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What are the main infectious diseases of dogs?

The health of the dog is a subject that must be among the priorities of his master, because the adoption of a doggie implies a commitment that includes the preservation of his well-being as a whole. In order to better watch over the health of your little companion, to prevent risks and to act well in the event of doubtful signs, here is a presentation of the main infectious diseases observed in our dog friends.


This infectious disease is transmitted by the bacterium Escherichia coli, or enterococcus in most cases. This pathology can take more serious forms in dogs with a weakened immune system.

The affected animal exhibits several clear symptoms. If the female dog usually suffers from uterine inflammation, painful urinary tract infections, vomiting and diarrhea can be observed in dogs with colibacillosis.

In an animal in good overall health, treatment with antibiotics is usually sufficient. In more fragile subjects or in the event of serious symptoms, other treatments can be proposed in addition, in particular analgesics.


This disease is caused by a bacterium, Leptospira, present in contaminated bodies of stagnant water (puddles, ponds, plants, etc.) and in the urine of wild animals carrying pathogens, especially rodents. The dog can be contaminated by drinking dirty water or bathing in a pond or body of water.

This serious disease is characterized by the formation of organic lesions and can lead to the death of a puppy or an adult dog with a fragile immune system. The pooch with leptospirosis has identifiable symptoms, including hemorrhagic gastroenteritis (bloody vomiting and black, bloody stools), acute kidney failure with little or no urination, and yellowed mucous membranes due to liver involvement. The dog is usually feverish, downcast, weak and dehydrated. Without rapid treatment, death occurs within a few days.

The disease can also be transmitted to humans since it is a zoonosis.

This very serious pathology requires immediate care, in particular the establishment of treatment in the form of antibiotics. Nevertheless, depending on the evolution of the kidney damage, the animal may die or have lifelong sequelae. It is therefore essential to vaccinate him against leptospirosis and to carry out annual reminders.


The staphylococcus bacterium has the particularity of being present naturally on the skin of dogs and that of humans. In some cases, they can cause inflammation of the epidermis. If these are not treated, they can then worsen and spread to the body, impacting the cardiovascular system, bones and joints.

The affected dog has small skin infections on the chest, elbows and paws. Puppies are also affected in the abdomen. These infections are characterized by redness, hair loss, itching, abscesses, etc.

It is imperative to put in place a rapid antibiotic treatment to relieve the infection, or even a more global solution if another underlying pathology promotes their occurrence.


This serious and potentially fatal infectious disease is caused by the highly resistant and highly contagious canine parvovirus. Dogs become contaminated mainly through contact with the stools of other sick dogs carrying the virus. It is thus very present in farms and shelters.

Dogs with parvovirus suffer from sudden haemorrhagic diarrhea giving off a strong foul odor, and sometimes vomiting. Feverish, he is weakened and dehydrates quickly. As the virus attacks white blood cells, the animal is more exposed to infections because its immune system is weakened.

The sick animal must be hospitalized in intensive care. Placed on a drip, under antibiotic, antiemetic and antidiarrheal treatments, it is necessary to wait for its immune system to reboost itself to eliminate the virus. Unfortunately, parvovirus causes the rapid death of puppies and dogs already weakened by age or by another pathology. Healthy adults generally resist it better. Consequently, it is recommended to vaccinate your dog as soon as possible against this serious infectious disease.

kennel cough

Kennel cough is an infectious disease that affects the dog’s respiratory tract following exposure to bacteria, viruses or microbes, especially following contact with a sick dog or his postillions.

Five to ten days after exposure, the infected dog has a strong dry cough and fever. He may also suffer from conjunctivitis and discharge from the eyes and nose. Subsequently and for lack of care, the cough becomes more oily and the animal becomes fragile. The fever intensifies and the pathology turns into bronchopneumonia which can lead to the death of the puppy.

A treatment based on antibiotics, anti-inflammatories and antitussives must be quickly put in place. It must last 10 to 21 days depending on the condition of the dog. Although there are vaccines against the causative agents of kennel cough, they are not completely effective and continuous monitoring is recommended.


This viral infectious disease is mainly transmitted between individuals and mainly affects puppies and young adults. It is characterized by digestive disorders (vomiting, diarrhea), respiratory disorders (cough, runny nose), skin disorders (red patches, hardening of the nose and pads), eye disorders (conjunctivitis, vision disorders) , nervous disorders (epilepsy, paralysis, tremors, meningitis) and severe fatigue.

Sometimes difficult to identify, distemper is complex to treat and the prognosis is often negative. Many dogs die quickly after the appearance of the first signs and the survivors have serious sequelae.

Nevertheless, it is possible to prevent it by vaccinating your dog every year against distemper.


This infectious disease is caused by the Clostridium bacterium which produces a neurotoxin, tetanospamine. Very resistant, this bacterium invades the organism of the affected dog and also lives in the environment, in particular the earth. Contamination generally occurs through contact with a wound or injury, the perfect entry route for this bacterium, which then develops very quickly and causes the appearance of the first nervous symptoms in just a few days. The earlier the signs occur, the more serious they are.

The localized form of the disease is the most common. The muscle group around the infected wound contracts constantly. The implementation of a suitable treatment allows a quick recovery.

The generalized form is more worrying. The animal presents muscular rigidities over the whole of the body, its ears stand up, its eyes sink into their sockets, the face is smiling. In the most serious cases, the dog can no longer open its mouth, it hypersalivates, it suffers from respiratory disorders and convulsive disorders.

The treatment of tetanus requires the administration of appropriate antibiotics and relaxing sedatives in the most serious forms. The treatment is long, but recovery is expected within a month. Dogs are not vaccinated against tetanus because they are generally much more resistant to the disease than humans. On the other hand, in prevention, remember to carefully disinfect any wound or wound in your dog.

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