Canine Infectious Diseases

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Rabies is a devastating disease. Once clinical signs have appeared, it is always fatal. The rabies virus attacks the central nervous system of an animal, leading to an agonizing death. The virus is usually transmitted via the saliva of a rabid animal through a bite wound, but it is possible for transmission to occur through contamination of scratch wounds or through mucosal membranes. Because rabies can be transmitted from infected animals to humans, it can pose a serious public health concern if an outbreak is suspected or reported. Many states have laws requiring rabies vaccination for dogs and cats.

Canine distemper is a viral infection that can affect a dog’s respiratory, gastrointestinal, and central nervous system. In affected dogs, clinical signs vary depending on age, immune status of the host, and virus strain. Common signs of illness include fever, loss of appetite, tiredness, and upper respiratory tract infection.

Leptospirosis is a disease caused by infection of the Leptospira bacteria. Transmission may result from contaminated water sources, soil, and food. Large-breed, outdoor dogs are commonly affected, with young dogs more severely affected than adult dogs. Clinical signs include fever, loss of appetite, vomiting, shivering, and muscle tenderness, as well as liver and kidney dysfunction.

Canine Parainfluenza (Canine Cough) is a highly contagious respiratory disease. It produces an acute cough in dogs. Viral shedding persists for 8 to 10 days after infection. Clinical signs include high-pitched cough, nasal discharge, and episodes of gagging.

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