Dog Respiratory Infection Symptoms

Dog respiratory infections are common and most dogs will have at least 1 respiratory infection during their lifetime; some dogs will have recurrent respiratory infections. It is important to notice the respiratory infection symptoms, to be able to administer a suitable treatment and to prevent possible complications.

Types of Respiratory Infections

The majority of the respiratory infections are caused by cold viruses. There are several types of respiratory infections in canines; the most common infections include the dog influenza and the bortedella, also known as the kennel cough. If not detected in a timely manner, these infections can lead to pneumonia.

Symptoms of Respiratory Infection

The symptoms of a respiratory infection will include the followings:

  • Nasal discharge, may be transparent (i.e. in bacterial infections), but also more consistent and yellow, depending on the cause and type of the infection
  • Eye discharges, typically the discharges will be clear; the eyes may also be swollen and the dog may also develop conjunctivitis
  • Elevated fever
  • Sneezing
  • Wheezing
  • Coughing, more severe during night time
  • Dry nose
  • Excessive salivation
  • Mouth and nasal ulceration, in more severe cases
  • Lack of appetite, also due to the fact that the dog has temporarily lost his sense of smell
  • Dehydration, caused by the elevated fever, but also by the fact that the dog drinks less water
  • Lethargy; the dog will show less interest in activities, will refuse to run or jump or fetch the ball

Typically, the symptoms will be more severe in puppies, in senior dogs or in immunocompromised canines. Some of these symptoms may not be present.

Detecting Respiratory Infection

A respiratory infection may be detected judging by the symptoms and running a few tests. The vet must establish the type of the infection and detect if the infection is viral, fungal or bacterial.

If the symptoms are severe, the vet will also choose to perform additional tests to determine whether the dog’s immune system is compromised.

Treating a Respiratory Infection

Typically, the minor respiratory infections will last between 5 to 10 days and will require no treatment; the prognosis is good in most cases. However, it is important to keep the dog hydrated and well fed. Nutritional supplements may be recommended. If the dog is severely dehydrated and undernourished, he may receive IV fluids.

If coughing is present, cough suppressants may also be prescribed to make the dog feel more comfortable.

Antibiotics may also be administered, but the vet should determine if these are necessary.

Until the dog has a respiratory infection, it is important to keep him isolated, to prevent the infection of other dogs. The infection may be easily transmitted through the air or through saliva; respiratory infections are highly contagious, but will not be transmitted to humans.

Respiratory infections in your dog may be prevented by reducing the dog’s exposure to kennels and other groups of dogs that may be infected.