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1550s, from distemper (v.); in reference to a disease of dogs, from 1747.
distemper dis·tem·per (dĭs-těm'pər)
An infectious viral disease occurring in dogs, characterized by loss of appetite, a catarrhal discharge from the eyes and nose, vomiting, partial paralysis, and sometimes death.
A similar viral disease of cats characterized by fever, vomiting, diarrhea leading to dehydration, and sometimes death.
Any of various similar mammalian diseases.
an acute, highly contagious, disease affecting dogs, foxes, wolves, mink, raccoons, and ferrets. It is caused by a paramyxovirus that is closely related to the viruses causing measles in humans and rinderpest in cattle. A few days after exposure to the virus, the animal develops a fever, becomes apathetic, and refuses food and water. Further signs include coughing and discharges from the eyes and nose; vomiting and diarrhea; and involuntary muscular twitching (chorea), posterior paralysis, or convulsions.