Always take your dog to the veterinarian if you think he has an ear infection. In most cases, cleaning and medicating the ear canal will quickly clear up an infection. However, surgery can be needed for chronic infections or if forceful head shaking results in the rupture of a vessel within the outer part of the ear.
Ear infections are common in dogs, particularly breeds with hanging ears, such as Beagles, and dogs with narrow ear canals, such as Cocker Spaniels. Other predisposing factors include allergies, ear parasites, and hypothyroidism.
Pick a dog that is bright, alert, and playful. Dogs and puppies should have shiny, soft fur that is free of stool. Signs of illness in a dog include appearing sluggish or depressed, having diarrhea, abnormal breathing, and fluid running from its eyes or nose. Make sure to take your new dog or puppy to the veterinarian within a few days to a week after adoption for a health visit.
Brain tumors* can be either metastatic or primary in dogs. The incidence of primary tumors is 14.5 per 100,000 dogs at risk. Types include meningioma, astrocytoma, oligodendroglioma, and undifferentiated sarcoma.
Ehrlichiosis is a bacterial disease that affects animals and people and is transmitted by ticks. Dogs show variable signs that include depression, loss of stamina, stiffness and reluctance to walk, and coughing.
Jump up ^ Raghavan M, Knapp DW, Dawson MH, Bonney PL, Glickman LT (2004). “Topical flea and tick pesticides and the risk of transitional cell carcinoma of the urinary bladder in Scottish Terriers”. J. Am. Vet. Med. Assoc. 225 (3): 389–94. doi:10.2460/javma.2004.225.389. PMID 15328714.
How to treat: Like humans, dogs should get regular insulin injections (up to twice a day) to control diabetes. Oral medications and a high-fiber diet can also work to reverse the disease and get your dog back to a healthy state.
Jump up ^ Arnold S (1997). “[Urinary incontinence in castrated bitches. Part 1: Significance, clinical aspects and etiopathogenesis]”. Schweiz. Arch. Tierheilkd. (in German). 139 (6): 271–6. PMID 9411733.
The virus attacks rapidly-dividing cells in a dog’s body, most severely affecting the intestinal tract. Parvovirus also attacks the white blood cells, and when young animals are infected, the virus can damage the heart muscle and cause lifelong cardiac problems.
Jump up ^ Eigenmann, JE, Eigenmann, RY, Rijnberk, A, van der Gaag, I, Zapf, J, Froesch, ER. (1983). “Progesterone-controlled Growth Hormone Overproduction and Naturally Occurring Canine Diabetes and Acromegaly”. Acta Endocrinologica. Retrieved 25 January 2011.
Elbow dysplasia is a condition found more commonly in large breeds. It incorporates several different hereditary conditions of the elbow, including osteochondritis of the medial condyle of the humerus, fragmentation of the medial coronoid process of the ulna, and ununited anconeal process of the ulna.
The most common form of the disease in dogs is Type I, insulin-dependent diabetes, which occurs when the pancreas is incapable of producing or secreting adequate levels of insulin. Dogs who have Type I diabetes require insulin therapy to survive.
They’re commonly known as hot spots, but the medical term for those bare, inflamed, red areas you often see on dogs is acute moist dermatitis — a bacterial skin infection. Anything that irritates your dog’s skin enough to make him scratch or chew can lead to the pain and itch of hot spots, which, if left untreated, can quickly grow larger.
Facial nerve paralysis* is most commonly caused in dogs by trauma, otitis media, or as an idiopathic condition. Signs include an inability to blink, drooping of the ear, and drooping of the lips on the affected side, although in chronic conditions fibrosis occurs and the ear and lips may appear to be in an abnormal position.
Tapeworms* are also common and in the dog are usually Dipylidium caninum, which is spread by ingesting fleas and lice. Also common is Taenia pisiformis, spread by ingesting rabbits and rodents. Rare tapeworm infections are caused by species of the genera Echinococcus, Mesocestoides, and Spirometra. There are usually no symptoms.
Samoyed hereditary glomerulopathy (SHG) is an hereditary noninflammatory disease, of the renal glomeruli occurring in the Samoyed breed of dog. The disease has been shown to be a model for hereditary nephritis (HN) in humans
Pulmonary hypertension* is high pressure in the pulmonary artery. In dogs it can be caused by heartworm disease, pulmonary thromboembolism, or chronic hypoxemia (low oxygen). It can result in right-sided heart disease (cor pulmonale). Signs include difficulty breathing, cyanosis, and exercise intolerance.
Humans can also spread the virus by touching a dog or item contaminated with the virus and then transferring that to other dogs, says Weese, which is why it’s so important for dog owners to wash their hands after contact with a sick animal.
Jump up ^ Häggström J, Boswood A, O’Grady M, et al. (2008). “Effect of pimobendan or benazepril hydrochloride on survival times in dogs with congestive heart failure caused by naturally occurring myxomatous mitral valve disease: the QUEST study”. J. Vet. Intern. Med. 22 (5): 1124–35. doi:10.1111/j.1939-1676.2008.0150.x. PMID 18638016.
Congestive heart failure* is the result of any severe, overwhelming heart disease that most commonly results in pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs), pleural effusion (fluid around the lungs), and/or ascites (fluid in the abdomen). It can be caused by the above two diseases, congenital heart defects such as patent ductus arteriosus, pulmonary hypertension, heartworm (Dirofilaria immitis) disease, or pericardial effusion. Signs depend on which side of the heart is affected. Left-sided heart failure results in rapid and/or difficulty breathing and sometimes coughing from a build-up of fluid in the lungs (pulmonary edema). Right-sided heart failure results in a large liver (congestion) and build-up of fluid in the abdomen (ascites), uncommonly fluid around the lungs (pleural effusion), or, rarely, peripheral edema.
Jump up ^ Braddock JA, Church DB, Robertson ID (2004). “Selegiline Treatment of Canine Pituitary-Dependent Hyperadrenocorticism” (PDF). Australian Veterinary Journal. Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 November 2010. Retrieved 8 April 2011. (PDF)
So keep those chompers clean! Brush regularly throughout your dog’s lifetime—meaning at least once a week—offer bully sticks or other hard chew toys to remove plaque, or get a professional teeth cleaning done at your vet’s office, which requires anesthesia but is quite effective.
Bacterial diseases in dogs are usually not contagious from dog to dog; instead they are usually the result of wound colonization, opportunistic infections secondary to decreased resistance (often the result of viral infections), or secondary to other conditions (pyoderma secondary to skin allergies or pyometra secondary to cystic endometrial hyperplasia). These examples are not considered infectious diseases because they do not satisfy Koch’s postulates – for example Staphylococcus intermedius, a commonly isolated bacteria from skin infections in dogs, would not cause pyoderma when introduced to a healthy dog. In all likelihood that type of bacteria is already present on the skin of a healthy dog.
How to treat: Prevention is your best option. It starts with getting your dog shots every year. You should also monitor your dog’s activity to make sure he isn’t interacting with rabies infected animals in the wild. If you suspect that your dog has rabies, call Animal Control immediately and avoid your dog as much as possible.
Certain breeds are more likely to develop particular tumors, larger ones especially. The Golden Retriever is especially susceptible to lymphoma, with a lifetime risk of 1 in 8. Boxers and Pugs are prone to multiple mast cell tumors. Scottish Terriers have eighteen times the risk of mixed breed dogs to develop transitional cell carcinoma, a type of urinary bladder cancer.
Brucellosis in dogs is caused by Brucella canis. It is a sexually transmitted disease, but can also be spread through contact with aborted fetuses. The most common sign is abortion during the last trimester or stillbirth. Other symptoms include inflammation of the intervertebral disc and eye (uveitis), and inflammation of the testicle (orchitis) and prostate (prostatitis) in males.
“He is soooo cute,” you thought when you first laid eyes on your dog. And—yay!—he seemed to like you too. So you brought him home—only to realize that maybe you weren’t totally prepared for the work this relationship involved. Well, your mom was right (again): Owning a dog IS a big responsibility, from training to feeding to keeping it stress-free. “We don’t have that many years with our dogs,” says Whole Dog Journal editor Nancy Kerns. Here’s how to make sure each day is filled with health—and happiness for you both.
“Chase has no known medical history, so everything was on the table, and that was a problem,” owner Scott Picken said. “It wasn’t until the fourth vet visit that a blasto test was done and by the time it came back positive, he was pretty sick.”