CPIV is a virus that infects dogs worldwide and causes respiratory illness. Our veterinarians at Baton Rouge explain the symptoms, causes, and treatment of parainfluenza in dogs today.
What is the parainfluenza virus?
Dogs with parainfluenza exhibit respiratory symptoms similar to those of canine influenza, but the viruses are distinct and necessitate distinct treatments and vaccinations. Both viruses are contagious and prevalent in areas with a high concentration of dogs, such as kennels, shelters, and dog racing tracks.
Parainfluenza virus infection is an extremely contagious respiratory illness that can cause kennel cough or infectious tracheobronchitis.
What are the symptoms of parainfluenza in dogs?
The symptoms of canine parainfluenza virus infections are listed below. The severity or intensity of these symptoms may vary depending on the age of the infected dog and the host's immune system:
- Coughing - This can be either a dry cough or moist and productive (can include blood)
- Low-grade fever
- Discharge from the nose - This can be mucus, pus, or even blood
- Decreased energy
- Decreased appetite
Note that the virus itself can be a component of other canine respiratory diseases, most notably kennel cough, bordetella, and canine adenovirus-2.
What causes parainfluenza in dogs?
Parainfluenza is a viral illness that spreads through the air and is highly contagious, especially among dogs that interact with other dogs.
The parainfluenza virus shares respiratory symptoms with canine distempers, such as a dry cough and inflammation of the larynx, bronchial tubes, and trachea. Puppies and older dogs with weakened immune systems are more vulnerable to infection. Additionally, toy breeds are at a higher risk of pneumonia due to thick secretions from throat irritation.
The virus can linger in the air even after recovery for up to two weeks.
How is parainfluenza diagnosed?
Your veterinarian will ask for a detailed history, including your pet's whereabouts, within 2 to 4 weeks of the first symptoms. The parainfluenza virus spreads quickly in places like boarding kennels and grooming salons where many dogs congregate.
You will also need to provide your pet's health and vaccination history, as any contact with other dogs, regardless of the environment, can contribute to the infection.
The vet will conduct a physical exam and may perform blood tests, cultures, and fluid and tissue sample testing to diagnose the infection. They may also use imaging techniques like x-rays to check for masses or parasites. The vet will create and implement a treatment plan based on the results.
How do you treat parainfluenza in dogs?
Because the virus is highly contagious to other canines, your vet is unlikely to recommend hospitalization unless the situation is dire. In lieu of hospitalization, your veterinarian may make management recommendations, which will most likely 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?
Yes, at Baton Rouge, we provide the DHPP (Distemper, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, Parvovirus) vaccine to puppies aged 6 to 8 weeks old. Boosters are given at 10-12 weeks, 14-16 weeks, and 12-16 months old. It is recommended to schedule annual vaccinations and routine exams to protect your dog from parainfluenza and other diseases. You can find our vaccine schedule here.