Canine distemper is a viral disease affecting dogs of all ages, but mainly unvaccinated or partially
vaccinated puppies. The severity of the disease and the tissues infected vary with the particular strain of the virus infecting the pet and the pet's immune system; pets with antibody titers over 1:100 typically do not develop the disease. Typical clinical signs resemble those of kennel cough in the early stages of the disease, namely runny eyes and a runny nose. As the disease progresses, the pet develops a thicker purulent (pus) discharge of the eyes and nose, and develops a cough due to pneumonia. Lack of appetite, fever, and general lethargy also occur. Occasionally secondary skin infections arise and resemble pimples on the abdominal skin. The pads of the feet may thicken and become hard (distemper is often referred to as "hardpad" disease). Neurological complications, usually chomping of the jaw or seizure, develop later in the disease and are often the reason most pets with distemper are euthanized.
Principal Natural Treatments For Pets
Nosodes, a special type of homeopathic remedy, are prepared from infectious organisms, such as distemper virus and staphylococcus bacteria. Remember that no matter what the source of the remedy; the actual ingredients are diluted in preparing the remedy. No measurable amount of the original source for the remedy remains, only the vital energy or life force, which imparts healing properties to the remedy. No harm will come to your pet regardless of the toxicity of the original compound used in the preparation of the remedy.
But do nosodes work? Some doctors seem to prefer nosodes manufactured by specific homeopathic pharmacies, as they feel there is a definite difference in the ability of nosodes to stimulate the immune system. In their opinions, the manufacturer of the nosode is important and some vaccination nosodes work better than others.
To prevent disease, nosodes are supposed to work in the same manner as conventional vaccines, namely by stimulating antibodies to fight off infections. Nosodes have been reported to control outbreaks of infectious disease in animals in a kennel situation. While good controlled studies are lacking, homeopathic veterinarians have reported success in some patients when treating infectious disease with the homeopathic nosode.
Other Natural Treatments For Pets
There is no cure for distemper, although many holistic doctors report anecdotal cases of cure using nutritional support such as a natural diet and antioxidants, in addition to the homeopathic nosode. The natural treatments are widely used with variable success but have not all been thoroughly investigated and proven at this time. As with any condition, the most healthful natural diet will improve the pet's overall health.
Conventional Therapy For Distemper
There is no conventional treatment for distemper, and most pets are euthanized once seizures develop. Supportive care includes antibiotics, force-feeding, and fluid therapy.
(Note: If you are considering buying a puppy, especially one you have found on the Internet or a source you are not familiar with, be sure to have the dog checked by a veterinarian first. There are numerous reported cases of puppies being sold with distemper, and then the seller quickly disappears with your money.)
Shawn Messonnier, DVM
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Shawn Messonnier DVM Past Supporting Member, Oncology Association of Naturopathic Physicians Author, the award-winning The Natural Health Bible for Dogs & Cats, The Natural Vet’s Guide to Preventing and Treating Cancer in Dogs, and Breast Choices for the Best Chances: Your Breasts, Your Life, and How YOU Can Win The Battle!
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