viral diseases in dogs : Symptoms and how to treat them

Viral diseases in dogs: Viral infection generally present in the air or in the respiratory secretion of infected dogs infects dogs. 

Here we present you some common viral diseases to which your dog may be exposed at the dog gathering.   

Multisystem Infection

Canine distemper

It is also known as canine influenza or hard pad disease and is characterized by biphasic fever, leukopenia, bronchopneumonia, gastroenteritis, and encephalitis.


The viral disease is caused by the canine distemper virus (CDV) belonging to the family paramyxoviridae. 


The clinical symptoms of this disease vary on the basis of the severity of the disease. 

In mild form, there will be listlessness, lack of appetite and mild fever. The dog may show infection in the upper respiratory system. 

 In severe illness, multiple organs will be infected. This disease affects the pulmonary system (lungs), Digestive system, eyes, skin, and nervous system.

This disease is more common in unvaccinated pups.   


Your vet will diagnose this condition on the basis of history provide y you. Blood and CSF examination may give an idea about the infection. It can be confirmed by an impression smear examination. 

Treatment of viral diseases in dogs

The treatment requires specific antiviral drugs. Antibiotic treatment is also given to stop other infection.   

Infectious Canine hepatitis

Another name for this disease is Rubarth’s disease. It is characterized by severe depression, marked leukopenia, diarrhea, vomition, convulsions and prolonged bleeding time. 


Canine adenovirus is the culprit behind this disease. 


In the most severe form, there will be sudden death. 

In less severe form, you will notice anorexia, fever followed by vomition and diarrhea. 

After the cure of this disease, there will be the development of ocular opacity. It is due to hemorrhage and ulceration in the eye. 


It is done on the basis of clinical signs and history. Certain pathological tests of blood and CSF may give an idea of this disease.

Nervous system viral diseases in dogs


All mammals are susceptible to this disease but it is recognized as a natural disease of dogs. It is a viral infection characterized by encephalomyelitis.  


Rhabdovirus cause this disease. It is transmitted by contact of saliva with the bloodstream. 


There are two-phase in this disease

  1. Furious form: Dog will be hyperactive and there will be a change in voice. 
  2. Dumb form: There will paralysis.

Contrary to the common belief, the dumb form is more prevalent in our country. 


History and clinical signs play an important role in the diagnosis of this disease.


Once the symptoms appear, there is no treatment of this disease. Prevention is the only way to stay safe from this disease.

Gastrointestinal tract

Canine parvovirus viral diseases in dogs

Another name for this viral disease is hemorrhagic enteritis. This disease is characterized by high fever, diarrhea, and myocarditis. 


Canine parvovirus type-2 of family Parvoviridae is the culprit for this disease. 


This infection results in myocarditis in neonatal pups while in adults, it causes enteritis. 


The age of pups and clinical signs may give some idea about the disease. Hematological examinations may help the vet to diagnose it. 

Canine Rota Virus Infection 

This is a viral disease of younger pups characterized by enteric infection and watery to mucoid diarrhea.


Rotavirus belonging to family Reoviridea is a cause for this disease. 


The symptoms for this disease is mainly seen in pups as older dogs rarely show sign of clinical disease.

 The pups reveal enteric infection characterized by watery to mucoid diarrhea lasting for 8 to 10 days. 

In the case with more frequency of diarrhea, there may be dehydration and shock conditions. 

Other symptoms include anorexia and fever. 


Diagnosis is done by clinical signs and history provided by you. 

Many serological tests are also available to help diagnose this disease. 


There is no requirement of a specific antiviral drug. Only symptomatic management of pups may help. Prevention of secondary infection is essential.

Canine coronavirus infection viral diseases in dogs

It is a highly contagious enteric disease of dogs of any age group characterized by vomiting and diarrhea. 


Infection of Canine coronavirus belonging to Coronaviridae results in this disease.


The viral disease is highly contagious. 

The clinical signs are quite variable as younger puppies reveal severe symptoms while in adult dogs, disease symptoms are not apparent.

Vomiting usually subsides after 24 hours but diarrhea persists for several days. The feces are usually loose, mucoid and watery, generally foul-smelling and often streaked with blood.


Diagnosis by history and clinical signs. A blood test may help in diagnosis.


Most of the dogs recover spontaneously. However, a broadspectrum antibiotic may be administered to prevent secondary infection. 

Symptomatic treatment is sufficient for early recovery.      

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