Hunting dogs are particularly exposed to pathogens. Despite the best vaccination they can sometimes get infected. Then one should recognize the first signs of a disease.From Bernd Kamphuis
If one notices an unusual behavior of the quadruped in the normal contact with the dog, then it can be that it suffers from a disease. If his behavior cannot be explained by particularly hot weather or the dog's age, then a reluctance to eat, little interest in his surroundings and an increased temperature (normal temperature about 37.5 to 38.5 °C in adult dogs and up to 39.5 °C in young dogs) indicate that something is wrong with the dog. Now one should visit the veterinarian.
Which disease is present?
Particularly important among the infectious diseases is parvovirosis, rabies, distemper, leptospirosis, hepatitis contagiosa canis (H.c.c.), Aujeszky's disease (pseudo-rage), kennel cough and Lyme disease. These diseases can be transmitted by viruses and bacteria, but also by parasites and fungi. Fortunately, the dog can be vaccinated against most of these diseases. The puppies already receive a first vaccination protection through the bitch's mother's milk. From the seventh to the ninth week of life, the puppies must be vaccinated directly by the veterinarian. This first vaccination is repeated after three to four weeks and extended.
Dogs that work a lot often come into contact with pathogens (Photo: Peter Schmitt)
The thus received complete vaccination must be refreshed every year. Our hunting dogs are particularly threatened by parvovirosis. Parvovirosis, also incorrectly called feline epidemic, begins with fever and usually bloody diarrhea. This diarrhea means a massive loss of fluids, which almost "dehydrates" the dogs. If young dogs are infected, it is not uncommon for them to die of heart disease.
But Lyme disease is also a danger for the dogs. The bacteria transmitted by the tick bite lead to joint inflammation, movement disorders, fever and in the advanced stage to paralysis.
If Lyme disease has been detected early, treatment may still be effective. Of course, prophylaxis is better than therapy.
For this we have two possibilities: firstly, vaccination and secondly, collars that are effective against ticks and other insects. However, vaccination is still controversial among experts. The impregnated collars still had strong side effects a few years ago, but are now considered relatively harmless with selective active ingredients, but highly effective. Even dogs that are on daily patrol are completely free of tick bites thanks to special collars.
Canine distemper: Canine distemper is a viral infection that is usually transmitted through contact with another dog or by a marten. It is manifested by fever, apathy and watery clear discharge from the eyes and nose, which soon becomes sticky and mucous. The intestinal form of distemper can also occur, in which the dog vomits and has diarrhea. If the dog has coughing and breathing problems, we speak of the pulmonary form of distemper. If the brain is affected by the virus, it is the so-called nervous form of distemper. The dog then has problems with balance, convulsions and paralysis.
Leptospirosis: Leptospirosis is also called Stuttgart dog disease or Weil's disease. It is caused by bacteria. Dogs that are infected excrete the pathogen in their urine for a long time. Rats and mice are an important source of infection.
Rabies: In typical cases, rabies progresses in three phases. The first sign we register in the dog is a change in behavior. In the further course it comes mostly to strong excitation states. This is called the excitation stage. Mostly the dog then foams at the mouth. Shows unpredictable behavior. Finally, with the third stage paralysis (paralysis stage) and death occurs. Mostly the symptoms of rabies are very diverse.
So, if there is a suspicion that the dog may have rabies, it is necessary to immediately consult the doctor or keep the dog in such a way that it can not endanger anyone. If one has come into contact with the dog, then one must likewise see a doctor oneself. The will immediately initiate all necessary precautions.
In humans, the disease is almost always fatal, if there is no vaccination protection and you do not immediately after contact with a rabid animal to the doctor to see. If the dog actually has rabies and has no vaccination protection, then the veterinarian has the right to euthanize the dog immediately. Main carrier of rabies in Germany is the fox. But also other species like martens, raccoons and tanuki have relatively high infection rates.
Kennel cough: In kennel cough, the dog has suffered a so-called multifactorial infection. This means that several different viruses are involved in the disease. As the name suggests, the disease is manifested by strong coughing and rattling of the dog. Then high fever with purulent nasal discharge and apathy follow in the usual course of the disease. Especially young puppies can quickly fall ill with kennel cough.
Aujeszkian disease: Aujeszk's disease is an acute, fatal viral infection of the cranial nerves. Especially dogs that have had contact with pigs are at risk. Infection in humans usually only leads to a harmless wound infection. In dogs, the infection is usually caused by ingestion of pork containing the virus.
Initially one observes apathy and alternating restlessness in the infected dog. Then follow strong salivation. difficulty in swallowing. The dog walks unsteadily, staggers more often and seems anxious overall. With some dogs it comes also to regular raving attacks. Sometimes they scratch themselves until they bleed. These symptoms are similar to those of rabies. Treatment at this stage is no longer possible. The best protection against such an infection is to not let the dog eat raw pork.
Other infectious diseases: Hepatitis. In the case of hepatitis, the symptoms resemble poisoning. Fever, vomiting and bloody diarrhea are typical. Other diseases are salmonellosis and fungal lichen.
Skin parasites: Fleas, lice, hair lice, ticks and mites are among the skin parasites. Special attention may need to be paid to fleas: They do not live on the host most of the time, but seek it out only for blood meals. This blood meal lasts about an hour. Adult fleas can survive without a meal for about one to two months. If the dog is infested with fleas, then this manifests itself through skin damage with subsequent bacterial infections, because the dog scratches itself constantly beforehand. Tapeworm infestations are also common because fleas are intermediate hosts and can transmit the tapeworms not only to the dog, but even to humans. The dog can also develop allergies to flea saliva, which can lead to reddening of the skin and the formation of edema. To protect the dog, baths with antiparasitic shampoos, treatments with flea powder, and wearing flea collars help. Spot-on solutions, which are applied to the back of the neck with a small vial, are also a good treatment. They take effect within a day through the skin. Cats in the household must also be treated.