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Communicable diseases

Canine Diseases Dog Vaccination

The purpose of the vaccines is to prevent an infection. They contain antigens which are components of bacteria or viruses. The immune system produces antibodies that are designed to neutralize the antigens. If the body comes across the actual bacteria or virus then the immune system sends our antibodies to stop the infection from causing disease. Vaccines work only when they are given before the illness. A booster vaccination is then given every year or as required to make sure the petís antibody levels remain high. Many pets are a little sluggish or may have a slight fever for a few days after vaccination. Occasionally the injection site may be sore or slightly swelled.

The following are recommended Canine vaccines:

  • DHLPP (distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvovirus, parainfluenza)
  • Corona
  • Lyme
  • Bordatella (kennel cough)
  • Rabies
Dog Vaccination

Distemper

This is a highly contagious viral disease that can affect several organs, including those of the respiratory and nervous system and gastrointestinal tract. Distemper can be fatal depending on the strength of the strain and the condition of the dogís health. It is a threat that can cause partial or total paralysis and also can damage the sense of smell, hearing or sight.

This disease is often transmitted through contact with respiratory secretions, urine or fecal material of infected dogs.

Humans can be infected with the virus.

Symptoms

Signs include fever and severe cold-like signs (congestion, eye and nose discharge, coughing, diarrhea, lack of appetite and weight loss). The exposed pet may develop bronchitis, pneumonia and severe inflammation of the stomach and intestines. If the virus attacks the dogís central nervous system it can cause convulsions. Even after recovery, the infected dog remains contagious for several weeks. Blood tests or x rays can usually indicate the infection in your pet.

Treatment

Unfortunately there is no effective treatment for the disease itself except to treat the symptoms.

Prevention

Vaccination is the only means of preventing distemper.


Hepatitis

Hepatitis is a viral disease which attacks the liver, eyes and kidneys and inner linings of blood vessels throughout the body. Dogs acquire this disease by inhaling or ingesting the virus present in the urine, nasal and eye secretions of infected animals. It is not infectious to people.

Symptoms

Signs of Hepatitis include diarrhea, vomiting, jaundice and weight loss.

Treatment

There is no cure. Antibiotics can be used to treat infections that may occur.

Prevention

Vaccination is the only means of preventing this disease.


Leptospirosis

This is a bacterial disease that impairs liver and kidney function and can result in kidney failure. The bacteria live in the fluids of infected animals (urine, saliva, blood). It is transmitted by contact with the urine of infected animals or by contact with objects or water that had been contaminated with urine of infected animals. It enters the body through mucous membranes or through abraded skin. Leptospirosis can be transmitted from animals to humans.

Symptoms

Signs of this disease are flu-like including vomiting, lethargy, muscle pain and diarrhea. Impaired vision and jaundice can appear.

Treatment

If the disease is caught in time it can successfully be treated with penicillin and tetracycline drugs.

Prevention

Vaccination is the only means of prevention.


Parvovirus

This is a highly contagious disease that affects the digestive system, respiratory and nervous systems. It is transmitted via the oral/fecal route. Since the virus is extremely hardy, it can survive and remain infectious for months in the environment and is extremely difficult to kill with disinfectants. The disease appears within 5 days of exposure.

Symptoms

Signs include loss of appetite, lethargy, fever, vomiting and profuse and bloody diarrhea.

Treatment

There is no cure. Treatment is to address the symptoms. If not treated, dehydration, overwhelming infection, shock and even death can occur.

Prevention

Vaccination is the only truly effective way of preventing and controlling the disease.


Parainfluenza

This disease is caused by a virus which produces a respiratory tract infection. It is usually transmitted by contact with the air-borne respiratory secretions of an infected dog. It is highly contagious.

Symptoms

The virus produces coughing and fever.

Treatment

Although the virus is usually mild, secondary bacterial infections may occur and contribute to a more serious disease. Treatment must be given to these infections.

Prevention

Vaccination is the only way to prevent this disease.


Corona virus

This disease causes an infection in the digestive tract. It is transmitted by ingesting or licking feces of an infected dog or material that has come into contact with the feces of another infected dog. The virus is quite hardy and can remain infectious for long periods of time in the environment. Areas that an infected dog may have been located must be properly cleaned to prevent transmission.

Symptoms

The main sign is sudden diarrhea that often has a bad odor and orange tinge. Vomiting, weakness and lack of appetite can appear.

Treatment

If your pet develops a bacterial infection then antibiotics must be prescribed. Care must also be given to prevent dehydration.

Prevention

Vaccinations are the only preventative.


Lyme

This disease is a form of infectious arthritis. It is caused by a bacteria transmitted by small ticks.

Symptoms

The most common sign is limping or lameness that may shift from leg to leg. The joints may become warm and swollen plus the lymph nodes can be swollen. A blood test is needed to confirm the disease.

Treatment

Lyme disease is treated with antibiotics.

Preventions

Vaccination against the disease is recommended, especially pets that live in the area where deer are common. Always check your pet for ticks. Ticks usually have to be attached for about 24 hours before they transmit the infection.


Kennel Cough in dogs

Bordetellosis

Also called kennel cough, this is an upper respiratory infection. It is caused by bacteria or a virus and spreads rapidly from dog to dog.

Symptoms

This condition is characterized by a persistent hacking cough and a runny nose or eyes. The condition is not serious and usually goes away in 7-10 days.

Treatment

If the infection is bacterial it will require antibiotics.


Rabies

This is a fatal viral disease that attacks the brain. Rabies is transmitted by salvia through a bite wound or other wound or even though contact with mucous membranes. It is a highly fatal disease that can be transmitted from animals to people.

Symptoms

Characteristics of the disease are excessive salivation caused by paralysis of the throat muscles. Other signs can include aggressive behavior, weakness or paralysis. Diagnosis of rabies requires examination of brain tissue from a dead animal.

Treatment

Little can be done once signs of rabies develop, so pets must be routinely vaccinated, as required by law, against this disease to prevent it plus preventing you and your family from exposure.

Prevention

Vaccination against this disease is required by law. Take measures to protect your pet by limiting their exposure to areas where possible rabid wild animals might be present. Animal proof your garbage cans. Make sure you have no holes in your roof or eaves for wild animals to enter. If you pet is bitten by any animal, immediately wash the wound with soap and water and then seek medical attention. Report any wild animal bite to your local health department and animal control agency. If you are bitten by another dog, you need to obtain as much information about the animal and its owner as you can and to find out the vaccination status.

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This page was last updated on 9/2/2014