Description of Dog Diseases

The Resource for Everything About Dogs


Description of Dog Diseases

by Tracey Wilson



Rabies- Attacks the nervous system and causes encephalitis. The virus is transmitted in saliva from the bite of an infected animal. It usually takes two-eight weeks before the signs appear. However, it only takes about ten days before it's passable through saliva.

The most common ways for an animal or human to be infected is by a bite from an animal who's infected ? usually a skunk, fox, raccoon or bat.

Cats are actually more at risk than dogs ? because they put themselves more at risk that dogs.

There are three stages to Rabies:

Prodomal Stage- Lasts two-four days. Signs can include behavioral changes, fever, slow eye reflexes, and chewing at the bite of the site.

The Paralytic Stage- Last two-four days. Signs of paralysis develop, usually beginning in the limb that was bitten. Paralysis of the throat or face causes a change in the bark. Drooling with typical foaming at the mouth, and a dropped jaw. Followed by depression, coma, and death from respiratory paralysis.

Once clinical signs develop there is no treatment! If a pet has been bitten by a wild animal or known related rabid animal ? if they've been vaccinated, re-vaccinate them and quarantine them for 90 days. If the pet has not been vaccinated, euthanize and submit tissue for rabies testing. If the owner is unwilling to euthanize the pet, it should be strictly quarantined for six months with vaccination one month prior to release.

Distemper- Greatest single disease threat to the world's dog population. Distemper develops over a course of days. Canine distemper virus is fatal to 80% of the puppies and 50% of the adult dogs that contact it. Symptoms include congested lungs, nasal discharge, vomiting and diarrhea. As it progresses, it attacks the nervous system, often causing partial or complete paralysis and seizures. The disease is highly contagious. Dogs can get the virus through coming into contact with anything another dog infected, including through all secretions of the infected animal and very surprisingly, even through the air.

Most distemper appear in dogs less than six months of age and in old dogs that have not been vaccinated. Once infected, there is no cure. Treatment is supportive -- fluids through I.V to prevent dehydration, and symptoms treated. Dogs who recover from distemper may have vision, nervous system problems, hardened foot pads and nose leathers, throughout their lives. In addition, puppies may also have mottled teeth from damage to developing enamel.

Dogs should be vaccinated, and given boosters, to prevent this disease.

Parvovirus- This disease can overwhelm a dog within hours of first symptoms and result in death within 48-72 hours. It is found through the world, it is highly contagious and attacks the intestinal tract, white blood cells, and sometimes the heart. It is spread with contact through feces of infected dogs. Parvovirus can be carried on shoes, crates, equipment or the hair and feet of infected dogs. Symptoms appear five-seven days after exposure and include depression, loss of appetite, vomiting, severe diarrhea. Feces are generally light gray, or yellow-gray, and may be streaked with blood. Puppies under six months are most susceptible to the disease. If the disease effects the heart, puppies can die within hours, weeks or even months. Doberman Pinschers and Rottweliers appear to be at a higher risk for parvo than other breeds.

There is no treatment that cures the virus. Nursing care consists of replacing fluid, keeping the dog warm, controlling vomiting and diarrhea, and dosing with antibiotics to prevent secondary infections.

Parvovirus can live for several months in an infected area, thorough cleaning of all surfaces is necessary to eradicate the disease. Household bleach is a very effective agent.

Vaccination against parvo has dramatically reduced incidence of the disease. The vaccine protects the dog for several years.

Infectious Canine Hepatitis- It is inhaled or ingested by the dog, enters the bloodstream, and targets the liver, kidneys, eyes, and the cells lining the inner surface of the blood vessels. Some cases barely show symptoms ? puppies may show a slight fever or be slightly lethargic and recover quickly.

Some cases are quick and deadly. They may also have tonsillitis, reddened mouth and eye membranes, colic, then shock and death. Sometimes all within 24 hours!

The in-between manifestation of the disease is the one most commonly described. The early symptoms are similar to the other forms ? some puppies recover within two weeks, others develop internal bleeding, central nervous system involvement, and liver disease.

There is no cure, only supportive treatment. Vaccination lasts several years.

Kennel Cough- This is a respiratory disease in dogs that covers the actions of several infectious agents, including Bordatella bronchiseptica, a bacteria, canine adenovirus 2, and canine parainfluenza virus.

The parainfluenza virus is related to the canine distemper virus. Symptoms range from hacking cough to inflammation of the larynx, bronchial tubes and trachea. CAV-2 also produces pneumonia in ten-twenty percent of the affected dogs.

They're highly contagious, especially in kennels or shelters where the canine immune systems are stressed. Good ventilation is necessary to prevent and spread diseases.

A combined kennel cough vaccination contains CAV-2, parainfluenza, and Bordatella in one dose of nose drops. Symptoms are no more than a bad cold, vaccination is recommended if dogs are to be boarded, or will come into contact with a large numbers of dogs.

Leptospirosis- This is a bacterial disease spread in the urine of wild and domestic animals and capable of causing illness in humans as well as dogs. Several species of the bacteria produce disease in dogs. Symptoms include lethargy, kidney inflammation, low-grade fever, vomiting, reddening of the mucous membranes, and conjunctiva, and blood clotting abnormalities. A more generalized form of the disease can cause elevated liver enzymes, jaundice, pneumonia, and intestinal inflammation. Chronic kidney problems can result. Antibiotic therapy is effective in fighting the bacterial invasion and supportive nursing (replenishment of fluids, administration of diuretics to flush the kidneys and prevent kidney failure, blood transfusions, if necessary) is required.

Vaccinations are not recommended unless there is a disease in the area. The vaccines help to lessen the severity of the disease, but do not prevent it. It also may not be effective for more than six months. Puppies and small dogs can have adverse reactions to the vaccines. If there is a lepto outbreak occurring and veterinarians do recommend vaccination, dogs should be inoculated against all four strains of the disease, unless the particular strain is identified.

Lyme Disease- Is a bacterial disease spread by ticks. Symptoms in dogs include lethargy, joint pain, lack of appetite, lymph node enlargement, and fever. Some dogs have antibodies to the disease, indicating they've been exposed, but they show no symptoms.

Treatment is with antibiotic, Tetracycline. Vaccine is available, but is not widely recommended because the disease is self-limiting and protection is limited to no more than six months, following inoculation. Lyme disease is more serious for humans than for dogs.

Coronavirus- This virus causes diarrhea and vomiting, and can be confused for parvo. The mode of infection is direct contact of an infected animal or its feces. Some dogs have antibodies but no symptoms, others lose their appetite, have smelly diarrhea, and are lethargic and dehydrated. Treatment involves replacing lost fluids and controlling vomiting and diarrhea. Vaccine is available, but not widely recommended.

-Information taken from the American Veterinary Medical Association

UC Davis Book of Dogs ? By, Dr. Race Foster and Dr. Marty Smith

(authors of the particular chapters).

This article has been submitted in affiliation with http://www.PetLovers.Com/ which is a site for Pet Forums.



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