Educational Articles

Dogs + Infectious Diseases

  • 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 disease caused by a protozoan parasite found in dogs and certain rodents in many parts of the world, most commonly in rural areas. The parasite is transmitted by a small biting sand fly (Phlebotomus spp.). It is an important disease because humans can also contract Leishmaniasis.

  • Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease of dogs and other mammals that primarily affects the liver or kidneys. Leptospires are known as "aquatic spirochetes": the organism thrives in water and they have a helical or spiral shape with a characteristic hook on one or both ends.

  • Lyme disease is caused by a spirochete, Borrelia burgdorferi. A spirochete is a type of bacterium. Lyme disease is transmitted to dogs through the bite of a tick. Once in the blood stream, the Lyme disease organism is carried to many parts of the body and is likely to localize in joints.

  • 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.

  • Here are a few facts about Ebola that will provide a reasonable approach to the disease and its risk to pets and their owners.

  • Pythiosis is the result of being infected by a water mold called Pythium insidiosum. This organism can affect the gastrointestinal tract or the skin.

  • Rabies is one of the most devastating viral diseases affecting mammals, including dogs and humans. The danger of a bite from a rabid dog was described in writings dated from the 23rd century BC.

  • Ringworm is the common name given to a fungal infection of the superficial layers of the skin, hair, and nails. The common name of ringworm is somewhat misleading, in that it is not an infection caused by a worm, and the infected areas are not always ring-shaped. In the dog, ringworm lesions usually appear as areas of hair loss (alopecia) that are roughly circular.

  • Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is a disease caused by an infectious organism with the scientific name of Rickettsia rickettsii. Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever occurs in North, South, and Central America.