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Canine Adenovirus

BloomingPaws Vet Clinic would like to share some facts on the health and care of dogs and cats infected with Canine Adenovirus.

Canine adenovirus (CAV-2) is a DNA virus that is commonly associated with canine infectious tracheitis, also known as ‘canine cough’.

Transmission of Canine Adenovirus

  • Spread directly from dog to dog through infected respiratory secretions (coughing/sneezing) or by contact with contaminated feces or urine.
  • Clinical symptoms will occur 3-10 days after exposure.

Clinical Symptoms for Canine Adenovirus

  • Dry, hacking cough
  • Retching and gagging
  • Coughing up white foamy discharge
  • Conjunctivitis – sometimes
  • Fever, lethargy, anorexia
  • Nasal discharge
  • The infections is most times self-limiting; however, in some cases (young puppies), it can lead to pneumonia.

Diagnosis for Canine Adenovirus

  • Presumptively based on clinical signs and patient history (vaccine status and possibility of exposure)
  • Rarely specific testing is done for this particular virus.

Treatment for Canine Adenovirus

  • There is no cure for canine adenovirus. Treatment is aimed at supportive care which includes maintain hydration status, nutritional support and possibly antibiotics for secondary infections.
  • Isolation from other dogs

Prevention of Canine Adenovirus

  • Vaccination.  However, it is important to realize that the vaccine does not completely prevent dogs from contracting CAV-2. Rather, the vaccine limits the severity of infection so that vaccinated dogs typically experience a milder form of the disease. The CAV-2 vaccine also protects against canine adenovirus type 1 (CAV-1) which causes canine infectious hepatitis—a dangerous and potentially fatal infection affecting the liver.
  • This vaccine is given as part of the puppy series and then a booster is given yearly to every 3 years thereafter.

Canine Adenovirus is still commonly found in the Bloomington, IN area in those dogs that are unvaccinated or under-vaccinated. With the current use of the vaccine, the severity of the infection is lessened significantly.