6 dog viruses to be on the lookout for

German Shepherd dog under blankets

For us, your pupper’s health is paramount, we all want our pets to stay happy and healthy, so it’s important that we do our best to keep their immunity strong. Regular health checks are a good starting point, as well as keeping an eye out for some of the common sicknesses and dog viruses that your furry bestie may be exposed to. Illnesses may vary from allergies and arthritis to heart disease and cancers, but there are also some pesky viral varieties that it’s important to be aware of.

Canine Influenza Virus

Humans are used to dealing with the occasional flu, but for puppers this is a relatively new virus. Two common strains of Canine Influenza Virus are H3N8 and H3N2. Influenza in dogs is spread via respiratory secretions and contaminated objects and can last for up to 48 hours on surfaces. Just like us when your pupper has the flu, they can have a runny nose, fever and cough. There are vaccines available for Canine Influenza, so seek advice from your vet to see if this is a suitable option, as it is not recommended for all dogs.

Kennel Cough

Kennel Cough is a highly contagious respiratory infection caused by the bordetella bacterium. It is most prevalent in environments such as boarding kennels, parks, dog shows and events where multiple puppers congregate in social situations. Symptoms include a strong cough, runny nose, fever and lethargy. If the case is severe or prolonged, antibiotics or medication may be prescribed. There is a vaccine that can prevent the spread of kennel cough, so it is worth discussing this with your vet.

Oral Papilloma

Oral Papilloma are small benign growths that can be found growing on the lips, tongue, gums or inner walls of a dog’s mouth. Usually, these spread from direct contact or sharing food, water and toys with an infected pupper. Water bowls at dog-friendly cafes and parks can be a breeding ground for this type of infection. Generally, these growths don’t need treatment as removal can cause the lesions to spread. They will usually resolve on their own in 2-3 months, and only require antibiotic treatment in the case of a secondary bacterial infection.

Canine Parvovirus

This extremely infectious virus is potentially deadly and spreads via the contact of faeces from an infected pupper. Symptoms include fever, vomiting and bloody diarrhoea. Dogs most at risk of serious complications are puppies younger than four months and those that are unvaccinated. The bacteria in Parvovirus can linger for years though, which is why vaccination for this disease is highly recommended.

Many dog owners are wary of taking young pups to busy parks when they are very young and not fully vaccinated for parvovirus. But, it’s important to remember that the modern pupper is more likely to suffer from behavioural issues than catching the virus. Early socialisation between the ages of three and 12 weeks is crucial for a dog’s behavioural development, so we advise speaking to your vet about safe ways to do this prior to full vaccination.

There are a range of parasites such as fleas, ticks, worms and mites that your pupper can be exposed to when they are out and about. They can carry a variety of diseases and illnesses. Many ticks can inject lethal poisons and sometimes carry Lyme disease.

Dogs can display several forms of Lyme disease, but the most common symptoms are lameness, swollen lymph nodes, joint swelling, fatigue and loss of appetite. It is easily treated in dogs though, so it’s best to seek advice from your vet to avoid the more serious kidney complications that can occur. Fleas may carry spawn for internal parasites such as tapeworm, roundworm or hookworm, which can lead to malnutrition and diarrhoea.

We advise speaking with your vet about their recommendations for preventing parasite-related illnesses and discussing worming and tick prevention medication.

Canine Distemper

Thankfully, canine distemper is not common due to high vaccination rates, but it is highly contagious. Symptoms include runny eyes, fever, snotty nose, coughing, vomiting, diarrhoea, seizures and paralysis. Sadly, there is no known cure for this virus, and it can often be fatal. Therefore, the vaccine is recommended for all puppers.

At Lyka, we endorse the use of vaccine titre levels from vets who have experience in requesting and interpreting these tests. This ensures that unnecessary vaccine boosters can be avoided. Boosters can trigger life-threatening autoimmune diseases like IMHA, so it’s important to find the right balance.

Lyka: helping to keep your dog's immune system fighting fit

As well as showering your pupper with love, trips to the beach and park, it is crucial that they’re chowing down on a complete and balanced diet for their overall health and wellbeing. Our fresh, wholefood meals contain a mix of powerful superfood ingredients to help them live their healthiest lives from the inside out, and avoid any nasty dog viruses.

Each recipe is formulated with key immunity-building ingredients like shiitake, carrots, ginger, turmeric, blueberries and kale. These immunity-boosting ingredients will help to ensure your pupper’s body is getting the love and attention it deserves, especially during the challenging winter months.

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