Beware of five common summer dog diseases

June 14, 2021

Canine infectious diseases can be hard to avoid during summer as they spread where there are large concentrations of dogs. This could be at the park, on dog-friendly holidays, in boarding kennels, day care, and at dog shows.

Our head vet Catharina Arthurs, recommends that pet owners should know how to spot the symptoms of common canine diseases, but also how to prevent them. Vaccinating your dog annually reduces the risk of contracting most harmful diseases not only for your dog, but for other dogs as well. That’s why Catharina always explains the importance of vaccinations to pet owners in Northamptonshire.

If you’re not sure when your dog was last vaccinated, and you’re registered with Towcester Veterinary Centre, give us a call on 01327 350239 and we can check and book them in.

The facts about five dog diseases that are common in summer:

Kennel cough (canine tracheobronchitis)

  • Airborne, highly contagious and infectious.
  • Can be picked up anywhere infected dogs have been, not just in kennels.
  • Symptoms of kennel cough: a dry hacking/honking cough, retching, nasal discharge, and lack of appetite in some dogs.
  • Can progress to secondary pneumonia with a high temperature and lethargy – can be fatal.

Canine parainfluenza:

  • Contagious respiratory virus in dogs that often leads to kennel cough.
  • Spread via contact with an infected dog, shared food and water bowls, and bedding.
  • Symptoms of canine parainfluenza: a cough, temperature/fever, nasal discharge, appetite loss, lacking energy.
  • Sometimes mistaken for canine influenza, which is a different virus and less common.


  • Unvaccinated dogs (especially puppies) can catch parvovirus from an infected dog, their faeces, and anything they’ve touched e.g., lead, bowl, bedding, human hands, clothes, other objects. The virus can live outside of the body for up to a year.
  • Symptoms of parvovirus: attacks the intestines causing vomiting, reduced appetite, diarrhoea (foul smelling, bloody & watery), extreme lethargy, fever (hot or cold to touch).
  • Can be fatal if left untreated, and sometimes fatal even if prompt treatment is sought.

Canine Coronavirus Infection (CCoV) – not related to COVID-19:

  • Highly infectious virus, attacks part of the small intestine causing gastrointestinal issues.
  • CCoV can remain in the body and be shed in faeces for up to 6 months. It can survive in the environment for a couple of days. Transmission is via exposure to an infected dog’s faeces.
  • Stress and poor hygiene can make a dog susceptible to CCoV.
  • It can be most problematic for puppies and dogs with other infections like parvovirus.
  • Symptoms of CCoV: sometimes none, vomiting, diarrhoea, dehydration, depression, fever, appetite loss. CCoV can be fatal.

Lyme disease isn’t contagious, but it is the most common tick-borne disease in the UK. Lyme disease can be contracted by dogs, humans and other pets when bitten by an infected tick. Ticks are always around, mostly in grassy and heathland areas, but are most active in warmer months. It’s important to check for ticks after walks and keep an eye out for common symptoms: fever, lethargy, appetite loss, lameness, and joint swelling. Lyme disease can progress and become debilitating.

To combat these diseases there are two things Catharina recommends to dog owners: 1) know the symptoms, and 2) learn how to prevent them in the first place.

Thankfully, you can protect your dog from the above diseases by keeping them up to date with vaccinations, and parasite treatments for ticks.

If your dog is registered with us, our Burcote Road team can check if they are up to date with vaccinations and parasite control. To help you, both are included in our pet health plan – just ask our team for information.

As a side note, according to the RSPCA, imports of puppies doubled in the previous year last summer thanks to the ‘lockdown puppy trend’. Do you know someone who adopted a new pet in the last 12 months? You can help their dog and the wider dog population by encouraging them to check up on vaccinations too.

Strictly Necessary

These cookies are required for our website to operate and include items such as whether or not to display this pop-up box or your session when logging in to the website. These cookies cannot be disabled.


We use 3rd party services such as Google Analytics to measure the performance of our website. This helps us tailor the site content to our visitors needs.


From time to time, we may use cookies to store key pieces of information to make our site easier for you to use. Examples of this are remembering selected form options to speed up future uses of them. These cookies are not necessary for the site to work, but may enhance the browsing experience.


We may use advertising services that include tracking beacons to allow us to target our visitors with specific adverts on other platforms such as search or social media. These cookies are not required but may improve the services we offer and promote.

Change Settings

Welcome. You can control how we use cookies and 3rd party services below

Change Settings Accept
Learn how we use cookies