Distemper is an extremely contagious virus in dogs, similar to what measles is in humans. All dogs that are not vaccinated are at risk. It is less common in the U.S. due to vaccine requirements, but worldwide it is still the leading cause of infectious disease fatalities in dogs.
Dogs can pick up distemper by coming into contact with any secretion from an infected dog, and also through virus particles found in the air. This is why it's crucial to have your dog vaccinated against distemper.
Symptoms can include and will worsen over time:
Inflamed, runny eyes
There is no cure for distemper, just treatment of the symptoms. The sooner a dog is treated by a veterinarian the better. Many dogs lose their battle anywhere from weeks to months after being infected, even if after a time of being seemingly recovered. A positive outcome becomes less likely when there are neurological issues due to the illness, and even some dogs who do live, go on the rest of their lives with central nervous system problems.
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