Canine Distemper

Distemper is a highly contagious viral disease which often results in permanent brain damage or death.  The usual signs of infection are fever, depression, loss of appetite and a discharge or pus from the eyes and nose.  This may be followed by pneumonia, vomiting and diarrhoea.  As the disease progresses, the brain may become affected resulting in convulsions and death.  Dogs that do recover may have permanent brain damage.  Treatment is symptomatic and recovery rate may be low.  Vaccination is the best method of control.

Canine Hepatitis

Canine hepatitis is a disease of dogs characterised by loss of appetite, depression, diarrhoea often with blood, tonsillitis and acute abdominal pain, due to enlargement of the liver.  The disease may be very severe, with  deaths occurring within 24 to 36 hours of onset; or mild, the dog only showing signs of loss of appetite and general lethargy.  Corneal opacity or “blue eye” may follow infection.

Canine Parvovirus

Parvovirus is a disease that affects young pups and older dogs.  Death can occur within 24 hours.  The virus is now common in Australia and outbreaks occur regularly, especially in summer.  The virus affects the intestines causing blood stained diarrhoea and vomiting.  Serious dehydration and fluid imbalance may results.  Without therapy, many dogs will die.  The best protection against infection is vaccination.  Annual boosters are recommended for prolonged protection against the disease.

Canine (Kennel) Cough – Infectious Tracheobronchitis

Canine (Kennel) cough is a contagious disease of dogs which has more than one cause.  Affected dogs have a hacking cough which usually appears after exercise and may persist for several weeks.  Among the infectious agents associated with kennel cough are a bacterium, Bordetella bronchiseptica, and two viruses, canine adenovirus type 2 and canine parainfluenza virus.  Treatment with antibiotics sometimes speeds recovery.


Tetanus is a rare disease of dogs and cats which results when penetrating wounds become infected with the tetanus organism.  Toxin is produced in the wound and spreads out to affect nerves, resulting in increased sensitivity to noise and continuous or spastic contractions of the muscles.  Exaggerated pricking of the ears and “lock jaw” are common signs.  Affected animals may be unable to stand and have their head thrown back and leg is extreme extension.  Tetanus can be prevented by immunisation against the toxin.

Canine Heartworm

Canine heartworm is a parasite of dogs and related species which lives in the blood vessels of the heart and lungs.  Heavy infection may result in heart failure.  Heartworm is spread by mosquitoes and can be detected by examining blood for young parasites or for heartworm protein.  Treatment may be associated with unpleasant side effects.  Infection can be prevented in most cases by daily or monthly medication.



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