The best way to be safe is prevention- NOV 21, 2016
Based on our experience, we want to explain today four diseases that have captured our attention the last few years due to their frequency: Canine Distemper, Parvovirus, Tick Fever and Heartworm.
The Parvoviral infection is caused by a parvovirus, which can affect adult dogs but usually is found
in puppies. It produces two kinds of disease: myocarditis (cardiac muscle inflammation) or enteritis
(intestinal inflammation). This second one has been more frequently found in our case studies,
producing anorexia, fever accompanied with fetid and bloody diarrheas. The incubation lasts from
5 to 11 days. Generally, puppies that receive medical attention survive this illness. Preventive
medicine is the best way to stay safe, such as following the recommended vaccinations and
avoiding the pet’s exposure to unsafe environments.
Distemper is caused by a paramyxovirus. The animal, usually a puppy, shows a fever for 3-6 days
after being infected. Once the fever is gone, generally you can observe a mucous discharge and
many of our cases have also presented an infection in both ears, generally at this stage the patient
is already anorexic. This virus affects the respiratory and digestive system first and then the
nervous system, causing involuntary movements that can unchain convulsions and death. This
disease can kill a puppy in only 10 days, escalating through these stages. It is common to find
nervous alterations in animals that survive this disease. Once again, preventive medicine is the
best option. Prognosis varies from guarded to poor.
We have seen an increase in cases of both parvovirus and distemper with the rainy season, which
used to be only once a year, but now with the climate change it has come stronger.
Tick disease or “Ehrlichia” happens when an infected tick transfers the disease to its host (dog)
and this, generally, starts to show symptoms such as: fever peaks, anorexia, weight loss, bad
breath, muscle tremors, etc. If the disease is not diagnosed on time, it can affect other systems:
such as the urinary and cause a renal failure, the locomotor and the circulatory, causing
hemorrhages and even death. In our practice, the death rate of this desease has been drastically
reduced due to the owners learning to recognise better the early symptoms and give their pets the
required treatment. Currently, the Nexgard tab seems the most effective preventing ticks and fleas.
Heart-Worm Disease is caused by a filarial worm (Dirofilaria immitis). This illness has caught our
attention in our hospital because during the first 2 years we only found 2 cases and currently we
are finding in average 1 case every 15 days! It’s transmitted by an infected mosquito which has a
microfilaria in its mouth and when it bites the animal, this enters through the bite and remains
between the skin and muscle for the first two months and then uses the bloodstream to migrate to
the right ventricle of the heart. In 2-3 months, the now adult worms will begin reproducing.
Generally, in the early stages, the animal shows breathing difficulties, panting, and anorexia. As a
preventive measure, you should always deworm your pet with products like Endogard or
Cardomec. We’ve still had patients, despite of being dewormed, testing positive for heart-worm, so
we recommend also controlling the environment to reduce the mosquito exposure.
We are writing this column with the intention of informing the pet owner about the common
illnesses that can affect your pet. Please ask your vet any questions you may have or visit us at
Hospital Veterinario Cavallini, phone: 2652-2909.
Dr. Gilberth Cavallini – Dra. Leticia Cajal