October 6, 2010

Do Dogs Get Colds?

Filed under: Dog health — Dr. Amber Reed @ 12:37 pm

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.

About Dr. Amber Reed

has written 281 posts in this blog.

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Disclaimer: CritterCures is an educational resource, and all information herein is strictly for educational purposes. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure diseases, nor is it meant to replace the (prescribed) treatment or recommendations of your veterinarian or healthcare provider. Always inform your veterinarian or healthcare provider of any products that your pet are taking, including herbal remedies and supplements.