Veterinary Diseases and Conditions

Dog: Infectious Diseases

Veterinarian with dog
Ghislain & Marie David de Lossy / Getty Images

The health benefits of owning a dog are numerous, and studies have shown that they influence social and cognitive development in children and promote an active lifestyle for the families that care for them. Keep your canine a healthy and happy member of your household by arming yourself with information on these common infectious diseases.


Canine brucellosis is a highly contagious infection caused by the bacterium, Brucella canis. 

Infected dogs usually develop an infection of the reproductive system or a venereal infection. The disease causes reproductive problems such as infertility and abortions, with few other symptoms. 


Coccidiosis is a parasitic infection that most commonly causes watery, mucus-type diarrhea. If it is not treated, it can damage the lining of the intestinal tract over time. Here's information on this protozoal parasite in an easy-to-understand format.


Canine distemper is a very contagious and serious viral illness which has no cure.  The virus spreads through the air and by direct or indirect contact with an infected animal (such as a pet bed or water bowl). The disease first affects a dog’s tonsils and lymph nodes before attacking the respiratory, gastrointestinal, urogenital and nervous systems. Read about symptoms and prevention of this viral disease in dogs, and how to assess your pet's health.



Informative and easy to understand article on Ehrlichiosis, a rickettsial disease also known as "tracker dog disease," "canine hemorrhagic fever" and "tropical canine pancytopenia." Bacteria is spread by the brown dog tick and the Lone Star tick. Also check out this good overview on the treatment options and prognosis along with this detailed article about Rickettsial organisms and specifically the Ehrlichia species.

Read an Overview of Canine Ehrlichiosis from the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine.


How to protect your dog from this diarrhea-causing protozoan. 

Kennel Cough

Please visit the Cardiovascular & Pulmonary Diseases in Dogs section for more information.

  • Kennel CoughThe causative agents, signs, prevention, and treatment for Kennel Cough (Infectious Tracheobronchitis).
  • Kennel CoughKennel Cough discussion in a Q & A format.


Leptospirosis is a bacteria that lives in water contaminated by the infected urine of wildlife (such as rodents and domestic animals. It commonly leads to kidney disease but some of the strains can result in liver damage, bleeding disorders neurologic issues and eye inflammation.

Here's a detailed article about several species of Leptospira, what species of animals are affected, how Leptospirosis is diagnosed and methods of treatment.

Lyme Disease

Though Lyme disease is one of the most common tick-transmitted diseases, only 5-10 of dogs show symptoms which include lameness, swollen joints, and fever. Here's information about the causative agents, treatment, and prevention. Also visit the Lyme Disease Foundationan excellent resource site for Lyme Disease and other tick-borne diseases.

Parvovirus - Veterinary Q & A

Parvovirus takes two different forms: Intestinal (more common) is characterized by vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, and inappetence. The cardiac form (less common) attacks the heart of young puppies and often results in death. 

Common questions about this virus - the signs of infection, how long it lasts in the environment, treatment of the disease, and more - are answered here.

  • Parvovirus - General OverviewFrom Long Beach Animal Hospital. See how a fecal Parvo test is used, and what a positive result looks like.
  • Parvovirus - Information Center: Complete coverage of this virus, the disease, and treatment. From MarVista Animal Center.
  • What is Parvo? Detailed viral information, by Wendy C. Brooks DVM, DABVP
  • Parvovirus - FAQFrequently Asked Questions about Parvovirus, from Working Dogs.
  • Parvovirus: Informative Q & A article on this killer disease, from the AVMA.
  • Parvovirus: Several Q & A Parvo topics are covered in this collection.

Veterinary Q & A: Rabies

Rabies, contained in saliva, can be transmitted from the bite of an infected animal, most commonly skunks, bats, raccoons, coyotes and foxes. While the infection rate is about 15 percent in dogs, an unvaccinated dog that was bitten by a known rabid animal must be quarantined for up to six months.

  • RabiesFrom the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Detailed information about the Rabies virus and disease, plus links to public health departments in the US.
  • RabiesOverview of this fatal zoonotic disease, including a Shockwave animation detailing rabies transmission to humans.