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distemper1 (def 1c).
Veterinary Pathology.

Also called canine distemper. an infectious disease chiefly of young dogs, caused by an unidentified virus and characterized by lethargy, fever, catarrh, photophobia, and vomiting.
Also called colt distemper, equine distemper, strangles. an infectious disease of horses, caused by the bacillus Streptococcus equi and characterized by catarrh of the upper air passages and the formation of pus in the submaxillary and other lymphatic glands.
Also called cat distemper, feline agranulocytosis, feline distemper, feline infectious enteritis, feline panleukopenia. a usually fatal viral disease of cats, characterized by fever, vomiting, and diarrhea, leading to severe dehydration.

a deranged condition of mind or body; a disorder or disease:
a feverish distemper.
disorder or disturbance, especially of a political nature.
Obsolete. to derange physically or mentally.
any of various infectious diseases of animals, esp canine distemper, a highly contagious viral disease of dogs, characterized initially by high fever and a discharge from the nose and eyes See also hard pad, strangles

a disease or disorder

(transitive) (archaic) to disturb
a technique of painting in which the pigments are mixed with water, glue, size, etc, used for poster, mural, and scene painting
the paint used in this technique or any of various water-based paints, including, in Britain, whitewash
(transitive) to mix (pigments) with water and size
to paint (something) with distemper

mid-14c., “to disturb,” from Old French destemprer, from Medieval Latin distemperare “vex, make ill,” literally “upset the proper balance (of bodily humors),” from dis- “un-, not” (see dis-) + Latin temperare “mingle in the proper proportion” (see temper (v.)). Related: Distempered.

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 infectious disease occurring especially in dogs, caused by the canine distemper virus of the genus Morbillivirus. It is characterized by loss of appetite, a discharge from the eyes and nose, vomiting, fever, lethargy, partial paralysis caused by destruction of myelinated nerve tissue, and sometimes death.

An infectious disease of cats caused by the feline panleukopenia virus of the genus Parvovirus, characterized by fever, vomiting, diarrhea leading to dehydration, and sometimes death.


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