There are plenty of respiratory diseases that can affect dogs, caused by both viruses and bacteria. Canine parainfluenza is a viral disease. Another not usually a life-threatening illness, most dogs are vaccinated against it anyway.
It is very common for people to confuse parainfluenza with the canine influenza virus. They are both respiratory diseases that cause similar symptoms. However, they are caused by different viruses. The virus that causes influenza is relatively new and no vaccine has been developed for it to date. Both of these conditions are commonly mistaken for kennel cough too.
Like most other viruses, the one that causes parainfluenza in dogs can easily be passed around. Dogs become infected by coming into contact with contaminated nasal secretions. Like kennel cough and influenza, this disease is widespread in kennels where dogs are kept in close contact. These settings typically have high humidity which further increases the risk.
Being infected with the dog parainfluenza virus can lead to either mild or severe symptoms. Signs don’t appear immediately after infection though. The incubation period can last just two or three days, or take over a week. Coughing is the main sign of this illness, and it lasts anywhere from one to three weeks.
Parainfluenza in canines also causes discharge from the nose. Since their nasal region may be clogged, dogs may have trouble breathing after they start running around. General lethargy and slight fevers are two other common signs to look for.
The vet will need to go over your dog’s medical history and take note of his symptoms. X-rays taken of the chest will provide the best way to diagnose canine parainfluenza. Testing blood samples may also be necessary.
There is no specific treatment for parainfluenza in dogs. Mainly, medication to help suppress your dog’s constant coughing will be given. The coughing should clear up after a week or so. Secondary bacterial infections can develop during this time, so antibiotics may also be prescribed. There is a small chance that pneumonia can develop because of this virus.
Just because your dog may be feeling better doesn’t mean that he’s totally well. He can still transmit the disease whether he’s showing symptoms or not. If you have multiple canines in your household, then seclusion is in order.
Canine parainfluenza is very easy to prevent. Simply have your dog vaccinated on schedule like your vet suggests. This vaccine is commonly coupled with the vaccine for distemper and parvovirus.