Dog Plague in Dogs: Symptoms and Treatment

A plague, or plague of carnivores, is a multisystemic viral disease that affects animals of the canine and canine families. In dogs, carnivore plague is most often recorded in spring and autumn. The disease has a high mortality rate, according to statistics, mortality reaches 80-90%. More often than not, dogs under the age of 1 year old get sick with a plague, this is due to their less developed immunological defense system. Of the breeds, the most susceptible to the disease are: collie, bull terrier, Siberian husky, shepherd, sheltie, poodle, Pekingese.


The causative agent of carnivore plague is an RNA-containing morbillivirus, which contains two immunogen proteins that can cause a powerful reaction of elimination (elimination, destruction of a foreign compound) in the body. However, due to the presence of a ribonucleic acid molecule in the structure of the virus, it integrates into the DNA of the host body, providing itself with protection against suppression by the immune system.

The plague virus is resistant to prolonged exposure to low temperatures, it can survive up to 5 years at -20 ° C. However, at +60 ° C it dies in 30 minutes, and when boiled - instantly. Disinfectants quickly destroy the virus: solutions of lysol, caustic soda, phenol and formalin in 1-2 hours, and ultraviolet rays within 30 minutes.

Infection pathways

Infection of dogs with plague of carnivores occurs by fecal-oral, airborne droplets and airborne dust methods: in contact with animals carrying the virus, through infected feed, water, caring for sick animals. The incubation period of the disease is from a week to 2-3 months.

Attention! Plague of carnivores is considered to be a highly virulent disease: out of a hundred dogs that have been infected with the plague of carnivores, at least 70 get sick. Animals infected with plague acquire a long-term, but not life-long immunity, they remain carriers of the virus for 3 months.

Symptoms and forms of the disease

Plague can occur in a super acute, acute or subacute form. A sharp increase in antibody production is characterized by a sharp rise in temperature to 40-41 ° C, extreme depression, refusal of food and water, pronounced, accompanied by purulent secretions of rhinitis and conjunctivitis. The rapid multiplication of the virus causes a general poisoning of the body by decay products, with the removal of which the affected organs can not cope. After 2-3 days, the dog begins to cramp, then comes a coma, and the animal dies.

The acute and subacute course of the disease lasts from 1-2 to 4 weeks, and can be limited by general weakness and fever (this is typical for adult dogs with a high level of immunity), and it can manifest itself in many different symptoms:

  • In the first two to three days, the animal is depressed, the temperature rises to 40 ° C. The dog loses his appetite, refuses even water.
  • On day 3-4, severe chills, coughing, breathing are difficult, it becomes hoarse and quick, abundant discharge from the nose and eyes is observed.
  • Then vomiting occurs, and if the animal was able to feed - diarrhea, the cause of which is the destruction of the gastrointestinal mucosa cells by the virus.
  • A bubble rash appears on the pads and the inside of the paws, the vesicles are filled with a colorless liquid, and after opening them, purulent crusts form.
  • With blood flow, the virus enters the brain and destroys nerve cells. Convulsions, loss of sensation and paralysis of the legs begin.

Forecast. With an over-acute course of the plague of carnivores, the outcome of the disease in most cases is fatal. In acute and subacute form, if due to adequate treatment the disease is not complicated by concomitant infections, the prognosis is uncertain or favorable.


For a dog to be diagnosed with the “carnivore plague”, the veterinarian focuses mainly on clinical signs:

  • High fever, chills, loss of activity;
  • Refusal of feed and water;
  • Catarrhal processes of the respiratory organs and mucous membranes of the eyes;
  • The phenomena of gastroenteritis;
  • Hyperkeratosis (thickening of the stratum corneum) of the skin, accompanied by the formation of dandruff;
  • Bubble rashes;
  • Photophobia, paresis, paralysis, convulsions caused by damage to the nervous system.

It is not always possible to confirm the diagnosis with laboratory tests, that is, to detect and identify the virus of the carnivorous plague. Morbillivirus develops poorly in a culture medium, so bacteriological analysis can give a false negative result. Reliable results of cytological studies can be obtained only in the early stages of the disease. A blood test also cannot be considered sufficiently informative, as it often reveals a low level of platelets and lymphocytes - a sign non-specific for the plague.


Therapy for carnivore plague in dogs is most effective in the early stages of the disease. The complex of therapeutic measures includes:

  • Suppression or destruction of the pathogen. To do this, use monovalent hyperimmune serums against plague of carnivores or multivalent serum Vitakan-C or Giskan-5. They are administered intramuscularly or subcutaneously, the dosage is calculated depending on the weight of the dog and the severity of the clinical symptoms.
  • Treatment of secondary infections. In severe cases of the disease, antibiotics are used to prevent or treat secondary bacterial infections: Ampicillin, Gentamicin, semisynthetic penicillins (Ciperacillin, Azlocillin), cephalosporins (Cefradin, Cephaloridin), aminoglycoside antibiotics (Amikacin, Tobramycin).
  • Recovery of organs. In case of heart failure, Caffeine or Cordiamine is used. In case of gastrointestinal tract damage, the dog is prescribed drugs that protect the mucosa from the damaging effects of digestive enzymes (oak bark extract, flaxseed decoction). In the case of frequent gagging, Metoclopramide or Cerucal is used. Infusion therapy with Trisol or Ringer-Locke isotonic solutions can be prescribed for the animal to fill up the lost fluid.
  • Nervous system recovery. Rehabilitation of a dog’s nervous system after suffering a carnivore plague is a long process that can take several months. Of the drugs, she can be prescribed Actovegin, Cerebrolysin, Piracetam or Belt, from physical procedures - UVT (exposure to sound pulses), magnetic therapy (exposure to a static or dynamic magnetic field), darsonvalization (exposure to high-frequency low-power currents).

After recovery, the dog is prescribed a sparing diet for 1-2 months, physical activity is limited for the same period.


It is unrealistic to completely exclude contact of a dog with a causative agent of the plague of carnivores, therefore vaccination of animals is the main method of preventing the disease. Mono- and combi vaccines are used for the immunization of carnivore plague:

  • Vaccum (one of the most effective monovalent vaccines);
  • Biovac (a tetravalent vaccine consisting of liquid and lyophilized components);
  • Dipentavak, Geksakanivak, Vladivak, Nobivak (complex vaccines for the prevention of rabies, adenovirus, carnivore plague, infectious hepatitis and leptospirosis);
  • Multikan 4 and Multikan 8 (a combined preparation for the plague virus, parvovirus, adenovirus, leptospira and coronavirus);
  • Vanguard (a number of lyophilized vaccines of different valencies);
  • Hexadog (multivalent vaccine for plague, viral hepatitis, parvovirus, rabies and leptospirosis).

To increase the body's resistance to dogs, immunostimulants are prescribed: Anfluron, Nutri Vet, Norvak Globkan, Ribotan, FiBS and others.

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