4 Most Common Infectious Diseases in Dogs

4 Most Common Infectious Diseases in Dogs

Parvo, distemper, rabies, and kennel cough are the 4 most typical infectious ailments in canines. An integrative strategy to therapy and prevention presents an efficient approach to shield your canine

We now not reside in an remoted world. Travel is simpler than ever earlier than, and interacting with completely different cultures has created a smaller world. Our canines are experiencing this as effectively, and infrequently accompany us on our travels. While it’s thrilling to share our adventures with our canines, it will probably improve their publicity to infectious ailments. So it’s vital to have a working data of among the most common infectious diseases and learn how to stop and deal with them.


Infectious ailments happen when an animal has contact with a pathogen that causes or makes use of a breakdown of the physique’s pure protection mechanisms to set off a illness course of. The sickness might be gentle, with few to no signs adopted by a speedy restoration; or it will probably current with signs inflicting extreme illness which will finally progress to longer restoration, persistent long-term illness, and even demise.

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Infectious illness can happen by direct or oblique publicity:

  • Direct publicity means the canine should come into direct contact with an contaminated animal. This can happen resulting from shut bodily interplay between the animals, or when a canine comes inside shut proximity of the contaminated animal.
  • Indirect publicity doesn’t require direct contact. Exposure can happen after the contaminated animal has left the quick space. Because the infective brokers stay within the space, a canine can even grow to be contaminated when he comes into contact with them.

When we take into consideration infectious ailments, those that mostly come to thoughts are these affecting the respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts. However, infectious ailments can have an effect on all of the physique’s organs and capabilities. Viruses and micro organism are most frequently related to infectious problems, however different infectious brokers can even result in illness — see desk on the appropriate.


1. Parvo virus: This extremely contagious illness mostly impacts younger canines, however can have an effect on canines of any age, particularly people who haven’t developed immunity by pure publicity or vaccinations.

Clinical indicators: Parvo causes acute gastrointestinal signs characterised by anorexia, lethargy, vomiting, and diarrhea, which regularly progresses to bloody diarrhea. This hardy virus can keep virulent within the surroundings for a while and is immune to many disinfectants. Parvo virus is shed within the feces of contaminated canines, and publicity happens by the fecal-oral/nasal route.

Treatment: Aimed at supportive care and stopping secondary infections and septic situations. Prognosis is variable.

2. Distemper: This extremely infectious, systemic viral illness has worldwide distribution. It is transmitted by aerosol droplets from the contaminated animal. Distemper virus is sophisticated by the big variety of species that may grow to be contaminated, together with canines, foxes, wolves, raccoons, ferrets, minks, skunks, and others.

Clinical indicators: Fever, lethargy, lack of urge for food, and respiratory signs equivalent to nasal discharge and pneumonia. GI indicators equivalent to diarrhea, and neurologic indicators equivalent to muscle twitching, focal or generalized seizures, can even happen.

Treatment: Often supportive, and prognosis varies primarily based on the severity of signs, particularly the neurological indicators.

3. Rabies: This illness is taken into account zoonotic, which implies it may be transmitted to people by way of the chunk of a rabid animal. While some nations and territories are thought-about “rabies free”, this virus is taken into account to have worldwide distribution. At least 30 identified animal species are reservoirs for rabies transmission. Dogs, bats, and wild carnivores are the most typical, with canines being crucial reservoir globally.

Clinical indicators: These could differ, however probably the most dependable medical indicators are acute behavioral adjustments and unexplained progressive paralysis. Behavioral adjustments could embody sudden anorexia, indicators of apprehension or nervousness, irritability, and hyperexcitability. Some animals search solitude, and a few which are usually candy and docile could all of the sudden grow to be aggressive.

Treatment: Once signs seem, rabies is just about 100% deadly in canines. Vaccination applications have been profitable at stopping the illness. Currently within the US, annual and three-year vaccines can be found. While titer testing is offered, its acceptance will differ from state to state.

4. Kennel cough: Also often called infectious tracheobronchitis, kennel cough is a extremely contagious sickness mostly seen in canines housed in shut quarters, equivalent to boarding services, grooming institutions, and doggie daycares. A non-complicated case of kennel cough is often gentle and infrequently self-limiting, but when the immune system will not be sturdy sufficient to combat off the an infection, it might progress to bronchopneumonia or persistent bronchitis. There are many causes of kennel cough, together with viruses and micro organism, particularly Bordetella bronchiseptica, canine parainfluenza virus (CPIV), canine adenovirus 2 (CAV-2), and canine influenza.

Clinical indicators: The major symptom of kennel cough is a “goose honk” cough.

Treatment: Often supportive, with cough medicines if wanted. Anti-inflammatories and antibiotics are solely utilized in instances of extreme illness. While kennel cough will not be thought-about one of many core vaccines, correct immunization for at-risk canines has been proven to reduce or stop signs.


Because there are such a lot of causes of infectious ailments in canines, there are additionally quite a few therapy choices. The major objective is to assist the canine and rid the physique of the underlying pathological organisms to permit the immune system to assist heal the physique.

The trigger and the severity of the illness determines whether or not a standard or holistic strategy is acceptable — nonetheless, integrative veterinary medication permits for the mixture of each approaches and usually supplies a safer and improved skill to deal with the underlying causes of the illness. Some of the integrative choices obtainable embody fluid remedy, antibiotics, fever-reducing brokers, herbals, and serving to to get rid of gastrointestinal disturbances to keep up a very good urge for food — see sidebar to the appropriate.


While it’s not all the time doable to stop infectious ailments, the extra you improve your canine’s pure protection mechanisms, and supply the best high quality integrative healthcare and wellness choices, the extra seemingly a illness could also be prevented or, if contracted, be much less extreme.

  1. Avoiding or decreasing publicity can stop critical sickness, and likewise assist stop the unfold of contagious ailments. A little bit planning might be useful. When in search of areas to stroll or play together with your canine, for instance, attempt to keep away from extremely travelled areas. Dog parks, kennels, and busy strolling trails the place canines intermingle and have shut contact can contribute to the unfold of infectious ailments. Social media and native information shops might help you discover critiques and present details about potential outbreaks.
  2. Vaccinations have grow to be a controversial matter in each human and veterinary medication. Since their inception, vaccines have helped efficiently deal with and stop among the most critical and lethal ailments in people and animals; considerations come up when vaccines are improperly used or when a canine is “over-vaccinated”. Every canine is a person, and healthcare choices — together with the necessity for vaccines — must be mentioned together with your veterinarian and individualized primarily based in your canine’s threat for publicity to a illness. Titer testing might be utilized to judge the extent of antibodies produced from vaccines, and may give a very good indication of how a lot safety the canine has in opposition to sure infectious ailments.
  3. Building and sustaining a powerful immune system is one other key consider serving to defend in opposition to infectious ailments. This ought to start in puppyhood, if doable, and proceed by all life phases. A top quality, species-specific food regimen utilizing natural all-natural elements is a superb start line. Besides vitamin, dietary supplements and herbals can be utilized to assist keep and enhance immune operate. Consulting with an integrative veterinarian skilled in meals remedy and natural medication is advisable.

Integrative Treatment Approach to Infectious Diseases

Immediate care

  • Intravenous fluid (IV) fluid remedy
  • Fever-reducing brokers
  • Appetite stimulants
  • Gastrointestinal medicines to assist with nausea and diarrhea
  • Antibiotics (when acceptable)
  • Anti-inflammatories (when acceptable)
  • Pain relievers
  • Dewormers
  • Specific decontamination and isolation protocols for contagious ailments

Long-term care

  • Proper species-specific food regimen
  • Immune stimulants to assist shield and strengthen the immune system
  • Herbal therapies to assist present long-term choices with out harsh unwanted side effects
  • Consideration of different integrative therapies:
    • Acupuncture
    • Laser remedy
    • Veterinary medical therapeutic massage remedy
    • Full rehabilitation companies if wanted
  • A relaxing and stress-free surroundings to permit correct therapeutic
  • Detoxification of the canine’s surroundings

Exposure to infectious ailments is extra widespread immediately than ever earlier than. Having an understanding of among the most typical ailments our canines could encounter, and learn how to deal with and stop them integratively, supplies a extra balanced strategy to wellness.

Veterinarian Dr. Jared Mitchell graduated from Mississippi State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine in 2004. In 2010, he opened Mitchell Animal Clinic in Mobile, Alabama, and commenced incorporating holistic modalities into his follow. Dr. Mitchell is finishing certification to grow to be a Certified Veterinary Medical Aromatherapist by the VMAA, and plans to realize certifications in natural medication, acupuncture, chiropractic and extra.

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