“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.
Vaccine reactions are adverse events which occur following vaccination, including granuloma formation, but most commonly the term vaccine reaction is used to describe a type I hypersensitivity reaction. The most common signs are facial swelling and hives, but more rarely very serious signs such as hypotension and collapse may occur.
Jump up ^ Mordecai, Adam L.; Bain, Perry J.; Latimer, Kenneth S. “Blastomycosis In Dogs and Cats”. College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Georgia. Archived from the original on 2006-09-14. Retrieved 2006-11-26.
“The first sign that is normally seen is a skin sore that isn’t caused by a known injury. Most commonly these sores are found below the elbow or knee and appear as a distinct swelling, a patch of red skin or are open and ulcer-like.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)* is an immune system disease characterized by the presence of antibodies to nucleic acid and/or antibodies to red blood cells, platelets, lymphocytes, clotting factors, and thyroglobulin. The disease can result in deposition of immune complexes or autoimmune disease. Immune complex deposition can cause vasculitis, meningitis, neuritis, and joint and skin disease. The most commons signs are hemolytic anemia or thrombocytopenia.
Jump up ^ Rijnberk A. (2002). “The mammary gland, an endocrine gland”. Nederlands tijdschrift voor geneeskunde. Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde (PubMed Summary in English). 146 (51): 2457–62. PMID 12534096.
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.
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.
Gastric dilatation volvulus, or gastric torsion and bloat, primarily affects breeds with deep, narrow chests, such as Great Danes, St. Bernards, German Shepherds, Standard Poodles and Irish Setters. The stomach twists on its supporting ligaments, sealing off the exits, and the contents begin to generate gas pressure which is very painful and rapidly causes shock and necrosis of large areas of stomach tissue. It can be fatal within a few hours. Dogs who have experienced bloat are very susceptible to recurrences. Treatment involves stabilization and abdominal surgery to tack the dog’s stomach down to prevent recurrence (gastropexy).
Anal fistulae*, known as perianal fistulae in dogs, are most common in German Shepherd Dogs. They are characterized by draining tracts in the skin around the anus. The cause is unknown. Surgical treatment is common, but recently use of cyclosporine in combination with ketoconazole has been shown to be effective.
An infectious disease is caused by the presence of organisms such as viruses, bacteria, fungi, or parasites (either animalian or protozoan). Most of these diseases are spread directly from dog to dog, while others require a vector such as a tick or mosquito. Certain infectious diseases are a concern from a public health standpoint because they are zoonoses (transmittable to humans).
Jump up ^ Rebar, A. H.; MacWilliams, P. S.; Feldman, B. F.; et al. (2005). “Platelets: Overview, Morphology, Quantity, Platelet Function Disorders (Thrombocytopathia or Thrombopathia)”. A Guide to Hematology in Dogs and Cats. Retrieved 2006-12-16.
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.
Jump up ^ Meurs KM1, Lahmers S, Keene BW, White SN, Oyama MA, Mauceli E, Lindblad-Toh K. A splice site mutation in a gene encoding for PDK4, a mitochondrial protein, is associated with the development of dilated cardiomyopathy in the Doberman pinscher. Hum Genet. 2012 Aug;131(8):1319-25.
Jump up ^ Eirmann, L (2017). “Chapter 167: Antioxidants, nutraceuticals, probiotics, and nutritional supplements”. In Ettinger, SJ; Feldman, EC; Cote, E. Textbook of Veterinary Internal Medicine (8th ed.). Elsevier Health Sciences. ISBN 9780323312394.
Be aware that dogs might shed Campylobacter, Giardia, hookworms, roundworms, and other germs in their stool. Plan to clean up after your pet frequently. Wash your and your child’s hands thoroughly with soap and water after feeding or cleaning up behind dogs.
Lyme disease* is a disease caused by Borrelia burgdorferi, a spirochaete, and spread by ticks of the genus Ixodes. Symptoms in dogs include acute arthritis, anorexia and lethargy. There is no rash as is typically seen in humans.
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.
Pyometra is an infection of the uterus. It is a common and potentially fatal condition in dogs. The main risk period for a female is for eight weeks after her peak standing heat (or estrus cycle) has ended.
Symptoms are basic: abdominal heaving and drooling caused by nausea. If your dog also has diarrhea, blood in the vomit, seems lethargic, continues vomiting, or can’t hold down liquids, contact your vet right away to prevent life-threatening dehydration.
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.
People start showing signs 2-14 days after exposure; these may include fever, rash, headache, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and muscle pain. RMSF can develop into a serious illness if not promptly treated.
Jump up ^ Daminet, Sylvie (2010). “Canine Hypothyroidism: Update on Diagnosis and Treatment”. Proceedings of the 35th World Congress of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association. Retrieved 25 January 2011.
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Lymphangiectasia is an intestinal disease of dogs characterized by chronic diarrhea and loss of proteins such as serum albumin and globulin. It is considered to be a chronic form of protein-losing enteropathy. Breeds commonly affected include the Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier, Norwegian Lundehund, Basenji, and Yorkshire Terrier.
Ever think, “I should Spin more,” and then remember how much you hate Spinning? Same for dogs. Not every dog is a runner or a swimmer or will want to play fetch. In fact, says Case, “If you haven’t started your dog swimming before the age of 1 or 2, it’s not going to like it”—even if it has webbed feet. “There are many more owners who want their dogs to swim than there are dogs that want to get in the water.” Tip: There’s no real data on the optimum cardio workout for dogs, says Kerns, “but the more you can get your dog outside—with the sun overhead and grass under its paws—the better.”
Hemolytic anemia* is a type of regenerative anemia found in dogs characterized by destruction of the red blood cell. The most important type is immune-mediated hemolytic anemia, which can be a primary disease or secondary to cancer, infection, drugs, or vaccinations. Antibodies are present on the cell surface, leading to lysis and severe anemia. Other causes of hemolytic lesion include hypophosphatemia, exposure to toxins such as lead, infections such as ehrlichiosis or babesiosis, and rarely, neonatal isoerythrolysis. The behavioral condition pica, especially when involving the eating of concrete dust, tile grout, or sand, may be a sign of hemolytic anemia, indicating the need for a complete blood count to investigate a possible diagnosis.
Every year when you bring your pet in for a check-up, your veterinarian likely talks to you about vaccines and gives Fluffy or Fido a good look over. They may draw blood, or recommend preventative care routines, like a dental cleaning or grooming. But what are some of the most common serious ailments for cats and dogs that your veterinarian wants to help you prevent and control?
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.
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.
Renal failure (kidney failure) * is common in dogs and may be found in acute or chronic forms. It is defined by a loss of function of about 75 percent of the filtration system of the kidney and characterized by azotemia and low specific gravity of the urine. Acute renal failure can be caused by loss of blood supply, hypercalcemia, or toxins such as ethylene glycol (antifreeze) or aminoglycoside antibiotics (see: ethylene glycol poisoning). Chronic renal failure can be congenital and/or inherited or caused by cancer, infection, hypertension, glomerulonephritis, amyloidosis, progressive interstitial fibrosis, or any of the causes of acute renal failure.