Infectious diseases of the dog: how to protect my animal ?

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Lyme disease, canine distemper and parvovirosis… behind these names lie dangerous diseases for your dog. However, these three infectious diseases can be avoided, especially through vaccination. How to spot these diseases? How to protect your dog? Discover all our advices.

Lyme disease

Also known as borreliosis, Lyme disease is transmitted by ticks. However, only 50% of dogs with ticks infected with the disease are actually infected. In 95% of cases, the dogs do not even have any symptoms.


When symptoms do occur, the main form of Lyme disease is arthritis, fever, weight loss and depression (general fatigue).

However, don’t wait until you see these signs! Think about getting dog and cat health insurance now so that you’re prepared in case of a problem. Dog health insurance covers a large part of the veterinary costs in case of a problem.


Lyme disease is transmitted by certain ticks called wood ticks (Ixodes) when they carry Borrelia B bacteria. The transmission of this infectious disease to the dog is done by a bite. The infected tick bites the skin of your pet to feed on its blood. If the contact is prolonged (more than 48 hours), the transmission of borreliosis can occur, and your dog can become ill.


As you can see, Lyme disease rarely occurs in dogs. However, some animals seem predisposed to develop symptoms. For example, dogs that are 5 or 6 years old are more likely to get sick. Also, certain breeds such as beagles, Bernese mountain dogs and golden retrievers are more prone to Lyme disease.


However, infection is not inevitable! There are several ways to prevent Lyme disease. The best is vaccination. It is done from the age of 3 months with two injections spaced one month apart. After that, an annual booster will be necessary.

If your dog is not vaccinated, there are other important things to do:

  • Administer a pest control product regularly.
  • Inspect his coat after going out.
  • Remove ticks with a tick catcher as soon as you spot them.
  • Limit walking in tall grass, where ticks like to nest.


Distemper is very similar to measles in humans. However, it only affects mustelids (such as weasels), canines (dogs and foxes) and some carnivores (such as seals).


Its symptoms are varied and depend on each animal. For example, if your dog is sick, you may notice :

  • a sudden rise in fever,
  • respiratory signs such as coughing
  • eye discharge,
  • digestive symptoms: diarrhea, vomiting, etc.
  • Nervous problems such as tremors,
  • skin signs, even if it is rarer, like red patches on the body,
  • a depressed behavior: your dog doesn’t eat its kibble, for example.


Unfortunately, this disease is very serious, and it usually leads to the death of the sick animal. A few dogs manage to escape, but they often keep after-effects (regular shaking, for example).


The distemper virus is transmitted mainly from dog to dog. The contamination can then be done in three ways:

  • Through the respiratory tract: an animal breathes in the virus emitted by a sick individual.
  • By direct contact: two animals touch each other’s nose, for example.
  • By indirect contact: it also happens that the secretions (saliva, in particular) of a contagious animal touch objects that will be sniffed by another dog. The virus can then be transmitted.


As with many infectious diseases of the dog, distemper can be prevented by vaccination. The first injection can be given as early as eight weeks of age, with two shots one month apart. You’ll need a booster shot every three years after that.

When you adopt a puppy, it is important to vaccinate him against this disease. This is the best way to protect your puppy, and to protect the entire dog population since the virus will circulate less.


Parvovirus is another very dangerous infectious disease of the dog. It is caused by a virus: the parvovirus.


This pathogen does not trigger clinical signs immediately after entering your dog’s body. After an incubation period of 4 to 7 days, several symptoms appear:

  • First, a fever of over 40° accompanied by loss of appetite and great fatigue.
  • Secondly, impressive digestive signs: vomiting and hemorrhagic diarrhea (with blood in the stools). This is called severe gastroenteritis.


The causes of this disease can be numerous. Indeed, it is very easy for a non-vaccinated dog to be contaminated since the virus is very resistant in an outdoor environment. It can, for example, survive several months on a surface soiled by a sick dog. This is why parvovirosis can be transmitted very quickly within a dog farm. It is enough for an animal to lick a surface or clothing contaminated several months ago to catch the disease.


Parvovirosis unfortunately has no dedicated treatment. Only measures and medications to treat the symptoms (not the virus) can be implemented by your veterinarian. Despite these measures, the virus can continue to develop and attack the immune system of the hospitalized dog. As a result, it is common for the animal to die within a few days of the onset of the first symptoms.


Fortunately, there is a vaccine against this infectious disease. It is currently the only protection against parvovirosis for your animal.

However, the vaccine must be administered at around 3 or 4 months of age to be effective. However, the antibodies transmitted by the mother to her puppies diminish around 6 or 8 weeks after birth. As a result, there is a window of a few weeks during which it is impossible to protect a puppy against parvovirus. During this time, it is recommended to be particularly vigilant about the hygiene of your environment. For example, pass bleach in your housing: it is the only effective product to destroy the parvovirus!