Canine Parvovirus

Canine parvovirus (viral diarrhoea) is a highly contagious and often fatal disease causing sudden vomiting and diarrhoea. The loose, watery stool of an infected dog contains millions of viral particles, so the disease spreads easily in the environment. Canine parvovirus can survive in the environment for up to 12 months. In adult dogs, viral diarrhoea can be mild or even asymptomatic, but in puppies it is severe and can often be fatal.

Canine Hepatitis

Infectious canine hepatitis (ICH) is a serious and often fatal disease caused by canine adenovirus type 1. The hepatitis virus can spread via infected saliva, faeces and urine. The hepatitis virus attacks many parts of the body causing a variety of symptoms including fever, signs of liver disease, clouding of the eyes, gastrointestinal signs such as vomiting and diarrhoea, and nervous signs such as seizures and coma. Thanks to the availability of highly protective vaccines this disease is now uncommon, although it is reported to re-appear when vaccination practices lapse.

Canine Distemper

The canine distemper virus (CDV) is uncommon these days largely due to the success of vaccination programs over many years. Nevertheless, vaccination is still important to maintain immunity in the population to prevent outbreaks of disease in unvaccinated dogs. Disease is usually severe and can result in death. A dog with distemper may have a variety of symptoms as the virus attacks many body systems. Common signs include vomiting and diarrhoea, fever, coughing, runny eyes and nasal discharges, hard rough pads and nervous symptoms such as muscular twitches, wobbliness and seizures.


Leptospirosis is caused by Leptospira bacteria and can affect dogs of any age damaging the kidneys, liver and other body systems. Leptospirosis is spread by rats. If your dog has contact with an infected Brown Rat, or its urine, it may become infected. An infected dog can spread Leptospira bacteria for months after showing symptoms. Leptospirosis is most commonly spread via the urine, where bacteria can be excreted in large numbers. Severe illness can rapidly result in death with only a few signs such as lethargy, muscle tenderness and shivering being shown. More commonly infection results in the dog being off its food, lethargic and reluctant to move. Vomiting is often seen, as is increased thirst. Other dogs (and even humans) can pick up the bacteria from an infected dog’s urine.
Leptospirosis does not occur everywhere in New Zealand but is present in the upper North Island and we have seen cases at our clinics, therefore we routinely include leptospirosis in our vaccination programmes.

Infectious Tracheobronchitis (ITB) – Canine Cough

Canine respiratory disease, although not usually fatal unless secondary pneumonia develops, can cause loss of appetite, lack of energy and poor appearance. Canine cough affects the upper respiratory tract (particularly the trachea or ‘wind pipe’) and causes a persistent, harsh, dry ‘honking’ cough. When coughing, affected dogs release micro-droplets into the air containing the infective organisms, which are highly contagious and readily infect other dogs. Animals kept at boarding kennels, shelters, pet shops and veterinary clinics are at higher risk, as are those going to grooming shops and dog shows.

Canine Cough is a multifactorial disease syndrome. A number of viruses and bacteria, as well as environmental factors such as stress, dust and humidity can be involved.

A wide variety of viruses and bacteria can be involved in canine respiratory disease, but the three most common are:

  • Canine parainfluenza virus (CPiV)
  • Canine adenovirus type 2 (CAV-2)
  • Bordetella bronchiseptica bacteria

An intranasal vaccination is used at the Vet Centre to stimulate immunity at the site of infection. This vaccination is given annually. Many kennels require dogs to be vaccinated against canine cough prior to their stay. Please check with your kennel when booking.