Distemper is usually a disease of young cats, which, having once had it and having recovered, are protected from future attacks. It is however, sometimes seen in older cats, especially so when the disease occurs when the disease is constantly present in an animal community but only occurs in a small number of cases or affecting a large number of animals at the same time.
The first symptoms of distemper are those of fever, with the combination of symptoms such as an inflammation of one of the organs, or an injury which is somewhat serious, it shows that it is ill more decidedly than any other animal. It appears sicker with troubles of the same severity than do other animals.
In the beginning the cat loses its appetite, and seeks a dark corner, where it wants to remain out of sight. These may be more or less severe according to the gravity of the attack. Shortly after the beginning of the fever you will find a watery discharge from the eyes, which may become crusty later: a discharge from the nostrils of thick mucus at first, and crusty later which may even be tinged with blood.
The disease may be followed later by diseases of the respiratory system or of the digestive system, which in their local appearance are Gastritis, Constipation and Diarrhea, including those of the stomach, the intestines, but which are more severe than they are in their sporadic form, because they are grafted onto the body of an animal already suffering from fever and weakened by it.
Let it be understood, however, that in cases which have been going on for some little time, while the present condition of the animal is perfectly evident, it is not possible to make a diagnosis between these two following conditions;
1. A cat which has been infected first with distemper, has developed fever, and has the complication of a severe bronchi-pneumonia or of a severe diarrhea, or is excessively debilitated and weak; or
2. A cat which has been affected with a severe bronchitis and bronchi-pneumonia , or a severe diarrhea which is continued for some little time, and has produced by the local irritation and inflammation a fever which is secondary, and the cat has been weakened and is greatly debilitated.
These two cases are absolutely identical, and the treatment for it is practically the same. Suppose, however, that not one cat alone, but several, are found in the same house or stable in the same condition, or in variable degrees pointing toward the same disease, or other cats have been presenting the same symptoms, then you can assume it to be distemper.
The cat with distemper must be isolated at once, and put into a quiet room where it is well protected from drafts of air, while still supplied with fresh air. Consult with your veterinarian distemper can be very contagious. The strength of the cat must be kept up, but do not force food unless it is absolutely necessary.
This information is intended as an informational guide only. This is not to be substituted for professional veterinary care. Always ask your Veterinary for advice and have them explain why they have chosen that treatment and what the side affects are.
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