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Dog Health News
Giardia Trophozoite

Giardia is a single-celled parasite that lives in your dog’s intestine. It infects older dogs but more frequently infects puppies. Dogs become infected when they swallow Giardia that may be present in water or other substances that have been soiled with feces.

How will Giardia affect my dog?
Many dogs infected with Giardia do not get any disease. Giardiasis, the disease caused by Giardia infection, usually results in diarrhea. Having giardiasis for a long time can cause weight loss; poor condition; and even death.

How do I prevent my dog from getting Giardia?



Bacterial Infection (Leptospirosis) in Dogs

Leptospirosis is an infection of bacterial spirochetes, which dogs acquire when subspecies of the Leptospira interrogans penetrate the skin and spread through the body by way of the bloodstream. Two of of the most commonly seen members of this subspecies are the L. grippotyphosa and L. Pomona bacteria. Spirochetes are spiral, or corkscrew-shaped bacteria which infiltrate the system by burrowing into the skin.

Leptospires spread throughout the entire body, reproducing in the liver, kidneys, central nervous system, eyes, and reproductive system. Soon after initial infection, f17 ever and bacterial infection of the blood develop, but these symptoms soon resolve with the reactive increase of antibodies, which clear the spirochetes from most of the system. The extent to which this bacteria affects the organs will depend on your dog’s immune system and its ability to eradicate the infection fully. Even then, Leptospira spirochetes can remain in the kidneys, reproducing there and infecting the urine. Infection of the liver or kidneys can be fatal for animals if the infection progresses, causing severe damage to these organs. Younger animals with less developed immune systems are at the highest risk for severe complications.

The Leptospira spirochete bacteria is zoonotic, meaning that it can be transmitted to humans and other animals. Children are most at risk of acquiring the bacteria from an infected pet.

Symptoms and Types
Causes
The Leptospira spirochete infection mainly occurs in subtropical, tropical, and wet environments. Leptospira spirochetes are more prevalent in marshy/muddy areas which have stagnant surface water and are frequented by wildlife. Heavily irrigated pastures are also common sources of infection. The infection rate for domestic pets has been increasing in the U.S. And Canada, with infections occurring most commonly in the fall season. Dogs will typically come into contact with the leptospira bacteria in infected water, soil, or mud, while swimming, passing through, or drinking contaminated water, or from coming into contact with urine from an infected animal. This last method of contact might take place in the wild. Hunting and sporting dogs, dogs that live near wooded areas, and dogs that live on or near farms are at an increased risk of acuiring this bacteria. Also at increased risk are dogs that have spent time in a kennel.

Diagnosis
Because leptospirosis is a zoonotic disease, your veterinarian will be especially cautious when handling your pet, and will strongly advise you to do the same. Protective latex gloves must be worn at all times, and all body fluids will be treated as a biologically hazardous material. Urine, semen, post-abortion discharge, vomit, and any fluid that leaves the body will need to be handled with extreme caution.

You will need to give a thorough history of your dog's health, including a background history of symptoms, recent activities, and possible incidents that might have precipitated this condition. The history you provide may give your veterinarian clues as to what stage of infection your dog is experiencing, and which organs are being most affected.

Your veterinarian will order a chemical blood profile, a complete blood count, a urinalysis, an electrolyte panel, and a fluorescent antibody urine test. Urine and blood cultures will also be ordered for examining the prevalence of the bacteria. A microscopic agglutination test, or titer test, will also be performed to measure the body's immune response to the infection, by measuring the presence of antibodies in the bloodstream. This will help to definitively identify leptospira spirochetes and the level of systemic infection.

Treatment
Dogs with acute severe disease should be hospitalized. Fluid therapy will be the primary treatment, in order to reverse any effects of dehydration. If your dog has been vomiting, an anti-vomiting drug, called an antiemetic, may be administered, and a gastric tube can be used to nourish your dog if its inability to eat or keep food down continues. A blood transfusion may also be necessary if your dog has been severely hemorrhaging.

Antibiotics will be prescribed by your veterinarian, with the type of antiiotic dependent on the stage of infection. Penicillins can be used for initial infections, but they are not effective for eliminating the bacteria once it has reached the carrier stage. Tetracyclines, fluoroquinolones, or similar antibiotics will be prescribed for this stage, since they are better distributed into the bone tissue. Antibiotics will be prescribed for a course of at least four weeks. Some antibiotics can have side effects that appear serious, especially those drugs that go deeper into the system to eliminate infection. Be sure to read all of the warnings that come with the prescription, and talk to your veterinarian about the indications you will need to watch for. Prognosis is generally positive, barring severe organ damage.

Living and Management
A vaccination for the prevention of the leptospirosis infection is available in some areas. Your veterinarian can advise you on the availability and usefulness of this vaccine. Make sure to inspect kennels before placing your dog in one – the kennel should be kept very clean, and should be free of rodents (look for rodent droppings). Urine from an infected animal should not come into contact with any other animals, or people.

Activity should be restricted to cage rest while your dog recovers from the physical trauma of this infection. Leptospirosis is a zoonotic disease, transmissible to humans, and other animals via urine, semen, and post-birth or post-abortion discharge. While your dog is in the process of being treated, you will need to keep it isolated from children and other pets, and you will need to wear protective latex gloves when handling your dog in any way, or when handling fluid or waste products from your dog. Areas where your dog has urinated, vomited, or has possibly left any other type of fluid should be cleaned and disinfected thoroughly with iodine-based disinfectants or bleach solutions. Gloves should be worn during the cleaning process and disposed of properly after.

Finally, if you do have other pets or children in the home, they may have been infected with the leptospira bacteria and are not yet showing symptoms. It may be worthwhile to have them (and yourself) tested for the presence of the bacteria. And, it is important to keep in mind that leptospires may continue to be shed through the urine for several weeks after treatment and apparent recovery from the infection. Appropriate handling practices will be the best prevention of the spread of infection, or of reinfection.

Courtesy of Petmd.
The best way to prevent Giardia infection is to make sure that your dog has safe, clean drinking water. It is important not to allow dogs to drink water from areas where other animals have left their feces.

Your veterinarian can perform a test on your dog’s feces to see if it has giardiasis. If your dog is infected with Giardia, your veterinarian can prescribe safe, effective treatment for control of the disease.

To prevent spreading Giardia (and other parasites), pick up the feces left by your dog immediately and place it in the trash. Be sure to avoid contact with the feces by using gloves, a bag over your hand, or a scooping device.


Can humans be harmed by Giardia?
Giardia is a common cause of diarrhea in people, but dog Giardia is not generally considered to spread from animals to humans. While human Giardia may infect dogs and then be passed on to humans, the majority of human cases are of human origin.

Courtesy of Dr. Chris Adolph, Southpark Veterinary Hospita
Diagnosis
CPV is diagnosed with a physical examination, biochemical tests, urine analysis, abdominal radiographs, and abdominal ultrasounds. A chemical blood profile and a complete blood cell count will also be performed. Low white blood cell levels are indicative of CPV infection, especially in association with bloody stools. Biochemical and urine analysis may reveal elevated liver enzymes, lymphopenia, and electrolyte imbalances. Abdominal radiograph imaging may show intestinal obstruction, while an abdominal ultrasound may reveal enlarged lymph nodes in the groin, or throughout the body, and fluid-filled intestinal segments.

You will need to give a thorough history of your pet's health, recent activities, and onset of symptoms. If you can gather a sample of your dog's stool, or vomit, your veterinarian will be able to use these samples for microscopic detection of the virus.

Treatment
Since the disease is a viral infection, there is no real cure for it. Treatment is focused on curing the symptoms and preventing secondary bacterial infections, preferably in a hospital environment. Intensive therapy and system support are the key to recovery. Intravenous fluid and nutrition therapy is crucial in maintaining a dog’s normal body fluid after severe diarrhea and dehydration, and protein and electrolyte levels will be monitored and regulated as necessary. Medications that may be used in the treatment include drugs to curb vomiting (antiemetics), H2 Blockers to reduce nausea, antibiotics, and anthelmintics to fight parasites. The survival rate in dogs is about 70 percent, but death may sometimes result from severe dehydration, a severe secondary bacterial infection, bacterial toxins in the blood, or a severe intestinal hemorrhage. Prognosis is lower for puppies, since they have a less developed immune system. It is common for a puppy that is infected with CPV to suffer shock, and sudden death.

Living and Management
Even after your dog has recovered from a CPV infection, it will still have a weakened immune system, and will be susceptible to other illnesses. Talk to your veterinarian about ways by which you can boost your dog's immune system, and otherwise protect your dog from situations that may make it ill. A diet that is easily digested will be best for your dog while it is recovering.

Your dog will also continue to be a contagion risk to other dogs for at least two months after the initial recovery. You will need to isolate your dog from other dogs for a period of time, and you may want to tell neighbors who have dogs that they will need to have their own pets tested. Wash all of the objects your dog uses (e.g., dishes, crate, kennel, toys) with non-toxic cleaners. Recovery comes with long-term immunity against the parvovirus, but it is no guarantee that your pet will not be infected with the virus again.

Prevention
The best prevention you can take against CPV infection is to follow the correct protocol for vaccination. Young puppies should be vaccinated at six, nine, and twelve weeks, and should not be socialized with outside dogs until at least two weeks after their last vaccinations. High-risk breeds may require a longer initial vaccination period of up to 22 weeks.

Courtesy of Petmd.com
The major symptoms associated with the intestinal form of a canine parvovirus infection include severe, bloody diarrhea, lethargy, anorexia, fever, vomiting, and severe weight loss. The intestinal form of CPV affects the body's ability to absorb nutrients, and an affected animal will quickly become dehydrated and weak from lack of protein and fluid absorption. The wet tissue of the mouth and eyes may become noticeably red and the heart may beat too rapidly. When your veterinarian palpates (examine by touch) your dog’s abdominal area, your dog may respond with pain or discomfort. Dogs that have contracted CPV may also have a low body temperature (hypothermia), rather than a fever.

Causes
Most cases of CPV infections are caused by a genetic alteration of the original canine parvovirus: the canine parvovirus type 2b. There are a variety of risk factors that can increase a dog’s susceptibility to the disease, but mainly, the virus is transmitted either by direct contact with an infected dog, or indirectly, by the fecal-oral route. Heavy concentrations of the virus are found in an infected dog’s stool, so when a healthy dog sniffs an infected dog’s stool, it will contract the disease. The virus can also be brought into a dog's environment by way of shoes that have come into contact with infected feces. There is evidence that the virus can live in ground soil for up to a year. It is resistant to most cleaning products, or even to weather changes. If you suspect that you have come into contact with feces at all, you will need to wash the affected area with household bleach, the only disinfectant known to kill the virus.

Improper vaccination protocol and vaccination failure can also lead to a CPV infection. Breeding kennels and dog shelters that hold a large number of inadequately vaccinated puppies are particularly hazardous places. For unknown reasons, certain dog breeds, such as Rottweilers, Doberman Pinschers, Pit Bulls, Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds, English Springer Spaniels, and Alaskan sled dogs, are particularly vulnerable to the disease. Diseases or drug therapies that suppress the normal response of the immune system may also increase the likelihood of infection.
Canine Parvovirus (Parvo) Infection in Dogs

The canine parvovirus (CPV) infection is a highly contagious viral illness that affects dogs. The virus manifests itself in two different forms. The more common form is the intestinal form, which is characterized by vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, and lack of appetite (anorexia). The less common form is the cardiac form, which attacks the heart muscles of very young puppies, often leading to death. The majority of cases are seen in puppies that are between six weeks and six months old. The incidence of canine parvovirus infections has been reduced radically by early vaccination in young puppies.

Symptoms and Types
​Common Questions Asked at the Dog Park
Parasites and Bacteria that are Harmful to Humans and Pets, and if your dog is not properly vaccinated, you and your dog can become very sick. Here are some of the common parasites and bacteria that your dog can catch if not vaccinated.    Read the following information about Giardia, Leptospirosis (Lepto), Parvovirus (Parvo), Heartworm, Rabies, Canine Distemper, Kennel Cough (bordetellosis).
Question: Why does my dog always get diarrhea when we go to the dog park and no where else?
Answer: There are 2 kinds of stress. Good stress and bad stress. 
Sometimes when your dog in under stress, they can be feeling excited or nervous. Stress can lead to diarrhea. 

Solution 1: With consistent visitations to the dogs park, your dog will become more familiar with the environment, make friends, and most likely the diarrhea at the dog park will stop.

Solution 2: Most Veterinarians will recommend giving your dog a form of antacid to settle the stomach.
****Please consult your Veterinarian before giving your dog any type of medication.**** 

Solution 3: There might be a more serious condition. Consult your Veterinarian to test for harmful parasites and bacteria.
Question: Why does my dog drool at the dog park?
Answer: There are several reasons why dogs drool at the dog park. Sometimes it is due to the season change and the way your dog is breathing. Dogs tend to drool more during the Summer season. Dogs that drool is a sign that their body temperature is too hot and they need to get cool. In the Winter, dogs that drool is a sign that their body temperature is too cold and they need to get warm. Excitement and rapid breathing at the dog park can cause excessive drooling. 

Solution 1: In the Summer, do not take them to the dog park when temperatures are too hot (usually over 85 degrees). 
If temperatures are between 65 - 80 degrees or above, give them plenty of cold water to stay hydrated and keep them shaded.

Solution 2: In the Winter, do not go outside when temperatures are too cold such as below 60 degrees. Going out when temperatures are between 55 - 65 degrees, it is best to dress your dog in a dog coat, dog sweat shirt, or sweater to keep warm. You can also cover them in a blanket.

Solution 3: If the weather is suitable, excitement and rapid breathing can cause your dogs neck to expand. Loosen your dogs collar, and loosen or remove your dogs harness to allow your dogs neck and chest to expand properly.

Solution 4: There might be a more serious condition. Consult your Veterinarian to test your dogs health.
*Bloody vaginal discharge
*Dark red speckled gums (petechiae)
*Yellow skin and/or whites of eyes – anemic symptoms
*Spontaneous cough
*Difficulty breathing, fast breathing, irregular pulse
*Runny nose
*Swelling of the mucous membrane
*Mild swelling of the lymph nodes
*Sudden fever and illness
*Sore muscles, reluctance to move
*Stiffness in muscles, legs, stiff gait
*Shivering
*Weakness
*Depression
*Lack of appetite
*Increased thirst and urination
*Rapid dehydration
*Vomiting, possibly with blood
*Diarrhea - with or without blood in stool
Reasons Why Should You Vaccinate Your Dog
Dirofilariasis in Dogs (Heartworms in Dogs)


Dogs suffering from heartworm disease are parasitized by the organism Dirofilaria immitis, a nematode (roundworm) commonly referred to as the heartworm. The severity of heartworm disease in dogs is directly dependent upon the number of worms present in the body, how long they’ve been there, and the response of the host (dog).

In regions where Dirofilaria immitis is endemic, dogs without proper heartworm protection are very likely to develop heartworm disease. The heartworm is mainly endemic in geographic areas with tropical and subtropical climates. It is commonly found along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts, and the Ohio and Mississippi river basins. The presence of Dirofilaria immitis is not limited to these areas, however. It is found worldwide. Dogs have been diagnosed with heartworm disease in all 50 U.S. states.
TYPES AND SYMPTOMS OF HEARTWORMS IN DOGS
Common signs of heartworm disease in dogs include coughing, exercise intolerance, and poor body condition, but symptoms can vary depending on the severity of the infection.

Heartworm disease is divided into classes. Dogs with Class I heartworm disease are often asymptomatic, meaning they exhibit no visible symptoms, or may only exhibit minimal signs such as an occasional cough. Signs of heartworms in Class II patients typically include coughing and intolerance to a moderate level of exercise. Class III cases may show a generalized loss of body condition, more extreme exercise intolerance, labored breathing, and a pot-bellied appearance associated with fluid accumulation in the abdomen as a result of right-sided heart failure. Dogs with Class IV heartworm disease have a condition known as caval syndrome caused by the presence of so many worms that they block the flow of blood into the heart.

CAUSES OF HEARTWORMS IN DOGS
Heartworms are spread through the bites of mosquitos that carry the infective heartworm larvae. These larvae then migrate through the dog’s body until they reach the heart and blood vessels within the lungs, a process that takes approximately six months. The larvae continue to mature in the dog’s heart and lungs—an adult heartworm can grow to be about 12 inches long. These adults reproduce and release immature heartworms, known as microfilariae, into the dog’s bloodstream. When a mosquito bites an infected dog, the microfilariae can enter the mosquito’s body, mature, and then be passed on to another dog, thereby continuing the parasite’s life cycle and spreading the disease to the next host.

Risk factors associated with heartworm disease include residence in endemic regions, exposure to mosquitos, and lack of proper preventative medications.

DIAGNOSIS
A veterinarian can run a quick blood test to screen a dog for heartworms. These tests are routinely run both on dogs who are suspected of having heartworm disease and to monitor dogs who are on preventative medications. A positive screening test should be confirmed with another type of test before a definitive diagnosis is made.

Additional tests that are routinely run on dogs with heartworm disease include a blood chemistry panel, complete blood cell count, urinalysis, and chest X-rays. These, and possibly other tests, are necessary to plan appropriate treatment and to determine the dog’s prognosis. 
TREATMENT
Dogs with heartworm disease will initially receive any treatments needed to stabilize their condition. They will then be given medication to kill circulating microfilariae, and most will undergo a series of three injections over a month’s time to kill adult worms in the heart and lungs. Hospitalization when these injections are given, and possibly at other times, is necessary so that your veterinarian can watch closely for side effects. Prednisone and doxycycline are also typically prescribed to reduce the chances that the dog will react badly to the death of the worms. Other treatments may be needed based on an individual dog’s condition.  

If a dog has caval syndrome, a surgical procedure will be necessary to remove adult worms from the right heart and pulmonary artery by way of the jugular vein. Most dogs with caval syndrome die regardless of treatment.


LIVING AND MANAGEMENT
Exercise restriction before, during, and after treatment for heartworm disease is absolutely vital to its success. Severely affected dogs may need to be kept in a cage to limit activity. For dogs recovering from congestive heart failure, a moderately restricted sodium diet may be recommended.

A test for the presence of adult heartworms should be done approximately six months after treatment is complete to check for continued presence of Dirofilaria immitis. If the test is positive, the treatment can be repeated.

PREVENTION
Heartworm prevention medications should be given to all at-risk dogs, for example those living in or traveling to endemic regions, as directed by your veterinarian. There are a number of preventatives that are safe, highly effective, and commonly used. Dogs who have been treated for heartworm disease also need to receive preventive medications since they can be reinfested. Heartworm preventatives are not 100 percent effective, particularly if they are not used per label instructions or doses are missed. Therefore, routine heartworm screening is recommended so that the disease can be caught early, when treatment is safest and most effective.

​Courtesy of Petmd.com
Heartworm disease is preventable with the administration of a heartworm prophylaxis (preventative medication), as recommended by a veterinarian. For dogs who do contract heartworm disease, the prognosis is good for mild to moderate cases with appropriate and timely treatment. Dogs with more severe cases may suffer from serious short- and long-term complications associated with the disease and its treatment. Treating heartworms is expensive and always carries some risk to the dog. It is certainly better to prevent the disease than to deal with its consequences. Without treatment, most cases of heartworm disease are eventually fatal.
Courtesy of Petmd.comRabies in Dogs 

Rabies is a severe, and often fatal, viral polioencephalitis that specifically affects the gray matter of the dog's brain and its central nervous system (CNS). The primary way the rabies virus is transmitted to dogs in the United States is through a bite from a disease carrier: foxes, raccoons, skunks, and bats. Infectious virus particles are retained in a rabid animal's salivary glands to better disseminate the virus through their saliva.

Once the virus enters the dog's body, it replicates in the cells of the muscles, and then spreads to the closest nerve fibers, including all peripheral, sensory and motor nerves, traveling from there to the CNS via fluid within the nerves. The virus can take up to a month to develop, but once the symptoms have begun, the virus progresses rapidly.

This inflammatory infection also has zoonotic characteristics and can therefore be transmitted to humans. If you would like to learn more about how this disease affects cats, please visit this page in the petMD health library.

Symptoms and Types of Rabies in Dogs
There are two forms of rabies: paralytic and furious. In the early symptom (prodomal) stage of rabies infection, the dog will show only mild signs of CNS abnormalities. This stage will last from one to three days. Most dogs will then progress to either the furious stage, the paralytic stage, or a combination of the two, while others succumb to the infection without displaying any major symptoms.

Furious rabies is characterized by extreme behavioral changes, including overt aggression and attack behavior. Paralytic rabies, also referred to as dumb rabies, is characterized by weakness and loss of coordination, followed by paralysis.

This is a fast-moving virus. If it is not treated soon after the symptoms have begun, the prognosis is poor. Therefore, if your dog has been in a fight with another animal, or has been bitten or scratched by another animal, or if you have any reason to suspect that your pet has come into contact with a rabid animal (even if your pet has been vaccinated against the virus), you must take your dog to a veterinarian for preventive care immediately.

The following are some of the symptoms of rabies to watch for in your dog:

Pica
Fever
Seizures
Paralysis
Hydrophobia
Jaw is dropped
Inability to swallow
Change in tone of bark
Muscular lack of coordination
Unusual shyness or aggression
Excessive excitability
Constant irritability/changes in attitude and behavior
Paralysis in the mandible and larynx
Excessive salivation (hypersalivation), or frothy saliva

Causes of Canine Rabies
The rabies virus is a single-stranded RNA virus of the genus Lyssavirus, in the family Rhabdoviridae. It is transmitted through the exchange of blood or saliva from an infected animal, and very rarely through breathing in the escaping gasses from decomposing animal carcasses. Contracting the virus in this way is rare but it can occur, often in caves with large populations of bats, where the virus is widespread. This may be a concern for hunting dogs.

Diagnosing Rabies in Dogs
If you suspect your dog has rabies, call your veterinarian immediately. If it is safe to do so, cage, or otherwise subdue your dog, and take it to a veterinarian to be quarantined. If your pet is behaving viciously, or is trying to attack, and you feel you are at risk of being bitten or scratched, you must contact animal control to catch your dog for you.

Your veterinarian will keep your dog quarantined in a locked cage for 10 days. This is the only acceptable method for confirming suspected rabies infection.

Rabies can be confused with other conditions that cause aggressive behavior, so a laboratory blood analysis must be conducted to confirm the presence of the virus. However, blood testing for the virus is not veterinary procedure.

Diagnosis in the U.S. is done using a post-mortem direct fluorescence antibody test performed by a state-approved laboratory for rabies diagnosis. Your veterinarian will collect fluid samples if your dog dies while in quarantine, or if it begins showing progressive signs of rabies; in which case, your veterinarian will opt to put your dog to sleep (or euthanize it).

Courtesy of Petmd.com
Canine Distemper in Dogs

Canine distemper is a contagious and serious viral illness with no known cure. The disease affects dogs, and certain species of wildlife, such as raccoons, wolves, foxes, and skunks. The common house pet, the ferret, is also a carrier of this virus. Canine distemper belongs to the Morbillivirus class of viruses, and is a relative of the measles virus, which affects humans, the Rinderpest virus that affects cattle, and the Phocine virus that causes seal distemper. All are members of the Paramyxoviridae family. Young, unvaccinated puppies and non-immunized older dogs tend to be more susceptible to the disease.

Symptoms and Types of Distemper in Dogs
The virus, which is spread through the air and by direct or indirect (i.e. utensils, bedding) contact with an infected animal, initially attacks a dog’s tonsils and lymph nodes and replicates itself there for about one week. It then attacks the respiratory, urogenital, gastrointestinal, and nervous systems.

In the initial stages of Canine Distemper, the major symptoms include high fever (≥103.5 ° F, or 39.7° C), reddened eyes, and a watery discharge from the nose and eyes. An infected dog will become lethargic and tired, and will usually become anorexic. Persistent coughing, vomiting, and diarrhea may also occur. In the later stages of the disease, the virus starts attacking the other systems of the dog’s body, particularly the nervous system. The brain and spinal cord are affected and the dog may start having fits, seizures, paralysis, and attacks of hysteria.

Canine distemper is sometimes also called “hard pad disease” because certain strains of the virus can cause an abnormal enlargement or thickening of the pads of an animal’s feet. In dogs or animals with weak immune systems, death may result two to five weeks after the initial infection.

Causes of Distemper in Dogs
The disease can be acquired from improperly attenuated vaccines, though this occurs rather rarely. Bacterial infections of the respiratory or gastrointestinal systems may also increase an animal’s vulnerability to the disease. Non-immunized dogs that come into any kind of contact with an infected animal carry a particularly high risk of contracting the disease.

Diagnosis of Canine Distemper in Dogs
Canine distemper is diagnosed with biochemical tests and urine analysis, which may also reveal a reduced number of lymphocytes, the white blood cells that function in the immune system in the initial stages of the disease (lymphopenia). A serology test may identify positive antibodies, but this test cannot distinguish between vaccination antibodies and an exposure to a virulent virus. Viral antigens may be detected in urine sediment or vaginal imprints. Haired skin, nasal mucous, and the footpad epithelium may be tested for antibodies as well. Radiographs can only be used to determine whether an infected animal has contracted pneumonia. Computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans can be used to examine the brain for any lesions that may have developed.

Courtesy of Petmd.com
Kennel Cough in Dogs (bordetellosis)

​Infectious Canine Tracheobronchitis
Kennel cough, the common name given to infectious canine tracheobronchitis, is a highly contagious respiratory disease among dogs. As the name suggests, it is typified by inflammation of the trachea and bronchi. This disease is found throughout the world and is known to infect a high percentage of dogs at least once during their lifetime. It is also sometimes referred to as bordetellosis.

Young puppies often suffer the most severe complications that can result from this disease since they have immature immune systems. Also at increased risk are older dogs, who may have decreased immune capabilities, pregnant bitches, who also have lowered immunity, and dogs with preexisting respiratory diseases.

SYMPTOMS
A persistent cough is the most common symptom
Retching
Watery nasal discharge
In mild cases, dogs are often active and eating normally
In severe cases, symptoms progress and can include pneumonia, inappetence, fever, lethargy and even death


CAUSES
Some of the most common microorganisms that contribute to infectious canine tracheobronchitis are Bordetella bronchiseptica bacteria, canine adenovirus, parainfluenza virus, and mycoplasma. Any of these organisms can cause the symptoms of this disease, alone or in combination. Infections with multiple organisms tend to cause the most severe symptoms. 

Dogs often develop clinical signs associated with kennel cough 3-4 days after exposure to a large number of other dogs (e.g., at a boarding facility or show).

DIAGNOSIS
The diagnosis of this disease is largely based upon the type of symptoms that are present and a dog's history with regards to exposure to other dogs. You will need to give a thorough history of your dog's health and onset of clinical signs. Your veterinarian may order some combination of blood chemistry tests, a complete blood cell count, a urinalysis, fecal examinations, and chest X-rays. If a dog does not respond to treatment as expected, additional testing (e.g., bacterial cultures) may be necessary to identify the microorganisms that are causing kennel cough.

TREATMENT
Treatment depends on the severity of the infection. If your dog is alert, active, eating well, and has only minor symptoms, your veterinarian may only prescribe general supportive care like rest and good hydration and nutrition. More severely affected dogs benefit from medications that reduce inflammation and coughing. If a bacterial infection is present, antibiotics may help shorten the course of the disease. Dogs with pneumonia often need to be hospitalized for more aggressive treatment.

LIVING AND MANAGEMENT
In order to prevent the spread of this disease, dogs with kennel cough should be isolated until they are better and no longer contagious. Dogs who are at high risk for infection (e.g., those who attend shows or spend time in boarding or day care facilities) should be vaccinated against Bordetella bronchiseptica and canine parainfluenza virus. All dogs should be vaccinated against canine adenovirus.

Even after being vaccinated, dogs may still acquire kennel cough (although usually a less severe form than they would have otherwise). It is best to be observant and prepared.

Although this infection usually does not cross over to humans, there are instances where young children and adults with compromised immune systems may be at risk. In these instances, it is best to talk to your veterinarian and human health care provider about your options.

Courtesy of Petmd.com