Infectious diseases that affect dogs are important not only from a veterinary standpoint, but also because of the risk to public health; an example of this is rabies. Genetic disorders also affect dogs, often due to selective breeding to produce individual dog breeds. Due to the popularity of both commercial and homemade dog foods, nutrition is also a heavily studied subject.
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.
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.
Grapes and raisins can cause acute kidney failure in dogs  (see also grape and raisin toxicity in dogs). The exact mechanism is not known, nor is there any means to determine the susceptibility of an individual dog. While as little as one raisin can be toxic to a susceptible 10 pounds (4.5 kg) dog, some other dogs have eaten as much as a pound of grapes or raisins at a time without ill effects. The affected dog usually vomits a few hours after consumption and begins showing signs of renal failure three to five days later. A mycotoxin is suspected to be involved, but one has not been found in grapes or raisins ingested by affected dogs. The reason some dogs develop renal failure following ingestion of grapes and raisins is not known. The most common pathological finding is proximal renal tubular necrosis.
Certain breeds are prone to specific cancers. Boxers, Boston terriers and Golden Retrievers are among the breeds that most commonly develop mast cell tumors or lymphoma, while large and giant breeds like Great Danes and Saint Bernards are much more likely to suffer from bone cancer than smaller breeds.
Melanomas* account for four to six percent of skin tumors in dogs and are usually benign. They are the second most common tumor of the toe and are malignant in this location. Malignant melanoma is also a common oral tumor in dogs. Malignant tumors most commonly spread to the lymph nodes and lungs.
Jump up ^ Di Marco, Viviani (2009). “Advances in the Diagnosis and Management of Canine Hyperadrenocorticism”. Proceedings of the 34th World Congress of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association. Retrieved 25 January 2011.
Sensitivity to anaesthesia can occur in any breed, but sighthounds have been the breeds most documented to have anesthetic concerns. Sighthounds are known to have prolonged recovery times from ultra short-acting thiobarbiturates such as thiopental.
Orthopedic diseases in dogs can be developmental, hereditary, traumatic, or degenerative. Because of the active nature of dogs, injuries happen frequently. One of the most common of these is an anterior cruciate ligament injury, a condition which often requires surgery. Bone fractures are a frequent occurrence in outdoor dogs due to trauma from being hit by cars. Degenerative joint disease is common in older dogs and is one of the most likely reasons for prescription of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
Parasites, particularly intestinal worms such as hookworms, tapeworms and roundworms, can be transmitted in a dog’s feces. Some tapeworms have fleas as intermediate hosts: the worm egg must be consumed by a flea to hatch, then the infected flea must be ingested (usually by the dog while grooming itself, but occasionally by a human through various means) for the adult worm to establish itself in the intestines. The worm’s eggs then pass through the intestines and adhere to the nether regions of the dog, and the cycle begins again.
We also need to be aware of the regular check-ups and standard treatments that can apply to all dogs, such as vaccinations, desexing, dental care, worming as well as treating fleas and ticks. Other common health issues that you might come across include allergies, arthritis, diabetes, ear infections and obesity. Getting to know the basics of your dog’s health and wellbeing will go a long way to ensuring they live a long and happy life with you by their side.
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.
Tick-borne diseases are common in dogs. Lyme disease, or borreliosis, is caused by Borrelia burgdorferi and spread by Ixodes pacificus on the West coast of the United States and by I. scapularis (deer tick) in the rest of the U.S. Signs and symptoms include fever, joint swelling and pain, lameness, and swelling of the lymph nodes. It has been diagnosed in dogs in all 48 states of the continental U.S. Ehrlichia canis, which causes canine ehrlichiosis, and Rickettsia rickettsii, which causes Rocky Mountain spotted fever, are both spread by the American dog tick, Dermacentor variabilis, and the brown dog tick, Rhipicephalus sanguineous.
Symptoms of chocolate poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, pacing, panting, and shaking. More serious cases could cause an irregular heart beat, seizures, heart attack, or even death. If you think you dog has eaten any chocolate, do not wait to take him to the doctor.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“Some will get secondary infections with bacteria. Some dogs can die but it’s pretty uncommon. That’s more likely in dogs that already have other diseases: respiratory disease, heart disease or other things that make them more likely to get a serious illness,” he said.
What to look for: Since kennel cough is a respiratory infection, it can be easily transmitted from one dog to another when they interact. Look for lethargy, coughing, leaky nose and eyes or loss of appetite as common signs that your dog might have kennel cough.
If possible, contact the owner and ensure the animal has a current rabies vaccination. You will need the rabies vaccine license number, name of the veterinarian that administered the vaccine, and the owner’s name, address, and phone number.
Jump up ^ Carmichael, L. (2004). “Neonatal Viral Infections of Pups: Canine Herpesvirus and Minute Virus of Canines (Canine Parvovirus-1)”. Recent Advances in Canine Infectious Diseases. Archived from the original on 2006-08-18. Retrieved 2006-06-25.
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.
Mouse and rat poison* ingestion is common in dogs. Most rodenticides in the United States are anticoagulant by depleting Vitamin K. This type is the most frequent cause of poisoning in pets. Third generation products contain brodifacoum or bromadiolone and are toxic after a single ingestion. Signs include spontaneous and excessive bleeding internally and externally. Treatment is with Vitamin K supplementation. Other rodenticides may contain cholecalciferol which causes hypercalcemia and leads to heart and kidney problems. Newer rodenticides may contain bromethalin which causes central nervous system signs such as seizures, muscle tremors, and depression.
“Be aware of it and insist a blasto test be done early,” Picken says. “It’s a small price to pay to eliminate the possibility of a tragic outcome. I found the perfect rescue dog and was ecstatic about the thought of having so many good years with him. To go from that to the heartbreak of losing him so quickly is a pretty steep fall.”
Umbilical hernia* is a failure of the umbilical ring of the abdominal wall to close. They are very common and can be caused by genetics or by traction on the umbilical cord or by the cord being cut too close to the body. They are corrected by surgery.
Laryngeal paralysis is unilateral or bilateral paralysis of the larynx. In dogs it can be congenital, seen in the Bouvier des Flandres, Bull Terrier, Dalmatian, Rottweiler and Huskies, or an acquired, idiopathic disease, seen in older Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, St. Bernards, and Irish Setters. Signs include change in voice and difficulty breathing.
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.
The best outcomes seem to be achieved by catching it early and the animal receiving high-quality veterinary care. Whilst some infected dogs do survive the treatments of skin sores and kidney failure, unfortunately, many do not – it is estimated that treatment is only successful in around 20-30% of cases.