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Educational Articles

Dogs + Infectious Diseases

  • Capillaria is a small internal parasite, related to intestinal worms. Capillaria, however, can live in a number of areas within the body, including the bladder and respiratory tract. There are multiple species of Capillaria; some species affect cats, some affect dogs, and some can affect both species. These parasites are acquired from the environment, when a dog eats the Capillaria eggs directly or eats an earthworm infected with the parasite. Treatment is simple and effective, though diagnosis can be challenging.

  • Chagas disease, also known as American Trypanosomiasis, is an infection that is primarily observed in Latin America. In recent years, however, this infection has been observed at various sites in the Southern United States. Chagas disease is spread by the bite of certain insects, including the Mexican Kissing Beetle and other related insects. The clinical signs of Chagas disease are variable and non-specific. There is currently no consensus on the best method of treatment for Chagas disease.

  • Cheyletiellosis is an uncommon but highly contagious skin parasite of dogs, cats and rabbits caused by Cheyletiella spp. mites. It is also referred to as walking dandruff due to the appearance of the large, whitish mites as they crawl across skin and fur, and the excessive scaling that accompanies the infection.

  • Coccidiosis is an intestinal tract infection caused by a single-celled organism (protozoa) called coccidia. Most infections in dogs are not associated with any detectable clinical signs. Most cases of coccidiosis are self-limiting and require little medical intervention. The most common drug used to eliminate coccidia is a sulfa-type antibiotic, sulfadimethoxine.

  • Coronavirus disease is an intestinal infection in dogs that is usually short-lived, but may cause considerable abdominal discomfort for a few days. The cause is a virus of the Coronavirus family.

  • Discospondylitis is a bacterial or fungal infection of the intervertebral disks and the adjacent vertebral bone. This infection may reach the intervertebral disk via one of three routes: hematogenous (blood borne), direct contamination, or migrating foreign body. Discospondylitis can often be diagnosed based on X-rays, but advanced imaging and other diagnostic tests may be required. Treatment and prognosis depend on the causative organism.

  • Distemper is a highly contagious viral disease of domestic dogs and other animals such as ferrets, skunks, and raccoons. It is an incurable, often fatal, multisystemic (affecting multiple organs) disease that affects the respiratory, gastrointestinal, and central nervous systems. The disease is spread mainly by direct contact between a susceptible dog and a dog showing symptoms. The main clinical signs are diarrhea, vomiting, thick yellow discharge from the eyes and nose, cough and, in severe cases, seizures and neurological signs. As with most viral infections, there is no specific treatment. Fortunately we have highly effective vaccines to prevent this deadly disease.

  • Ehrlichiosis is a tick-borne disease primarily from the brown dog tick. Clinical signs can sometimes be missed and can vary from very subtle to severe, even possibly leading to death. Effective treatments are available and depending on the severity of the disease blood transfusions may be required. Many tick preventives are available to prevent this disease from occurring in your dog.

  • Giardiasis is an intestinal infection in humans and animals, caused by a microscopic protozoan parasite. The parasite occurs worldwide and is a common cause of "Traveler's Diarrhea" in people. Outdoor enthusiasts who inadvertently consume contaminated water may develop "beaver fever", which is another name for giardiasis in people.

  • Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal disease. It is caused by a blood-borne parasite known as Dirofilaria immitis. Adult heartworms may live up to five years and, during this time, the female produces millions of offspring called microfilaria. You can prevent your dog from getting heartworms by using a heartworm preventive.