How I Managed and Treated My Dog with Canine Distemper

canine distemper in dogs

Canine Distemper is a highly contagious viral illness of dogs with no known cure. Since this is one of the top causes of death in dogs (especially in the Philippines), it is crucial to learn more about how this disease works and how to manage it.

How is Canine Distemper transmitted?

Canine Distemper is transmitted through the air - through cough from infected animals and even body secretions like urine. This disease can affect young and adult dogs, but it is commonly seen in puppies between three to six months of age.

What are the symptoms of Canine Distemper?

It usually starts with some common signs of respiratory problem such as sneezing, coughing, eye/nasal discharge accompanied by fever. Other symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, lack of appetite and weight loss.

After recovery, tremors of the head/neck/legs, overgrowth of foot pads, or teeth abnormalities can be seen. While the overgrowth of foot pads and teeth abnormalities are non-life threatening, the tremors and other neurological signs like seizures can lead to a progressive deterioration of motor skills and mental abilities. In some places, these dogs are humanely euthanized due to the unbearable pain and suffering they face.

How to Prevent Canine Distemper?

This illness is preventable with the proper vaccination schedule. First vaccination should be done at 6 to 8 weeks of age, then every 3 to 4 weeks until the puppy is 16 to 20 weeks. A booster vaccination should be done a year later, then every one to three years.

Infected animals should be immediately quarantined or isolated. Use separate feeding bowls and drinkers. Always wear gloves when in contact with them.

How to Treat Canine Distemper?

Until today, there is no over-the-counter medicine for distemper. The treatment is supportive and symptomatic. If your dog exhibited some of the early symptoms mentioned above, bring him to the veterinarian as soon as possible.

How I Managed and Treated My Dog with Canine Distemper

First of all, I wanted to emphasize that I'm not a veterinarian. If your dog is currently suffering from this illness, take him to the vet.

I just wanted to share my experience since the veterinarian we had consulted 3 years ago told us that there was nothing we can do to save "Prince", our pet aspin, since there's no available treatment for this disease. At that time, it was already 4 days since he first started to show symptoms like sneezing, nasal discharge and fever. He just prescribed an antibiotic and gave us the "This is all I can do" look.

Since I'm a fighter, I didn't give up that easy. I understand that viruses have no cures. So I thought, "What if I would be able to improve his health and immunity? His body could fight off the virus!"

So when we got home from the vet, we bought a lot of Hydrite (Oral Rehydration Salts), packs of Yakult (Probiotics), Enervon C (Vitamin C), droppers and syringes. We were force feeding him with pure meat several times a day, although he was only eating one to two inch-sized meat per attempt. His antibiotic was given thrice a day for 2 weeks, then we accompanied it with 100 ml Hydrite and 1 bottle of Yakult for every 4 hours (by syringe or dropper) and 1 Enervon C capsule twice a day.

Slowly, we saw some improvements. After more than a week, he started eating without us forcing him. We continued giving him Hydrite, Yakult and Enervon C until he managed to drink them on his own. We were extremely happy and relieved that he survived it. Unfortunately, it left him with tremors of the head.

Fortunately, the other dogs didn't have it. We were able to isolate Prince immediately, especially that our shih tzu "Princess" just gave birth to two puppies. We placed them in the kitchen, which is at the other end of the house from where Prince was located.

aspin and shih tzu dogs
Prince (Aspin) and Princess (Shih-tzu) - A few months after Prince's recovery from Canine Distemper

What we did with Prince may or may not work for other dogs suffering from Canine Distemper. This virus may affect other dogs differently.

So if you think that your dog is showing signs of Distemper, put down your phones now and take him to the vet immediately.


  1. That... the Hydrite + Yakult... also worked with my french bulldog who had a distemper last October 2015. She's okay now, no lasting signs were seen.

  2. Wow! Susundin ko tong Hydrite and yakult and vitamins. Hindi rin agad ako susuko

  3. Can my 3month shihtzu with distemper infect my older dogs pa? 6 and yo shihtzu with complete vaccines naman...

    1. Yes. There's still a possibility to infect a vaccinated dog (although the possible effect may not be that serious). It's still best to follow the 2km rule.

  4. Thank you sa tip, my 2 month old chihuahua is suffering now. I will try this .

  5. Hi i have a mixbreed dog(beagle/labrador)he is now have a distemper its been 3days since we visit his vet,i see some improvements but i still worry because my dog is in stage 2 of distemper neurological phase as veterinary said..he's twitching he's whole body and sometimes he's head,he also experiencing seizure,but me and my husband dont want to give up even though everyone said my dog will not live longer,i will try your yakult+hydrite,we will try anything and do anything just to make sure he survive,we dont give up..

  6. Is there any chance you guys know a pet owner of a canine distemper survivor? I need a blood donor for the serum for my dog T_T. please guys I'm really desperate.

  7. Ano po b ang ipina inum nyong antibiotic ? Para s distemper

  8. Is prince still alive until now?

  9. Anu po pwedeng vitamins sa distemper

  10. Kaya pa po Kaya mka survive chihuahua ko 3months po sya nag si seasure na and mouth twisting Sana kya pa sa hyrdrite + yakult. Dami din nya resets pati b.complex

  11. Hello po may I ask kung ano pong antibiotic yung ni recommend sa inyo?

  12. My dog too was affected and is recovering, how long will the temora of head remain , should they live with it


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