Most Common Health Problems In Dogs

Most Common Health Problems In Dogs

If you have a dog or are thinking to buy one, you should be fully aware of what it means to have a dog. You might have researched about how to get one and what the whole process entails. But have you searched what is the type of diseases your dog can get and how can you get your dog to get better without going to the vet every time? Will you be able to notice the symptoms and conclude a disease?

Either way, it wouldn’t hurt to go through the list and refresh your knowledge if you already know this. The list below is the ten most common diseases your dog could get.

1) Heartworms

First one in the list is heartworms disease which is a serious and potentially deadly disease in which parasites infects a dog’s heart and arteries. This causes them to face numerous diseases and some of them are given below but know that if you ignore the symptoms and let it get severe, it could be fatal and can cause heart failure.

Symptoms:

  • Coughing.
  • Lethargy.
  • Collapsing.
  • Depression (moping or not greeting you at the door).

Fortunately, heartworms disease can be easily prevented.

Treatments:

  • Daily oral medications.
  • Injections.
  • Once-a-month pill.
  • Medications to kill the parasites.
  • In severe cases, surgery is the only option.

2) Vomiting and Diarrhea

There are many possible causes of vomiting and diarrhea in dogs, but the most common reasons are as below.

Reasons:

  • An infection such as parvovirus.
  • Inappropriate foods.
  • Swallowing objects.

If this goes on for days, visit your vet.

Symptoms:

  • Blood in vomit.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Dark or black diarrhea.
  • Lethargy.
  • Weight loss.
  • Fever.
  • A change in appetite.

Treatments:

  • To prevent dehydration, give your dog plenty of water.
  • After a bout of vomiting, try bland foods such as boiled potatoes, rice, and cooked skinless chicken.
  • To combat diarrhea in dogs, the general rule is to avoid feeding your dog food for 12 to 24 hours or until your vet gives you the go-ahead.

3) Obesity

Fat children are the only thing that looks cute. Anything else is treated like an abomination in this world. Doesn’t matter if it is overweight cute little dogs. Truth be told, it is better if you work on trying to get rid of the fatness that your pet has obtained because it puts them at a higher risk of joint pain, diabetes, and liver disease.

If your dog is the right weight, you should be able to feel his backbone and ribs without pressing too hard and its waist would be noticeable between the lower ribs and the hips to you. Now if this doesn’t happen, visit a vet or follow the options given below.

Treatments:

  • Increase calorie output and decrease calorie intake.
  • Reduce snacks or treats.
  • Feed him small meals throughout the day.
  • Make it a point to take him to the park to play and run around.

4) Infectious Diseases

Next up is infectious diseases, notably canine parvovirus and distemper. Both are extremely contagious and potentially deadly and contracted through contact with the feces of an infected dog.

Symptoms of canine parvovirus:

  • Bloody diarrhea.
  • Vomiting.
  • Lethargy.
  • Loss of appetite.

Symptoms of canine distemper:

  • Sneezing.
  • Coughing.
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Fever.
  • Sudden loss of appetite.
  • Vomiting.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Discharge of thick mucus from the eyes and nose.
  • Possibly seizures.

Early prevention can protect your pet so, be very vigilant about your dog’s health.

Treatments for canine parvovirus:

  • IV fluids to prevent dehydration.
  • Anti-vomiting medication.
  • Proper vaccination.
  • Antibiotics.
  • Anti-pain medications.

Treatments for canine distemper:

  • IV fluids.
  • Antibiotics (if your dog is coughing) to prevent pneumonia.
  • Medications to control seizures.

You should know that there are currently no medications that can destroy either of the two viruses so these should be your best option.

5) Kennel Cough

A kennel cough is named such because that is where the dog gets infected mostly. It is a highly contagious form of bronchitis that causes inflammation in your pet’s voice box and windpipe.

Reasons:

  • Exposure to other infected dogs.

Treatments:

  • Let it run its course.
  • Give dog antibiotics.
  • Using a humidifier or a steam-filled bathroom.

6) Lower Urinary Tract Problems

Some common problems in dogs regarding lower urinary tract include incontinence, bacterial infections, bladder stones, and even cancer.

Symptoms:

  • Having to urinate more often.
  • Producing small amounts of urine.
  • Blood in the urine.
  • Incontinence.
  • Straining or crying in pain when trying to urinate.
  • Vomiting.
  • Fever.
  • Weight loss.

Treatments:

  • Antibiotics.
  • Dietary changes.
  • Surgery – needed to remove bladder stones or a tumor.

7) Dental Disease

Periodontal disease is an infection of the gums that is very common in dogs – so much so that it affects an estimated 80 percent of dogs by the age of 2.

Symptoms:

  • Smelly breath.
  • Difficulty eating.
  • Facial swelling.

Treatments:

  • Removing dental plaque and teeth.
  • Recommends regular check-ups with a vet dentist.
  • Giving your dog rawhide chews.
  • Regularly brushing your pet’s teeth with dog toothpaste.

8) Skin Problems

What did you think?

Are skin problems only limited to humans?

Well, you thought wrong.

Most skin problems that happen in dogs are due to parasites, skin infections, and allergies. Your pets can also develop allergies to common dog food ingredients such as soy, corn, wheat, beef, or even chicken. And some dogs may cause skin irritation by licking an area too much. IF you’re wondering why would dogs possibly lick unnecessarily, well, to put it simply, it could be from boredom or stress.

You may be easily able to spot fleas and ticks on your dog/s so don’t worry about this type of illness having any other type of symptoms. Good thing is, it is treatable. Most of these should be something that your vet may be able to help with.

Treatments:

  • Using special medicated shampoos to kill parasites.
  • Antibiotics.
  • Antifungal medications.
  • Corticosteroids and antihistamines to control itching.
  • Your vet may also prescribe a diet to reduce food allergies.
  • Injections to control allergic reactions.
  • Monthly topical agents you can easily apply.

9) Broken Bones

Broken bones are a common problem in dogs — often from activities like jumping out of a window.

Symptoms:

  • Limping
  • Not moving.
  • A reason to suspect trauma.

Treatments:

  • Surgery.
  • Splint.
  • Cast.

10) Cancer

The type of cancer that usually dogs suffer from is skin cancer. Below are the symptoms and the treatments.

Symptoms:

  • White patches on the top of the nose and ear tips.
  • Lumps.
  • Swelling.
  • Sores.
  • Rapid weight loss.
  • Lameness.
  • Suddenly decreased appetite.
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Urinating.
  • Defecating.
  • Lack of energy.
  • Black stools.

Treatments:

  • Surgery.
  • Chemotherapy.
  • Radiation.
  • Immunotherapy.

In all these cases, there is a chance of variables which can slightly alter the symptoms and the treatments, for example, the stage of cancer, the type of disease, and the severity of the disease, the aggressiveness of the treatment, the seriousness with which doctor’s orders are followed, etc, can all affect the outcome of that particular disease.

It is always a good idea to schedule regular vet visits and take preventive steps to keep your dog in top health.

 

The author is a Medical Microbiologist and a healthcare writer. She is a post-graduate of Medical Microbiology and Immunology. She covers all content on health and wellness including weight loss, nutrition, and general health.

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