usually the only option is to provide as much supportive care as possible, and follow your vet’s instructions.

Depending on how sick your dog is, overnight stays at the hospital may be best.  That way professional caregivers can properly care for your dog in a medical setting.  Yet, some dogs may be able to be treated at home with daily visits to your vet for checkups and any care they may need.  Since Distemper affects each dog differently, it’s difficult to know how each dog will act once infected with Distemper, and how much care they will need, but if your pup shows ANY signs of sickness, it is very important that you see your veterinarian immediately.  They will be able to assess your dog and provide you with any information that will be specific to your dog’s condition and the best way to get your dog back to health.

What kind of vaccinations are there?

The vaccination for Distemper is the usually the most common vaccine administered to dogs and young puppies.  It is often combined with additional vaccines, such as canine Adenovirus, Hepatitis, Leptospirosis, Parainfluenza, and sometimes Coronavirus.  When you take your dog to the vet for his shots, the “Distemper” vaccine is usually the 5-way vaccine and includes that includes these.  If your dog has gotten his shots, he is most likely already protected against Distemper and you don’t even know it.  Which is a good thing! :)

How often should my dog be vaccinated?

It is usually suggested that protection against Distemper be administered yearly at their check-up.  Preventing an infection through vaccines, and keeping your dog away from other dogs is the only way to lessen the chances of your dog coming in contact with the disease, and as always, consult your dog’s veterinarian for what is best for YOUR dog’s health.

How soon can I get my puppy protected against Distemper?

The age of 6 weeks is the general time that your puppy can begin being protected against this virus, and all the other viruses that could, and can, affect your young puppy.  It is best to get them started on their vaccines as soon as they turn 6 weeks of age to maximize their chances of developing a healthy immune system, and to protect them against any and all diseases they may come in contact with in their environment.  Even you, the puppy parent, are capable of exposing your puppy to environmental diseases through articles of clothing that may be carrying the disease.  It’s better to begin their protection as soon as possible.

When should I get my dog vaccinated?

If you are unsure if your dog has been protected against Distemper, contact your veterinarian to verify that they have.  If not, I’d recommend scheduling an appointment as soon as possible.  Since this vaccine is often combined with several other vaccines, as I mentioned above, it is entirely possible that your dog is already protected, but it never hurts to find out for sure.

If you feel your dog may have come in contact with Distemper, and is showing signs of the disease, please don’t hesitate to contact your dog’s veterinarian for advice, or to schedule an appointment.  It is best to be sure that the condition isn’t serious, and to catch it before it becomes one.

Next up:  Canine Hepatitis Virus.

Previous Posts you may be interested in:  List of Canine Vaccines, Canine Bordetella and Kennel Cough, and The Facts About Canine Adenovirus.

8679vaccines

Canine Adenovirus is usually one of those diseases that is easily forgotten about, and that’s probably because it’s not talked about, or mentioned very often.  Heck, you may have never even heard about it!  But that’s all about to change because I’m about to tell you everything you’d ever need to know about Adenovirus in dogs.

There are two types of Canine Adenovirus, one which causes Infectious Canine Hepatitis, or ICH (type-1), while the other develops in the form of a cough much like Bordetella and kennel cough.  Type-1 is very uncommon these days, so the focus of this post will be primarily of only type-2 Adenovirus.

With that said, let’s begin!

What is Canine Adenovirus?

Canine Adenovirus type-2 (CAV-2) is often the cause of respiratory disease in dogs, and usually shows up in the form of a cough, which, if left untreated, can turn into a fatal pneumonia.  It is one of the major causes for tracheobronchitis, or kennel cough.

Is my dog at risk of infection?

If your dog, or young puppy has come in contact with an infected dog, and is lacking the protection against the disease, there is a high risk that your dog could become sick.  Even with vaccination against  CAV-2, there is still a chance your canine could become ill since there is no guarantee with an immunization, only prevention, as with all vaccines.  However, being protected against the disease will greatly minimize these chances and the severity of developing secondary infections will be lessened.

What will happen if my dog gets Canine Adenovirus Type-2?

Dogs that are infected will often show signs of a dry, hacking cough followed by retching, and coughing up a white foamy discharge.  The cough is caused by inflammation of the trachea and bronchi.  Some dogs may also develop a fever, have discharge coming from the eyes, and/or nose, be depressed, lack the desire to eat/drink, have some difficulty breathing, and exhibit muscle tremors.  If left untreated, the disease can, and could progress to pneumonia, which can be fatal.  You may start to observe signs of infection in your dog as soon as a week after coming in contact with Adenovirus.

What should I do if my dog has become infected?

If you think your dog may have come in contact with an infected dog, has not been vaccinated, and is exhibiting symptoms like those listed above, make an appointment with your vet as soon as possible for a proper examination, possible testing if symptoms are severe or persistant, and treatment if necessary.

What should I expect if my dog needs treatment?

Depending on the severity of the infection, your veterinarian may prescribe an antibiotic, or a cough suppressant.  Also, sometimes regular neck collars can irritate an existing cough, so it’s recommended that a harness or head collar be worn instead to ease comfort.

What kinds of vaccinations are there?

There are two types of vaccinations against Canine Adenovirus Type-2, one that protects against type-1, and the other protects against both type-1 and type-2 forms of the virus.  Most often, the protection against Adenovirus is combined with several other vaccines and called a 5-way vaccine.  When you take your dog to the vet for his shots, the “Distemper” vaccine is usually the 5-way vaccine and includes:  Canine Distemper, Canine Adenovirus Type-2, Coronavirus, Parainfluenza, and Parvovirus.  Your dog is most likely already protected against Adenovirus Type-2 and you didn’t even know it.  Which is a good thing! :)

How often should my dog be vaccinated?

It is usually suggested that protection against Canine Adenovirus Type-2 be administered yearly at their check-up.  Preventing an infection through vaccines, and keeping your dog away from other dogs is the only way to lessen the chances of your dog coming in contact with the disease, and as always, consult your dog’s veterinarian for what is best for YOUR dog’s health.

How soon can I get my puppy protected against Canine Adenovirus?

The age of 6 weeks is the general time that your puppy can begin being protected against this virus, and all the other viruses that could, and can, affect your young puppy.  It is best to get them started on their vaccines as soon as they turn 6 weeks of age to maximize their chances of developing a healthy immune system, and to protect them against any and all diseases they may come in contact with in their environment.  Even you, the puppy parent, are capable of exposing your puppy to environmental diseases through articles of clothing that may be carrying the disease.  It’s better to begin their protection as soon as possible.

When should I get my dog vaccinated?

If you are unsure if your dog has been protected against Canine Adenovirus Type-2, contact your veterinarian to verify that they have.  If not, I’d recommend scheduling an appointment as soon as possible.  Since this vaccine is often combined with several other vaccines, as I mentioned above, it is entirely possible that your dog is already protected, but it never hurts to find out for sure.

If you feel your dog may have come in contact with Canine Adenovirus Type-2, and is showing signs of the disease, please don’t hesitate to contact your dog’s veterinarian for advice, or to schedule an appointment.  It is best to be sure that the condition isn’t serious, and to catch it before it becomes one.

Next up on the canine vaccine series, Canine Distemper!

Stay Tuned!

Previous Posts:  List of Canine Vaccinations, Canine Bordetella and Kennel Cough

 

8679vaccines

 

Through all the years I have been working in the veterinary field and with dogs I have seen a wide range of diseases, infections, and other various canine-related illnesses.  This time of year is the perfect time to be sure that your dog is protected against various diseases and infections that can be detrimental to their health.

With the warm summer months getting closer by the day, and vacations marked on the calendars, you may already have your dog situated to spend some time in a boarding facility, or if you plan on spending your afternoons with your canine at the dog park taking advantage of the nice weather, now is the time to call your vet to be sure your dog is up-to-date on his/her shots.

A little while back I wrote a post that listed vaccinations that you may need to get administered to your dog(s), and today I’m going to spend some time focusing on the first one, Bordetella, or also known as kennel cough.

 

What is Bordetella?

Tracheobronchitis, or Bordetella, is an upper respiratory infection caused by the bacteria Bordetella bronchiseptica that is commonly known as kennel cough in dogs.  It is very contagious and easily spread in situations where dogs are seen together such as shelters, kennels, dog shows, boarding facilities, doggie daycares, and now even dog parks.

Is my dog at risk of infection?

If your dog, or young puppy has come in contact with an infected dog, and is lacking the protection of a Bordetella vaccine, there is a high risk that your dog could become sick.

What will happen if my dog gets Bordetella?

Dogs that are infected often show signs of a dry, hacking cough that can often produce a white, foamy mucus.  Sometimes a nasal discharge is also seen.  If caught early, most cases are mild and easily treatable with antibiotics.  However, if left untreated, it can lead to a more serious condition that can include fever, pneumonia, lethargy (lack of energy), lack of appetite, and possibly even death.  You may observe the results of a Bordetella infection anywhere from 2 to 14 days after your dog has been exposed to another infected dog, and can continue to be contagious by shedding the virus to other dogs for 6 to 14 weeks after being treated.

What should I do if my dog has become infected?

If you think your dog may have come in contact with an infected dog, has not been vaccinated, and is exhibiting symptoms that is classic with Bordetella, make an appointment with your vet to get a proper examination, possible testing if symptoms are severe or persistant, and treatment if needed.

What should I expect if my dog needs treatment?

Depending on the severity of the infection, your veterinarian may prescribe an antibiotic, or a cough suppressant.  Also, sometimes regular neck collars can irritate an existing cough, so it’s recommended that a harness or head collar be worn instead to help ease comfort.

What kinds of vaccinations are there?

There are two types of vaccinations against Bordetella, injectable and intranasal.  In my experience, most veterinarians will give the one that goes in the nose because it provides a better localized immunity, and decreases the chances of infection.  However, some dogs strongly dislike this way of administering so a regular vaccine is available for those canines who tend to get stressed.

How often should my dog be vaccinated?

If your dog spends time socializing with other dogs, it may be suggested that a vaccination be administered every 6 months, otherwise, yearly protection is a good idea.  If an intranasal is given, only one vaccine is needed, no booster is necessary (if given an injectable, a booster should be given 3 wks after the first dose).  Preventing an infection through vaccines, and keeping your dog away from other dogs is the only way to lessen the chances of your dog getting kennel cough, and as always, consult your dog’s veterinarian for what is best for YOUR dog’s health.

How soon can I get my puppy protected against Bordetella?

At most clinics I have worked at, the average age of 8 weeks is the general time that your puppy can begin being protected against kennel cough.  Some clinics have a different schedule that they follow so it is best to give your veterinarian a call to find out the soonest they allow a vaccine for puppies.

When should I get my dog vaccinated?

If you are planning on attending a dog show with your dog, going out of town and are boarding, or heading to the dog park for a first time visit, it’s definitely a good idea to make an appointment with your vet at least 7 days prior to coming in contact with other dogs to give your dog the best protection against becoming infected.

 

Please don’t hesitate to contact your dog’s veterinarian if your dog is showing signs of kennel cough.  It is best to get it treated early before it can evolve into a serious condition.

Next up in the canine vaccine series, Canine Adenovirus-2!

Stay Tuned!

Previous post:   List of Canine Vaccinations

 

rabies tag

Photo by Greencolander

Vaccinating your puppy or dog is one of the most important aspects of responsible canine ownership.  I can’t stress enough how important it is for your dog to be current on his/her vaccinations, and how crucial it is for young puppies.  Whether you are the owner of a new puppy for the first time, or a veteran of living with canines, it’s a good idea to have a little knowledge about the shots your veterinarian is administering every year.  Some you may be aware of, but others you may not, so I have compiled a list of immunizations that most veterinary clinics, boarding facilities, dog parks, pet sitters, and maybe even the town where you live require your dog to have on file. 

For the next few weeks I’ll be focusing on each one of these vaccinations in further detail to give you a better understanding as of why, how often, and the importance it may have on YOUR dog’s health.

 

Canine Vaccinations:  

  • Bordetella – upper respiratory infection caused by the bacteria Bordetella bronchiseptica that produces a severe hacking cough; also called kennel cough; abbreviated BORD
  • Canine Adenovirus 2 – adenovirus infection in canines that causes signs of upper respiratory disease; abbreviated CAV-2
  • Canine Distemper – highly contagious paramyxovirus infection in canines that is associated with respiratory, digestive, and/or neurologic signs; abbreviated CDV
  • Canine Hepatitis Virus – highly contagious adenovirus I infection in canines that is associated with ocular, abdominal, and liver signs; abbreviated ICH or CAV-I
  • Canine Herpesvirus – herpesvirus infection in canines that primarily affects newborn puppies and is associated with listlessness, nasal discharge, rash, neurologic signs, and death; abbreviated CHV
  • Canine Parainfluenza – paramyxovirus infection of canines that contributes to upper respiratory infections and causes subclinical bronchitis
  • Canine Parvovirus – highly contagious parvovirus infection in canines that is associated with severe diarrhea, vomiting, dehydration, and leukopenia; abbreviated PARVO
  • Coronavirus – virus that causes gastrointestinal disease in dog and is usually spread through contaminated feces; abbreviated CCV
  • Leptospirosis – bacterial disease caused by various serotypes of Leptospira; signs include renal failure, jaundice, fever, and abortion; abbreviated LEPTO
  • Lyme Disease – bacterial disease caused by the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi in which a tick vector transports the bacteria; associated with fever, anorexia, joint disorders, and occasionally neurologic signs; also called borreliosis
  • Rabies – fatal zoonotic rhabdovirus infection of all warm-blooded animals that causes neurologic signs; transmitted by a bite or infected body fluid; abbreviated RV

Stay tuned!