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Parainfluenza in Dogs

Parainfluenza or CPIV (canine parainfluenza virus) often causes respiratory conditions in dogs across the United States and throughout the world. Here, our Mandeville vets share the signs of this illness, how parainfluenza affects dogs and actions you can take to prevent it.

What is parainfluenza in dogs?

Dogs with parainfluenza display similar symptoms tho those with canine influenza. However, the viruses are very different and require different vaccinations and treatments. Both are highly contagious and are frequently found in areas densely populated with dogs, such as shelters, kneels, and dog race tracks. 

Parainfluenza is a highly contagious viral lung infection that can cause infectious tracheobronchitis, also referred to as 'kennel cough'. 

Symptoms of Parainfluenza in Dogs 

You'll find symptoms of canine parainfluenza virus infections listed below. The severity or intensity of these symptoms can vary depending on the age of the dog that's been infection and how healthy the host's immune system is. 

  • Coughing (either a dry or moist, productive cough that may include blood)
  • Low-grade fever 
  • Discharge from the nose (either mucus, pus, or even blood)
  • Decreased appetite
  • Decreased energy 

This virus can be a component of other canine respiratory diseases, like kennel cough, canine adenovirus-2, or Bordetella. 

The Effects of Parainfluenza on Dogs

Parainfluenza is transmitted through the air dogs breathe. As such, this viral disease is also very contagious, especially for dogs who live with or spend time with other dogs. 

The parainfluenza virus shares respiratory symptoms with and is related to canine distemper. These symptoms include inflammation of the larynx, bronchial tubes, and trachea, and a dry, hacking cough. Puppies and older adult dogs with compromised immune systems are at increased risk. Toy breeds are also more susceptible to pneumonia due to the thick secretions produced by throat irritation. 

After the infection has healed, other dogs can pick up the virus in the air for up to two weeks. 

How is parainfluenza diagnosed?

The vet will require a detailed history from you. The parainfluenza virus is easily spread in boarding kennels, grooming salons, and other places where a large number of dogs congregate. It is critical to provide information about your pet's whereabouts within 2 to 4 weeks of the first symptoms appearing in your family pet.

A health history and vaccination history will be required. Any contact with other canines, regardless of the environment in which that contact occurred, could be part of the infective process, so provide as much detail as possible.

The veterinarian will perform a physical examination, as well as some diagnostics like blood tests, cultures, and testing of fluid and tissue samples. He may also need to use imaging techniques such as radiography (x-ray) to determine whether there are any masses or parasitic involvement. Once all of the testing results have been received and analyzed, a treatment plan will be developed and implemented.

Treating Dog Parainfluenza

Because the virus is highly contagious to other canines, your vet is unlikely to recommend hospitalization unless the situation is dire. In lieu of hospitalization, your veterinarian may make management recommendations, which will most likely include:

  • Recommendations for healthy eating, hygiene, and nursing care
  • Recommendations for corrective action for any environmental factors suspected of being contributors
  • Cough suppressants containing codeine derivatives should be used only for long-term, ineffective cough relief.
  • Severe chronic cases may necessitate antibiotics such as cephalosporins, quinolones, chloramphenicol, and tetracycline; the appropriate antibiotic medication will most likely be chosen based on the results of the cultures taken and analyzed.
  • Some treatment options may include bronchodilator pretreatment followed by aerosolization treatments.

How does the parainfluenza dog vaccine help?

The vaccine for parainfluenza in dogs is an effective tool against this virus.

At Riverside Veterinary Hospital, we perform routine vaccinations on all of our dog patients following a carefully laid out vaccination schedule that helps provide your dog with the best protection possible. The DHPP vaccine not only protects against parainfluenza, but distemper, hepatitis and parvo as well.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Is your dog due for their routine vaccinations to protect them against parainfluenza and other serious diseases? Contact our Mandeville vets today. 

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At Riverside Veterinary Hospital, we are always accepting new patients. Our veterinary team is passionate about the health and well-being of companion animals in Mandeville. Book your first appointment today.

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