Cerebellar abiotrophy is caused by the death of Purkinje cells in the cerebellum. It results in progressive ataxia beginning at a young age. It is most commonly seen in Kerry Blue Terriers and Gordon Setters.
This list of dog diseases is a selection of diseases and other conditions found in the dog. Some of these diseases are unique to dogs or closely related species, while others are found in other animals, including humans. Not all of the articles listed here contain information specific to dogs. Articles with non-dog information are marked with an asterisk (*).
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.
Diabetes mellitus in dogs is type 1, or insulin dependent diabetes: a lack of insulin production due to destruction of pancreatic beta cells. Current research indicates no evidence of type 2 diabetes in dogs. Among the causes of diabetes mellitus in dogs are autoimmune disease or severe pancreatitis. Forms of diabetes which may not be permanent, depending on the amount of damage to the beta cells of the endocrine pancreas, are transient and secondary diabetes. Some causes of transient or secondary diabetes are Cushing’s syndrome, glucocorticoid, progestin or other steroid use, and the hormones of pregnancy or heat. In these cases, correcting the primary medical issue may mean a return to non-diabetic status. Common signs include weight loss, increased drinking and urination, and cataracts. Treatment involves insulin replacement therapy, and use of a diet high in fiber and complex carbohydrates. Oral diabetes medications cannot be used for dogs because none repair or surmount the permanent damage to the beta cells of the pancreas.
Coprophagia is the ingestion by a dog of feces, either its own or those of another dog or animal. It can be caused by medical conditions such as exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, overfeeding, or malabsorption. It can also be a behavioral problem characterized by attention-seeking, reinforcement, or as a learned behavior. Numerous health problems can arise from this activity, including internal parasites or infection with canine parvovirus or toxoplasmosis. Treatment includes behavioral modification therapy or altering the feces to affect its taste.
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.
Macadamia nuts can cause non-fatal stiffness, tremors, hyperthermia, and abdominal pain. The exact mechanism is not known. Most dogs recover with supportive care when the source of exposure is removed.
Genetics and environmental factors also play a role in cancer development. Some credit the uptick in canine cancer rates to dogs simply living longer with better health care options. Other blame dog “junk” food for the rise, with brand-name foods using ingredients thought to cause cancer. Check the labels and avoid BHT, BHA, and ethoxyquin.
Often times they suffer in silence, unable to tell us if their tummy hurts or what aches. As pet parents, we try to take the best care of our little guys and gals, but it can be hard when they can’t tell us what’s wrong.
Kennel cough is a term loosely used to describe a complex of respiratory infections—both viral and bacterial—that causes inflammation of a dog’s voice box and windpipe. It’s a form of bronchitis and is similar to a chest cold in humans.
My 13 yr old male miniature (24lb) neutered Dachshund has started to urinate when at rest. Usually at night, other than that he is acting normal & eating well. He does drink a lot but not really any more than what he has normally consumed before this all started. We are waiting for the results of his urinalysis. Any suggestions out there?
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.
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.
Because infection can potentially spread over a dog’s body and infect other animals and people, it is important that you see your vet for an accurate diagnosis if your pet is showing any signs of a skin problem.
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.
Overdoses of vitamins can be harmful in dogs. As an example, calcium in excess can cause bone problems, especially in the large-breed dogs. Over-supplementation of vitamins A and D can cause vitamin toxicity in dogs. Excess vitamin A can cause dehydration, joint pain and can also harm the blood vessels, while too much vitamin D can cause muscular atrophy, or loss of appetite.
Scotty Cramp is a disease in Scottish Terriers causing spasms and hyperflexion and hyperextension of the legs. It is caused by a disorder in serotonin metabolism that causes a deficiency of available serotonin.
My dog was having seizures quite regularly, I had been to vets and they did not have answers. This is my empty nest child. So we constantly were changing his diet, I prayed about his health constantly and one day my husband and I were talking about it and it was like a light bulb went off in my head. STOP THE DAIRY! I used to feed him cheese like it was good for him. We have stopped the dairy for over a month and he hasn’t had a seizure since. I know this probably isn’t the answer for all fur babies but it was for mine and it changed his life.
The first sign of Alabama Rot is skin sores that have not been caused by a physical injury. These sores can present as lesions, swelling, a patch of red skin, or may be open and ulcer-like. The sores are most commonly found below the knee or elbow or occasionally on the stomach or face. Usually, this will cause localised hair loss and the dog will begin licking the wound. These lesions will be followed – between two and seven days later – with outward symptoms of kidney failure: reduced appetite, fatigue, and vomiting.
Common treatments include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and immunotherapy or a combination of therapies. Success of treatment depends on the type and extent of the cancer and the aggressiveness of the therapy. Of course, early detection is best.
Rabies (hydrophobia) is a fatal viral disease that can affect any mammal, although the close relationship of dogs with humans makes canine rabies a zoonotic concern. Vaccination of dogs for rabies is commonly required by law. Please see the article dog health for information on this disease in dogs.
Atopy* is an allergy to a substance with which the dog is not necessarily in direct contact. It is a type I hypersensitivity to a substance that is inhaled or absorbed through the skin. Up to 10 percent of dogs are affected. It is common in dogs, especially seen in breeds such as Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, and Shih Tzus. The most common symptom is itching. Affected areas include the underside, the face, the feet, and the ears.
Avoid bites and scratches from dogs. Dog bites might become seriously infected or might be a source of rabies. Be cautious with unfamiliar animals. Approach dogs with care, even if they seem friendly.
Salmonella spreads to people through contaminated food (eggs and meat) or contact with stool of certain animals including dogs. Salmonella infections have been linked to some brands of dry dog food, treats, and chew toys like pig ears and to “raw food” diets for dogs. While it usually doesn’t make the dogs sick, Salmonella can cause serious illness when it is passed to people.
Most diseases that affect dogs or humans are not transferable between the two species. Diseases that can be transmitted from animals to humans are terrmed zoonoses. A well-known zoonosis is rabies, a viral infection transmitted through a bite. A common bacterial zoonosis is leptospirosis, transmitted through urine. Some of the most important zoonoses are parasitic. Zoonotic intestinal parasites transmitted through contact with feces include Toxocara canis (the canine roundworm), which causes toxocariasis, visceral larva migrans, and ocular larva migrans, and hookworms, which can cause cutaneous larva migrans. Zoonotic skin parasites include scabies, caused by the mite Sarcoptes scabiei. The most common zoonotic fungal disease is ringworm, caused in this case by Microsporum canis.
Because of the overpopulation of dogs in some countries, puppies born to strays or as the result of accidental breedings often end up being killed in animal shelters. Spaying and neutering can also decrease the risk of hormone-driven diseases such as mammary cancer, as well as undesired hormone-driven behaviors. However, certain medical problems are more likely after neutering, such as urinary incontinence in females and prostate cancer in males. The hormonal changes involved with sterilization are likely to somewhat change the animal’s personality, however, and some object to spaying and neutering as the sterilization could be carried out without the excision of organs.
Jump up ^ Modiano J, Breen M, Burnett R, Parker H, Inusah S, Thomas R, Avery P, Lindblad-Toh K, Ostrander E, Cutter G, Avery A (2005). “Distinct B-cell and T-cell lymphoproliferative disease prevalence among dog breeds indicates heritable risk”. Cancer Res. 65 (13): 5654–61. doi:10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-04-4613. PMID 15994938.
There are no specific steps you can take to prevent your dog from contracting the disease, but there is some evidence of seasonal fluctuation, with most cases appearing between November and June. New advice suggests keeping your dog away from very muddy areas.
^ Jump up to: a b Asher, L.; Diesel, G.; Summers, J.F.; McGreevy, P.D.; Collins, L.M. (2009-12-01). “Inherited defects in pedigree dogs. Part 1: Disorders related to breed standards”. Vet. J. 182 (3): 402–411. doi:10.1016/j.tvjl.2009.08.033.
Back pain* in dogs, particularly in long-backed breeds, such as Basset Hounds and Dachshunds, is usually caused by intervertebral disk disease. It is caused by degeneration and protrusion of the disk and compression of the spinal cord. It occurs most commonly in the cervical and thoracolumbar regions. Signs include back pain, hind limb weakness, and paralysis.
Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis is a disease of dogs characterized by sudden vomiting and bloody diarrhea. The symptoms are usually severe and can be fatal if not treated. It is most common in young adult dogs of any breed, but especially small dogs such as the Toy Poodle and Miniature Schnauzer.
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.
What to look for: No one wants to think about their dog getting cancer. It is one of the biggest killers in dogs and one of the most expensive diseases to treat. Look out for unusual odors, lumps, drastic weight loss, or long-lasting changes in behavior.
Mouse and rat poisons containing cholecalciferol cause hypercalcemia and hyperphosphatemia in dogs. Clinical signs include depression, loss of appetite, vomiting blood, weakness, and shock. Treatment is as above for recent exposure. When hypercalcemia occurs (which can take 1 to 2 weeks), treatment is with intravenous fluids (saline), diuretics, corticosteroids, and calcitonin. Long term prognosis is good once the dog is stabilized.
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.
Treating hot spots may involve shaving and cleaning the irritated area, antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), steroids, or topical medications, depending on how bad the hot spots are, and how much pain your pooch is in.
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.
Although the name suggests otherwise, ringworm isn’t caused by a worm at all—but a fungus that can infect the skin, hair and nails. This highly contagious disease can lead to patchy areas of hair loss on a dog and can spread to other animals—and to humans, too.
Xylitol is a sugar substitute used in chewing gum, chewable vitamins, candy, toothpaste, and other products. Although a small preliminary study indicated xylitol may be safe for dogs, other studies show significant toxicity. There have been cases of foods, candies and gums containing xylitol causing toxic or even fatal liver damage in dogs.
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.
Osteoarthritis*, also known as degenerative arthritis, is a common condition in dogs characterized by progressive deterioration of articular cartilage in the joints of the limbs. It can cause a great deal of pain and lameness. Treatment options include medications such as NSAIDs, corticosteroids, and joint fluid modifiers such as glycosaminoglycans. Other treatments include surgery, massage, warm compresses, chiropractic, and acupuncture.
Eye diseases are common in dogs. Cataracts, canine glaucoma, and entropion are seen in dogs. Canine-specific eye diseases include progressive retinal atrophy, Collie eye anomaly, sudden acquired retinal degeneration, and cherry eye. Injury to the eye can result in corneal ulcers.
Dog treats given excessively can be a cause of obesity. The type of food fed has a direct bearing on the tendency of a dog to become overweight. Table scraps, treats, even premium high-energy dog foods can contribute to obesity. Therefore, it is highly important to closely monitor the quantity of treats that a dog gets especially when the dog’s activity is diminished. Dog treats are more likely to be linked to obesity in old dogs, since in their old age they are less likely to be active and exercising. On the other hand, active dogs require and use more calories, so dog treats are not a cause of concern in younger and highly active dogs.
Atrial septal defect* is a hole in the division between the heart atria (upper chambers of the heart). It is an uncommon abnormality in dogs. Most are not clinically significant, but large defects can cause right heart failure and exercise intolerance. Standard Poodles are the most common breed diagnosed with ASD in the USA.
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)
Degenerative (myxomatous) mitral valve disease* is a common cause of congestive heart failure in dogs, especially small, older dogs. The leaflets of the valve become thickened and nodular, leading to mitral valve regurgitation and volume overload of the left side of the heart. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and Dachshunds have an inherited form of this disease.
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.
“Treatment is supportive, but is only successful in 20-30% of cases, which is why we’re encouraging all dog owners to use the online interactive guide to help them understand the clinical signs and confirmed locations of Alabama Rot.
Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is a disease of heart muscle resulting in decreased myocardial contractility. The left ventricle compensates for this disease by growing larger (eccentric or volume overload hypertrophy; AKA dilation). The left atrial is also dilated when the disease is severe. It is seen in large/giant dog breeds such as Boxers, Great Danes, and Doberman Pinschers. It is usually idiopathic, but can also be caused by taurine deficiency in American Cocker Spaniels or doxorubicin use. A mutation in the gene that encodes for pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase 4 is associated with DCM in Doberman Pinschers in the USA. Dilated cardiomyopathy usually ultimately results in congestive heart failure. Atrial fibrillation is common in giant breed dogs with DCM. Doberman Pinschers more commonly have ventricular arrhythmias (e.g., premature ventricular complexes; ventricular tachycardia) that predispose them to sudden death (i.e., ventricular fibrillation).
6. Rabies: Rabies is the disease made famous in the hearbreaking scene in Old Yeller. Thankfully, the widespread use of the rabies vaccine in recent years has made its occurrence in pets in the U.S. quite rare. However, it is still present in wild animal populations, and because rabies is always fatal, it’s critical to make sure that your pets are current on their rabies vaccination.
Unfortunately, kidney disease that develops over a pet’s lifetime—a.k.a. chronic kidney disease—is not preventable most of the time. Dogs with a genetic predisposition to kidney failure are most at risk.
If your veterinarian has diagnosed your dog with ringworm, he or she will explain what you must do to prevent the fungus from spreading to your other pets—and to the human members of the household. But keep in mind that if you have other pets, it’s likely that most of them have been exposed as well. Your veterinarian may recommend that you do the following: