Dog Virus and Bacteria Pathogens
Protect Your Aussie Shep From Exposure To Illness Caused By
These Viruses and Bacteria
Tracheobronchitis (Kennel Cough)
Canine Influenza (Dog Flu)
Canine Adenovirus Type 1 & 2
The best way to protect
your Aussie from these nasties is to make sure their vaccinations
are up to date. Those that you can't vaccinate against
you should be aware of so you can catch the symptoms as early
as possible. The sooner your veterinarian can diagnose and treat
for these diseases the better.
Rabies is one of the most frightening and deadly of diseases
affecting dogs and their owners. It is always fatal after symptoms
appear as the rabies virus attacks the brain causing inflammation.
After initial infection the rabies virus grows in the muscle
tissue and slowly spreads to the spinal cord, central nervous
system and brain. During this period which can last a few days
or even months the dog will appear normal. Eventually, usually
1 - 3 months, the virus makes its way to the brain.
At this point we begin to see the classic signs of rabies. Change
in tone of bark, fever, behaviour change, restlessness, stop eating
and drinking, want to be left alone and may become vicious at
the slightest provocation. The symptoms become progressively worse.
Pupils become dilated, constant growling and barking, disorientation,
erratic and aggressive behaviour, compulsion to eat - even inedible
items, trembling and muscle incoordination and seizures.
In the final stage the dog will appear to be choking, drop lower
jaw and lose the ability to swallow. This is when they drool and
foam saliva giving rise to the well known "foaming at the
mouth" symptom. The paralysis of the jaw throat and chewing
muscles spreads to other parts of the body resulting in coma and
Testing for rabies can only be done post-mortem (after death)
using a sample of brain tissue most often with the direct fluorescent
antibody test (DFA).
The good news is that rabies is entirely preventable. Make sure
your dog's rabies vaccinations are always up to date!
The canine distemper virus (CDV) affects the respiratory, gastrointestinal,
and central nervous systems. It is often fatal and is especially
dangerous to puppies 3 to 6 months old and older nonimmunized
The virus spreads through airborne transmission passed in body
secretions and excretions especially those from the lungs.
Once inhaled it is carried by macrophages to the lymph nodes
were it begins to replicate. It starts in the lymphatic tissue
and lymphoid organs and soon spreads to the blood and surfaces
of the respiratory, gastrointestinal and central nervous systems.
Symptoms that develop include fever, shivers and loss of appetite
initially, followed by conjunctivitis (discharge from the eye),
runny nose, diarrhea, pneumonia (cough, laboured breathing), and
As the virus progresses and infects the respiratory and gastrointestinal
systems bacterial infections also begin to take hold. This is
due to immunosuppression caused by lymphoid depletion. As a result
pneumonia, encephalitis (swelling of the brain) and hyperkeratosis
(thickening/hardening of footpads) takes its toll.
Prognosis for this disease is not good. Although some dogs do
recover, canine distemper is often fatal.
Vaccination is available for canine distemper virus. Just make
sure that your dog's vaccinations are always up to date.
Canine Parvovirus or Parvo as it is often called is particularly
dangerous to young puppies. One relatively rare form of canine
parvovirus infecting puppies before or shortly after birth attacks
the heart. Heart failure resulting in death can be seen in puppies
up to about 8 weeks old.
Although puppies gain some protection from their mothers while
nursing this is likely to wear off before their immune system
is strong enough on its own. This is why it is important to have
puppies vaccinated. This requires multiple shots as the puppies
immune system makes this transition to become strong enough.
Canine Parvovirus is an extremely virulent and hardy pathogen.
It has been known to survive outside a host for over a year in
both hot and cold conditions. It is transmitted by contact with
infected feces, shoes, clothing or any suitable surface. It spreads
easily and quickly. It is important to keep infected dogs quarantined
from other dogs to prevent further spread. Dogs can remain infectious
for 2 months after they have recovered.
Unfortunately, not all dogs recover from a parvovirus attack.
Once a dog has been infected symptoms will usually begin to show
in 3 - 10 days. The virus replicates in the lymphoid tissue in
the throat and migrates into the bloodstream. It then attacks
cells in the lymph nodes, intestines and bone marrow. This trauma
to the system and necrosis (destruction of cells) causes bacteria
from the intestines to flood into the bloodstream resulting in
Visible symptoms include fever, vomiting, lethargy and bloody
diarrhea. Due to vomiting and diarrhea, dehydration is a serious
threat and aggressive treatment is essential. Even with medical
attention there is no guarantee of survival.
To protect your pet from canine parvovirus make sure they are
vaccinated according to the schedule outlined by your veterinarian.
This is especially important for puppies.
Tracheobronchitis (Kennel Cough)
Tracheobronchitis or kennel cough, is one of the most well know
canine ailments. It is a risk for dogs who are in confined spaces
with many other dogs such as kennels, shelters and pet stores.
This is because it is spread through the air by infected dogs
in the area as they cough and sneeze. It can also spread through
surfaces that become contaminated.
Kennel cough can actually be caused by a number of viruses and
bacteria. Kennel cough refers more to the end result than the
cause. The symptoms are caused by the trachea (windpipe) and bronchi
becoming inflamed. The usual culprits for this are canine distemper,
canine adenovirus, canine parainfluenza virus, or canine respiratory coronavirus as well the bacteria bordetella bronchiseptica.
In about a week after exposure these infections result in a dry
hacking cough, sneezing, discolourd nazal mucous and conjunctivitis
(inflamation of the eye). It can also be accompanied by fever,
reduced energy and loss of appetite. Pneumonia can also be a risk
in severe cases.
Fortunately the prognosis is good for dog's suffering from kennel
cough. Treatment generally involves administering antibiotics
to address bacterial infection and cough suppressants to provide
Preventative measures such as disinfecting cages and, of course,
vaccinations will help you avoid kennel cough altogether hopefully.
Symptoms can last up to 3 weeks so be sure to keep your dog away
from other dogs until they are better.
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