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Educational Articles

Dogs + Infectious Diseases

  • Ringworm is the common name given to a fungal infection of the superficial layers of the skin, hair, and nails. The common name of ringworm is somewhat misleading, in that it is not an infection caused by a worm, and the infected areas are not always ring-shaped. In the dog, ringworm lesions usually appear as areas of hair loss (alopecia) that are roughly circular.

  • Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is a disease caused by an infectious organism with the scientific name of Rickettsia rickettsii. Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever occurs in North, South, and Central America.

  • Roundworms are parasites that live freely in the intestine, feeding off of partially digested intestinal contents. Toxocara canis and Toxascaris leonina are two important species of roundworms in dogs. Infected dogs shed the microscopic roundworm eggs in their feces. Other dogs may become infected by sniffing or licking infected feces. There are many safe and effective preparations available to kill adult roundworms in the intestine.

  • Despite sounding like a toxicity, salmon poisoning is actually an infection. Salmon poisoning is caused by a type of bacteria found within parasitic flatworms that infect the tissues of wild fish found in coastal streams of the Pacific Northwest.

  • Swine Influenza or swine flu is a contagious respiratory disease of pigs, caused by a type A influenza virus. Type A influenza viruses can affect a range of other animals and humans. Like all influenza viruses, swine flu viruses change or mutate constantly. Swine flu is commonly seen in North America, South America, Asia, and Europe.

  • Tularemia is an uncommon infection in dogs, but they can be exposed if they kill and/or eat an infected rabbit or rodent.

  • Valley Fever is a disease caused by a fungus known as Coccidiodes immitis. Although the proper name for this disease is "coccidioidomycosis", it is most often called Valley Fever, "California disease", "Desert rheumatism", or "San Joaquin Valley Fever".

  • Whipworms are intestinal parasites that are about 1/4 inch (6 mm) long. They live in the intestinal tract of dogs where they cause severe irritation. Whipworm infection results in watery, bloody diarrhea, weight loss, and general debilitation. Any dog with chronic large bowel diarrhea should be suspected to have whipworms, even if the stool sample was negative. Whipworms are far less common today than in previous years, because of widespread use of modern heartworm prevention products.

  • Yeast dermatitis or Malassezia dermatitis is caused by the fungus Malassezia pachydermatis. It is an extremely common cause of skin disease in dogs.