Dog Distemper Disease


What is It?

Dog Distemper, or Canine Distemper Virus (CDV), is a highly contagious viral respiratory disease, similar to the human measles virus.

It is transmitted via airborne viral particles and can spread when dogs breathe or cough on each other. Primarily an aerosol infection, distemper in dogs can also spread through eye and nose discharge, or from contaminated food and water.

Distemper in puppies can be very dangerous. Between 3-6 months of age, puppies are most susceptible, and more likely to succumb to the disease than adult dogs. Rin Tin Tin lost his littermate Nanette to the illness.

Symptoms of Distemper Disease

The first signs of dog distemper are normally a runny nose/eye discharge, fever and loss of appetite. These initial symptoms may last for only a day or two. As the disease progresses, symptoms become more noticeable and serious.

The virus spreads rapidly within the body and can infect all lymph organs within 2-5 days. In the next few days, it spreads to the blood (viremia).

At this point, the lining (epithelium) of the central nervous, gastrointestinal, respiratory and urogenital systems become infected, causing the noticeable symptoms.

Symptoms include:

  • Cough
  • Depletion of white blood cells (lymphopenia)
  • Diarrhea
  • Eye discharge/problems/redness
  • Eye problems
  • Depression
  • Fever (103-106F)
  • Hardening of foot pads
  • Loss of appetite
  • Muscle tremors
  • Nausea
  • Paralysis
  • Runny nose
  • Seizures
  • Spasmodic muscle jerks (myoclonus)
  • Thickened nose pad
  • Unusual tooth enamel
  • Vomiting

CDV can progress to brain damage. Fortunately, many infected dogs will not become seriously ill. But, about half of those that do will eventually succumb to the disease.


Puppies and immune-suppressed dogs are not the only ones that can contract the virus. Also at risk are:

  • Civet Cats
  • Hyenas
  • Lions
  • Large zoo cats
  • Mink
  • Raccoons
  • Seals
  • Weasels


There is no traditional cure. Other than supportive care, conventional medicine cannot offer any options.

Prevention - Distemper Vaccine

CDV is the "D" in DHLPP. Puppy shots include a vaccination for distemper.



Protected by Copyscape Plagiarism Tool

The information and products recommended by german-shepherd-lore.com are not intended to take the place of expert veterinarian care. Please consult with your vet and ask about using a natural and alternative approach for the healthcare and treatment of your pet. Find a holistic vet.

Follow Us

German Shepherd Lore on Facebook German Shepherd Lore on Twitter

Free Dog Obedience Training Tips




Copyright © German-Shepherd-Lore | All rights reserved.
Powered by Site Build It! | Website design by Cre8ve Online