How long can a dog live with distemper (A viral disease)?

How long can a dog live with a distemper (A viral disease)? Canines can become your very good friends. If you got a dog back at home whom you love and care about, his health will surely concern you too. Having a dog might have made you hear about the specific word “distemper” a lot. Often when you take your dog for a check-up to a vet, he will ask you to give your dog shots of canine distemper vaccine (especially to puppies of age 6-8 weeks). Now the real question is what do you mean by distemper, what this disease really is and how long will your dog live with it. This article concerns just these things, so you have landed on the right spot.


What Really Is How long can a dog live with distemper?

According to Wikipedia, Canine distemper (sometimes termed footpad disease) is a viral disease that affects a wide variety of mammal families, including domestic and wild species of dogs, coyotes, foxes, wolves skunks, raccoons, and felines etc. In canines distemper affects several body systems, including the gastrointestinal and respiratory tracts and the spinal cord and brain.


Symptoms:  Common symptoms that include high fever, eye inflammation and eye/nose discharge, labored breathing and coughing, vomiting and diarrhea, loss of appetite and lethargy, and hardening of nose and footpads. The viral infection can be accompanied by secondary bacterial infections and can present eventual serious neurological symptoms.


What Causes Distemper?

What Causes Distemper

It is caused by paramyxovirus. Animals usually get it by contact through urine, blood, salivary or gastrointestinal droplets.


How Long Can A Dog Live With It?


Distemper is not always fatal to a dog. Talking about how long your infected dog will live with it, well it depends upon the age, breed and the strain of virus your dog has been infected with. There are some cases which take like 10 days or so for recovery while others may progress neurological symptoms up to weeks and months afterwards. The strain of virus can survive up to 3 hours at room temperature and if the environment is cold it will live for long. At around 60 degrees the virus gets killed in under 30 minutes or so.

The virus has two stages in a dog.


First Stage:

Dogs mostly attain a fever 3-6 weeks after infection. Symptoms at this stage depends upon immune system of dog and severity of virus.


  • Clear nasal discharge
  • Purulent eye discharge
  • Lethargy
  • Anorexia
  • Coughing
  • Inflammation of the brain and spinal cord
  • Fever

Second Stage:

This stage constitutes neurological signs which might appear disturbing for owners.

.    Head tilt

  • Circling
  • Partial or full paralysis
  • Nystagmus (repetitive eye movements)
  • Death

Treatment And Prevention How long can a dog live with distemper:


As far as the treatment goes there is no cure for distemper. Vets after diagnosing the disease through some clinical tests separate the dogs treating the other symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting, and neurological symptoms, prevent dehydration and try to prevent secondary infections.

The disease however can be prevented if not cured. Ensure distemper vaccines to your puppy, segregate your dog from infected wild animals, vaccinate pet ferrets.


Remember, prevention is always better than cure. Hope this article would help you in many ways.

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