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Dogs + Infectious Diseases

  • Canine herpesvirus, or canine herpes, is a systemic, often fatal disease of puppies caused by the canine herpes virus. It may remain latent in tissues after a dog is infected and may be passed on to other dogs, particularly to fetuses developing in the mother's uterus. Clinical signs in puppies include difficulty breathing, nasal discharge, anorexia, soft stools, crying, seizures, and sudden death. Symptoms in adult dogs include coughing and sneezing, miscarriage, lesions on the external genitalia, conjunctivitis, and corneal ulcers. The disease may be prevented by avoiding contact with infected dogs. Pregnant dogs should be isolated to prevent infection.

  • Histoplasmosis is an infection caused by histoplasma, a fungus found in moist soils and especially prevalent around the Ohio, Mississippi, Missouri, and St. Lawrence Rivers, as well as the southern Great Lakes. Fungal spores are inhaled or ingested and cause infection in many sites including the lungs, gastrointestinal tract, eyes, joints, and spleen. Clinical signs can include fever, lethargy, anorexia, weight loss, coughing or trouble breathing, diarrhea, and straining while defecating. Diagnosis includes routine bloodwork, urinalysis, X-rays, antigen testing, and cytology or histopathology. Treatment requires long term anti-fungal medication such as itraconazole. Prognosis is guarded depending on how ill the patient is. This disease is transmissible to humans, especially if they are immunocompromised.

  • Hookworm is a parasitic infection of the gastrointestinal tract of dogs. Their name is derived from the hook-like mouthparts they use to anchor themselves to the lining of the intestinal wall. How the infection is spread along with clinical signs, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention are covered in this handout.

  • Idoxuridine is an antiviral topical medication used to treat viral infections of the eye, such as feline herpesvirus-1 in cats. Idoxuridine comes as eye drops or can be compounded by your veterinarian into an eye ointment. Give as directed. Side effects of idoxuridine include eye irritation. Pregnant women should NOT handle this medication.

  • Imidocarb dipropionate is an injectable medication that is administered by a veterinarian to treat babesiosis in dogs. It is also used off-label to treat other protozoal infections in dogs, cats, and horses. Most common side effects include mild drooling, tearing, vomiting, or nasal drip. Do not use in pets with exposure to cholinesterase-inhibiting drugs, pesticides, or chemicals. If a negative reaction occurs, please call your veterinary office.

  • Vaccinations are important to prevent serious illness in dogs. Even dogs that spend 100% of their time indoors should be vaccinated. Some viruses can be carried into your home on inanimate objects such as shoes and clothing, therefore infecting your dog without him coming into contact with another animal. Rabies is deadly for both dogs and humans and can be transmitted by a rabid bat that makes its way into your home. Your veterinarian is your most important resource in determining what vaccinations need to be given to your dog to keep him protected.

  • Infectious canine hepatitis (ICH) is a viral infection caused by a member of the adenovirus family. Young dogs are at the highest risk of contracting this virus and signs of disease usually occur within two to five days after exposure. In severe cases, usually in young puppies, along with the fever, depression, and loss of appetite, there is abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, edema (fluid swelling under the skin) of the head and neck, and possibly jaundice. Such cases are often fatal. Treatment is aimed at reducing symptoms and giving time for the dog's immune system to respond, including hospitalization, intravenous fluids, and medications. Vaccination has been very successful at reducing the prevalence of this disease.

  • This handout outlines internal parasites in dogs. Included are parasites of the gastrointestinal tract (roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, and tapeworms), as well as parasites of the circulatory system (heartworm). How each of these parasites can affect your dog and what you can do to prevent or treat infection are all explained.

  • Ivermectin + pyrantel is a heartworm disease preventive that treats and controls hookworms and roundworms in dogs. Ivermectin + pyrantel is given by mouth as a flavored chew tablet. At prescribed doses, ivermectin + pyrantel is well-tolerated. Some dog breeds (e.g., collies, sheepdogs, and collie- or sheepdog-cross breeds) are more sensitive to ivermectin than others; your veterinarian will advise you on the safety of using this medication in your dog. If you suspect an overdose or an adverse reaction to the medication, call your veterinary office immediately.

  • Kennel cough is a broad term covering any infectious or contagious condition of dogs where coughing is one of the major clinical signs. It is also referred to as infectious tracheobronchitis. Several viruses and bacteria can cause kennel cough, often at the same time. Because the infection spreads when dogs are housed together, it is often seen soon after dogs have been in kennels, hence the name 'kennel cough'.