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.
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.
It is suspected the disease spreads from muddy and wooded areas – dog owners who do walk their dogs in these places are advised to wash off any mud as soon as possible, and of course, keep close control of their dogs at all times to monitor where they go.
Trichiasis in dogs is hair from the eyelid growing in the wrong direction and rubbing on the eye, causing irritation. It usually occurs at the lateral upper eyelid, especially in the English Cocker Spaniel.
If your dog is showing any abnormal clinical signs as listed above, make an appointment to see your veterinarian immediately. If a diabetic dog is not treated, he can develop secondary health problems like cataracts and severe urinary tract problems. Ultimately, untreated diabetes can cause coma and death.
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.
Pericardial effusion* is a collection of fluid in the pericardium. It is usually serosanguinous (bloody fluid). Serosanguinous accumulation can be caused by cancer, usually hemangiosarcoma or a heart base tumor, idiopathic pericarditis. Rare causes include trauma, clotting disorders, and left atrial rupture. Serous accumulation is rare and caused by heart failure, peritoneopericardial diaphragmatic hernias, uremia, pericardial cysts, or hypoalbuminemia. Rarely pericardial effusion can be caused by infection and consist of pus. An echocardiogram should be done prior to draining the fluid, if possible, to identify the cause (e.g., tumor). Drainage of the fluid (pericardiocentesis) relieves the clinical signs and, in the case of idiopathic pericarditis, can be curative.
For most dogs, insulin injections are necessary for adequate regulation of blood glucose. Once your pet’s individual insulin treatment is established, typically based on weight, you will be shown how to give him his insulin injections at home.
Diabetes insipidus* in dogs can be central, caused by a lack of antidiuretic hormone (ADH), or nephrogenic, caused by a lack of response of the kidneys to ADH. Neither form is common. Central diabetes insipidus (CDI) is usually idiopathic, but can also be caused by head trauma or tumors of the brain. Nephrogenic diabetes insipidus (NDI) can be primary (hereditary) or secondary (caused by a variety of metabolic and renal diseases, including Cushing’s syndrome and pyometra). Because the disease is characterized by an inability to concentrate urine, the most common sign is increased drinking and urinating. Treatment of CDI is to use desmopressin, a synthetic analog of ADH. Treatment of NDI is to treat the underlying cause, if any.
^ 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.
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.
Jump up ^ Dunayer EK, Gwaltney-Brant SM (October 2006). “Acute hepatic failure and coagulopathy associated with xylitol ingestion in eight dogs”. J. Am. Vet. Med. Assoc. 229 (7): 1113–7. doi:10.2460/javma.229.7.1113. PMID 17014359.
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.
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.
Urinary incontinence* is leakage of urine, usually due to incompetence of the urethral sphincter in adult dogs and ectopic ureter (a congenital condition in which the ureter enters the urinary tract posterior to the urethral sphincter) in puppies. In adult dogs it is most commonly seen in large spayed females. The lack of estrogens in spayed dogs has been linked to development of incontinence. Replacement of estrogens, phenylpropanolamine, and surgery have all been used for treatment.
Patent ductus arteriosus* is one of the most common congenital heart defect in dogs around the world. It is inherited in toy and miniature Poodles, and seen commonly in German Shepherds, Pomeranians, Bichon Frises, and Malteses. Signs include a continuous heart murmur, bounding (strong) femoral pulse, tachypnea (increased breathing rate), dyspnea (labored breathing), and exercise intolerance.
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.
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.
“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.”
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.
Nuclear sclerosis is a consistent finding in dogs greater than seven years old. Nuclear sclerosis appears as a bilateral bluish-grey haziness at the nucleus, or center of the lens, and has little effect on vision. This is may be confused with cataracts.
Jump up ^ Grauer, Gregory F. (2002). “Diagnosis and Management of Canine Glomerular Disease”. Proceedings of the 27th World Congress of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association. Retrieved 2007-01-16.
People who are infected with brucellosis will usually become sick within 6-8 weeks of exposure. Sick people will have flu-like symptoms that last 2-4 weeks. Sometimes brucellosis can become a chronic illness that can be difficult to treat.
Due to the indiscriminate nature of a dog’s appetite, gastrointestinal upset is a frequent occurrence in dogs. The most common symptoms are anorexia, vomiting, and diarrhea. Foreign body ingestion can lead to acute obstruction of the gastrointestinal tract, a very dangerous condition. Acute pancreatitis can also result from dietary indiscretion.
Canine glaucoma is an increase of pressure within the eye. It is a common condition in dogs. It can be caused by abnormal development of the drainage angle of the eye, lens luxation, uveitis, or cancer. Cocker Spaniels, Poodles, and Basset Hounds are predisposed.
Ringworm is a condition caused by a fungus that can infect skin, hair, and nails of both people and animals. Ringworm is transmitted from animals to people through direct contact with an infected animal’s skin or hair. Puppies are most commonly affected and can have circular areas of hair loss anywhere on the body.
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.
Poisoning with pain medications is common. Aspirin, paracetamol (acetaminophen, Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil), and naproxen (Aleve) can all cause severe clinical signs in dogs, including vomiting blood, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Specifically, aspirin can cause metabolic acidosis and bleeding disorders, acetaminophen can cause liver disease, ibuprofen can cause kidney disease, and naproxen can cause ulcers in the stomach, which can perforate. Treatment depends on the clinical signs.
Liver failure* is common. Signs include vomiting, loss of appetite, weight loss, and jaundice. Causes include bacterial or viral infection, toxic insult, cancer, copper storage diseases, or it may be idiopathic.
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.
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.
Depending on the size of your pup, some health problems are more prevalent than others. For instance, big dogs tend to deal with more bone and joint problems, whereas smaller dogs tend to suffer more with organ and breathing disorders. Again, each breed is unique, but it is important to understand what common dog illnesses and health issues affect your pet. See below for the most common types of dog health issues and make sure to take immediate action if you think something serious is wrong with your dog.
The best way to diagnose a worm problem is with a visit to the vet. Treatment depends on which type of worm your dog has, but generally includes an oral medication and may require follow-up. Don’t try treating worms yourself: A medication that kills roundworms, for example, doesn’t kill tapeworms.
Granulomatous meningoencephalitis (GME) (including Pug Dog encephalitis and other noninfectious causes of meningoencephalitis) is an inflammatory disease of the central nervous system of dogs. It is a form of meningoencephalitis. The disease is more common in female toy dogs of young and middle age.
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).
Many studies show the health benefits of dog ownership. Dogs not only provide comfort and companionship, but several studies have found that dogs decrease stress and promote relaxation. Dogs have positive impacts on nearly all life stages. They influence social, emotional, and cognitive development in children, promote an active lifestyle, and have even been able to detect oncoming epileptic seizures or the presence of certain cancers. But for all the positive benefits of keeping dogs, pet owners should be aware that dogs can carry germs that make people sick.
Jump up ^ Marks, Stanley L. (2003). “Bacterial Gastroenteritis in Dogs & Cats–More Common Than You Think”. Proceedings of the 28th World Congress of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association. Retrieved 2006-11-26.
The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit in southwestern Ontario announced this week it has confirmed infections in two dogs brought to Canada from South Korea by a U.S.-based dog rescue group. Both dogs have the H3N2 strain and their new owners have placed each of them into quarantine, away from other pets.
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.
Tetralogy of Fallot* is a congenital heart defect in dogs that includes four separate defects: pulmonic stenosis, a ventricular septal defect, right ventricular hypertrophy, and an overriding aorta. Keeshonds and Bulldogs are predisposed. Signs include cyanosis and exercise intolerance. Polycythemia is often present and, if severe, needs to be controlled with phlebotomy or drugs to suppress red blood cell production.
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.
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.
Subvalvular aortic stenosis (Subaortic stenosis; SAS) is a congenital disease in dogs characterized by left ventricular outflow tract obstruction by a discrete ring or tunnel of fibrous tissue immediately below the aortic valve. It is inherited in Newfoundlands, and also found in Golden Retrievers, Rottweilers, Boxers, Bulldogs, German Shepherds, and Samoyeds. Signs include a left basilar systolic heart murmur, weak femoral pulse, fainting and exercise intolerance. Dogs with severe SAS are predisposed to dying suddenly.
Yes, puppies are a bundle of energy, but even they need disciplined exercise like leash walks. However, don’t start running and hiking with your pooch until your larger-breed dog is at least 1.5 years old. This will help avoid injuries while the growth plates in the legs and other long bones are still knitting closed. Tip: Be sure to build up your dog’s endurance, just as you did your own, if you’re hoping to take it with you on those marathon-training runs.
Being familiar with these common dog health issues should help you know which ones you can treat yourself, and when it’s time to see a vet. If you find yourself visiting the vet often perhaps pet insurance is something you should consider. It can greatly reduce your out-of-pocket cost when visiting your veterinarian. Check out our Pet Insurance Comparison to see which pet insurance providers might be a good fit for your family.
Some dogs have food allergies just as humans do; this is particular to the individual dog and not characteristic of the species as a whole. An example is a dog becoming physically ill from salmon; many humans likewise have seafood allergies.