Viral Infections in Dogs

Infections in dogs may be of several types: viral, bacterial or fungal. The viral infections can be fatal in dogs as viruses can spread and multiply very easily. Viruses exist in nature and when they find a host, they activate, attach to the surface of the cells and then they enter the cells and produce viral proteins that will attack the neighboring cells and the entire body. Unlike bacteria, which can be both harmful and good, viruses are all harmful.


The canine parvovirus is a highly contagious disease that leads to diarrhea, bloody stools, high fever, vomiting and the condition may become very severe.

The virus can be spread through feces; if a dog ingests infected feces, he will get parvo.

The virus is extremely resistant, being able to survive for up to 2 years in a suitable environment. The virus may also be spread by rodents or insects.

The canine parvo is dangerous in puppies due to the severe dehydration that it may cause. A dog may die due to parvo.

There is a vaccine to prevent the occurrence of the parvovirus; however, there have been cases of vaccinated puppies that still contracted the virus.

Canine Distemper

The canine distemper is a severe viral disease that can affect the brain, the respiratory system, eyes and skin of the dog.

The virus is spread through air; your pet may get infected from other infected dogs that cough or from contaminated urine that may be ingested.

The virus will cause coughing, eye and nasal discharges, vomiting or lethargy.

Puppies are more prone to developing harsher symptoms.

The canine distemper vaccine is available and is 100% effective; however, in unvaccinated dogs that get the infection, the virus may be fatal.


Canine herpes is a deadly viral infection. The virus may be spread through air or from an infected mother through the placenta.

The symptoms of herpes include lethargy, blindness, staggering and bleeding from all orifices; typically, the symptoms occur a week after the infection and when these occur, it is too late, as the dog may die.

There is no cure and there’s no vaccination against herpes.


Hepatitis in dogs can be spread through urine or nasal discharges that contain the virus.

The symptoms of hepatitis include a sore throat, eye discharges and blue colored cornea. The disease may affect the liver and the kidneys; in severe cases, hepatitis may cause kidney failure.

The virus may be prevented through vaccination.

Hepatitis in dogs doesn’t have a cure.

Preventing Viral Infections

Viral infections are very serious and may even be deadly.

Most canine viral infections can be prevented through vaccination in early puppyhood and a few periodical boosters.

Also, a dog with a strong immune system is less exposed to contracting viruses, so you need to focus on building a strong immunity for your dog. Get some vitamins (i.e. C and E), minerals and fatty acids.

You should also prevent infestation with viruses, by keeping your dog away from other infected dogs and contaminated feces.