Treatment for Canine Distemper

Since there's no cure for distemper, treatment is supportive.

  • Provide a clean, warm, draft-free environment.
  • Keep eyes and nose clear of discharge.
  • Give antiemetics (anti-nausea and anti-vomiting drugs) if there is vomiting.
  • Give antidiarrheals for diarrhea.
  • Monitor closely for dehydration. Dogs without an appetite that are experiencing vomiting and diarrhea may require intravenous rehydration therapy.
  • Antibiotics or bronchodilators are prescribed for pneumonia.
  • Anticonvulsants may partially control seizures. Many veterinarians prescribe them before seizures start.
  • Myoclonus is untreatable (and irreversible).
  • Puppies who recover but have hypoplasia (unenameled teeth that erode quickly) can have the enamel restored to prevent further tooth decay.
  • Glucocorticoid therapy can sometimes help blindness due to optic neuritis (inflammation of the optic nerve). This may help in the short term, but glucocorticoids weaken the immune system and may make symptoms worse.

Publication Review By: the Editorial Staff at HealthCommunities.com

Published: 01 Mar 2001

Last Modified: 04 Nov 2014