Illustrated Articles

Dogs + Infectious Diseases

  • Brucellosis is a contagious bacterial infection that can cause a number of reproductive problems, including infertility and abortion in breeding dogs. Male dogs infected with brucellosis develop epididymitis, an infection of the testicle. Female dogs infected with brucellosis develop an infection of the uterus. The infection is usually diagnosed by a blood test (rapid slide agglutination test). Treatment with antibiotics is not significantly effective and infected dogs should be removed from the breeding population. In the United States, brucellosis is a reportable disease.

  • Campylobacteriosis is a bacterial intestinal infection usually acquired by exposure to raw meat, poultry or infected water but can be spread between pets and humans. Signs of infection are watery or mucoid diarrhea with straining, possible cramping, lethargy, and fever. Most infections are self-limiting and do not require treatment. As many asymptomatic dogs carry these bacteria, diagnosis can be difficult and includes fecal culture and DNA(PCR) testing. Treatment, if required, is based on fecal culture sensitivity results as the more common infective species are resistant to many antibiotics. Prevention includes good personal hygiene and keeping your pet’s environment clean.

  • Canine coronavirus (CCoV) is not the same virus as SARS-CoV-2 that causes COVID-19. Canine coronavirus disease, known as CCoV, is a highly infectious intestinal infection in dogs, especially puppies. CCoV does not affect people, and causes gastrointestinal problems as opposed to respiratory disease. Crowding and unsanitary conditions lead to coronavirus transmission. Dogs may be carriers of the disease for up to six months (180 days) after infection. The most typical sign associated with canine coronavirus is diarrhea, typically sudden in onset, which may be accompanied by lethargy and decreased appetite. There is no specific treatment for coronavirus. Canine coronavirus vaccines are available. This vaccine will only work for the CCoV type of coronavirus.

  • Canine influenza is a relatively new, highly contagious virus that causes respiratory disease in dogs. It has been reported in all US states and some Canadian provinces. Clinical signs include coughing, runny nose, and fever. Definitive testing can be performed in the early stages of the disease. Vaccination is recommended for dogs at a higher risk of infection or morbidity. The virus is not spread to humans, but cats can become infected.

  • Capillaria is a small internal parasite, often less than half of a centimeter in length. They are closely related to intestinal worms, though they can live in a variety of locations within the body. Diagnosis can be difficult because the eggs of Capillaria are shed only on an intermittent basis. While the parasite is easily eliminated with a dewormer, your dog may require additional medications to decrease the inflammation associated with the infection.

  • COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease of humans that was first discovered in late 2019. The illness is caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2, which is a new coronavirus that has not previously been identified in humans. Certain animals can be infected by the COVID-19 virus, but it appears to be an infrequent occurrence. If you contract COVID-19, you will need to remain quarantined on your property which may make caring for dogs a bit more challenging. If you suspect that you may have COVID-19 (with or without a positive test result), you should minimize contact with your pets. Just as you would quarantine yourself from the other human members of your home while sick, you should also quarantine yourself from your pets. If you are hospitalized and your pets must be cared for by a boarding kennel or pet sitter, inform the kennel or pet sitter that you are ill, allowing them to take the necessary precautions.

  • Cefpodoxime is a third-generation cephalosporin antibiotic used to treat skin infections in dogs. It is also used off-label in cats and to treat other types of infection. It is given orally in tablet or liquid form. Side effects are uncommon. If a negative reaction occurs, contact your veterinarian.

  • This handout summarizes Chagas disease in dogs. Caused by a protozoal parasite called Trypanosoma cruzi, it is spread by the bite of infected insects or ingestion of infected insects and rodents. The clinical signs of the condition, along with its treatment, prevention, and risk to human health are outlined.

  • Cheyletiellosis is an uncommon but highly contagious skin parasite of dogs, cats, humans, and rabbits caused by Cheyletiella spp. mites. The most important clinical sign of cheyletiellosis is scaling or dandruff. Due to the large size of the skin mite, it is easily seen under a microscope set on low magnification. Cheyletiella mites are susceptible to most topical insecticides and the prognosis is excellent.

  • Coccidia are single-celled organisms that can act as parasites after infecting your dog through the gastrointestinal tract. The most common form affecting dogs, Isospora, is not a concern for infecting people. They are highly resistant to environmental conditions and cleanliness is important to prevent re-infection. Treatment is often simple with the appropriate antibiotics prescribed by your veterinarian.