Question: I have recently adopted a puppy named Ellie. My friend told me about canine distemper. How can I prevent my puppy from contracting this disease?
Answer: Canine distemper is a contagious viral disease in dogs that attacks the respiratory tract, gastrointestinal tracts and the central nervous system.
Due to effective vaccines, canine distemper cases are fewer these days.
As the dog breathes, canine distemper virus travels as aerosol particles and enters the body through mouth or nose.
Prime symptoms are high fever, reddened eyes, loss of appetite, nasal discharge, pus-like discharge in eyes, vomiting and coughing.
If left untreated, the virus can travel to the central nervous system, displaying neurological symptoms, such as circling, head tilt, involuntary twitching of muscles, seizures, temporal twitching, chewing movements of jaw (chewing gum fits) and complete or partial paralysis.
Abnormal thickening and hardening of the feet pads may also be caused by certain strains of virus.
Treatment focuses on mitigating the symptoms by Intravenous fluid administration, cleaning of the eyes and nose, controlling the vomiting, diarrhoea, seizures and antibiotics to prevent secondary bacterial infection.
To control the spread of infection, immediate isolation of the infected animal is essential.
Puppies are born with mother’s antibodies which prevents them from becoming infected by many diseases. They begin to lose their maternal protection between six and 12 weeks of age, which is when they need to be vaccinated.
- Dr Hansel is a veterinary consultant and surgeon for the BSPCA and Charis vets. Please send questions to email@example.com
BSPCA’S DOG OF THE WEEK IS HEATHCLIFF
Age: Four years
Heathcliff is friendly and approachable. He was seen roaming around Saar Mall in distress until he was brought to the shelter. He enjoys his time playing with the other dogs. Because of his jolly and gentle nature, he has now become one of the favourite dogs of the volunteers. Heathcliff is neutered, tick-treated and vaccinated.
BSPCA’S CAT OF THE WEEK IS YAMM
Age: One year and a month
Yamm is an adventurous and a playful kitty. She is fond of sleeping and snacking. Her charismatic looks and joyous personality is the most suitable way to describe her. She loves company and shows her affection to everyone around. Come and meet her and find out what she is all about. Yamm is neutered and fully vaccinated.
l If you are interested in adopting Heathcliff, Yamm or any of our other cats, kittens, dogs and puppies, please visit the Animal Welfare Centre in Askar. From the Alba roundabout take the road sign-posted Askar and Durrat Al Bahrain and at the third signal, take a right on to the truck road and after approximately 800m you will see the shelter on the right side, just before the flyover. Or log onto the website www.bspca.org for directions. The shelter is open from 9am to 5pm on Sundays to Thursdays and 9am to 1pm on Fridays, Saturdays and public holidays. The shelter accepts animals 24 hours a day, seven days a week.