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Canine distemper - neuro prognosis?

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  • Canine distemper - neuro prognosis?

    OK, a co-worker is considering adopting a 7 month-old puppy. She e-mailed me pics and I commented (neutrally) on the pup's kind of funky-looking big nose.

    Her response was that the pup had been through a bout with distemper (his mom and 3-week-old sibs were pulled from a shelter by a rescue group - the whole litter got sick and only 2 puppies survived). He has the thick paw pads as well.

    I was of the understanding that dogs who've survived a bout with distemper usually have lasting neurological damage, with symptoms worsening over time? I didn't mention that to her in case I'm wrong. Are there drug regimens now that help manage symptoms that manifest?

    I'd hate to see my work friend get a puppy who has to be euth'd in only a few years.

  • #2
    I had a dog with active distemper when I got him. He had horrible gooed up eyes and crusty nose, his pads were thick and sore. He had no neurological signs, and within a few weeks he slowly got better and had zero lasting effects. Its not a common thing to see in this area anymore, as vaccines are very effective against it.


    • #3
      The few cases I've seen haven't survived. This website has good information
      You can't fix stupid.... but you can breed it!


      • Original Poster

        Originally posted by Horsegal984 View Post
        The few cases I've seen haven't survived. This website has good information
        Thanks - excellent info on that site - did not know that distemper virus is related to the human measles virus.
        So basically if the puppy never showed signs of neurodistemper, there's little risk of big problems in his future?

        I guess she'll need to be vigilant about dental care.


        • #5
          The only one that ever came through my hands was PTS. He had classic neuro distemper- head pressing, snapping, chewing fits. He broke a couple teeth biting metal cage bars, and bit me when I took him out to take him to the vet. Because he did bite me after he was PTS the vet sent his head in to be tested for rabies, but he was negative. Beautiful little 9 week old jack russel-so very sad.

          It does sound like there is still a chance for neuro issues late in life:
          "What is “Old Dog Encephalitis?”

          The condition called “Old Dog Encephalitis” refers to a chronic brain inflammation that can occur in a dog that had distemper many years prior. These brain lesions are identical to those in dogs who progress to a chronic neurologic distemper as part of the brunt of their infection. For some reason, in some individuals, the dog lives nearly all its life as a distemper survivor only to break with neurodistemper in old age."
          ~Former Pet Store Manager (10yrs)
          ~Vintage Toy Dealer (rememberswhen.us)
          ~Vet Tech Student
          Mom to : 2 Horses, 4 Dogs, 2 Cats


          • #6
            Not an expert by any means.... but I pulled a pregnant mommy dog from a shelter almost a year ago. She came down with distemper shortly after her pups were born. Only one puppy survived and mom-ma survived. I kept mom-ma dog (foster failure) and while she does at times seem a bit neurotic I'm thinking it is more or less separation anxiety or there is a fly in my house... the puppy is doing fine. Shows no signs of having any lasting problems at his young age right now. And was just recently fixed. The last two pups to pass were put down due to uncontrollable seizures, so it's a good bet that they all had a form of neurological distemper. Good luck for your friend and the puppy... and I wonder if it was one of the ones from the same shelter. We pulled a lot of them out before discovering the distemper virus. In fact, my Izzy was one of the first to test positive. And the age would be about right.


            • #7
              Originally posted by shayaalliard View Post
              was .

              It does sound like there is still a chance for neuro issues late in life:
              "What is “Old Dog Encephalitis?”

              The condition called “Old Dog Encephalitis” refers to a chronic brain inflammation that can occur in a dog that had distemper many years prior. These brain lesions are identical to those in dogs who progress to a chronic neurologic distemper as part of the brunt of their infection. For some reason, in some individuals, the dog lives nearly all its life as a distemper survivor only to break with neurodistemper in old age."
              This is interesting because my late dog I adopted at 4 yrs. old had ugly and broken teeth. One holistic vet mentioned that she may have had distemper as a puppy. At 14 yrs. old she started showing slight neurological symptoms, like dragging a hind toe, later her hind end would become out of sync with the front at a trot.

              Some time later, she began having these crazy seizures; after searching, I found that they were partial complex seizures. She would just suddenly go crazy, bark hysterically, eyes would glaze, foamy mouth, and run frantically. She would collapse afterwards, need help walking for a day or two, then back to normal. A vet doing acupuncture on her mentioned she could have brain lesions. She also had a vestibular episode at age 12 that left her with a head tilt. Hmm.....