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Common Dog Diseases

It is very difficult to avoid infectious diseases, but it is also useful to understand that most infections spread in places where there is a dense concentration of dogs, such as a kennel or dog show for instance. Infectious diseases are easily passed on and may be contracted from bedding, bowls, grooming equipment, infected insects, animals or food, and through open wounds.

Dogs play fighting
Dogs can pass diseases to each other, so spotting symptoms quickly is important

Canine Coronavirus

This is an intestinal infection that is highly contagious and affects both wild and domesticated dogs. The virus is limited to the upper two thirds of the small intestines. A lot of the time there may be no symptoms and the infection will clear up by itself. However this infection can be problematic for puppies and dogs that have other infections such as parvovirus.

Symptoms: It is common in older dogs for there to be no symptoms, but when there are symptoms these include vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration. Treatment will involve administering extra fluids and electrolytes.

If you suspect your puppy may have contracted Coronavirus it is important to get him to the vets as it can be fatal for a puppy.

Canine Distemper

Canine distemper is a very serious viral disease. It can be transmitted through the air from dog to dog. It is highly contagious and there is no known cure, which is why it is very important that you get your dog vaccinated against it.

Symptoms: High temperature, coughing, lethargy, loss of appetite, heavy breathing, red eyes, and a runny nose. Diarrhea and vomiting can also be symptoms.

If you suspect that your dog has contracted canine distemper, contact your vet immediately. Do not take your dog into the vets until you have notified the receptionist, otherwise your pet may infect other dogs.

Canine Hepatitis

Canine Hepatitis, commonly known as Rubarth Disease, is a viral disease that is often mistaken for canine distemper. It can be transmitted via feces, urine, blood and saliva.

Symptoms: High temperature, coughing, loss of appetite, depression, vomiting, pale gums and abdominal pain. Symptoms of jaundice may occur as this disease infects the liver and kidneys.

If you suspect that your dog has contracted canine hepatitis, contact your vet immediately. Don’t let him come into contact with any other dog and clear up his feces.

A cute little Terrier lying down outside
A Terrier lying down - just resting, or a bit under the weather?

Canine Influenza

Canine Influenza is a highly contagious respiratory viral infection that can cause kennel cough. It is easily transmitted between dogs in close proximity to each other.

Symptoms: Coughing, sneezing, nasal discharge, breathing difficulties, variable fever, loss of appetite, and lethargy.

If you think your dog may have influenza contact your vet immediately as failure to treat the virus could lead to secondary complications such as pneumonia.

Canine Parainfluenza

Canine parainfluenza is a contagious respiratory virus that can be transmitted via contact with infected dogs, shared bowls, and beddings. The virus can spread quickly between dogs that are kept in close contact such as dogs in kennels. Your vet will give you antibiotics for you to treat your dog.

Symptoms: A cough, a fever/temperature, nasal discharge, loss of appetite, and a lack of energy.

If you suspect your dog has contracted Canine Parainfluenza contact your vets immediately.

Kennel Cough

Also known as canine tracheobronchitis, kennel cough is a highly contagious and infectious disease. It is transmitted through the air, usually in areas where there is a dense population of dogs such as a kennel or a show. The treatment for kennel cough is usually administered as a nasal spray, although there is an injection available for dogs who find it extremely uncomfortable.

Symptoms: A dry hacking or honking cough, retching and nasal discharge. Most dogs that contract kennel cough will show a lack of appetite, but some may not. The illness may progress into secondary pneumonia, and include a high temperature, lethargy, and in extreme cases death.

If your dog shows these symptoms contact your vet immediately. Do not take your dog into the vets until you have notified the receptionist, otherwise you may infect other dogs.


Leptospirosis is caused by a bacteria and is usually contracted from contaminated water, so try and prevent your dog from drinking out of any puddles, ponds, lakes, reservoirs or canals. The bacteria mainly comes from the urine of rats, pigs and cattle, which makes farms the most likely place for the disease to be transmitted.

Symptoms: High temperature, loss of appetite, vomiting, lethargy, depression, muscle pain, diarrhoea, and blood in the urine. Leptospirosis affects the liver and the kidneys so watch out for excessive drinking and urinating, yellow eyes and persistent vomiting.

If you suspect that your dog has contracted leptospirosis, contact your vet immediately.


Canine parvovirus is a life-threatening and highly contagious viral disease. It can be contracted from infected dog feces, food and water bowls, clothes and carpets. It is very important that you have your dog vaccinated against parvovirus as it is highly contagious and can live on objects for months.

Symptoms: Loss of appetite, lethargy, persistent vomiting and bloody diarrhoea.

If you notice these symptoms get in contact with your vet immediately. Do not take your dog into the vet's until you have notified the receptionist, otherwise you may infect other dogs.


Rabies is a viral disease which can often be fatal. It is usually transmitted when an animal that carries the disease, like a fox or bat, bites the dog, but it can also be transmitted via a wound on the dog from the saliva of these animals. There are two forms of rabies, “furious” and “paralytic”. Furious rabies causes dogs to develop extreme behavioral changes and will make them extremely aggressive. Paralytic rabies causes weakness and loss of coordination, and finally paralysis.

Symptoms: High temperature, seizures, paralysis, dropped jaw, inability to swallow, lack of coordination, shyness or aggression, frequent changes in behavior and frothing at the mouth.

If your dog has been bitten or scratched by another animal, or you suspect that he might have come in contact with rabies, get in touch with your vet immediately. It is important that you contact your vet even if your dog has been vaccinated against the disease.

Rabies is present throughout the USA, and the chief carriers are wild predators and bats. Each year, scientists from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) collect information about cases of animal and human rabies from the state health departments and publish the information in a summary report – find out the latest here.

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Kaden, 30 March 2021

i think that this is very important