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Discussion Starter #1
Lat Thrusday I received 2 dogs from a LA shelter. While they were en route I got a call from the shelter director telling me that several dogs in the same kennel area wre showing signs of distemper. Not a call I wanted to get, nor one that he probably wanted to make. But I'm glad he warned me of it.

So, Duke & Daisy are in quarentine at my office now and both appear to have a nasty case of kennel cough. Understandable. Duke so far is just couging and Daisy has the cough and is also spitting up a white, foaming bile. Both are on doxy.

There is no eye or nose discharge that the articles I've read tell me can be a sign of distemper.

Does anyone have experience with distemper (I sure hope not!) who can tell me what else to look for? Vet, of course, is closed.
 

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Yikes. Is "LA" Los Angeles, CA or Los Alamos?

Here's a pretty good discussion: Canine Distemper (Mar Vista Animal Hospital). Describes mucosal phase symptoms: discharge, as you mentioned, coughing, nausea and vomiting. Younger dogs and dogs with weak immune systems often die during this phase. Even if the dog recovers from this, s/he may go on to develop neurodistemper with seizures, because the virus hides out in neural tissue.

Dogs may shed virus and remain contagious 2-3 months after they appear to have recovered from the mucosal phase, so you don't want to bring them into contact with other dogs too soon.

This link also has a good discussion of diagnostic testing.

Best wishes.
 

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Thanks Betsy!

I wish there were a quick and reliable distemper test. I am 99% sure that they "only" have kennl cough, but so many of the symptoms are similar. And since they were vaccinated about 6 days ago I can't even use the avialable test.
 

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Elivismom,

Sorry about the kennel cough and the distemper scare on top of it. My vet had several cases of kennel cough in dogs recently and my cat likely picked it up. Also right around the same time I know of a rescue dog with distemper. I'm pretty sure it came up from down south. Lovely, friendly, white Pyrenees mix, loosing weight, had an eye discharge. A little over a year old. Had all its vaccinations.....supposedly. She was brought to the vet hospital lethargic to the point where they couldn't wake her up one minute, and then she'd be racing around trying to bite someone. Also muscle twitching ( myoclonus). Clearly neurological symptoms. She was sent for an MRI and spinal tap and was diagnosed with distemper. She was exposed to distemper at her point of origin. Poor baby was put to sleep. But I do know there wasn't any hysteria about the dogs at the vets exposed to her as they all had their distemper vaccinations. What does you vet say about your dogs? I know it's possible to become infected but from the article Betsy referenced it doesn't seem likely your guys are likely to get really sick. Of course it's easier said then done - not to worry that is!

You know this brings up the whole business of vaccinations in general. With vaccinations being given less frequently, owners aren't going to the vets every year, though they should for a check up. After going 3 years, they may forget another year or more and before you know it we're going to have a lot of dogs who have gone quite a few years without vaccinations. Also a lot of people stopped giving lepto because of allergic reactions to the vaccine. Well there's been an increase in cases of leptospirosis. I've seen two dogs die of it recently and it's devastating to watch. Are we going to start seeing more distemper, parvo, lepto, etc?

Let us know how Duke and Daisy make out!

Barb
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Duke and Daisy were owner surrenders to a shelter in Lousiana. The only shots I can verify were the ones they were given the day before travel (11/19). The are probably around 6 - so I'm hopefuly they had SOME vaccines at one point because the owner did spay and neuter them.

They sound a thousand times better today. Yesterday they were still hacking up bile etc and had the terrible cough - today there is no hacking and just a very mild cough on rare occassins. I feel incredibly relieved. No signs or any nasal or eye discharge. They are acting like happy, healthy dogs.

Both vets (in LA and NM) agree that the odds of them coming down with distemper are very, very minimal - but I have some pups at my house who haven't gone through all their shots yet, so I don't dare take them home. The added bonus is that I don't risk kennel cough going through my house like wildfire!

We rotate our vaccines every year - rabies, parvo etc - so that everyone is seen yearly. But I do know thta what you say about visits every 3 years is true. There was a chart at my vet's office showing the increase in the lepto cases in NM from 2001-2005. It was dramatic. I've never seen or known any dog to get it - but it's obviously happening. And now with the economic "probelms" i'm sure a lot of people are putting off bet care.....

I'm sorry about the dogs you've lost to distemper and lepto. It is so sad to lose an animal to a disease that can be prevented.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Good news - I talked to the shelter director today and they are showing NO signs of distemper. Of course, it could still pop up, but it seems unlikely. I'm so happy for the dogs that are there - it could have been disasterous for them. Bless this director - he truly cares about the animals.
 
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