Caring for and Raising New Born Puppies
The canine distemper virus (CDV) causes a highly contagious disease in dogs known as distemper. Dogs with distemper suffer damage to their gastrointestinal, central nervous and respiratory systems. According to conventional veterinary understanding, Distemper in dogs is incurable and often fatal.
While undoubtedly a serious disease, homeopathic vets, on the other hand, have experienced success with natural distemper treatments.
Puppies between the ages of three and six months are most susceptible to distemper, although older dogs and other carnivorous mammals can also contract this disease. In the past, distemper was the leading cause of death among puppies who had not been vaccinated. Since the distemper vaccine was created in the early 1960s, incidents of distemper and distemper related deaths have dropped considerably.
The canine distemper virus is transmitted via airborne viral particles and is inhaled by the dog. An infected dog sheds the virus through bodily secretions and excretions, so it is easy for an infected dog to cause the infection of another dog. Distemper is therefore highly contagious.
Distemper causes a multitude of symptoms that include various respiratory and gastrointestinal symptoms, as well as central nervous system disorders. Dogs that die as a result of distemper invariably die from central nervous complications caused by the disease, or from secondary bacterial infections.
Distemper can be difficult for a veterinarian to diagnose, as blood tests are not helpful in detecting the presence of CDV. Successful diagnosis often relies on the ruling out of comparative disorders whose symptoms can often suggest the presence of the virus.
Because there is no conventional cure for distemper, treatment for the disease is supportive. A vet will attempt to treat the symptoms as far as is possible. A clean, warm, and draft free environment should be created and maintained to ensure the affected dog is as comfortable as possible. The eyes and nose should be kept free of discharge, and medication to treat diarrhea should be administered. Dogs suffering from distemper need plenty of fluids to help reduce fever and prevent dehydration.
It must be stressed, however, that homeopathic distemper remedies have shown some success.
Like any viral disease, prevention is an eminently preferable (and more successful) option than treatment, and the best option is vaccination during the early weeks of life.
The distemper vaccination creates a long lasting immunity to the virus, but at what stage the immunity is permanent is the subject of some debate. Most puppies are given vaccinations that include distemper vaccine along with vaccines for several other diseases. Annual inoculations are routinely recommended to maintain a dog’s immunity to disease, but the efficacy of this practise is questionable. It is now widely accepted that annual inoculations are NOT required once a dog passes into adulthood, but the practise of annual vaccinations is still very widespread. For further information on the danger of over-vaccinating your dog, see Immune Support for Pets