Undiagnosed dog

If your dog has not been diagnosed, you need to find out quickly what you are dealing with. This may not be a distemper case.

Distemper is often seen in two stages. In the first pre-neurological stage — before seizures — you may see hardening of the pads of feet, dulling of the eyes, mucous in the nose, coughing, fever and respiratory trouble. Distemper attacks every system of the dog, so the damage is happening everywhere and there are symptoms you may not see.

It can attack the stomach and make your dog vomit. For a while it may not attack the nervous system, this is because of the blood-brain barrier. However, it will eventually cross the barrier and attack the myelin sheath that protects the nerves. That causes seizures, the neurological stage. The seizures could be seen as any kind of involuntary twitching and shuddering and loss of balance in the dog’s body. It could range from chewing gum seizures, which look like the dog is trying to chew a piece of gum, to full-body convulsions. However, there are dozens of other causes for seizures in dogs aside from distemper.

Since other diseases may mimic the symptoms of distemper, your first step should be to confirm that your dog has the disease. Your vet can take a blood test for you, but by the time you get the results back the dog may be too sick to help. We recommend you get the blood tested anyway, but then treat for distemper without waiting for the results. Then later if the test does come back positive for distemper, you know you have saved your dog. But Dr. Sears has come up with a faster test called the Brush Border Smear.

If you do get a diagnosis, you should go here. You can also read our FAQ.