From time to time you may find yourself asking what to do when your dog has a cold. He has developed a runny nose, cough, and sneezing and you think it must be a cold. However, dogs are not like humans and their cold-like symptoms are more likely a sign of respiratory illness caused by a canine-specific virus or bacterium.
Some of the most common reasons your dog may be suffering cold like symptoms include para-influenza, adenovirus type-2, kennel cough, and canine distemper.
- Para-influenza is very common and highly contagious among dogs. Para-influenza is a virus that causes dogs to have a chronic cough but most dogs today are vaccinated against this pervasive virus.
- Adenovirus Type-2 is one of the leading contributors to kennel cough which is most often confused for a doggy cold. While there are vaccines for this virus, it is not yet possible to completely prevent infection. Still, adenovirus type-2 vaccinations can drastically reduce the severity of illness that dogs suffer when they are infected.
- Kennel Cough can also be caused by canine-specific bacteria such as Bordetella bronchiseptica. This condition presents as a rasping, chronic cough accompanied by phlegm as well as discharge from the nose and eyes. While kennel cough is known to resolve itself, unless your dog is also immuno-suppressed. In severe cases, kennel cough may develop into pneumonia which can be life threatening.
- Canine Distemper is a serious and very contagious disease caused by a virus that is spread through the air. Dogs should be vaccinated for canine distemper because it is a serious illness that often ends in fatality.
If you suspect your dog is suffering from any of these conditions or you notice cold-like symptoms, you should visit your veterinarian immediately. In the majority of cases, treatment is effective and sometimes even life saving.