Infectious diseases are common types of dog diseases

There are various types of dog diseases that are infectious in nature and this article attempts to describe in general terms common types of viral infectious diseases that exist in dogs.

Viruses are a common type of infectious dog diseases

mutt dog Viruses that cause dog diseases most commonly affect the respiratory system or the intestinal system, but can also affect other organ systems.  Treatment often involves supportive care until the animal’s own immune system can fight off the disease.  More often preventative measures in the form of vaccinations are administered to avoid dog diseases caused by viruses.

Examples of viruses that cause dog diseases and are commonly vaccinated for include:

Rabies: Causes a fatal condition in dogs by eventually attacking the nervous system.  Due to its potential to affect people, of all the viruses that cause dog diseases, it is the most important from a human health stand point.  Vaccination of dogs is typically required by law to protect people from the spread of disease.  Bats, skunks, and raccoons are the most common type of animals that harbor the virus.

Parvovirus:  Is sometimes fatal dog disease, especially in puppies that have not been vaccinated.  It is a virus that most commonly affects the gastrointestinal system.  It is one of the most common viruses that dogs are vaccinated for.

Canine distemper virus:  It is often a fatal infectious virus, causing respiratory and neurological dog diseases.  It is also one of the most common viruses that dogs are vaccinated against.

Infectious canine hepatitis virus:  Is a viral infection that is an occasionally fatal infectious disease that attacks the liver in dogs.  It is also one of the most common viruses that dogs are vaccinated against.

Parainfluenza:  Causes mild respiratory canine diseases and is rarely fatal.  Still, it is often part of combination vaccines for dogs.

Canine infectious tracheobronchitis:  Is a viral infection with a paramyxovirus that is commonly associated with a bacterial organism called Bordetella bronchiseptica.  The virus by itself is not thought to potentinate signs of dog diseases.  Vaccines that exist to protect against kennel cough typically include a combination of the viral and bacterial organisms associated with this disease and the intranasal form is thought to provide better protection than the injectable form of vaccine for this condition.  The disease is not life threatening, and most commonly causes a chronic cough condition.  It is typically required by boarding facilities.  It is best given 2 weeks to within 6 months of boarding to increase the likelihood of a protective response to vaccination.

Examples of viruses that cause dog diseases and are not commonly vaccinated for include:

Coronavirus:  Is a virus that causes gastrointestinal dog diseases that are typically mild and self-limiting.  Coronoviral infection by itself, it is not thought to be of much concern.  However, in puppies with concurrent parvoviral infections, it is thought to decrease the ability of puppies to recovery from that viral infection.  In the past, it was commonly a part of the combination vaccines for viral dog diseases, but has become less so in the recent past.

Herpes virus:  Is an infectious disease of dogs that is considered to be a potential common cause of death in puppies less than 3 weeks old.  Since vaccination for puppies does not typically start until they are greater than 6 weeks of age this virus is not part of vaccines manufactured for dogs.

Click here to learn about infectious diseases that occur in the cat.

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Dr Stephen Atwater

Stephen W. Atwater, DVM, MS, Diplomate ACVIM (oncology) is a board-certified veterinary oncology specialist. His professional interests include utilizing emerging therapies for difficult to treat cancers.

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