Diabetes in dogs is a complex disease caused by either a lack of the hormone insulin or an inadequate response to insulin. After a dog eats, his digestive system breaks food into various components, including glucose—which is carried into his cells by insulin, a hormone secreted by the pancreas. When a dog does not produce insulin or cannot utilize it normally, his blood sugar levels elevate. The result is hyperglycemia, which, if left untreated, can cause many complicated health problems for a dog.
Tapeworms* are also common and in the dog are usually Dipylidium caninum, which is spread by ingesting fleas and lice. Also common is Taenia pisiformis, spread by ingesting rabbits and rodents. Rare tapeworm infections are caused by species of the genera Echinococcus, Mesocestoides, and Spirometra. There are usually no symptoms.
Vestibular disease* is an uncommon condition in older dogs. Most cases are idiopathic, but it can also be caused by otitis interna, or inner ear infection, tumors, and encephalitis. Signs include nystagmus, head tilt, circling, vomiting, and falling to one side. Idiopathic vestibular disease will usually resolve in a few days to a few weeks.
10. Kidney disease: Kidney disease is common in senior cats, but also seen in cats and dogs of all ages. It can be congenital or develop as the pet ages. While cats with kidney disease can be treated and kept healthy for several years in most cases, dogs typically deteriorate more quickly. Kidney health is typically evaluated with annual bloodwork at your veterinarian.
Signs of vestibular disease include head tilt, circling, nystagmus (an abnormal movement of the eyes), and difficulty or inability to stand. These clinical signs are similar to those seen in humans experiencing vertigo. Vestibular disease may have many causes. Elderly dogs are susceptible to an idiopathic (meaning due to unknown causes) form of vestibular disease commonly called “old dog vestibular disease” or idiopathic peripheral vestibular disease. The signs may improve rapidly or take a few days. Less commonly, vestibular signs can also be caused by inner ear disease, a brain tumor, a stroke, or other causes. The major risk with idiopathic peripheral vestibular disease is that the dog is often unable to eat, drink, or go outside to urinate or defecate. These cases must receive supportive therapy of intravenous fluids and nutrition; a light sedative is sometimes administered, as the dog may be very stressed by the experience.
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.
Luxating patella is a medial or lateral displacement of the patella, or kneecap. It is strongly suspected to be inherited, but can also result from trauma. It is more common in smaller breeds of dogs 
Pica in dogs may be a sign of Immune-mediated hemolytic anemia, especially when it involves eating substances such as tile grout, concrete dust, and sand. Dogs exhibiting this form of pica should be tested for anemia with a Complete blood count including Hematocrit levels, or Packed cell volume.
Retinal dysplasia is an eye disease affecting the retina. It is usually a nonprogressive disease and can be caused by viral infections, drugs, vitamin A deficiency, or genetics. Retinal dysplasia is characterized by folds or rosettes (round clumps) of the retinal tissue.
Cancer is a class of diseases in which cells grow uncontrollably, invade surrounding tissue and may spread to other areas of the body. As with people, dogs can get various kinds of cancer. The disease can be localized (confined to one area, like a tumor) or generalized (spread throughout the body).
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.
Legg-Calvé-Perthes syndrome, also known as Perthes disease or avascular necrosis of the femoral head, is characterized by a deformity of the head of the femur and hip pain. It occurs in small breed puppies.
People exposed to Salmonella might have diarrhea, vomiting, fever, or abdominal cramps. Infants, elderly persons, and those with weakened immune systems are more likely than others to develop severe illness.
People who become infected with leptospirosis might not have any signs of the disease. Others will have nonspecific flu-like signs within 2-7 days after exposure. These symptoms usually resolve without medical treatment, but can reappear and lead to more severe disease.
As a dog parent, it is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of common illnesses so you can seek veterinary help for your canine friend as soon as possible. Read on for information about diseases and other medical inflictions that frequently impact dogs.
Brachycephalic airway obstructive syndrome is a condition of brachycephalic (short-nosed) dogs, characterized by the presence of stenotic nares, elongated soft palate, narrow trachea, collapsed larynx, and everted laryngeal saccules. Signs include difficult and noisy breathing. Surgical options are available.
Cerebellar hypoplasia is an incomplete development of the cerebellum. The most common cause in dogs is an in utero infection with canine herpesvirus. It is also seen associated with lissencephaly in Wire-haired Fox Terriers and Irish Setters, and as a separate condition in Chow Chows.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Salmon poisoning disease is a fatal disease caused by infection with a rickettsia, either Neorickettsia helminthoeca or Neorickettsia elokominica. Dogs are infected by eating raw salmon from the Pacific Northwest.
Antifreeze (ethylene glycol), due to its sweet taste, poses an extreme danger of poisoning to dogs and cats if ingested. Even a very small amount such as a tablespoon can easily prove fatal. The antifreeze itself is not toxic, but is metabolized via the liver to the toxins glycolate and oxalate, which cause intoxication and vomiting, metabolic acidosis, and finally acute kidney failure leading to seizures and death. By the time clinical signs are observed, the kidneys are usually too damaged for the dog to survive so acting quickly is important. Immediate treatments include inducing vomiting by using apomorphine or dilute hydrogen peroxide solution (if this can be done shortly after ingestion), but these merely reduce the amount absorbed – immediate veterinary treatment is still usually imperative due to the high toxicity of the compound. Medical treatments may include fomepizole (preferred treatment) which competes favorably with the toxin in the body, ethanol which competes favorably in the liver long enough to allow excretion to take place, activated charcoal to further reduce uptake of undigested product, and hemodialysis to remove toxins from the blood. Dogs should not be allowed access to any place in which an antifreeze leak or spill has happened until the spill is completely cleaned out. Some brands of antifreeze contain propylene glycol instead of ethylene glycol and are marketed as being less harmful or less attractive to animals.
Wash your hands with soap and running water after contact with dogs, dog saliva, or dog stool. Be sure to assist children with handwashing. Thoroughly washing hands will reduce the risk of disease transmission to people.
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.
Ectropion (eyelid folding outward) is a common condition in dogs, usually affecting the lower lid. Breeds associated with ectropion include the Cocker Spaniel, the St. Bernard, the Bloodhound, and the Basset Hound.
Pasteurellosis is a bacterial disease associated with animal bites and scratches. Pasteurella is a normal bacterium that lives in the mouths of healthy dogs. The bacteria do not typically make dogs sick; however, dogs can develop abscesses or skin infections in places where they were scratched or bitten by another animal.
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.
Lyme disease is a bacterial disease of people and animals transmitted by ticks. In dogs the most common signs of illness of Lyme disease are lameness, fever, reluctance to eat, lack of energy, and enlarged lymph nodes, with or without swollen, painful joints.
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.
Keeping your dog away from tick-prone areas and checking your dog for ticks are always good ideas, but preventative tick medicines are the most effective way to prevent Lyme disease, and other tick-borne illnesses.
Newborn puppies receive antibodies from their mothers that help provide immunity, but immunity to CPV wears off before the puppies’ immune systems are developed enough to destroy the virus and fight off infection.
Canine parvovirus is an acute illness, which means that symptoms develop suddenly, usually within 3–10 days of exposure. In most cases, dogs that are infected with the virus do not develop the disease (called asymptomatic infection). Canine parvovirus often is fatal in puppies. Sometimes, puppies collapse and die without showing prior signs of infection.
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.
Thrombocytosis* is a condition characterized by an excess of platelets. Most cases are physiologic (caused by exercise) or reactive (secondary to some cancers, blood loss, or certain drugs). Rarely the condition is caused by a primary bone marrow disorder. In this last case, the platelets may not function normally, causing the blood to not clot properly.
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.
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.
What’s true for humans is also true for dogs. Of-the-moment food regimens—like the wolf diet, raw-food craze, or grain-free eating—aren’t worth the money or time. Yes, they can provide balanced meals, and thus aren’t harmful, Case says, “but there is no demonstrated evidence of their health benefits” over other more-standard diets. Tip: Want to provide your pooch with raw food? Be sure it’s pasteurized to ensure safety.
Tracheal collapse is characterized by incomplete formation or weakening of the cartilagenous rings of the trachea. It is most common in small and toy breeds. Signs include a cough (often called a “goose honk cough” due to its sound), especially when excited.
Prostate disease* in dogs includes benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), prostatitis (infection of the prostate), cancer, and cysts and abscesses. BPH is the most common and is found in older intact (not neutered) dogs. Signs include blood in the urine and straining to urinate and defecate. Castration is the treatment of choice. Prostatis can be associated with BPH. Bacteria causing prostatitis include E. coli, Staphylococcus spp., Streptococcus spp., and Mycoplasma spp.
Cryptorchidism is when one the testicles is retained in the abdomen or inguinal canal past a normal stage of development. It is a common occurrence in dogs and is thought to be a sex-limited autosomal recessive trait.
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.
Coccidioidomycosis* is a fungal disease caused by Coccidioides immitis or Coccidioides posadasii that affects a variety of species, including dogs. In dogs signs of primary pulmonary disease include a cough, fever, weight loss, anorexia, and lethargy. Disseminated disease occurs when the fungus has spread outside of the lungs and may include clinical signs such as lameness, pain, seizures, anterior uveitis, and localized swelling. Diagnosis of Valley Fever may include multiple tests, including serology and radiology. According to a study performed in the Tucson and Phoenix area, 28% of dogs will test positive for exposure to the fungus by two years of age, but only 6% of the dogs will be ill with clinical disease. There is an increased risk of infection associated with amount of time spent outdoors, a larger roaming space accessed by the dog, and increasing age.