Treatment and Prognosis

There is no specific treatment for canine distemper virus (CDV).  Although antiviral drugs exist, there are no specific antiviral drug treatments listed for CDV. (3) Treatment consists of non-specific support of the patient for the presenting clinical signs in hopes that their natural immunoglobulin titres will increase as a cellular immune response develops. 

Intravenous fluid therapy is essential to treat dehydration caused by diarrhea and vomiting.  Antibiotics are commonly used to prevent secondary, opportunistic bacterial infection of the respiratory and gastrointestinal systems.  Neuronal degeneration leads to nervous signs in the form of convulsions and hyperactivity.  Sedatives and anti-convulsants can help to treat these clinical signs.  

Medical treatment of CDV is unfortunately to treat clinical signs without alleviating the animal from the viral infection.  Animals' condition with nervous signs may improve with time with some clearing of myoclonus and optic neuritis.  However, the prognosis is guarded for all species and poor in susceptible animals, especially once nervous system signs appear. (4)  For this reason, euthanasia is often the most humane option
once nervous signs are progressive.