Canine distemper (CDV)
Canine distemper is a viral
disease affecting animals in the families Canidae,
Mustelidae, Mephitidae, Procyonidae, Pinnipedia
and possibly Felidae (though not domestic cats;
feline distemper or panleukopenia is a virus exclusive
to cats). It is most commonly associated with domestic
animals such as dogs, although ferrets are also
vaccinated for it.
Dogs from four months to four years old are particularly
susceptible. Canine distemper virus (CDV) spreads
through the air and through contact with infected
bodily fluids, including food and water contaminated
with these fluids. The time between infection and
disease is 14 to 18 days, although there can be
a fever from three to six days post infection.
- Dullness and redness of the eye
- Discharge from nose
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Loss of appetite and energy
- Weight loss
- Thickened footpads
- Tooth enamel hypoplasia
- Photophobia (sensitivity to light)
The above symptoms, especially fever, respiratory
signs, neurological signs, and thickened footpads
found in unvaccinated dogs strongly indicate canine
distemper. Finding the virus by various methods
in the dog's conjunctival cells gives a definitive
Treatment and prevention
There is no specific treatment for canine distemper.
The dog should be treated by a veterinarian, usually
with antibiotics for secondary bacterial infections,
intravenous fluids, and nutritional supplements.
The prognosis is poor.
There exist a number of vaccines
against canine distemper for dogs and domestic ferrets,
which in many jurisdictions are mandatory for pets.
The type of vaccine should be approved for the type
of animal being inoculated, or else the animal could
actually contract the disease from the vaccine.
Animals should be quarantined if infected. The virus
is destroyed in the environment by routine cleaning
with disinfectants, detergents, or drying. It does
not survive in the environment for more than a few
hours at room temperature (20-25 °C), but can
survive for a few weeks at temperatures slightly