What are the 5 stages of distemper?

 What are the 5 stages of distemper?

Tracy Wilkins

Canine distemper is undoubtedly one of the most serious diseases that can affect dogs. Caused by a virus, it is extremely contagious and can lead to death in a short time. What makes canine distemper so dangerous is the fact that the disease has different stages that gradually weaken the animal's body. From the initial stage to the terminal stage of distemper, several systems are affected.When they are cured, distemper often leaves sequelae for the animal's entire life. O Paws of the House explains the 5 stages of distemper in dogs and the symptoms presented in each of them. Check it out!

There are 5 stages of canine distemper

First of all, it is important to understand that each dog has a unique organism. Canine distemper can manifest itself differently in each dog. There are 5 phases of distemper, but they do not necessarily happen in the same order. In addition, the dog will not always show symptoms common to all of them. The only exception is the neurological phase, which will always be the terminal phase of distemper.

1st phase of canine distemper: ophthalmic phase

There are several stages of distemper. The initial stage is known as ophthalmic distemper, which gets its name because its main characteristic is the appearance of secretions in the eyes and cases of canine conjunctivitis that can be severe. Because they are symptoms common to other diseases, it is difficult to realize at first that it is canine distemper, making it difficult to diagnose quickly.

2nd phase of canine distemper: respiratory phase

Soon after comes the second phase of distemper. At this point, the initial phase is mixed with the respiratory phase and nasal secretions, coughing, fever, tiredness and difficulty breathing appear. During this phase of canine distemper, the symptoms can worsen and lead to severe pneumonia in the dog. The animal becomes increasingly tired and apathetic. With these signs, it isit is important that the owner takes the animal to the veterinarian soon to avoid the other stages of distemper.

3rd stage of canine distemper: integumentary stage

In the integumentary phase of canine distemper, the physical symptoms start to become more evident. Usually, it is at this point that the guardian becomes more concerned, since the symptoms go beyond respiratory ones (which can be mistaken for the flu). During this phase of canine distemper, the dog presents abdominal pustules (pus-filled balls on the skin). In addition, it is possible to see hyperkeratosis of the skin.paw pads, which is characterized by dry and peeling skin at the site.

4th phase of canine distemper: digestive phase

As canine distemper progresses, other systems of the body are affected. After the integumentary phase, it is the turn of the dog's digestive system to suffer the consequences. In the digestive phase of canine distemper, the most common symptoms are vomiting, diarrhoea, pain in the abdomen and lack of appetite, as well as weakness. These signs may even start out milder, but they get worse. The animalmay become dehydrated due to excessive vomiting and diarrhea.

5th stage of canine distemper: neurological stage

The terminal phase of distemper, and also the most serious, is the neurological stage. At this point, the disease is very advanced, to the point of affecting the dog's nervous system and compromising its motor functions. In the terminal phase, distemper is extremely serious and can leave sequelae. The most common symptoms are: involuntary contractions, tremors, motor difficulties, paralysis of limbs and changes ofbehavior.

How long does the neurological phase of distemper last?

In the other stages of distemper, the symptoms may be milder and, therefore, some guardians do not realize the severity. When it enters the terminal phase, distemper becomes much more serious and, therefore, many pet parents only realize the disease at this time. Thus, it is quite common for the animal to suffer from sequelae when it reaches this level. They are a consequence of the wear and tear that canine distemper causes.causes damage to the myelin sheath, which is the protective layer of neurons. The sheath is destroyed, which leads to the appearance of sequelae such as:

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Therefore, it is difficult to define how long the neurological phase of distemper lasts. If the animal starts treatment before it reaches this level, it will not have sequelae. But if treatment only starts after neurological damage has already set in, the neurological phase can last a long time, with a high probability of leaving sequelae for the rest of its life. Canine distemper is more common in puppies that do not have a neurological phase.The v10 vaccine, which requires three doses the first time and annual boosters, is the main way to prevent distemper in dogs.

Tracy Wilkins

Jeremy Cruz is a passionate animal lover and dedicated pet parent. With a background in veterinary medicine, Jeremy has spent years working alongside veterinarians, gaining invaluable knowledge and experience in caring for dogs and cats. His genuine love for animals and commitment to their well-being led him to create the blog Everything you need to know about dogs and cats, where he shares expert advice from veterinarians, owners, and respected experts in the field, including Tracy Wilkins. By combining his expertise in veterinary medicine with insights from other respected professionals, Jeremy aims to provide a comprehensive resource for pet owners, helping them understand and address their beloved pets' needs. Whether it's training tips, health advice, or simply spreading awareness about animal welfare, Jeremy's blog has become a go-to source for pet enthusiasts seeking reliable and compassionate information. Through his writing, Jeremy hopes to inspire others to become more responsible pet owners and create a world where all animals receive the love, care, and respect they deserve.