Labrador Retriever and CDV

By: Richard Cussons

Canine distemper is a contagious disease affecting large number of animal species, including your Labrador Retriever. This viral disease caused by canine distemper virus (CDV) affects the respiratory, gastrointestinal and central nervous system. Non-immunized puppies three to six months old are susceptible to this disease and are more likely to die from it. However, non-immunized older dogs can also contract distemper.

The virus is spread by infected dogs through bodily secretions and excretions, more particularly respiratory secretions. It is an airborne disease transmitted through cough or sneeze. It then invades the lymphatic tissue until it reaches the blood, then spreads to the lungs, intestine, bladder and even to the nervous system.

Signs of distemper vary depending on the severity of the disease. Mild cases show very few or no sign at all. Early signs include fever, loss of appetite and mild eye inflammation.

Fever is usually 103 to 106 degrees Fahrenheit. Eye and nose discharge and depression may also be present. As the disease progresses, gastrointestinal and respiratory disease such as conjunctivitis, diarrhea, pneumonia, rhinitis and vomiting can also be seen. Most dogs that die from this disease die from neurological complications such as ataxia, depression, paralysis and others. Some dogs may also become blind because the virus also attacks the retina.

This disease is diagnosed through laboratory tests such as fluorescent antibody techniques, polymerase chain reaction, virus isolation and ELISA (Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay) tests.

Treating the disease here means treating the symptoms because there is no anti-viral drug known to treat canine distemper. Veterinarians usually prescribe antibiotics to treat damaged lining of the intestines and lungs and other infections. Intravenous fluids and nutritional supplements are given to minimize diarrhea and prevent dehydration. Dogs that are unable to eat are given essential vitamins and nutrients through injection.

Since there is no treatment for this diseaseFree Reprint Articles, measures should be taken to prevent it. Vaccines for the prevention of canine distemper should be administered to dogs. Puppies should be vaccinated starting six to eight weeks of age. See your veterinarian for advice regarding the frequency of the vaccination and how much should be administered to your dog. Regular cleaning with disinfectants or detergents should be done to destroy the virus in the environment.

Distemper is a very serious disease that could possibly cause your pet's health to deteriorate. The owner of a distemper victim should always remember that supportive care is very important in helping pets survive distemper symptoms.

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