Dogs are great at catching all kinds of things—that food you accidentally dropped, the once-stuffed toy that has no guts left, that tennis ball you’re actually trying to play tennis with… But, can your dog catch your cold? While our cold and flu viruses cannot be spread to dogs, and canine cold and flu viruses cannot be spread to humans, dogs can still get their own version of a cold, called canine infectious respiratory disease.

At Prairie Animal Hospital, we offer a full list of animal diagnostic services. As part of our diagnostic processes, we listen to the lungs and the heart for any abnormal sounds, heart rhythm, and heart rate.

  • We check the abdomen for masses, fluid buildup, or the presence of pain.
  • We feel for enlargement of the lymph nodes and thyroid glands.
  • We will check your animal’s teeth for tartar buildup as well as signs of disease.
  • At the same time, we check the mouth for any masses or inflammation that could be signs of other issues.
  • The ears are checked for infection, as well as the eyes for any abnormalities.

We will examine your pets skin and coat for signs of parasites, infection, lumps, masses, or discolorations. We will check your pet’s musculoskeletal system for signs of swelling or lameness. We also will observe your pet for changes in the mental or nervous system.

What is canine infectious respiratory disease?

Canine infectious respiratory disease (CIRD) is often caused by a virus, which can then be compounded by a secondary bacterial infection. Most cases are a result of several different bacterial and viral agents working together, including:

  • Parainfluenza
  • Canine influenza
  • Adenovirus-2
  • Respiratory coronavirus
  • Mycoplasma
  • Herpesvirus-1
  • Canine distemper
  • Bordetella bronchiseptica

CIRD can be spread through direct, nose-to-nose contact or through indirect contact on fomites—items that aid in the transmission of the illness—including toys, food, and water bowls, or bedding.

What to look for:

  • Sneezing
  • Eye or nasal discharge
  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Decreased appetite
  • Hacking
  • Retching or gagging

However, you can protect your pet!  CIRD can most often be prevented by following an appropriate vaccination protocol. While some illnesses cannot be completely prevented with vaccination—like influenza and Bordetella—their symptoms will be less severe and the duration of the illness will be shorter in vaccinated dogs vs. unvaccinated dogs.

Other ways to protect your pup from CIRD include:

  • Avoiding doggie daycares, boarding facilities, grooming salons, pet stores, and other facilities known to have CIRD outbreaks as well as those that do not require appropriate vaccinations for pets
  • Staying away from sick pets
  • Practicing good hygiene habits, including frequent washing of hands, bowls, and bedding

If your pet is exhibiting the above symptoms, please call us today so that we may get you in and help them get better as quickly as possible. The Veterinarians and veterinary Team members here at Prairie Animal Hospital trust and love our diagnostic in-house Laboratory from Idexx. Idexx offers a comprehensive chemistry profile with amylase and lipase, making it ideal for canine and feline patients.