Just like humans, dogs and cats can spread illnesses to one another. These are known as contagious or communicable diseases. While advancements in medicine make many of these conditions less prevalent, you should still be aware of the different diseases your pet could be exposed to at the dog park, groomer, boarding kennel, and elsewhere.
If you think your pet has a contagious disease, call Village Vet of Urbana at 301-228-0681 to arrange care.
Common Contagious Pet Diseases
- Distemper: Dogs can contract canine distemper from particles in the air or secretions from infected dogs. A runny nose, eye discharge, fever, coughing, vomiting, and diarrhea are the most common symptoms, with seizures and paralysis occurring in rare cases.
- Parvovirus: This contagious gastrointestinal disease spreads through direct contact between dogs or from touching contaminated stool, soil, food and water dishes, and other surfaces. Vomiting and bloody diarrhea are signs of this serious, often fatal illness.
- Bordetella: Often called “kennel cough,” this highly contagious disease is most likely to occur in settings with many dogs confined in a small space. It causes congestion, runny nose, and a hacking cough.
- Rabies: Most states, including Maryland, require rabies vaccinations for dogs and cats because this deadly virus spreads between all species of mammals. The disease attacks the nervous system and transmits through the saliva when an infected animal bites another. Once rabies symptoms appear—including aggression, anxiety, drooling, seizures, and paralysis—it is always fatal.
- Canine influenza: Also known as “dog flu,” canine influenza is one of the most common communicable pet diseases. The virus only spreads between dogs and transmits via respiratory secretions or contaminated objects. As with human influenza, symptoms include coughing, runny nose, and fever. Some dogs develop more severe symptoms, but death from the disease is rare.
How to Prevent Contagious Pet Diseases
- Vaccinate your pet: You can immunize your pet against many different communicable illnesses, including all of the conditions listed above. This is the number one way to prevent your pet from catching a contagious disease.
- Take other precautions: Socialization is important, but keep Fido away from the dog park during dog flu outbreaks. Also, when you go for walks, don’t let your pet sniff stool left behind by irresponsible pet owners. Wash your hands and change your clothes after interacting with other dogs, and disinfect the hard surfaces in your home regularly.
What to Do if Your Dog or Cat Contracts a Contagious Disease
If your pet exhibits signs of an illness, the best thing you can do is visit Village Vet of Urbana. We can perform veterinary diagnostics to pinpoint the disease and begin treatment to restore your pet’s health.
The wellness of our animal patients is our foremost concern here at Village Vet of Urbana, so we have established an isolation ward for animals with contagious diseases. This means if your animal is ill, we have the ideal facility for providing care. It also means that if you bring your family pet to our vet clinic for a simple check-up, it’s unlikely for your furry friend to “catch” an illness during the visit. In this way, we deliver optimal care to every four-legged patient who walks through our doors.
For exemplary contagious disease care in Frederick County, please contact Village Vet of Urbana online or call 301-228-0681.