Does Distemper Cause Aggression In Dogs?

You’ve come to the perfect spot for answers if you’re wondering, “does distemper cause aggression in dogs?”. Not only that, but you’ll learn a lot about canine distemper that you could find valuable.

You may not realize it, but various diseases like distemper that target the nervous system and cause psychological injury to a dog exist. Illnesses that affect the nervous system can alter a dog’s behavior, making them more irritable and may perhaps lead to a dog bite injury.

About the Disease

Canine distemper is a disease that attacks the nervous system, and it may also affect the respiratory and gastrointestinal systems. It is a severe and highly contagious disease that might cause behavioral changes and increased aggression. If left unsupervised, it might lead to the infliction of fatal bite wounds.

All dogs are at risk with this disease, but unvaccinated pups are more prone to it. As a pet owner, you are responsible for ensuring that your pup is vaccinated. It isn’t only for their good but also you; humans can also get the distemper virus.

Know the possible ways of transmitting distemper virus through the following:

  • Airborne exposure to the virus (coughing or sneezing of an infected canine)
  • Shared pup bowls
  • Shared toys, bedding, or other equipment
  • Pregnant mothers to pups
  • Contact with infected dogs’ feces and urine
  • Infected dog’s bite

What Are Its Effects On Dogs?

Does distemper cause aggression in dogs? There is a high probability of that. Other than behavioral changes, the symptoms of canine distemper vary, and some might even coincide with other diseases’ symptoms. 

Knowing how distemper-infected dogs act may help you understand the early signs and be able to prevent them from worsening. See the following for the indications of canine distemper:

  • Watery to pus-like discharge from the eyes
  • Aggression
  • Appetite Loss
  • Cough and Cold
  • Depression
  • Fever
  • Hard foot pads
  • Irritability
  • Lethargy
  • Muscle Twitches
  • Paralysis, partial or complete
  • Seizures
  • Vomiting
  • Weight Loss

If your dog exhibits a few of the symptoms listed above, it might not immediately indicate that your dog has canine distemper. It is best to let your pup undergo a thorough check-up for further assurance.

A few dogs recovered and lived a long, healthy life after getting diagnosed with distemper. Though, some got lifelong effects, such as brain damage, jaw spasms, muscle tremor, nerve damage, and seizures.

What can you do?

If you’re a pup parent and are worried for your pet, here is a short list of things you should pay attention to so you can prevent your pup from getting distemper:

  • Vaccination is the best way to eliminate the probability of your pup getting distemper. It should start while they are still puppies.
  • Keep up to date with the vaccinations.
  • If the vaccination series aren’t done, prevent your dog from getting in contact with others.
  • Limit your dog’s contact with wild canines.
  • Minimize your visits to places with many dogs if you can’t prevent it.
  • Provide a separate bowl, bedding, and other stuff if you have more than one pet.
  • If your dog exhibited even just one or two symptoms of distemper, immediately bring them to the vet for a check-up.

Vets diagnose distemper based on clinical signs and laboratory tests. As of now, a cure is not available for this disease. Thankfully, there is supportive care and efforts in preventing neurological symptoms, managing vomiting and diarrhea, dealing with subsequent infections, and so on.

The vet would recommend a treatment plan catered to your dog’s needs. Hospitalization, fluid therapy, antibiotics, and respiratory medication are some of those involved in the treatment plan.

Do you want to know how much it would cost you if your pup is diagnosed with diabetes? According to Great Pet Care, the following are the estimated costs for distemper treatments on dogs:

  • Physical exams: $45-$65
  • PCR testing: $100-$250
  • IV fluid therapy: $150-$300
  • Antibiotics: $40-$100
  • Anti-nausea medication: $30-$60
  • Hospitalization (for severe cases): $800-$2,000 per day 
  • Seizure medication: $50-$100

Remember the costs listed above as they may be of help when you prepare for your dog’s distemper therapy. Although the exact price may vary, it’ll be of great help to have a basis.

On a side note, you may also be interested in knowing more about diabetes in dogs; feel free to explore and learn more there.


Hopefully, this article provided the answers to the question “does distemper cause aggression in dogs.” As distemper affects the nervous system, it might cause drastic behavioral changes to your pet, including but not limited to aggression. It doesn’t have a cure, but some therapies are available to support them.

Although it is pretty scary to know what a distemper may cause to a dog, it shouldn’t stop you from adopting one. All you need is a trustworthy organization that’ll assist you in choosing the worthy pup to take in. For that, it is highly recommendable to browse, explore, and become a part of the Doobert team to support their great cause.

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