Dkrainwater’s Weblog

Senior Dog Encephalitis

Posted on: November 1, 2008

You may be wondering what is old dog encephalitis? This is a disease resulting from Fluffy having had distemper years ago. This is a persistent effect of brain inflammation from the distemper. Fluffy recovered from the distemper, but somehow she has a recurrence of the brain inflammation when she is old. These legions are equivalent to those that continue on to become a chronic neurological distemper as a part of the original distemper. What is distemper?

Canine distemper is akin to measles in humans. The distemper virus is enclosed with a fatty envelope, which is easy to upset in the surroundings or habitat. The virus must stay whole to infect Fluffy. She is less likely to get it from the virus being in her habitat. It would have to be very new to her environment. If it’s in her environment over thirty minutes it isn’t fresh enough to harm her. It also has to involve bodily secretions from an infected animal. So these secretions have to be left in her environment from another animal or she has to come in contact with an infected animal. If you make a habit of cleaning and disinfecting Fluffy’s bedding and her sleeping area, this will kill any distemper virus infecting the environment. This virus is like any other, if frozen and placed in the dark it can live for years.

Usually the infection comes from an infected dog coughing or respiratory secretions. The virus is present in most other body fluids, even urine. It comes in through the nose or mouth and starts multiplying.

Then Fluffy’s immune system surrounds the virus with macrophage cells. They are supposed to form a barrier because the virus is locked into the macrophage cell and the enzymes will kill the virus. But with the distemper virus this defense process is preempted as the virus uses the macrophage as a ride through Fluffy’s body. The virus heads for her lymph nodes and makes it within twenty-four hours. It takes about six days for the virus to trek to her stomach, small intestine, spleen, and liver. At this point she has a fever.

A vital point in the development of the infection is reached in about eight or nine days. Fluffy’s immune system has been constructing a defense against the virus during the duration of these days. Whether the virus or Fluffy’s immune system wins round two is pivoting on the strength and swiftness of her immune system’s attack. If her immune system starts to turn the tide then it’ll clear the virus out by the end of day fourteen and Fluffy won’t have any systems by then. If her immune system response is feeble, the virus will reach her epithelial cells, which lines the outside skin and the inner cavities. Epithelial cells also line the brain chambers and these will get infected too; they are delicate cells.

The spreading of the virus makes Fluffy sick, though if her immune system keeps mounting its attack the virus will decline. This actuality is responsible for ample diverseness in symptoms; while Fluffy may get many symptoms, Rover may only get a few of them. After Fluffy’s immune system has cleansed most of her internal organs of the virus, the most sinister aspect of the virus may now take its toll; it may hang out in her skin and nervous system for a very long time. This actuality can cause calluses on her skin, but the more horrific aspect is it may cause seizures ages after you thought she was totally well from distemper.

In countries where dogs receive vaccinations there’s less occurrence of distemper. If the mother has been vaccinated the puppies are better off and they get some immunity from the colostrums in her milk. They need their own vaccinations by age sixteen weeks. Tests for distemper can’t be solidly verified because while a positive means Fluffy has the virus, ironically a negative test isn’t definitive confirmation that she doesn’t have it. The three types of tests for the distemper virus are the distemper antibody levels, cerebrospinal fluid antibody levels, distemper inclusion bodies.

Fluffy’ immune system is her best defense against distemper. There really isn’t a treatment for distemper. Some things can be done as adjunct therapy like giving fluids to prevent dehydration if she has diarrhea. Your best strategy against old dog encephalitis is
prevention by vaccination and building up her immune system.

Kellie Rainwater is an avid dog lover. She has written several dog books. You can find her books and senior dog products that promote healthier, happier dogs in their golden years by visiting


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