Viral Infections in Dogs: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

The greatest excitement among the owners of four-legged friends is caused by viral infections, which are characterized by a severe course and in some cases lead to the death of the dog.

Some diseases are fraught with danger not only for the pet, but also for people. Therefore, at the first signs of the disease, you should contact a veterinarian, and it is best to call a doctor at home to avoid infection of other animals.

Types of viral infections

Some of the most dangerous viral diseases include:

Distemper in dogs

Carnivore plague or distemper

Provoked by a virus containing ribonucleic acid. Plague is equally dangerous for all types of animals, but it is especially susceptible to puppies and young individuals. Complicate the period of avitaminosis disease, worm infestation, exhaustion of the dog, decreased motor activity.

Since the symptoms of the plague are diverse, even a veterinarian can not always determine the severity of the disease and diagnose rhinitis, conjunctivitis or an allergic reaction in the animal. As a rule, the owners do not treat such diseases with all seriousness, and when there are pronounced symptoms of the plague, it is too late to take the necessary measures.

The danger of the plague is that all dogs in contact with your pet can be infected. Therefore, be vigilant and take care not only of your dog, but also of the surrounding animals. Don’t endanger other Pets!
A sick animal is walked separately from other dogs and only on a leash. Even after full recovery, it is necessary to limit all contacts of your four-legged friend with other relatives for one month.
Symptoms of a viral infection that the host should pay attention to:

  • sudden lethargy of an energetic puppy;
  • capriciousness in food;
  • dry nose in an active puppy;
  • discharge from the nose and eyes of the puppy, first mucous, quickly turning into purulent;
  • the appearance of pustules on the animal’s stomach and back.

These symptoms for 2-3 weeks are the only harbingers of a more serious disease, and only after a month more serious symptoms of distemper appear. With poor-quality treatment, the dog dies on the second day.
In some cases, the disease occurs with more serious symptoms from the very beginning. A sick pet immediately begins to feel sluggish, lies more, refuses to drink and eat, the temperature rises to 40 degrees. At the first sign of illness, immediately contact a veterinary clinic for help.

Parvovirosis in dogs

Parvovirus enteritis

A disease that affects young individuals and puppies from 1.5 months. This disease was called “Olympian” because of the mass outbreak in 1980. In the first few years, the dogs could not be cured. Currently, the course of the disease is mild, and this is directly related to the vaccination of adults.

There are certain methods of treatment, but in advanced cases, it is still not possible to save the dogs.

The clinical picture of the disease is characteristic. It all starts with frequent vomiting, up to 10 times within two hours. Even if the dog does not have any contents left in its stomach, it still vomits and vomits, but this time with saliva and gastric juice. The animal in this state refuses water or drinks, but very little. Because of frequent vomiting, dehydration starts.

On the second day, the dog has frequent loose stools with an admixture of blood and a pronounced putrid smell. The temperature drops sharply, the limbs get colder. The animal stops responding to the surrounding sounds and arrives in a comatose state. If you do not seek help at the first stage of the disease, the pet may die.


Caused by a number of adenoviruses. It is contagious and predominates in warm seasons. This disease is dangerous for old breeds of dogs with pronounced heart failure, as well as for puppies that are naturally fed.
Sick Pets acquire a strong immune system. The disease lasts about three weeks. The first symptoms are: swelling of the bronchi and larynx, barking cough. During this period, you can walk with the dog only if you have a harness, because the collar exerts excessive pressure on the dog’s sore throat.
Just like with distemper, exclude all contacts of your favorite pet with foreign dogs during the illness. In puppies, the symptoms are slightly different: loose stools, wheezing when breathing, lethargy. The animal may refuse to suck, in which case you should immediately call a veterinarian.

Infectious type of hepatitis

Appears as a result of adenoviruses. For people, this disease is not dangerous, but for raccoons, foxes and Arctic foxes it is a serious problem. Hepatitis affects all breeds of dogs, regardless of age and gender. The animal is infected sexually or through mucous membranes. Cases of infection during blood sampling, surgery, and vaccinations were identified. The duration of the disease is up to 9 days.
Symptoms include:

  • uneven gait;
  • weight loss;
  • pallor of the mucosa;
  • corneal opacity;
  • tonsillitis.

When examined by a doctor, there is a redness of the pet’s throat, an increase in temperature to 40 degrees, apathy, and a sweet smell from the pet’s mouth. With timely treatment, the dog is on the mend, but the body recovers slowly. The recovered dog may have a reduced appetite, but do not worry, after the incubation period everything will return to normal.



The most dangerous of all the presented viral diseases in the world. People and animals bitten by a sick dog die in terrible agony. In countries where rabies is registered, vaccination of animals is mandatory.

Therefore, you should not pet stray dogs and allow your pet to contact them, as this can lead to infection.

The symptoms of the disease are different. Sometimes the dog becomes depressed, lethargic, and constantly drooling from the mouth, as if a foreign object is stuck in the throat. Most often, the animal becomes aggressive and begins to rush at everyone, including non-living objects. Calls from the owner to calm down — the pet does not perceive.

Treatment and preventive measures

As soon as you find the first signs of a viral infection in your four-legged friend, you should immediately contact a veterinarian. And it is best to call a doctor at home, so as not to put other animals at risk, since most diseases are extremely contagious.

A specialist will prescribe your dog the necessary medications, injections and droppers. During this difficult period, the owner’s task is to provide the animal with care and a balanced diet.

It is better to keep a sick pet in a separate, clean room, in peace and quiet. Ventilate the room more often and change the bedding. It is better to close the Windows, because bright daylight can cause discomfort and pain to the animal’s eyes. In combination with medications, the owner of the dog can prepare herbal infusions. For example:

  • mother-and-stepmother, birch buds, viburnum, plantain – from the presented herbs, infusions are prepared separately and given to a dog with bronchial diseases 2-3 times a day;
  • cherry, clover, honey, bagulnik, plantain – also prepare infusions separately from each component and make compresses on the eyes for conjunctivitis;
  • wormwood, St. John’s wort, yarrow – from intestinal diseases, loose stools and vomiting.

Often, the overall picture of the disease is aggravated by nervous complications. For example, a dog may suddenly start convulsing, and during breaks the animal may start howling, whining, or trying to escape somewhere. In rare cases, the pet begins to experience hallucinations and visions. With correctly selected medications, all of the above phenomena are reversible. Veterinarians in such cases prescribe sedatives and anticonvulsants to the patient. Barbituric drugs have an excellent effect (these medications can only be taken after consulting a veterinarian):

  • injection of sodium thiopental into the muscle;
  • injection of sodium oxybutyrate 2.0 ml into the muscle;
  • sodium oxybutyrate inside 1 tsp 3 times a day;
  • benzonal tablets 2 PCs 2 times a day;
  • Finlepsin tablets are selected individually.

In complex therapy, the dog is treated with General tonic. During the period of exacerbation of the disease, the animal must be placed in a quiet dark place. Any loud unexpected sounds and noises are excluded.

Preventive measures to protect against infectious diseases include, first of all, vaccination. Since the mother’s immune system protects the puppy in the first month of life, the first vaccination is recommended at 1.5 months. For puppies, the first vaccination is against parvovirus enteritis. Immunity in a young animal will be developed only two weeks after vaccination. It is especially important during this period to protect the dog from various infections. When the puppy is 2 months old, you can make a second – from the plague of carnivores.

The General vaccination course ends in three months, by the time the bite changes. The puppy must be completely healthy during the vaccination period. A week before vaccination, the animal should not have any discharge from the eyes or nose. Veterinarians do not recommend vaccinating puppies with helminthiasis.

To do this, deworm your pet 5-7 days before vaccination.
It is not recommended to make complex vaccines for puppies, since the immune system of a young dog is imperfect and will not be able to fully form immunity to a variety of injected antibodies. Multicomponent vaccinations are suitable for older individuals, from 6 months and older. After changing teeth, the course of vaccinations is repeated. In the future, it is enough to vaccinate once a year. A detailed vaccination scheme will be prescribed by a veterinarian.
Rabies vaccinations should be done once a year, starting from three months of the puppy. All administered vaccines are marked in the animal’s passport.

The dog is getting an injection

By following the rules of care, feeding and keeping the dog, you can prevent serious infectious diseases. A mandatory condition for prevention is quarantine after infection, because the dog’s immunity is weakened in the first weeks. In case of illness, it is necessary to provide your pet with timely medical care and follow a clear intake of medicines. This is the only way to avoid serious problems of the disease.