Dogs are a lot like children in many ways. They require a lot of care, constant attention, and tend to pick up a myriad of illnesses. One common sickness that dogs to get is called distemper. This is a viral disease that can result in death if it's not treated as soon as possible. Although there's a lot of information about this disease out there, here are two things you may not know about it.
Other Household Pets May Transmit it or Be Infected
Even though distemper is often associated with dogs, the disease can affect a number of other animals, including wolves, foxes, skunks, and raccoons. You generally don't have to worry about your dog catching the disease from these animals unless you live in an area where your canine friend will cross paths with them on a regular basis.
However, one animal you do have to worry about are ferrets. If you have a ferret in your home, not only can your dog catch this disease from it, but your dog can pass this disease to the ferret. Therefore, it's important to get both your dog and your ferret vaccinated against this disease to prevent them from catching it from or passing it to each other.
Additionally, distemper is a zoonosis, which means you can catch it from a sick dog. While you won't fall ill from it, you can become a carrier for the disease. This means if your dog (or other vulnerable pets) isn't vaccinated against it, you could transmit the disease to them.
Unusual Symptoms May Develop
Another odd thing about distemper is your pet may develop some odd symptoms as a result of the infection. It's pretty well known the virus affects dogs' respiratory and gastrointestinal system, which causes them to develop cold symptoms (e.g. coughing, sneezing) as well as vomit and suffer from diarrhea.
However, the disease also affects the dog's central nervous system, which can lead him or her to develop paralysis, muscle twitching, and seizures. Additionally, the disease may cause your dog's nose and the pads on the feet to thicken and harden, a condition that may remain with your pet long after he or she has been cured of the disease. Less commonly, your dog may become blind or increasingly sensitive to sensory stimuli.
You can prevent your dog from getting distemper by keeping up with his or her vaccinations. If your dog begins exhibiting signs of this disease, take your pet to a clinic like Rodney Parham Animal Clinic as soon as possible for treatment. To learn more, contact a local pet clinic.