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If your dog has recently developed what seems like the canine equivalent of the common cold, there's a very real chance that he does in fact have an upper respiratory tract infection. There are several different "bugs" that can cause such infections, from the Bordatella or "kennel cough" virus to the relatively recent canine influenza or "dog flu" virus. Since some of these conditions can be extremely serious, you need to provide your beloved friend with prompt diagnosis and care from our experienced team at Apple Valley Veterinarians.
Many upper respiratory tract infections share overlapping symptoms, which can make them hard to distinguish from one another. These symptoms include:
Snorting, sneezing and other signs of breathing problems
Discharge from the nose and eyes
Foaming at the mouth
Weight loss and loss of interest in food
Fatigue or listlessness
Coughing (either dry or productive), gagging or retching
Your dog's upper respiratory tract infection may be either viral or bacterial in nature. If the cough is dry and deep sounding, your dog may have contracted the bacterial infection Bordatella bronchiseptica, also known as kennel cough. This is especially likely if, as the name implies, he has recently been kept in close company with other animals. A variety of other bacteria may also be potential culprits.
A moist cough accompanied by other upper respiratory tract infection symptoms may signal a relatively recent (and increasingly alarming) concern, namely the canine influenza virus. This "dog flu" first appeared at a dog racing track in 2004, apparently mutated from equine influenza. This disease cannot infect humans but is extremely contagious among dogs. The most serious issue is the bloody and even fatal pneumonia that can develop as a complication.
Most canine upper respiratory infections can resolve themselves within several days' time, but you shouldn't take the risk of secondary infection. Any Plantsville veterinarian at our clinic (Dr. Freiman, Dr. Rothstein or Dr. Douglas) can perform a detailed evaluation of your pet's symptoms to determine whether antibiotic treatment is advisable. We can also provide supportive treatment to help your pet breather more easily or urgent care to treat a case of pneumonia.
Prevention is always the wisest medicine where infections are concerned. Unvaccinated animals are more vulnerable to infections, so always make sure your pet's immunization is current. Bordatella vaccination is recommended if you plan on boarding your dog. A USDA-approved vaccine called Nobivac Canine Flu H3N8 can be administered to safeguard your dog against canine influenza virus. This is an elective vaccination, not a core vaccination, so you will need to request it specifically alongside the other shots your pet typically receives.
Don't let an upper respiratory tract infection threaten your dog's comfort, health or possibly even his life. Call (860) 628-9635 to schedule an evaluation or discuss preventative care options!