The Four Most Common Viruses to Dogs

a dog and its owner

Viruses are living organisms that can cause infections in other living organisms. For example, if a virus infects a person, it can cause them to become ill. There are many different types of viruses, and they can infect people, animals, and plants.

But certain viruses can only affect specific types of living organisms. For example, the measles virus can only infect humans. However, it can never transfer to dogs. This is because viruses are very specific to the types of cells they can infect.

Measles is a human-specific virus, and it can only infect humans because it has a binding site that specifically recognizes proteins found on human cells. The virus then uses these proteins to attach to and enter the cell. Once inside, the virus can reproduce and cause infection.

You might know a lot about different viruses that can infect humans. But what do you know about the viruses specific to your fur baby? Here are five of the most common viruses in dogs and how you can treat them.

Parvovirus

Parvovirus is a highly contagious virus that can infect dogs of all ages, but it is most commonly seen in puppies. There are many symptoms of parvovirus, such as vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and fever.

The virus infects another host by coming in contact with the infected animal’s feces. However, the virus can also spread through physical contact, like smelling another dog. It’s also good to know that asymptomatic dogs can infect other dogs, making this virus even deadlier.

Once the virus is inside the dog, it will attack the white blood cells and red blood cells. It will eventually reach the gastroenteritis stage, where the dog will start to vomit and have diarrhea.

A dog being checked by a vet

Distemper

Distemper is a virus that is closely related to the measles virus in humans. It is a highly contagious virus that can infect dogs of all ages.

The symptoms of distemper are very similar to the symptoms of parvovirus, such as vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and fever. However, distemper can also cause seizures, paralysis, and death. Dogs with distemper can also sneeze and cough a lot, leading to further infections.

The virus spreads through contact with an infected animal’s bodily fluids such as saliva, urine, or blood. It can also be spread through the air when an infected animal coughs or sneezes.

Once the virus is inside the dog, it will start attacking the nervous system, making it one of the most dangerous diseases. Most dogs that recover from it can have permanent nerve damage.

Hepatitis

Hepatitis is a virus that attacks the liver. The symptoms of hepatitis are fever, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and jaundice.

The virus is spread through contact with bodily fluids of an infected animal, such as saliva, urine, or blood. Dogs can also spread it through contact with contaminated food or water.

Once the virus is inside the dog, it will start to attack the liver cells and cause inflammation. This can lead to liver damage and, eventually, failure.

Rabies

Lastly, there’s rabies. Rabies is a virus that attacks the nervous system and is seen in wild animals such as bats, raccoons, and skunks. However, it can also infect dogs. The symptoms of rabies are similar to the symptoms of distemper with additional neurological symptoms such as paralysis, aggression, and seizures.

Rabies is spread through contact with certain glands such as saliva from different infected animals. This can happen through a bite or if the infected animal licks an open wound.

Once the virus is inside the dog, it will start attacking the nervous system, making it one of the most dangerous diseases. If left untreated, rabies is 100% fatal.

Prevention

Viruses might have different symptoms, but treating them is usually the same. But remember, the best option is never to let your fur baby get infected in the first place. You can do this by making them obedient to you.

Obedience training

All the viruses listed above infect dogs through social contact. By keeping your dog on a leash and obedient to you, you can avoid it from happening. In addition, you can hire a professional to teach your dogs essential tricks such as stay and come. Hiring a dog trainer can save so much of your time. After a couple of days with the trainer, you should have a dog that can willingly follow your orders and stay away from infected dogs.

Vaccinations

Another way to protect your dog is by getting them vaccinated. Vaccinations are available for all the viruses on this list except for rabies. Much like training, vaccinations can prevent dogs from being infected.

There are two types of vaccine available, core and non-core. Core vaccines are the ones that are recommended for all dogs, regardless of their lifestyle. These include the vaccines for distemper, parvovirus, and hepatitis. Non-core vaccines are the ones that are only recommended for certain dogs, depending on their lifestyle. These include the vaccines for Bordetella and Lyme disease.

Talk to your vet about which vaccines are suitable for your fur baby, and get them on a regular schedule.

Prevention is key to protecting your furry friend from dangerous viruses. By keeping your dog obedient and up-to-date on their vaccinations, you can help them stay safe and healthy for years to come.

Editor-in-chief of M’Lady Records. Loves to laugh, lives to love.

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