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What is parainfluenza in dogs?

What is parainfluenza in dogs?

Learn about canine parainfluenza virus (CPIV), a highly contagious virus that affects dogs worldwide and causes respiratory illness. Our vets in San Jose provide valuable information on the symptoms, causes, and treatment options for parainfluenza in dogs.

What is the parainfluenza virus?

Dogs with parainfluenza exhibit respiratory symptoms that resemble those of canine influenza. However, the viruses causing these diseases are distinct and necessitate varied treatments and vaccinations. Both illnesses are highly infectious and frequently present in regions with a high concentration of dogs, such as kennels, shelters, and dog race tracks.

The parainfluenza virus infection is a highly contagious viral lung infection that can cause infectious tracheobronchitis, also known as 'kennel cough.'

What are the symptoms of parainfluenza in dogs?

Listed below are the symptoms of canine parainfluenza virus infections. These symptoms may vary in severity or intensity depending on the infected dog's age and the host's immune system.

  • Coughing - This can be either a dry cough or moist and productive (can include blood)
  • Low-grade fever
  • Discharge from the nose - This can be mucus, pus, or even blood
  • Decreased energy
  • Decreased appetite

Note that the virus itself can be a component of other canine respiratory diseases, most notably kennel cough, bordetella, and canine adenovirus-2.

What causes parainfluenza in dogs?

Parainfluenza is viral and transmitted via the air dogs breathe. As such, it is a very contagious disease, especially for dogs who live or spend time with other dogs.

The parainfluenza virus is similar to canine distemper and causes respiratory symptoms such as a dry cough and inflammation of the larynx, bronchial tubes, and trachea. Puppies and older adult dogs with weakened immune systems are more vulnerable to this virus. Additionally, toy dog breeds are more susceptible to developing pneumonia due to the thick secretions caused by throat irritation.

After the infection has healed, the virus can still be picked up in the air for up to two weeks.

How is parainfluenza diagnosed?

When visiting the vet, you will need to provide a detailed history of your pet. The parainfluenza virus can quickly spread in places where many dogs gather, such as boarding kennels and grooming salons. It is vital to inform the vet about your pet's recent whereabouts within two to four weeks of the first symptoms appearing. This information will help the vet diagnose and treat your furry friend more effectively.

Before your dog's appointment, please provide their health and vaccination history. It's important to disclose any contact your dog has had with other dogs, as even casual interactions can contribute to the spread of infections. Please provide as much detail as possible to ensure your pet's best care.

The veterinarian will perform a physical examination, as well as some diagnostics like blood tests, cultures, and testing of fluid and tissue samples. He may also need to use imaging techniques such as radiography (x-ray) to determine whether there are any masses or parasitic involvement. Once all of the testing results have been received and analyzed, a treatment plan will be developed and implemented.

How do you treat parainfluenza in dogs?

If your dog has a highly contagious virus, your vet may not suggest hospitalization unless the situation is critical. Instead, your veterinarian may provide management recommendations, which will probably consist of the following:

  • Recommendations for healthy eating, hygiene, and nursing care
  • Recommendations for corrective action for any environmental factors suspected of being contributors
  • Cough suppressants containing codeine derivatives should be used only for long-term, ineffective cough relief.
  • Severe chronic cases may necessitate antibiotics such as cephalosporins, quinolones, chloramphenicol, and tetracycline; the appropriate antibiotic medication will most likely be chosen based on the results of the cultures taken and analyzed.
  • Some treatment options may include bronchodilator pretreatment followed by aerosolization treatments.

Is there a vaccine for dog parainfluenza?

Yes, there is. At Bloom Plaza Animal Hospital, we give dogs the DHPP (Distemper, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, Parvovirus) vaccine between 6 to 8 weeks of age. Then we give boosters between 10-12 weeks old, 14-16 weeks old, and 12 months to 16 months old. After that, it is highly recommended to schedule your dog's annual vaccinations and routine exams to protect them from parainfluenza and a host of other diseases too. You can view our vaccine schedule here.

Are you concerned that your dog may be exhibiting signs of parainfluenza? Are you overdue for your furry friend's yearly vaccinations? Contact our veterinarians in San Jose to book an appointment for your beloved pup.

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Bloom Plaza Animal Hospital is now welcoming new cat and dog patients! Our professional and talented vets are dedicated to the health of San Jose's companion animals. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for your furry friend. 

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