Common Diseases in Pet Dogs


Your dog is part of your family. Are you ensuring his health and safety through puppy shots and dog vaccinations? Continue reading for a better understanding of common canine disease risks to help protect your dog

Common Canine Diseases
Of all animal diseases, rabies is the most feared. The rabies virus attacks the brain and is almost always fatal. Pets are exposed to rabies through the saliva of infected animals, commonly bats, raccoons, foxes and skunks. As a zoonotic disease, rabies presents a grave risk to not only your pets but also you and your family, as the disease can be transmitted to humans through the saliva of an infected animal. Rabies disease is preventable through vaccinations. Watch for symptoms, such as seizures, paralysis, aggression and lack of coordination.


Distemper is the leading cause of infectious disease death in dogs, according to the American Kennel Club. There is no cure for this highly contagious viral disease, thus vaccination is critical. It affects the respiratory and nervous system. Primary vaccination should begin at 6 to 8 weeks old, as dogs often contract the disease at an early age.

Transmitted by exposure to contaminated faeces, this contagious viral disease can cause severe diarrhoea and vomiting in dogs of all ages. The disease is especially deadly in puppies.

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Coronavirus is highly contagious and can weaken dogs by causing severe diarrhoea and vomiting. The disease is sometimes confused with parvovirus. The two diseases may occur simultaneously, in which case symptoms are more severe.


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This viral respiratory disease is often responsible for kennel cough in dogs. Infection can be severe in young puppies. Parainfluenza protection is often included in distemper-parvo vaccines. Should your dog contract Parainfluenza, look to an antibiotic treatment to help speed recovery.

Hepatitis (Adenovirus)
Found in faeces and saliva, this virus causes fever, vomiting and diarrhoea. Canine Adenovirus Type 1 infection causes infectious hepatitis and may lead to severe kidney damage. Type 2 can be a complicating factor in kennel cough. Vaccines are available that protect against both types of adenovirus.

Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease carried by wildlife. A dog can contract the disease from infected animals or by drinking contaminated water, putting them at risk for developing kidney and liver disease. Yearly vaccination limits your dog’s chances of acquiring the disease.

Transmitted by nasal secretions, Bordetella causes coughing and sneezing. Frequently involved in kennel cough complex, this bacterial infection may occur simultaneously with distemper, adenovirus type 2 infection, parainfluenza and other respiratory infections.

Lyme Disease
Lyme Disease is an infection caused by tick-transmitted bacteria. Symptoms include fever, lethargy, muscle stiffness, depression and lack of appetite. In more severe cases, lameness occurs as a result of severe musculoskeletal or arthritic type joint pain.

Giardia in dogs, cats and humans is caused by the waterborne parasite, Giardia lamblia. The parasite is found in untreated water sources, like puddles, ponds and creeks. Symptoms include severe diarrhoea, weight loss, fever, dehydration and nausea.

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