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distemper

distemper, in veterinary medicine, highly contagious, catarrhal, often fatal disease of dogs. It also affects wolves, foxes, mink, raccoons, and ferrets. Distemper is caused by a filtrable virus that is airborne; it is also spread by infected utensils, brushes, and clothing. Symptoms are high fever, apathy, and lack of appetite with resulting dehydration and loss of weight. The respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts become involved, and there is vomiting and diarrhea. A dog may recover from the above signs and then develop nervous complications, i.e., convulsions, localized muscular twitches, weakness, and paralysis. Distemper in dogs can be controlled by immunizing each animal as early as possible with a modified live-virus vaccine.

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distemper

dis·tem·per1 / disˈtempər/ • n. 1. a viral disease of some animals, esp. dogs, causing fever, coughing, and catarrh. 2. archaic political disorder: an attempt to illuminate the moral roots of the modern world's distemper. dis·tem·per2 • n. a kind of paint using glue or size instead of an oil base, for use on walls or for scene-painting. ∎  a method of mural and poster painting using this. • v. [tr.] [often as adj.] (distempered) paint (something) with distemper: the distempered roof timbers.

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distemper

distemper 1 †disturb or derange the condition of; put out of humour; derange the physical or bodily condition OF. XIV. — late L. distemperāre (whence also OF. destremper, mod. dé-), f. L. DIS- 2 + temperāre proportion or mingle duly, TEMPER.
Hence, or f. DIS- 6 + TEMPER sb., distemper sb. 1 disturbance of the bodily ‘humours’ or ‘temper’, (hence) ill health, disease XVI (spec. of a catarrhal disease of dogs XVIII).

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distemper

distemper 2 †mix with liquid, soak XIV; fig. dilute XVI; (f. the sb.) paint in distemper XIX. — OF. destemprer or late L. distemperāre soak, macerate, f. L. DIS- 1, 2 + temperāre mingle, qualify, TEMPER.
Hence (after OF. destrempe, mod. dé-) distemper sb. 2 method of painting on plaster XVII; whiting mixed with size and water used in this XIX.

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distemper

distemper Contagious, often fatal, disease of young dogs, wild canines and weasels. Symptoms include fever, shivering, muscular spasms, and loss of appetite. Death is caused by inflammation of the brain. Puppies can be immunized.

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distemper

distemper. Cheap type of paint for walls and ceilings, consisting of whiting (e.g. ground chalk) mixed with size (i.e. weak glue), and water, sometimes tinted. It was also used on façades, but needed frequent renewal.

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