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Three Common Puppy Illnesses

Pet Health and Safety  •   AKC Pet Insurance  •   Nov 10, 2020

Bringing home a new puppy is an exciting time, but it’s not all hugs and treats. While you are showering them with affection and showing them off to friends and family, remember that your new pet is susceptible to a number of common conditions. Like many childhood illnesses, some common puppy illnesses are easily avoidable by following a few simple rules. Addressing others will depend on your ability to spot warning sides and take the right preventative measures. 

Do you have a sick puppy on your hands? Check out our guide to common puppy illnesses. Make sure to consult your veterinarian immediately if you recognize any potential symptoms. 

Canine Distemper Virus (CDV)

Your veterinarian may administer several Canine Distemper Virus (CDV) vaccinations throughout your puppy’s first months. These vaccinations are highly recommended.

Dr. Jim Dobies, a member of the North Carolina Veterinary Medical Association, notes that CDV “can be a really ugly disease.” Though initial symptoms resemble respiratory illnesses like the common cold, sneezing and runny eyes can evolve into pneumonia and permanent brain damage. 

Many dog owners mistakenly disregard those mild, early symptoms. As a result, dogs are often suffering high fevers and seizures by the time they reach a vet. Treatment can take weeks and typically requires some inpatient services. Note that CDV can remain dormant in the bodies of dogs who survive it. The disease is even more dangerous when it strikes again late in life, often resulting in severe neurological symptoms.

Parvovirus (Parvo)

Parvovirus (parvo, for short) is another highly common and highly contagious illness that affects young dogs. Fortunately, it’s also easily prevented with a series of vaccinations. The shots typically start around 6 to 8 weeks of age and continue for several months. Your veterinarian will help you determine the appropriate schedule for your dog. 

Symptoms of parvo include fever, vomiting, and severe diarrhea. Puppies are extremely contagious (to both dogs and humans) once they are exhibiting symptoms. Emergency veterinarians can usually ease symptoms with intravenous fluids to prevent dehydration and antibiotics to stave off infection.

Kennel Cough

The term “kennel cough” is the popular name for canine infectious respiratory disease, a condition caused by exposure to a number of common viruses and bacteria. Veterinarians can vaccinate your dog against kennel cough during their early office visits. In addition to kennels, dogs often catch and spread infection in other highly populated areas like parks and training groups. Your veterinarian may suggest vaccinating your dog against kennel cough during their puppy years.

Symptoms should look and sound familiar to any pet owners who’ve had the cold or flu. Lethargy, sneezing, and a dry cough all indicate a potential infection. While contagious pets should be separated from other dogs, mild cases are typically easy to treat with fluids and rest. Veterinarians may prescribe antibiotics or other medications to ensure severe cases do not worsen into pneumonia.

Pet Insurance for Puppies

It's important to plan on scheduling a first wellness exam with your veterinarian shortly after bringing your puppy home to ensure he's in good shape from the start! Enrolling your puppy in a pet insurance policy when he’s young is the best way to ensure you’re ready for unexpected vet bills that may occur. A quality policy can save you thousands on both preventative and emergency care throughout your dog’s lifetime. Learn more about pet insurance and get a quote today!


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