Canine Distemper

Canine Distemper


Diagnosing CDV can be tricky, as many of the symptoms that present themselves can be indicative of a wide range of illnesses. Therefore, it is necessary to undertake a combination of tests in order to give an accurate diagnosis. These tests can include but are not limited to:

  • Biochemical profiling

  • Blood tests

  • Imaging studies including x-rays and ultrasounds

  • Physical examination

You will also be asked to provide a comprehensive history of the health of your pet and the progression of any symptoms that they have displayed. You may also be asked to provide samples of other bodily fluids.


There is no cure for CDV itself, but treatment revolves around easing symptoms and ensuring that further problems like bacterial infections do not take hold. This is usually done in a hospital environment and may involve intravenous fluid therapy, anti-sickness medications, antibiotics, anti-convulsion medications, and glucocorticoid therapy.

Vaccinations against CDV are also effective in killing the virus if administered within 4 days of exposure to the virus.
Canine distemper is estimated to be fatal in around 50% of cases affecting adult dogs and around 80% of cases affecting puppies. When fatalities occur, it is usually due to damage of the central nervous system, resulting in complications.

Prevention is better than cure!

As with most illnesses, prevention is almost certainly better than cure.

  • 8 weeks of age - 1st DHLP & Parvo vaccination- this vaccination helps prevent Distemper, Canine Hepatitis, Leptospirosis, Parainfluenza and Parvo virus

  • 9 to 12 weeks of age - 2nd DHLP & Parvo

  • 12 to 16 weeks of age - 3rd DHLP & Parvo

  • 16 weeks of age - 4th DHLP & Parvo

If you are in any doubt at all, then consult with your veterinarian to ensure that your pet receives the correct vaccination program for their requirements.

Ongoing Care

Dogs that are suspected of having CDV should be isolated from any other dogs within the household, and you should ensure that your other dogs are adequately vaccinated against the disease. Your pet will need a warm, safe place to recover, with food and water located nearby. Ensure that you regularly clean all of your dogs’ equipment with a non-toxic cleaner.
Regular CDV vaccinations should help prevent further occurrences.

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