Chances of survival for dog with distemper or influenza?

Adopted 3 mo rottie mix from local pound. she is not eating, coughing. took her to vet he gave shot of penicillan & rx for amox. been on meds for 3 days - doesn't seem much better. Vet said poss influenza/distemper. what are chances for survival? Is there any other treatment???? Has nasal discharge/won't eat/lays around-no energy. What do i do?

  • Vetinfo

    By: Kara McCarty El Segundo, CA

    Replied on 04/19/2011

    In this case it's important to know what virus is afflicting your dog in order to give a prognosis and treatment recommendations. Because she is a rottie mix I would worry about her more as Rottweilers have slow to mature immune systems which make them more susceptible to viruses as young puppies and more likely to succumb to them.

    Canine Distemper is a contagious viral disease that initially causes a fever along with nasal and ocular discharge and usually progresses to vomiting and diarrhea as well as neurologic symptoms such as seizures, hyperexcitability, ataxia (incoordination when attempting to walk) and thickening of the footpads and nose. Some dogs also experience retinal (the area in the back of the eye that sends messages to the brain) damage. These dogs get very sick and require hospitalization with intensive supportive care including fluids and broad spectrum antibiotics  as well as injectable medication to control the vomiting and diarrhea. Mortality can be 50% or higher depending upon the virulence of the strain and the immune system status of the puppy. Many dogs are left with permanent problems such as seizures or neurologic tics. Tests for the virus include blood tests for antibodies which will be positive if she's had a vaccine or testing her cerebral spinal fluid for antibodies.

    Canine Influenza is a contagious virus that causes a fever and a nasal discharge which may progress to pneumonia. The infection usually clears in 10 to 14 days unless pneumonia or a secondary bacterial infection develops. Treatment is with broad spectrum antibiotics and cough suppressants if the cough is severe and not caused by pneumonia. Most dogs can be treated at home unless pneumonia develops. The mortality rate is variable dependent upon the virulence of the virus and whether a secondary bacterial infection occurs. In some strains, particularly in greyhounds, mortality can be 100%. Blood tests for antibodies are helpful in diagnosis.

    It is very important that she eat so you may wish to try a bland diet. A good homemade bland diet is boiled hamburger and rice in a 50:50 proportion. Boil chunks of hamburger until it's fully cooked (about 10 minutes, until there's no pink in the middle), drain all fat and juices off, and then mix with plain boiled white rice. Feed 1/4 cup per 10 pounds of dog at each meal. If she starts vomiting or diarrhea develops contact your veterinarian as this is likely a sign she has distemper and needs hospitalization. If her nasal discharge becomes green or isn't slowing after 10 days contact your veterinarian as pneumonia is likely.

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