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What is parainfluenza in dogs?

Our veterinarians in Franklin are here to provide you with important information about Canine Parainfluenza Virus (CPIV), which is a highly contagious respiratory illness that affects dogs worldwide. It is crucial to understand the symptoms, causes, and treatments for Parainfluenza in dogs.

What is the parainfluenza virus?

Parainfluenza is a viral infection that causes respiratory symptoms in dogs, similar to canine influenza but requiring different treatments and vaccinations. Both are highly contagious and can be commonly found in places with a high density of dogs, such as dog race tracks, shelters, and kennels. Parainfluenza virus infection is a highly contagious viral lung infection that can cause infectious tracheobronchitis, also known as "kennel cough".

What are the symptoms of parainfluenza in dogs?

The symptoms of canine parainfluenza virus infections may vary in severity depending on factors such as the age of the infected dog and the host's immune system. Common symptoms include:

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

Note that the virus itself can be a component of other canine respiratory diseases, notably kennel cough, bordetella, and canine adenovirus-2.

What causes parainfluenza in dogs?

Parainfluenza is an airborne virus easily transmitted among dogs who live or spend time with other dogs.

It is closely related to canine distemper and shares similar respiratory symptoms, such as a dry, hacking cough and inflammation of the larynx, bronchial tubes, and trachea.

Puppies and older adult dogs with weak immune systems are more vulnerable to this virus. Additionally, toy breeds are at a higher risk of developing pneumonia due to the thick secretions produced by throat irritation.

The virus can remain in the hair for up to two weeks after the infection has been cured.

How is parainfluenza diagnosed?

When you take your furry friend to the veterinarian, they will ask for a detailed history. The parainfluenza virus can spread easily in places where many dogs gather, such as boarding kennels and grooming salons.

Provide information about your pet's activities within the 2 to 4 weeks before symptoms first appear.

Your vet will perform a physical examination and diagnostic tests like blood tests, cultures, and testing of fluid and tissue samples. Imaging techniques such as radiography (x-ray) may also be used.

Once all testing results are received and analyzed, the vet will develop and implement a treatment plan.

How do you treat parainfluenza in dogs?

Your veterinarian is unlikely to recommend hospitalization for your dog as the virus is highly contagious to other canines. Instead, your vet may make management recommendations. Treatment options may 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.

Is there a vaccine for dog parainfluenza?

At Pet Vet Battlewood, we provide vaccinations for dogs to protect them from various diseases. The DHPP vaccine, which includes Distemper, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, and Parvovirus, is given to puppies when they are between six and eight weeks old.

Boosters are then given between 10-12 weeks old, 14-16 weeks old, and 12-16 months old. Schedule annual vaccinations and routine exams for your dog to protect them from parainfluenza and other diseases.

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.

Are you concerned that your dog may be displaying symptoms of parainfluenza? Is it time to book your furry friend's yearly vaccinations? Contact our vets in Franklin to schedule an appointment for your dog. 

New Patients Always Welcome

Pet Vet Battlewood is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about improving the health of Franklin's companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

Contact (615) 794-3838