Have you ever or are you thinking of welcoming a four-legged friend? Small dogs are generally very affectionate and above all you can take them everywhere. While some diseases do not spare our pets, small dogs are sometimes more at risk because of their morphology and/or reduced immune defences. Small dogs are all the more concerned as they travel more on average and this increases their exposure to disease risks. Their size also leads them to be closer to the ground and therefore exposed to dirt.
Here are 5 common dog diseases that affect small dogs all the more, as their recovery often depends on the dog’s immune system.
1. Canine distemper (distemper)
Canine distemper attacks the dog’s nervous system, it is fatal and highly contagious. It affects other animals as well, such as ferrets for example.
It is spread by body secretions (saliva, eye and nasal secretions, urine and faeces) in the air or by contact.
As the ability to heal from this virus depends on the immune capacity of the affected dog, small dogs, puppies and very old dogs are more susceptible to it.
The acute form of the disease can appear in just a few days: conjunctivitis, eye and nasal discharge, coughing, vomiting, pustules on the skin, neurological disorders and seizures.
Vaccination against this disease is all the more important as recovery depends on the immune response of the dog itself. Without vaccination, the dog’s survival, even in the event of hospitalization and medical follow-up, is not assured.
2. Kennel cough or infectious tracheobronchitis.
Infectious tracheo-bronchitis is a respiratory disease that often affects dog farms, shelters or kennels. It is a coccobacillus bacterium: bordeteila bronchiseptica and are found in associated diseases such as distemper.
This disease is extremely contagious, it is transmitted by air, contact, saliva and nasal secretions. Bacteria and viruses attach themselves to the dog’s respiratory tract, clog the bronchial tubes and then prevent the dog from breathing properly. If the inflammation becomes widespread, it can become complicated by rhinitis and pneumonia.
While the classic form of the disease is usually mild, it lasts a long time. Animals remain carriers of the virus for several months and the disease can take a chronic form with acute symptoms that weaken the dog (puppies are all the more sensitive).
The treatment is based on antibiotics, it is long (several weeks) and very expensive. Prevention by vaccination is very effective and highly recommended.
3. Infectious hepatitis
This canine disease is caused by a virus: canine adenovirus type 1, which is transmitted through contact with saliva, urine or stool. This virus is very resistant, hence its extremely high contagious capacity. Its virulence can be very surprising and sudden death is not uncommon. Small dogs and puppies can die from it in just a few hours. One in five dogs infected with the virus dies from it.
The infection affects the lymphatic tissue around the head and then attacks the other organs such as the liver, etc. The infection can also spread to other organs such as the liver.
The main symptoms are: swollen tonsils, vomiting, diarrhea, enlarged liver and pain, jaundice and bleeding gums, fever, enlarged lymph nodes, etc.
Treatments are based on antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs during which the dog is greatly diminished. There is a vaccine that is highly recommended.
Rabies is a disease that results in the death of the dog within a few days after the first symptoms appear and an incubation period of several weeks.
The disease attacks the brain, the nervous system and causes the following symptoms: behavioural changes, aggressiveness, swallowing problems, salivation, paralysis, itching, etc.
The bite of a rabid dog is a great threat to humans. As there is no cure, prevention by vaccination in dogs is the effective solution. Rabies vaccination is mandatory when travelling with your dog (as in the United States for example), it is one of the best ways to reduce the prevalence of the disease.
5. Parvovirosis: hemorrhagic gastroenteritis
This disease comes from the canine parvovirus (CPV) which is very resistant. The very rapid contagion occurs through the faeces of sick dogs.
The symptoms are very virulent: hemorrhagic diarrhea with a very strong smell, possible vomiting, fever, fatigue and dehydration.
As the virus also attacks the white blood cells, the immune system weakens very quickly and becomes more susceptible to various bacterial infections. Puppies and small dogs are therefore very susceptible to this disease.
This disease is very serious and highly contagious and quickly fatal. The vaccine that must be continued during the dog’s life is important to avoid it.
To conclude, the most virulent and contagious diseases in dogs today have effective vaccines, some of which are mandatory.
As the immune system is generally affected, dogs that are already weakened will find it all the more difficult to fight off the disease. It is therefore important to consult a veterinarian and obtain a dog and puppy vaccination program that takes into account your pet’s living conditions, as soon as you acquire a four-legged friend.