Distemper and parvo are two types of contagious viral infections in dogs. Watery to pus-like discharge from eyes, fever, nasal discharge, coughing, lethargy, reduced appetite, and vomiting are the initial symptoms of distemper while lethargy, loss of appetite, abdominal pain and bloating, fever or low body temperature (hypothermia), vomiting, and severe, often bloody, diarrhea are the signs of parvo.
Key Areas Covered
- What is Distemper
- Definition, Characteristics, Importance
- What is Parvo
- Definition, Characteristics, Importance
- Similarities Between Distemper and Parvo
- Outline of Common Features
- Difference Between Distemper and Parvo
- Comparison with Key Differences
What is Distemper
Distemper is a serious viral illness and it primarily affects young puppies aged 3 to 6 months. The disease is caused by the Canine distemper virus. Moreover, the main target of the virus is the nervous, lymph, and epithelial systems. The virus transmits when the dog inhales infected droplets shed in urine, feces, nasal secretions, and eye drainage. Fever is the first symptom of distemper. Generally, the other signs of the disease include lethargy, listlessness, and poor appetite. Normal symptoms of the distemper include depression, cough, runny nose, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, twitching, and loss of muscle control. The hardening and thickening of the foot pads is also a distinctive feature of the disease.
Furthermore, distemper is fatal in 50% of adult dogs and 80% of puppies. There is no treatment for the virus but there is supportive therapy along with treatments for the symptoms.
What is Parvo
Parvo is another contiguous disease mainly affecting dogs. Canine parvovirus is the species of virus that cause the disease. Significantly, parvovirus is a specific virus since pig parvovirus only affects pigs, the human parvovirus only affects humans, and the Canine parvovirus only affects dogs. However, becoming sick depends on three factors: the immune status of the animal, the number of viral particles the animal is exposed to, and environmental factors.
Moreover, three to seven days following the exposure, dogs show symptoms of parvo. Poor appetite, becoming lethargic and listless, vomiting, and diarrhea are these symptoms. Moreover, the virus attacks the intestinal structures causing massive loss of proteins, blood, and fluids. This can lead to shock and dehydration.
Similarities Between Distemper and Parvo
- Distemper and parvo are two types of fatal viral infections in dogs.
- DHPP vaccination is given against both distemper and parvo.
- Moreover, both infect the gastrointestinal tract.
Difference Between Distemper and Parvo
Distemper refers to a viral disease in some animals, especially dogs, causing fever, coughing, and catarrh, while parvo refers to any of a class of viral diseases chiefly affecting animals, especially one (Canine parvovirus) which causes contagious disease in dogs.
Type of Virus
Usually, distemper is caused by Canine distemper while parvo is caused by Canine parvovirus.
Distemper spread through inhalation of the virus while parvo spread through direct or indirect contact with feces.
Distemper attacks nervous, lymph, and epithelial systems in dogs whereas parvo mainly targets the gastrointestinal tract.
Watery to pus-like discharge from the eyes, fever, nasal discharge, coughing, lethargy, reduced appetite, and vomiting are the initial symptoms of distemper while lethargy, loss of appetite, abdominal pain and bloating, fever or low body temperature (hypothermia), vomiting, and severe, often bloody, diarrhea are the signs of parvo.
In brief, distemper is a viral disease that mainly attacks the nervous, lymph, and epithelial systems in dogs. This disease is caused by the virus, Canine distemper. In contrast, parvo is a disease that attacks the dog’s gastrointestinal tract. Usually, parvo is caused by the Canine parvovirus. Therefore, the main difference between distemper and parvo is their type of viral attack.
- Wikimedia Foundation. (2022, September 1). Canine distemper. Wikipedia. Retrieved September 13, 2022.
- Wikimedia Foundation. (2022, September 5). Canine parvovirus. Wikipedia. Retrieved September 13, 2022.
- “Canine Distemper Virus Cytoplasmic Inclusion Body (Blood smear, Wright’s stain)” By Lance Wheeler – Own Work (CC BY 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia
- “Canines Parvovirus” By PhD Dre at English Wikipedia – Own Work (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia