Parainfluenza in Dogs: Symptoms, Treatment, Prevention

The causative agent of parainfluenza is a virus that belongs to the family of paramyxoviruses, dogs become infected with it by airborne droplets, in contact with a sick animal. Most often this happens in places where a massive gathering of animals occurs at the same time - in shelters or at exhibitions. 

The disease affects, as a rule, puppies, adult dogs, whose immunity is weakened by other diseases, for example, allergies or helminthic infestation, as well as pregnant and lactating animals. In addition, any stress that the animal is experiencing contributes to a decrease in immunity and the risk of infection.

The disease is acute, usually characterized by a mild course, but can be complicated by the development of pneumonia and the addition of a secondary infection, viral (for example, herpes) or bacterial. The incubation period can vary from two days to a month. 

First, the virus enters the respiratory tract, then, for further reproduction, it invades the epithelial cells lining the mucous membrane of the respiratory tract, and enters the regional lymph nodes with lymph flow. These processes lead to the development of edema and the appearance of mucous secretions in the upper respiratory tract, and contributes to the development of general intoxication of the body, manifested by dehydration and fever.

If the parainfluenza virus infects newborn puppies, then in addition to the development of pneumonia, there is a risk of damage to other organs or the occurrence of a virus carrier.

Parainfluenza symptoms:

The main symptoms of parainfluenza are coughing fits and nasal discharge. The cough usually occurs during exercise or can be triggered by palpation of the trachea. This cough is called "aviary". The temperature may rise and there may be thirst, nausea and vomiting, redness of the conjunctiva, and apathy develop. If a secondary infection (adenovirus, herpes) joins, then the manifestations can be more varied and severe.

In addition to the involvement of the upper respiratory tract in the process, there is also an intestinal form of parainfluenza, which is more dangerous, since it is manifested by profuse diarrhea and dehydration, which may require hospitalization of the animal.

In addition to the development of pneumonia, a complication of parainfluenza in a dog can also be damage to the cardiovascular system.

It is important to note that the symptoms of paramyxovirus infection, which causes parainfluenza, are nonspecific and may mask other respiratory diseases. It can also be a co-infection with several respiratory pathogens, which can quickly increase the severity of the disease and lead to complications. To make a correct diagnosis, you need a thorough examination by a veterinarian, observation of the animal for several days and additional tests.

As laboratory diagnostic methods, PCR diagnostics of nasal discharge is used.

Parainfluenza treatment:

Treatment of parainfluenza in dogs is carried out with non-specific methods of therapy aimed at maintaining the immunity and defenses of the dog's body.

In the initial stages, warm drinks and heated, vitamin-rich foods are recommended.

When a cough occurs, expectorants are prescribed.

If a secondary bacterial infection joins, then it becomes necessary to prescribe broad-spectrum antibiotics.

Additionally, a course of immunomodulators and vitamins is recommended.

Prevention of parainfluenza:

As a preventive measure, isolation of a sick animal is necessary in order to exclude contact with other pets. It is also recommended that during an outbreak of the disease, do not walk the dogs where other dogs are walking, as they can be virus carriers, and wash their paws thoroughly after a walk.

The only effective means for prevention is vaccination with multivalent vaccines , which include the paramyxovirus antigen, and which is carried out annually.

It is important to understand that vaccination does not eliminate the carriage of viruses, but only contributes to the formation of immunity to this virus. This means that vaccinated dogs at exhibitions or training lessons can be virus carriers. Therefore, if the pet's body is currently weakened due to other past diseases, then it is necessary to avoid stress and contact with other dogs during the recovery period.

After waiting for full recovery, after a while, it is imperative to vaccinate to avoid the risk of infection, since there is no specific treatment for parainfluenza in dogs, and vaccination is the only reliable way to prevent this disease. This is important to note, because not in all cases a successful course of the disease is possible, and the treatment of complications is a more complex and time-consuming process. Also, standard preventive measures in the form of regular disinfection and good conditions for keeping animals will not be superfluous.

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