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Symptoms and Complications of Distemper in Dogs

In its first stages, canine distemper will affect a dog’s lymph nodes and tonsils. After about a week, it will move rapidly throughout the body. In addition to red eyes, lethargy and runny discharge from eyes and nose, other early symptoms may include loss of appetite, persistent coughing, vomiting or diarrhea, or a fever of 102 degrees Fahrenheit (38.8 degrees Celsius) or higher.

Symptoms and Complications of Distemper in Dogs


As the illness progresses, it can lead to:

  • Seizures, paralysis and fits
  • Muscle spasms and lack of coordination
  • Hypersensitivity to stimuli
  • 00
  • Deteriorated mental abilities and motor skills
  • Hardening, thickening and enlargement of the pads on the dog’s feet
  • Lesions on the retina
  • Optic neuritis, which can lead to blindness
  • Erosion of the teeth (in puppies who don’t yet have permanent, enameled teeth)
  • Depression
  • Pneumonia
  • Secondary bacterial infections

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