Canine Parainfluenza Virus (CPiV) is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a single-stranded RNA virus of the virus family Paramyxoviridae. CPiV is one of the viral causes of Kennel cough (Infectious Tracheabronchitis or Canine Cough).
The primary mode of transmission is by inhaling sneeze droplets. Common ways of getting infected are from contaminated areas such as kennels, walking areas, parks.
Once in the body, the virus attacks the upper respiratory region which consists of the nasal mucosa, pharynx, trachea, large bronchi and regional lymph nodes. This results in mild to moderate infection. Though the clinical signs are similar to Canine Influenza virus (CIV), vaccine protocols and treatment is different for both these viruses and it depends on the severity, breed and the age of the dog. Common signs are coughing, sneezing, fever, loss of appetite.
Canine Parainfluenza Virus (CPiV) can survive in the environment for up-to 2 weeks. Any and all dogs are susceptible to this infection especially in rescue shelters, multi-pet household, high pet density area etc. Younger dogs (puppies), unvaccinated dogs, immunocompromised dogs, dogs with pre existing or a history of respiratory disease, outdoor dogs, dogs staying in contaminated and unhygienic environments are at high risk.
Canine Parainfluenza Virus (CPiV) is caused by a virus of the Paramyxoviridae genus. There are various factors which may predispose a dog to Parainfluenza. They are:
› Dog walking areas or parks
› Sharing water bowls, food bowls
› Crowded areas
› Direct contact with an infected pet (dog or cat)
› Poor environment conditions (contaminated areas)
› Low immune response (young dogs and puppies)
› From infected saliva
› From inhalation (nasal secretions, sneezing, droplets)
Clinical Signs & Symptoms
The incubation period for Parainfluenza is between 2 to 4 days. Symptoms depends on the severity of the infection, common signs are:
› Anorexia (Loss of Appetite)
› Pyrexia (Fever)
› Rhinitis (sneezing)
› Dyspnea (Trouble Breathing)
› Tachypnea (Rapid Breathing Rate)
› Recurrent nasal discharges / runny nose
› Honk-like cough
› Conjunctivitis (Inflammation of the eye)
Diagnosing Canine Parainfluenza Virus (CPiV) can be tricky as it mimics symptoms of Kennel Cough.
Veterinarians will require a complete history of your dog which includes medical history, vaccination records, existing health concerns, current and previous medications, onset of symptoms, diet and exercise routine and any information which can help in establishing a correct diagnosis. Diagnosis is done with a combination of tests. These include routine lab examinations and special tests which can detect the presence of the virus. They are:
› Physical examination
› Complete Blood Count (CBC)
› PCR test (Polymerase Chain Reaction)
› X-rays (of the chest incase of Pneumonia)
› Blood titers (by testing samples/secretions)
If your dog is showing signs of Parainfluenza, please contact your veterinarian immediately. Untreated CPiV can progress to life threatening pneumonia, secondary infections and respiratory complications. Treatment consists of
› Antibiotic medications
› Fluid therapy
› Use of IV fluids
› Drugs to treat secondary illnesses and diseases
› Cough suppressants
› Inhalant medications to ease breathing
[Pets diagnosed with condition should be isolated from other pets to stop the infection from spreading. Dogs usually recover between 10 to 15 days. Hospitalization may be required for severe cases till the condition becomes stable.]
Vaccination is the single most effective way to prevent Canine Corona Virus (CCV). However, this virus can survive for long periods and can be easily spread by oral secretions and contamination.
› Vaccination: Multiple vaccinations of pups beginning at 6–8 weeks of age are recommended. Further isolation of the pet from large populations of dogs until the pet is fully vaccinated will limit exposure to the virus.
› Environment: Because the virus is present worldwide, cleaning the areas where the pet has vomited and had diarrhea with a 10% bleach solution, Parvosol, or other hospital disinfectant is recommended.
› It is important to isolate young puppies as much as possible from other dogs and from potential sources of infection until they complete the vaccination series at 20 to 24 weeks of age.
Home care should aim at improving the condition. Treatments can take between 10 to 15 days, depending on the severity. If you observe any behavioral changes, or if the condition does not improve, please contact your veterinarian.
› Vaccination is the single most effective way to prevent the infection. Puppy vaccination schedule should be followed. Do not miss or skip any vaccines. Please keep in mind puppies get their initial immunity from their mothers milk, vaccines are meant to stimulate and enhance the immunity system.
› It is mandatory to provide a stress-free environment for your dog. Keep water and food bowls within reach. Avoid physical activity. Keep your dogs away from any noise and commotions.
› You have to administer and monitor all prescribed medicine as directed by your veterinarian.
› Do NOT travel with your dog.
› Do NOT allow your dog to roam freely. This works two ways, firstly if the pet is infected, it greatly reduces the chances of risk of exposure to other pets and humans and secondly in-case of a healthy pet, it reduces the chances of contracting the infection.
› Use of environmental disinfectants is recommended. Prompt disposal of any and all materials after use is suggested.
› Routine and regular checkups to access the progress, further tests may be advised this includes Liver and kidney function tests, blood tests. Monitor and administer all medications as directed by your veterinarian and complete the dosage.
› Humans, especially children, pregnant women and ones handling infected pets need to exercise caution. Wear gloves when dealing with a pet, cleaning the litter boxes, disposing any and all contaminated materials, garbage disposals etc. A thorough wash of hands is advised. Practice hygiene.
› If left untreated or any delay in treatment, Canine Parainfluenza Virus (CPIV) can cause severe kidney and liver damage. Special emphasis needs to be given on diet. A well planned, healthy, nutritious and balanced diet is recommended. Try to avoid raw foods. Veterinarians usually suggest a low protein diet for liver and kidney recovery.