A dog is absolutely the best friend a human being can have, giving him bliss all his life, and I think that is what Charles Schulz meant when he said, "Happiness is a warm puppy!" So if you have a dog, it is up to you to provide him with the best care and comfort that he deserves. Dogs can suffer from a multitude of diseases, ranging from common cold to depression! This article deals with one particular infection that can afflict a dog, but which can be confused with common cold - Respiratory Infection.
This infection usually affects nasal cavities, bronchi, trachea and throat, which constitute the upper respiratory tract in dogs. Hence this infection is commonly called Upper Respiratory Tract (URT) Infection. URTI in dogs can be Viral or Bacterial. It can become serious if neglected and can even prove fatal. The causes of this infection are bacterial/viral pathogens, for example: Mycoplasma, Bordetella Bronchiseptica, Canine Distemper and Influenza Viruses, and in rare cases Lung Flukes (Paragonimus Kellicotti), and Nasal Mites (Pneumonyssoides Caninum). We'll see the different types of respiratory infections in dogs, and then find out the dos and don'ts when caring for him.
Types of Respiratory Infections
This is characterized by a deep hacking sound as if the dog is trying to remove cough from his throat. This is also the most common type and usually gets cured by itself within 2-3 weeks, although the vet may prescribe medication like cough suppressants, steroids or antibiotics. There are also a few home remedies for kennel cough that you can try.
This is majorly characterized by high fever and loss of the dog's appetite. Other symptoms are sneezing, coughing, and discharge from eyes and nose.
Chlamydia is actually a pathogen that is found in the eyes and the nasal tract of the dog. Other than runny nose and watery eyes, the dog will discharge a clear substance from both these places. There is increase in coughing and salivation.
In this type of infection the dog tends to develop ulcers in his mouth besides the usual symptoms like coughing, sneezing frequently, etc.
The best way to ensure that your 'furry delight' does not fall ill, is to adhere to some basic dog care routines. It helps to ensure that your dog is eating regularly. If he has not eaten for more than 48 hours, it is an indication that something is wrong with his health. In such a case it is best to contact the vet even if he is not showing any particular symptoms. The stools of a dog are pretty accurate indicators of his well-being. Watch out for loose motions, smelly stools, blood in stools or some color difference. Other than this, a few basic and simple precautions will help your dog stay in the best of health.
✔ Ensure that your dog is regularly vaccinated.
✔ Make sure that you are providing your dog with a nutritious and healthy diet.
✔ Maintain basic hygiene of your dog, like regular bathing, using tic powders, combing his coat, etc. The frequency of these activities depends on the kind of breed he belongs to.
✔ Give him regular and enough exercise.
✔ Make sure your dog is potty trained and his usual resting area is not littered. This is usually a concern when the dog is less than 8-10 months old.
✔ Contact the vet if any of the symptoms persist for more than a couple of days.
✗ Prevent your dog from licking or scratching himself, by using suitable collars.
✗ Do not let your dog get in contact with stray dogs or other infected dogs. Stray dogs are not vaccinated, so if they bite or lick your dog, he could contract diseases.
✗ Although a few medicines which are used by us can be given to dogs, strictly avoid giving him medicines without consulting with the vet.
✗ Do not take your dog out in public places like gardens, when he is suffering from an infection, lest he spread the infection.
Treating a sick dog can sometimes be a prolonged process and it requires a lot of patience and also a little knowledge about their diseases. So, be observant and take action as soon as symptoms start to appear. With all the trust your dog puts in you, and all the love he gives you, I'm sure taking care of him when he's sick will not be an issue!