Could this be distemper?

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On 7/9 (6 days ago) we adopted a 12 week old puppy named Archie from the shelter. We saw him and immediately fell in love. They told us he had just been brought in not even 30 minutes prior by his foster and the lady was still there to answer all the questions we had about him. She said she would have kept him herself, but her and her husband were getting new jobs so they couldn’t invest the time in a puppy. Everything seemed great and Archie was going to be a perfect fit for our family and we took him home that day.

After getting home we noticed he seemed very tired all the time. I have owned dogs before, but never a puppy and never from a shelter, so we chalked it up to the new environment and that puppies sleep a lot during this time in their life. I took him for his first vet check up on 7/13 and was told everything looked good, although he was on the thin side and she said he was more like 16 weeks rather than 12 weeks so she went ahead with the rabies vaccine that day. He was due for his second DHPP booster that day (first one given one month prior according to paperwork from the shelter) but she wanted to wait to not “overload his body” and to come back at the end of this month for that. She also told me puppies sleep a good amount during the day and it’s probably still an adjustment period for him in a new home. Things dramatically declined with Archie since then. That night he started feeling warm, became very lethargic, and refused to eat or drink. We also noticed twitches while he was sleeping that we had never seen him do before. I called the vet right away and were told we could bring him in for an emergency visit if we wanted to, but that some mild side effects are expected after a rabies vaccine. We waited to see how he would be the next day.

Next morning he seemed to be doing much better and more like his normal self, although still tired a lot between play times. I was relieved and figured it was all due to the rabies vaccine. Later that day (yesterday) he began vomiting, became very lethargic again, refused to eat/drink, and he had a sticky yellow discharge coming from his nose. I called the vet and took him in right away. They gave him an anti nausea injection, fluids, ran a test for parvo (negative), and sent us home with nausea tablets for the next 3 days. They diagnosed him with gastritis with possibly an adverse reaction to the rabies vaccine. Later that night he seemed to perk up and his appetite was back. I was so glad and hopeful that this was all behind us and he was going to be ok. We put him in his crate and he went to sleep.

It’s now 4am as I’m writing this and about an hour ago I woke up to him coughing like crazy in his crate. Something I’ve never seen him do. He’s lethargic again, nasal discharge, and with heavier breathing while he sleeps. Everything I’ve been reading about distemper is describing his symptoms almost exactly and I’m so worried. I’m wondering if this was maybe suspected by the foster and never mentioned? We do not have any other animals in our house, and other than our backyard have not taken Archie to any public places yet. I’m calling the vet as soon as they open to try and get him some answers as to what’s going on with him, but for those who are familiar with distemper does this sound like something he might possibly have? Are there tests I should be requesting from the vet if they still tell me this is only gastritis? From what I’ve googled there doesn’t seem to be a definitive test for distemper like there is for parvo, which they did check yesterday.

If you read this far, thank you. If anyone can offer some advice or insight to what might be going on with Archie it would be greatly appreciated!

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