Distemper is a contagious viral disease that affects the respiratory and nervous system of dogs. Distemper does not cause "bad temper." It is a serious illness that is almost always fatal.
Hepatitis is a viral infectious disease that affects the liver and eyes and may cause reproductive problems. Hepatitis is not contagious to people.
Leptospirosis is a bacterial infectious disease that causes severe liver and kidney damage and may also affect humans.
Parainfluenza is a highly contagious viral respiratory disease that may spread quickly from dog to dog.
Bordetella is one of the bacterial causes of "kennel cough." Signs like a honking cough during the night can be stressful for the dog as well as the owner.
Parvovirus is one of the most serious contagious diseases for puppies. Parvovirus causes severe vomiting and diarrhea while suppressing the immune system and may be fatal even if treated. After the initial vaccination series, a blood test can be done to ensure adequate protection. Rottweilers, Doberman pinschers and pit bulls seem to be more susceptible than other breeds.
Rabies is a serious public health concern because the virus is carried by mammals, including raccoons, skunks, foxes, bats, dogs and cats and can be transmitted to humans. The virus is spread through wounds via the saliva of a rabid animal and causes symptoms such as overly vicious or timid behaviour, lack of coordination and difficulty swallowing. Once these symptoms appear, the disease is fatal. While there is an effective post-exposure treatment for humans, there is none for animals.