Can Dogs Get Measles?
Measles on humans is not good, and no living person would want to have that disease. However, if you happen to have measles and you have a pet dog, is it possible to pass this contagious illness to your beloved pooch? Of course you wouldn’t want your dog to experience measles, because you know that high fevers, cough, runny nose, itchy red eyes, and complete discomfort are frustrating symptoms of measles. But no worries, as long as your pet dog received all the necessary vaccines when your pooch was still a puppy. And one of those vaccines includes distemper vaccine, which is a similar disease as measles in humans. However, to answer your question, the straight answer is “no”. Dog cannot have measles; but dogs can have distemper.
WHAT IS CANINE DISTEMPER?
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported that no animal is affected measles. But, dogs can get ill with canine distemper, especially those young pups that have not received their distemper vaccines yet. Canine distemper virus (CDV) belongs to the Paramyxoviridae family, which is the same viral family as the human measles virus came from. Canine distemper greatly affects your dog’s gastrointestinal, respiratory, and central nervous systems, and the eye’s conjunctival membranes. You also need to know that canine distemper is a serious disease and it is extremely contagious, and there is no cure for this dog disease.
SYMPTOMS OF CANINE DISTEMPER
Canine distemper has numerous symptoms in dogs, and you must always be cautious about your dog’s outward signs especially when you know that there is a measles outbreak or canine distemper virus roaming around the neighborhood. The different symptoms of canine distemper that you need to watch out for are:
- Loss of appetite
- Unusual head tilt
- Ocular and nasal discharge
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Weakness or paralysis
- “Chewing gum fits” or abnormal movements of the jaw
- Toughening of the paw pads
- Constant sneezing
As soon as your pooch shows one or more of the symptoms, you need to consult the vet immediately, especially when your pooch is not vaccine yet. You need to understand that this dog virus spreads swiftly, and your dog’s vet must see your pooch immediately before canine distemper becomes fatal to your beloved pooch. And since this disease is highly infectious, you must isolate your other pets, if you have any more, or you can bring them to the vet as well for a thorough checkup.
HOW DOES CANINE DISTEMPER TRANSMITTED?
Though canine distemper is an awful disease for your dog, you can relax because this disease cannot be transferred to humans, just like how measles cannot be passed on to dogs. Canine distemper is mainly spread through direct dog to dog contact or through aerosolization of the canine distemper virus by ways of sneezing and coughing. This viral disease is highly likely to affect domestic dogs, ferrets, bears, wolves, skunks, and foxes. Dogs can contract the canine distemper disease through direct interaction with fresh dog urine, saliva, or blood. Even sharing dog bowls for food and water can pass the canine distemper virus to another dog.
HOW TO DIAGNOSE CANINE DISTEMPER
There are canine distemper tests available in veterinary clinics, but those tests are not always a hundred percent reliable. The vet will need to check for every symptom and diagnose your dog using your vet’s physical probing and the test results. Your dog’s vet would also need to look at your pooch’s medical history in order to properly diagnose your pet with canine distemper.
TREATMENT FOR CANINE DISTEMPER
Canine distemper is serious disease and it has no cure. The treatment of this virus usually encompasses providing supportive care for your pooch, like giving your dog a lot of fluids, vet-prescribed antibiotics, and helping your dog feel comfortable in handling the symptoms. There is nothing you can do except wait for the virus to run its course. And you need to be ready for the outcome, since canine distemper is actually fatal for dogs. And if ever your pooch will survive the disease, your precious pet may have neurological damage that is permanent in nature.
CANINE DISTEMPER PREVENTION
This highly contagious disease for dogs can be prevented through proper vaccination. It is important that your dog completed all the dog vaccines recommended by vets. The particular vaccine for canine distemper is what is called distemper shot. It is important that puppies age six to eight weeks gets this vaccine, and to keep pups away from potentially infectious animals or locations until all the vaccinations are completed at four or five months of puppy existence.
You can also prevent your dog to acquire canine distemper by making sure that your dog’s living space is always clean. Make it a point to regularly disinfect your dog’s bed and surroundings, and do not let your pooch play with other animals that are unclean or neglected.
DOGS THAT CAN EASILY GET CANINE DISTEMPER
Adolescent dogs and puppies that have not received their distemper shots yet are more prone to canine distemper. These dogs are typically rescue dogs, or puppies that are purchased from pet stores. Dog mothers that are not vaccinated gives birth to puppies that are highly susceptible with the canine distemper virus. Puppies are often infected with this viral virus when they are less than seven weeks old, and this disease causes puppies to weaken severely. Dogs with canine distemper are very weak, and the virus moves into the dog’s brain that leads to seizures, trembling, and shaking. With a weak immune system, dogs can also get pneumonia. Not all dogs can survive this infectious disease, especially the puppies. And if dogs do survive, they are left with a permanent brain disorder that has no cure.
And so wherever you may have gotten your treasured dog pet, make sure that your pooch has completed its vaccine, especially the distemper shot. Protect your dog from this deadly virus, since your pooch is no doubt a part of your family already.