Jump up ^ Jansen, Barbara; Valii, Victor E. O.; Thorner, Paul; Baumal, Reuben; Lumsden, John J. (1987). “Samoyed hereditary glomerulopathy: serial, clinical and laboratory (urine, serum biochemistry and hematology) studies”. Can. J. Vet. Res. 51 (3): 387–393. PMC 1255344 . PMID 3651895.
Pulmonic stenosis* is a congenital heart disease in dogs characterized by right ventricular outflow tract obstruction. Most commonly the narrowing occurs at the pulmonary valve but it can also occur below the valve (subvalvular) or above the valve (supravalvular). The most commonly affected breeds include terriers, Bulldogs, Miniature Schnauzers, Chihuahuas, Samoyeds, Beagles, Keeshonds, Mastiffs, and Bullmastiffs. Signs may include exercise intolerance, but often there is only a heart murmur.
Heartworm is easily preventable with an inexpensive, chewable pill or topical medication available as a vet’s prescription. The pills or topical are usually administered monthly and can be given to dogs under 6 months of age without a blood test. Older animals must be screened for the disease prior to starting medication.
Jump up ^ Rijnberk, A, Eigenmann, JE, Belshaw, BE, Hampshire, J, Altszuler, N. (1980). “Acromegaly associated with transient overproduction of growth hormone in a dog”. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. Journal-American Veterinary Medical Association. 177 (6): 534–7. PMID 7440347.
The dog tapeworm is a parasite spread to dogs, cats, and people through the ingestion of infected fleas. This parasite is common but rarely causes illness in pets or people. Infections with Dipylidium caninum can sometimes be detected by finding rice-like segments of the tapeworm crawling near the anus or in fresh bowel movements. In severe infections, pets can lose weight and have mild diarrhea.
Gastrointestinal cancer* is uncommon in dogs. The most common type is lymphoma. Nonlymphomatous esophageal cancer is especially rare, the most common types being squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, leiomyosarcoma, and osteogenic sarcoma associated with the parasite Spirocerca lupi. Nonlymphomatous stomach cancer is usually an adenocarcinoma, and nonlymphomatous intestinal cancer is usually polyps, adenomas, adenocarcinomas, leiomyosarcomas, and leiomyomas.
There are several fungal diseases that are systemic in nature, meaning they are affecting multiple body systems. Blastomycosis, caused by Blastomyces dermatitidis, is a fungal disease that affects both dogs and humans, although it is only rarely zoonotic. It is found mainly in the United States in the Mississippi River and Great Lakes areas. It has also been reported in four Canadian provinces; Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec. Signs include weight loss, cough, fever, enlarged lymph nodes, draining skin lesions, eye inflammation with discharge, blindness, and lameness. Because dogs are ten times more likely to become infected from the environment than humans, they are considered to be sentinels for the disease. Treatment requires a minimum 60-90 day course of oral antifungal medication or in severe cases intravenous antifungal injections.
Obesity is an increasingly common problem in dogs in Western countries. As with humans, obesity can cause numerous health problems in dogs (although dogs are much less susceptible to the common cardiac and arterial consequences of obesity than humans are). According to a study published in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine, the prevalence of obesity in dogs is between 22 and 40 percent.
Cushing’s syndrome, also known as hyperadrenocorticism, is characterized by an increase in glucocorticoids secreted by the adrenal glands. About 85 percent of cases are caused by a tumor in the pituitary gland, while 15 percent are caused by an adrenal tumor. The pituitary gland produces a hormone that signals the adrenal gland to produce cortisol; a tumor can cause it to produce the adrenal-stimulating hormone even when it is not needed. Signs include increased appetite, increased drinking and urination, a pot-bellied appearance, muscle weakness, and lethargy. Cushing’s can be caused by overuse of steroid medications; in some cases, stopping the medication is enough to solve the problem. Diagnosis can be difficult as there are no tests with both high sensitivity and specificity. Treatments inclulde mitotane, trilostane, ketoconazole, or selegiline. Surgery is used in some cases of adrenal tumors.
Canine parvovirus is caused by infection with CPV, most often, CPV-2a or CPV-2b. All dogs are at risk for developing canine parvovirus. Puppies less than 4 months old and dogs that have not been vaccinated against the virus are at increased risk for infection.
Older, small breeds of dogs are prone to congestive heart failure due to degeneration of the mitral valve. This condition is known to be inherited in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. Degenerative valve disease is the most common form of heart disease in dogs. Mitral insufficiency leads to turbulent blood flow and increased pressure in the left atrium. This causes increased pressure in the pulmonary blood vessels and pulmonary edema (a build-up of fluid in the lungs). Decreased output of blood by the left ventricle causes the body to compensate by increasing sympathetic tone and activating the renin–angiotensin–aldosterone system (RAAS). Increased sympathetic tone leads to increased peripheral vascular resistance and increased heart rate and contractility of the heart muscle. Chronic elevation of sympathetic tone damages the heart muscle. Activation of the RAAS results in increased retention of water and sodium by the kidneys, vasoconstriction, and other effects that result in increased blood volume. It also results in an increase in diastolic pressure and leads to pulmonary edema. Treatment for congestive heart failure has historically focussed on two types of drugs that address these concerns: diuretics (especially furosemide), which decrease blood volume, and ACE inhibitors, which interrupt the RAAS. Recently, pimobendan – which increases the force with which the heart muscle contracts, and is also a vasodilator – is being more widely used in the treatment of congestive heart failure caused by valvular disease. A major veterinary study, called the QUEST study (QUality of life and Extension of Survival Time), published in September 2008 found that dogs with congestive heart failure receiving pimobendan plus furosemide had significantly better survival outcomes than those receiving benazepril (an ACE inhibitor) plus furosemide. However, ACE inhibitors and pimobendan have different mechanisms of action, and many veterinary cardiologists recommend they be used concurrently. Within the past decade, a new surgical technique has been developed for mitral valve repair that replaces or strengthens the mitral valve chords with polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) prostheses and tightens the mitral valve ring to reduce or eliminate regurgitation.
Histoplasmosis, caused by Histoplasma capsulatum, is a disease with a worldwide distribution. In the United States it is mainly found in the Mississippi and Ohio River areas, most commonly in bird and bat feces. Signs include weight loss, cough, fever, enlarged lymph nodes, and gastrointestinal symptoms. Coccidioidomycosis, caused by Coccidioides immitis, is found in arid and semi-arid regions of Central and South America, Mexico, and southwestern United States. Signs include weight loss, fever, cough, enlarged lymph nodes, and lameness.
Some cancers can be cured, while others cannot. Please note that if your dog’s cancer is not curable, there are still many things you can do to make your pet feel better. Don’t hesitate to talk to your vet about your options. And remember good nutrition and loving care can greatly enhance your dog’s quality of life.
^ Jump up to: a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag Ettinger, Stephen J.; Feldman, Edward C. (1995). Textbook of Veterinary Internal Medicine (4th ed.). W. B. Saunders Company. ISBN 0-7216-6795-3.
3. Dental disease: While everyone dreads “dog breath,” a stinky mouth is no joke. Both cats and dogs can develop tartar, gum disease, and cavities that require a professional dental cleaning. Dental disease is the perfect example of “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” because bad oral health can also lead to dangerous heart and kidney conditions in pets. Teach your kittens and puppies that brushing their teeth is a normal part of your grooming routine and save your pet a dental procedure down the line.
Subaortic stenosis, or SAS, is a genetic ailment that causes a narrowing of the passage of blood between the heart and the aorta. This leads to heart problems and sometimes sudden death. It affects larger breeds such as the Newfoundland Dog and the Golden Retriever. In some dogs, such as collies, the blue merle or harlequin coloring is actually the heterozygote of a partially recessive gene preventing proper development of the nervous system; therefore, if two such dogs are mated, on the average one quarter of the puppies will have severe genetic defects in their nervous systems and sensory organs ranging from deafness to fatal flaws.
The frequency of bilateral glaucoma with a genetic base in purebred dogs is higher than in any species except humans. Cataracts in dogs either have a genetic base or can also be caused by diabetes. Nuclear sclerosis resembles a cataract but is actually a normal age-related change.
Thyroid cancer* is rare and usually nonproductive in dogs (unlike in cats, in which it causes hyperthyroidism). One-third of thyroid tumors are small benign adenomas; the rest are malignant carcinomas, usually large and invasive.
Weese advises that, if you’re out and see a dog that’s coughing and looks sick, keep your dog away from that animal. If your dog does become sick with a cough or runny nose, keep it away from other pets for at least 2 weeks.
Pasteurella is found in 50% of patients with infected dog bite wounds. Pasteurella can cause painful wound and skin infections. In more severe cases, it can cause widespread infection and might even affect the nervous system.
Toxocara roundworms cause a parasitic disease known as toxocariasis. Dogs and people can become infected by accidentally swallowing roundworm eggs from the environment. In addition, larval worms can cross through the placenta, milk, or colostrum of a mother dog, passing the infection to her puppies. Infected puppies usually do not develop and grow well and might have a pot-bellied appearance.
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)* is a group of diseases in dogs that are idiopathic and characterized by the presence of inflammatory cell infiltrates in the stomach and/or intestinal walls. It is a common condition. Signs include vomiting, diarrhea, and weight loss. Treatment is with dietary modification and use of medications such as corticosteroids, metronidazole, sulfasalazine, and azathioprine.
Does your dog wolf his food down in a blink of an eye? Then he may be at risk of bloat, which is basically an enlarged stomach; this can become even more complicated if the stomach also turns. This prevents fluid and air from escaping the stomach, which prevents the dog from belching or vomiting.
As the name suggests, an infected mosquito injects a larva into the dog’s skin, where it migrates to the circulatory system and takes up residence in the pulmonary arteries and heart, growing and reproducing to an alarming degree. The effects on the dog are quite predictable, cardiac failure over a year or two, leading to death. Treatment of an infected dog is difficult, involving an attempt to poison the healthy worm with arsenic compounds without killing the weakened dog, and frequently does not succeed. Prevention is much the better course, via heartworm prophylactics which contain a compound which kills the larvae immediately upon infection without harming the dog. Often they are available combined with other parasite preventives.
Heartworm is a parasitic worm that lives in the heart and pulmonary arteries of an infected animal. The worms travel through the bloodstream—harming arteries and vital organs as they go—ultimately completing their journey to the vessels of the lung and the heart chamber about six months after the initial infection. Several hundred worms can live in one dog for five to seven years.
8. Arthritis: Arthritis is often seen as a rite of passage for our older pets. They may seem slow to rise in the morning, or a bit reluctant to jump up to their favorite spot on the couch. Your veterinarian can diagnose most forms of arthritis during a routine exam, but they may also recommend an x-ray to rule out other issues or evaluate how seriously inflamed the joints are. While there is no cure for arthritis, there are joint supplements, and even treatments like acupuncture, to help keep your pet as mobile as possible for as long as possible.
Syringomyelia* is a condition where a fluid filled sac develops in the spinal cord. The most important cause in dogs is by a Chiari I malformation, which is when an underdeveloped occipital bone interferes with spinal fluid circulation and results in fluid accumulation in the cervical spinal cord. This is a congenital disease most commonly found in small breeds such as the Brussels Griffon and the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Other breeds known to be affected include the Bichon Frise, Boston terrier, bull terrier, Chihuahua, French bulldog, Havanese, King Charles spaniel (the English toy spaniel), Maltese, miniature dachshunds, miniature and toy poodles, Papillon, Pomeranian, Pugs, Shih Tzu, Staffordshire bull terrier, and the Yorkshire terrier. Signs may include ataxia, weakness, and neck pain.
Because diarrhea can easily lead to dehydration, be sure your dog has plenty of clean water available, then take your pooch to the vet if the diarrhea persists for more than a day, or immediately if there’s also fever, lethargy, vomiting, dark or bloody stools, or loss of appetite.
There has been some speculation that walking dogs in particular areas of the countryside may be a contributing factor, but the Forestry Commission has yet to warn of any specific sites being dangerous, reassuring dog owners by saying “Many thousands of dogs are walked in the countryside every day and it is important to remember that only a very small number of dogs have been affected.”
Bloat can affect any dog at any age but there are breeds more susceptible to it: usually large breed, deep-chested dogs like Great Danes, German shepherds, boxers, Labrador retrievers, bloodhounds, and weimaraners. Mid-size and smaller dogs aren’t much at risk, with the exception of basset hounds and dachshunds, who also have long, broad chests.
Corneal dystrophy is a condition characterized by bilateral, noninflammatory opacity of the cornea. It appears as grayish white lines, circles, or clouding of the cornea. Corneal dystrophy can also have a crystalline appearance.
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.
Pemphigus is an uncommon autoimmune skin disease. The most common form in dogs is pemphigus foliaceus, which manifests as erosions and crusting of the skin and mucocutaneous junctions. Pemphigus vulgaris is more rare and manifests as blister-like lesions in the mouth and at mucocutaneous junctions. Bullous pemphigoid is most commonly seen in Dobermanns and Collies and appears as a scald-like lesion of the groin.
A dog who is up to date with his vaccinations and who has been bitten by a possibly rabid animal should also be given a rabies booster vaccine immediately and kept under observation (length will vary depending on your state laws).
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.
Sporotrichosis is a fungal disease caused by Sporothrix schenckii that affects both dogs and humans. It is a rare disease in dogs, with cat and horse infections predominating in veterinary medicine. The disease in dogs is usually nodular skin lesions of the head and trunk.
Laboratory tests include blood tests (e.g., to detect a low white blood cell count) and other tests to detect the virus (e.g., ELISA, electron microscopy). ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay), which detects the presence of the virus in stool, is used most often. In some cases, recent immunization with the live virus can produce a false positive test result.
How to treat: Sadly, arthritis cannot be cured, but there are things you can do to make it easier on your pet as he ages. Diet and nutrition are the two biggest things you can do to slow down the aging (and arthritis) process. Regular walks and a balanced diet of proper (age appropriate) food will keep your dog’s nutrition levels where they should be. Look for food labeled “Senior” and pay attention not to over or under feed. If your dog’s arthritis is severe, your vet can prescribe medications to alleviate the symptoms.
Spaying (females only) and neutering (both genders but more commonly males) refers to the sterilization of animals, usually by removal of the male’s testicles or the female’s ovaries and uterus, in order to eliminate the ability to procreate, and reduce sex drive. Neutering has also been known to reduce aggression in male dogs, but has been shown to occasionally increase aggression in female dogs.
Leptospirosis is a zoonotic disease caused by bacteria of the genus Leptospira. Humans and dogs become infected through contact with water, food, or soil containing urine from infected animals. This may happen by swallowing contaminated food or water or through skin contact, especially with mucosal surfaces, such as the eyes or nose, or with broken skin. In dogs, transmission most commonly occurs by drinking puddle, pond, or ditch water contaminated by urine from infected wildlife such as squirrels or raccoons. The liver and kidney are most commonly damaged by leptospirosis. Vasculitis can occur, causing edema and potentially disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC). Myocarditis, pericarditis, meningitis, and uveitis are also possible sequelae.
Every diabetic dog is an individual and will respond differently to therapy. Diabetes treatment is based on how severe the signs of disease are and whether there are any other health issues that could complicate therapy.
Hereditary orthopedic diseases are mainly found in purebred dogs. Hip dysplasia is a common problem that primarily affects larger breeds. Hip dysplasia is a defect in the shape of the hip joint which can, depending on the degree of hip luxation, be quite painful to the dog as it ages. Over time it often causes arthritis in the hips. Dysplasia can also occur in the elbow joint. Luxating patellas can be a problem for smaller breeds. It can cause lameness and pain in the hind legs.
Dogs infected with parvovirus need intensive treatment in a veterinary hospital, where they will receive antibiotics to control secondary infections, drugs to control the vomiting, intravenous fluids to treat dehydration and other supportive therapies.
Although a certain form of diabetes—the type found in dogs less than a year of age—is inherited, proper diet and regular exercise can go a long way to avoid the development of diabetes. Aside from other negative effects, obesity is known to contribute to insulin resistance.
There are all types of canine cancers, and they seem to be on the rise. A staggering 50 percent of dogs aged ten and older will develop some form of cancer, and it’s the leading cause of death of dogs in this age group.
Thrombocytopenia* is a common condition in dogs characterized by low platelet counts. Platelets are used in clotting the blood, so dogs with this condition may have spontaneous bleeding or prolonged bleeding following surgery, injury, or during an estrous cycle. Causes include some rickettsial infections such as ehrlichiosis, cancers such as hemangiosarcoma, or immune-mediated disease.
Leukemias* are progressive proliferation of cancerous white blood cells within the bone marrow, resulting in destruction of the bone marrow and pancytopenia in many cases. Types of leukemia in dogs include acute lymphoblastic leukemia, acute myelocytic leukemia, acute monocytic leukemia, acute myelomonocytic leukemia, acute megakaryocytic leukemia, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, chronic myelogenous leukemia, chronic basophilic leukemia, and chronic eosinophilic leukemia (or hypereosinophilic syndrome).