Infections in Dogs: What Every Pet Parent Needs to Know

Infections in Dogs - What Pet Parents Need to Know

Dogs are incredibly active creatures who need a lot of physical activity to remain healthy. They love being outdoors and long walks, meeting other dogs, sniffing around and marking their territory. However, in the midst of all this fun and play, the great outdoors can also pose a risk to pets as their natural resistance is lower than strays.

It may cause a wide range of bacterial and fungal infections, especially when they get themselves into dirt, mud, or get in touch with other infected animals or pets. The worst worry for a pet parent is infection in dogs ears which sometimes leads to other kinds of neurological complications. If you are also worried about the various types of infections and disorders in dogs and what you can do to get rid of it, this guide will help you keep your furry friend healthy.

Most Common Infections in Dogs

There are various types of disorders in dogs. To help your furry friend live a healthy life, you should know the symptoms of the common infections dogs face and how to resolve them.

  • Ear Infections

Infections in dogs ears are the most common type of health problem that may occur with alarming frequency. Yeast, ear mites, bacteria, and hair growth deep in the ear canal are the major causes of such infections. You need to take special care while bathing your dog as water entering deep into the ears can also cause infection in dogs ears. Bad ear odour, vigorous scratching, bloody discharge or pus, head shaking, redness of the ear canal, and/or swelling of the outer portion of the ear – if you come across any of these symptoms in your dog then do not try to treat ear infections at home and visit your vet immediately.

How to Treat Ear Infections in Dogs?

The veterinarian thoroughly cleans a dog’s ear using a medicated solution. If the condition is critical, then the vet may also prescribe anti-inflammatory medications, oral antibiotics and an ear cleaner to use at home. Cleaning your dog’s ears at home regularly can also help prevent ear infections.

  • External Parasites – Ticks or Fleas

External parasites like ticks, fleas, and mange find a perfectly suitable environment in your pet’s fur as it is soft and warm. These parasites feed on your pet’s blood and can cause severe health problems like tick fever, an allergic reaction like flea allergy dermatitis etc.

  • Internal Parasites – Worms

Hookworms, roundworms, tapeworms, and whipworms are common internal parasites in dogs. These worm infestations can not only make your pooch uncomfortable but also can be fatal in puppies.

Bacterial Infections in Dogs

Microorganisms are found everywhere and do not cause much harm to your dog unless their immune system is weak. The bacterial disease occurs mostly when a dog’s immune system is weakened. Common types of pathogenic bacteria in dogs include Salmonella, Leptospirosis, Campylobacter, Helicobacter, Streptococcus, Clostridia, Bordetella, and E Coli.

  • Infections in Dogs Paws

Bacterial skin infections are common in dogs and often involve the paws. Many different species of bacteria normally live on your dog’s paw pads, These organisms can sometimes grow out of control and cause infection.

  • Leptospirosis

Leptospira bacteria, mostly found in soil and water causes Leptospirosis, a condition of infection to multi-organ failure like kidney and liver failure and eventually death. Signs and symptoms include increased thirst, changes in the frequency or amount of urination, dehydration, as it affects the kidney. Fever, shivering, muscle tenderness, reluctance to move, vomiting, diarrhoea,  lethargy, jaundice or painful inflammation within the eyes are some other symptoms.

  • Staphylococcal Infection

This is the most common type of bacterial skin infection in dogs which causes irritation, itching and burning sensation in the upper respiratory tract or its skin. Caused by the bacterium Staphylococcus, this illness is also known as a Staph infection. It can be transmitted from a dog to a human and vice versa, so early treatment is imperative.

Common fungal infections in dogs

Funguses (or fungi) are parasitic, spore-producing microorganisms, who obtain their nourishment by absorbing food from the host body of a dog to multiply and grow. Fungal infections can be acquired through a skin cut or wound, or inhalation, and ingestion of any kind.

  • Aspergillosis

Fungus of Aspergillus species, when inhaled, can cause a fungal infection is a dog’s nasal cavity. Aspergillosis is a fungal infection that causes destruction of the delicate nasal bony structures known as turbinates. It is mainly seen in breeds of dogs with long, narrow heads and noses.

  • Cryptococcus

Caused by a yeast-like fungus called cryptococcus neoformans, Cryptococcus affects a dog’s brain, eyes, lymph nodes, and skin. Dogs catch this disease by inhaling the spores found in contaminated soil from the bird droppings.

  • Blastomycosis

Caused by Blastomyces dermatitis, Blastomycosis is quite a deadly condition. Dry, harsh lung sounds from lung lesions, severe pulmonary involvement causing hypoxemia, weight loss, cough, anorexia, lymphadenopathy, dyspnea, ocular disease, skin lesions and fever are some of the common signs and symptoms of Blastomycosis.

Common viral infections in dogs

Dogs that are not protected by vaccination, especially pups and semi adult dogs are highly prone to very contagious and deadly viral infections including:

  • Canine Distemper

Canine distemper (CD) is a virus that affects a dog’s respiratory, gastrointestinal, and central nervous systems. It also affects conjunctival membranes of the eye. Coughing, sneezing, and thick mucus discharge from the eyes and nose are the initial signs of CD. Read more about canine distemper here

  • Canine Parvovirus or Parvo

Canine parvovirus is highly contagious and spreads through direct contact with an infected dog or by indirect contact with a contaminated object. Most common symptoms include severe, bloody diarrhoea, fever, vomiting, lethargy, weight loss, weakness, and dehydration. Read more about Parvo virus here

If you think your dog might have a bacterial or fungal infection or any kind of neurological disorders, then do not delay in visiting your veterinary doctor. Take your pet to the vet for an examination as soon as possible. Afterall a healthy dog is a happy dog!

Do you find this information useful? For more medical advice, visit the VOSD website.