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Unfortunately, there is no cure for canine distemper. Treatment for the disease, therefore, is heavily focused on alleviating the symptoms. If the animal has become anorexic or has diarrhea, intravenous supportive fluids may be given. Discharge from the eyes and nose must be cleaned away regularly. Antibiotics may be prescribed to control the symptoms caused by a secondary bacterial infection, and phenobarbitals and potassium bromide may be needed to control convulsions and seizures. There are no antiviral drugs that are effective in treating the disease.
In the more acute stages of canine distemper, it is necessary to monitor for development of pneumonia or dehydration from diarrhea. The central nervous system (CNS) must also be monitored because seizures and other neural disturbances may occur. A dog's chances for surviving canine distemper will depend on the strain of the virus and the strength of the dog’s immune system. Recovery is entirely possible, although seizures and other fatal disturbances to the CNS may occur two to three months after recovery. Fully recovered dogs do not spread or carry the virus.
The best prevention for canine distemper is routine vaccinations and immediate isolation of infected animals. Special care must be taken to protect new-born pups from exposure, since they are especially susceptible to the disease.
A decreased number of lymphocytic leukocytes in an animal’s blood system
The study of serum and the way it reacts to certain antigens
Having the strength to cause disease; deadly in nature; pathogenic
Small structures that filter out the lymph and store lymphocytes
The digestive tract containing the stomach and intestine
A medical condition in which the body has lost fluid or water in excessive amounts
A covering of cells that turns into the outermost layer of skin and covers the body
Term used to imply that a situation or condition is more severe than usual; also used to refer to a disease having run a short course or come on suddenly.