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    Vet Articles

    What is Canine Distemper?

    Also known as CDV, Canine Distemper is a highly contagious viral illness that can be debilitating and even fatal. It not only affects dogs but can also be seen in certain species of wildlife, including foxes, skunks, and wolves. Puppies and non-immunized dogs are most commonly affected, but pets on immune-suppressants may also be vulnerable.

    CDV is resistant to the majority of cleaning products, and household bleach is the only known way to eradicate it.
     

    What causes CDV?

    The CDV virus is mainly transmitted through direct contact with an infected animal via bodily fluids such as saliva from coughs or sneezes. Inhalation is the most common way it enters a new dogs system. CDV attacks the respiratory system, gastrointestinal tract, and central nervous system.

    The virus does not live long once outside the body, so indirect contact is extremely rare.
    As with most contagious diseases, animal shelters and kennels are much more likely to be contaminated.
     

    Symptoms of CDV

    The primary symptoms of CDV include but are not limited to:

    • Coughing

    • Diarrhea

    • Fever

    • Lethargy

    • Nasal discharge

    • Reduced appetite

    • Vomiting

    • Watery or pus-like discharge from the eyes

    Once the virus reaches the central nervous system (CNS), it can cause twitching, seizures, and partial or total paralysis. This causes irreparable damage to a dog’s nervous system, resulting in death.