- In a 'typical' case, the dog becomes pyrexic about 1 week after exposure and signs of generalised disease develop after several weeks. These may include:
- serous-mucopurulent nasal and conjunctival discharges
- vomiting and diarrhoea
- and, later, hyperkeratosis.
- After 2-4 weeks of generalised disease, the dog may appear to recover completely.
- Alternatively, signs of CNS disease may develop. Neurological disease can be acute or chronic, and often indicates a poor prognosis.
- In dogs which recover, persistent infection of the CNS can lead to 'old dog encephalitis' years later.
- Enamel hypoplasia can often be seen in recovered puppies.
But typical distemper is uncommon.
- The clinical signs of distemper are often much milder than in the so-called 'typical' case, and often the disease will affect mainly one organ system, for example:
- the respiratory tract (in which case distemper needs to be distinguished from kennel cough, especially as secondary infection with B. bronchiseptica is common);
- the alimentary tract; or
- the CNS.
- In addition, there is some evidence that persistent CDV infection might be involved in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis in dogs.
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