Just like with children, you need to be aware of the various diseases and illnesses that your dog may pick up. This is particularly true if your dog regularly visits the groomer, boarding facilities, or parks. Here are eight of the most common dog diseases to be on the lookout for with your pup.
Some of the most common parasites in dogs include tapeworms, roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms. While most will just make your dog feel uncomfortable, a few rare parasites can be fatal. Common signs of a worm infestation include weight loss, bloody diarrhea, a change in appetite, vomiting, and a dry coat. In some cases, you may even notice small parts of the tapeworm in the stool.
Canine distemper is a viral dog disease that is transmitted through the air from dog to dog. This highly contagious disease has no cure, making it important that you vaccinate your dog. Symptoms of canine distemper include high temperature, loss of appetite, heavy breathing, runny nose, and coughing. Some dogs may also present with vomiting and diarrhea.
Known formally as canine tracheobronchitis, kennel cough is another contagious and infectious disease that is transmitted through the air. Kennel cough is the most common when dogs are in close proximity to each other. Most vets will treat kennel cough with a nasal spray. A dry hacking cough is the telltale symptom of kennel cough with some dogs also exhibiting a nasal discharge. A terrible cough can exacerbate pain in the dog’s back or lead to pinched nerves.
Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD) is a degenerative disease in which the intervertebral disc in your dog’s back becomes prolapsed. This is an age-related disease common in certain dog breeds such as Pekingese, Shih Tzus, dachshunds, beagles, American cocker spaniels, and basset hounds. It can occur in other breeds as well but these are the most common.
IVDD can be incredibly painful to your dog especially when the spinal cord presses against the nerve by jumping or landing poorly on the ground. Dogs affected by or displaying symptoms of IVDD should be treated by their veterinarian. Usually, this involves anti-inflammatory medications, surgery, and physical therapy. Following surgery, a dog back brace is recommended for your dog’s comfort.
Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that is usually caused by contaminated water such as ponds, lakes, and canals. The bacteria is the result of the urine of rats, cattle, and pigs in the standing water. This makes it common for dogs to pick up leptospirosis on farms. Symptoms include a high temperature, lethargy, muscle pain, and urine in the blood. Dog owners should look out for excessive urination, yellow eyes, and vomiting.
Canine parvovirus is an extremely contagious viral disease that can be contracted from infected dog food, water bottles, and feces. Dogs can also pick up this potentially life-threatening disease from infected clothes and carpets. Vaccinating your dog against this virus is the best way to protect it. The most common symptoms of parvovirus include loss of appetite, bloody diarrhea, and persistent vomiting.
Rabies is a viral disease that can be fatal if not treated immediately. The disease is usually transmitted from an animal already carrying the disease such as bats or foxes. While the most common form of transmission is a bite, it can also be transmitted if the saliva of the infected animal comes into contact with a wound on the dog.
Rabies classified as “furious” present as extreme and aggressive behavioral changes. Rabies is known as “paralytic” lead to weakness in the muscles, loss of coordination, and paralysis. The symptoms of rabies include seizures, dropped jaw, a high temperature, lack of coordination, aggressive behavior, and frothing at the mouth. You should always contact your vet if you believe your dog has been in contact with an infected animal, even if it is vaccinated.
There are a variety of diseases that can be spread through ticks with the most recognized being Lyme disease. Some of these issues are more prevalent in certain areas of the country. The diseases can lead to problems such as weakness, organ failure, lethargy, and anemia. The best way to prevent the onset of these diseases is to take steps to reduce tick bites through products used to kill the parasites if they come into contact with your dog. Be sure to check the dog after spending a lot of time in wooded areas if you know that ticks are prevalent.
Understanding the symptoms of some of the most common diseases in dogs will help you to know when you should seek help for your pooch. If you are ever in doubt, it is good practice to call your vet for guidance. Doing so could save the life of your dog.