When owners choose to visit a dog groomer, they are making the important decision to put their beloved pooch in the care of a canine professional.
As groomers, it is our duty to be aware of every element relating to dog care, including potential for disease. We must follow strict guidelines and uphold high standards to keep our working environment and equipment clean, sterile and safe. This is to prevent the spread of unwanted and potentially harmful infections.
Here, we discuss viral canine infections, their symptoms and what steps grooming professionals should take to keep their visiting dogs safe.
Types of infection
When it comes to canines, there are two types of possible infection – bacterial and viral. In this post, we focus on viral infections.
In comparison to bacterial infections, virus cells are unable to spread in an environment without a living host.
The risk of viral infection within a dog grooming environment should be low, providing no risks are taken, all equipment is regularly clean and sterile, and one dog is taken care of at a time. Viral infection risk should also be low if the dogs are vaccinated or tested as immune.
Types of viral infection
Most types of viruses are serious and, therefore should be protected against in the dog’s initial vaccination programme. Find out more in our post: Vaccinations explained for new puppy parents.
Common canine viruses include:
This is a virus that affects the intestinal area of the dog. It is usually more prominent in puppies and vulnerable dogs with weakened immune systems. Symptoms of coronavirus in canines include general lack of condition, vomiting and diarrhoea.
This is a severe viral infection that can affect a dog’s liver, lungs and kidneys. Another symptom specific to Hepatitis are severe eye problems, causing a blueness of the dog’s cornea. Other symptoms can also include:
- Stomach pain
- Loss of appetite
This is a serious virus that will not survive in the environment at all. However, if a puppy catches this disease, the results can be fatal.
The most well-known symptom of distemper is dry and cracked paw pads. Other symptoms can include diarrhoea and vomiting, breathing problems, loss of appetite, fever, coughing and discharge from the nose and eyes.
This disease mimics the symptoms of kennel cough and can appear like this bacterial infection.
Transmitted and contracted by breathing in droplets of saliva from an infected dog, canine influenza can lead to pneumonia. Symptoms include bringing up mucus, sore throat, coughing and a general loss of condition.
This type of viral infection is commonly vaccinated against when the dog is a puppy. Parvovirus can lie dormant in the environment for a long time. When the virus is ingested through soil or faeces, it attacks the dog’s heart or their digestive symptom and has a high mortality rate.
While symptoms can vary depending on which area of the dog’s body becomes infected, they can include:
- Bloody diarrhoea
- General serious sickness
If Parvovirus is left untreated, this viral infection can be fatal.
Keeping your dog safe
Ensuring the risk of viral and bacterial infections are low is of paramount importance to a professional dog groomer.
Groomers have a duty of care to keep your dog safe and preventing the spread of unwanted viral infections. We do this by:
• Keeping our working environment clean and sterile
• Taking care of one dog at a time
• Checking the dog has had its vaccinations when they first book with us
• Get to know your dog’s normal temperament and behaviour inside out
• Keeping our grooming equipment clean and sterile
• Ensuring we are vigilant and look out for any symptoms of potential infections and alert the owner as soon as possible
• Cancel/rearrange appointments to protect other dogs if we feel a dog has a contagious infection
Find out more
If you would like to find out more about canine viral infections, their symptoms or need more advice, please contact us today.
Our team of friendly expert dog professionals are on hand and more than happy to provide any insight or advice you might need.