Common Viral Infections in Dogs

Viral infections in dogs can often be treated. However, some of them can be fatal. Here are some of the most common viral infections that you need to protect your dog against.

Canine Parvovirus (Parvo)

Parvo is a common viral infection that affects dogs. While it affects dogs of all ages, puppies are more likely to get this disease. This is a very contagious illness that is spread through contact with dog saliva, vomit and feces.

The symptoms of parvo are normally very clear and most dog owners recognize them right away. These symptoms can include, but are not limited to:

  • Sudden loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Most often, the dog’s diarrhea will contain blood within a few days of the onset. Parvo is one of the most common viral infections in dogs that can be effectively treated when caught early. However, the fatality rate is high. Parvo is one of the first immunizations a puppy will receive, so make sure you talk to your vet about immunizing your new puppy.

Canine Distemper

Distemper is another common viral infection in dogs. It’s a virus related to the human measles virus, and like parvo, is highly contagious. Young puppies and older dogs are much more susceptible, but any dog that has not been properly vaccinated can catch it.

There are many different symptoms of distemper in dogs. They can vary depending on how far the disease has progressed. Some of the most common symptoms early on include:

As the disease progresses, vomiting and diarrhea are likely to occur. If untreated, the dog will likely begin to have seizures.

There are no effective treatments for distemper in dogs. You just have to let it take its course. While this infection can be fatal, some dogs survive. It's important to keep your dog hydrated, and use health supplements in his food to help build his strength and immune system. You can vaccinate your puppy to avoid canine distemper.

Canine Hepatitis

Canine hepatitis is another of the common viral infections in dogs. It mainly attacks the liver. This disease rarely affects old dogs. Most dogs contract this canine hepatitis before the age of one year.

The symptoms often come on so quickly that your first instinct may be that your dog has been poisoned. Symptoms include, but are not limited to:

  • Sudden fever
  • Seizures
  • Convulsions

In some dogs with canine hepatitis, the corneas of their eyes will turn a bluish gray color. Some dogs will cough severely and some will suddenly die.

There is no cure for this type of viral infection. Some dogs will survive and some will not. The best course of treatment are IV antibiotics and fluids. This is to fight any secondary infection, as well as to make sure the dog doesn’t become dehydrated. The survival rate for dogs with canine hepatitis is low.

There are several other viral infections that can affect dogs. Some can be cured and others have to run their course with proper caretaking. If you think your dog has any of these viral infections, you should consult with your veterinarian immediately.