Educational Articles

Infectious Diseases

  • Vaccinations are important to prevent serious illness in dogs. Even dogs that spend 100% of their time indoors should be vaccinated. Some viruses can be carried into your home on inanimate objects such as shoes and clothing, therefore infecting your dog without him coming into contact with another animal. Rabies is deadly for both dogs and humans and can be transmitted by a rabid bat that makes its way into your home. Your veterinarian is your most important resource in determining what vaccinations need to be given to your dog to keep him protected.

  • Hepatitis is defined as inflammation of the liver. As a specific disease, infectious canine hepatitis (ICH) is a viral infection. The hepatitis virus is present in the urine, as well as in the nose and eye discharges of infected animals and the virus is transmitted by direct contact with these infected materials. In the mild form the dog may merely have a decreased appetite, appear depressed, and have a mild fever. Treatment is aimed at reducing symptoms and giving time for the dog's immune system to respond. Vaccination has been very successful at reducing the prevalence of this disease.

  • This handout is designed to give you an overview of some of the internal parasites that can infect your cat. Intestinal worms can be a serious problem in young kittens. Heartworm disease is a major life-threatening problem in dogs, and is increasingly recognized as a threat to cats. Speak to your veterinarian about the most appropriate parasite control program for your cat.

  • Kennel cough is a broad term covering any infectious or contagious condition of dogs where coughing is one of the major clinical signs. It is also referred to as infectious tracheobronchitis. Several viruses and bacteria can cause kennel cough, often at the same time. Because the infection spreads when dogs are housed together, it is often seen soon after dogs have been in kennels, hence the name 'kennel cough'.

  • Leishmaniasis is a serious condition spread by flies that can affect dogs, cats, and people. It can severely damage the internal organs or skin and even with treatment, the outcome is often not successful.

  • Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease of dogs and other mammals that primarily affects the liver or kidneys. The bacteria (Leptospira) that cause leptospirosis, commonly called leptospires, thrive in water. Infected or recovered carrier dogs may act as a source of the infection. There are three main forms of the disease. Antibiotics such as penicillin, ampicillin, and amoxicillin, are reasonably effective against the acute stages of leptospirosis if begun early, although most affected dogs require intensive care in the veterinary hospital.

  • Leptospirosis is an infectious disease caused by a type of bacteria called Leptospira. The disease causes serious damage to the kidney and liver, and may be fatal in severe cases. Severely infected dogs show signs of lethargy, depression, loss of appetite, vomiting, fever, and increased thirst and urination. Dogs may develop jaundice. There are several tests for diagnosing leptospirosis, but the two most common ones are the DNA-PCR test and the microscopic agglutination test (MAT). Infection can be diagnosed with either test, but each has weaknesses, and in some situations both tests may be needed to reach a diagnosis.

  • Lyme disease is a growing concern as ticks migrate. It often presents as a lameness but can also show up as kidney failure. Treatment with one of the following antibiotics doxycycline, amoxicillin, or azithromycin lasts for 4 weeks. Preventives are available to help protect your dog from this disease.

  • Melioidosis is a bacterial infection that is typically associated with tropical regions. The bacteria that causes melioidosis, Burkholderia pseudomallei, is usually found in soil and water. It is introduced to these areas when it is shed in the milk, feces, urine, or wound drainage of infected animals. In dogs, melioidosis can cause a variety of clinical signs. It mimics a number of other diseases; therefore, it is sometimes referred to as the great imitator. Treatment of melioidosis requires prolonged courses of antibiotics. The organism is resistant to many antibiotics, meaning that specific, expensive antibiotics may be required.

  • Parvo, or canine parvovirus (CPV) infection is a relatively new disease that appeared for the first time in dogs in 1978. Because of the severity of the disease and its rapid spread through the canine population, CPV has aroused a great deal of public interest. Two slightly different strains of canine parvovirus, named CPV-2a and CPV-2b, are recognized. They cause the same disease and vaccines give protection against both.