Among the more serious ailments many of the above symptoms may suggest is distemper, almost as common as worms and far more dangerous. It is especially likely to attack puppies and is frequently fatal, since it readily runs into pneumonia or leaves aftereffects almost as bad. No dog, what ever its age, who has not had the disease is immune to it. A few years ago the dog that won the award “Best in Show of All Breeds” at the Westminster Kennel Club show in New York, a fully grown English setter over a year old and valued at thousands of dollars, came down with it a month or two later. Despite the fact that he was in superb physical condition, the attack was so severe that, although he lived through it, he has been shown very little since.
Distemper is especially serious because while there is an antidistemper serum that is supposed to prevent it, no positive cure has ever been found. To make matters worse, it is exceedingly contagious. Its germs can be carried for months on your clothing without losing their deadly efficiency and can be picked up by a dog in hundreds of ways you never suspect and so cannot prevent. And, to repeat what we have already said, the symptoms of the disease are so similar to those of other and less serious troubles they are easily passed over as comparatively unimportant. That’s one of the prime reasons why the diagnoses of laymen when they have ailing puppies are so frequently wide of the mark.
With the result that the disease gets off to a running start and by the time the owner suspects its presence it is too late. When your puppy or grown dog shows symptoms numbers 2, 5, 6, 7, 9, 12, 13, or 14 in the worm list, has fever, shivers or runs at the nose, take no chances consult your veterinarian. In most cases he will not only prescribe for your dog but tell you how you can treat him at home.
I make no claims to medical knowledge, but I am firmly convinced that nine times out of ten distemper will not have serious or permanent results if taken in time. If ever the old proverb “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” was worth following, the treatment of canine distemper is an example. If you have the faintest idea Jock has been exposed to this disease, don’t wait for its symptoms. Keep him in a warm, dry place that is free from drafts, don’t allow him to exercise or get his feet wet, watch him as a broker watches his ticker tape in a jittery market and at the first slight indication of anything wrong, if it’s only a little dumpiness, send for your veterinarian.