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“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.
Heartworm is easily preventable with an inexpensive, chewable pill or topical medication available as a vet’s prescription. The pills or topical are usually administered monthly and can be given to dogs under 6 months of age without a blood test. Older animals must be screened for the disease prior to starting medication.
Jump up ^ Serfass P, Chetboul V, Sampedrano CC, Nicolle A, Benalloul T, Laforge H, Gau C, Hébert C, Pouchelon JL, Tissier R. Retrospective study of 942 small-sized dogs: Prevalence of left apical systolic heart murmur and left-sided heart failure, critical effects of breed and sex. J Vet Cardiol. 2006 May;8(1):11-8.
Sudden acquired retinal degeneration (SARD) is a disease in dogs causing sudden blindness. It can occur in any breed. The cause is unknown, but possibly involves either autoimmune disease, a toxin, or Cushing’s disease. Symptoms include sudden permanent blindness, dilated pupils, and loss of the pupillary light reflex.[62]
People become infected with dog hookworms while walking barefoot, kneeling, or sitting on ground contaminated with stool of infected animals. Hookworm larvae enter the top layers of skin and cause an itchy reaction called cutaneous larva migrans. A red squiggly line might appear where the larvae have migrated under the skin. Symptoms usually resolve without medical treatment in 4-6 weeks.
If your dog will be housed outside, provide shelter such as a doghouse for when it is cold or rainy and shade for when it is hot. Protecting your dog from the changes in weather will reduce stress and help keep it healthy.
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.
Cerebellar hypoplasia is an incomplete development of the cerebellum. The most common cause in dogs is an in utero infection with canine herpesvirus.[56] It is also seen associated with lissencephaly in Wire-haired Fox Terriers and Irish Setters, and as a separate condition in Chow Chows.[57]
You need a heads-up on potential health problems and their risk factors, so you can prevent them altogether. Well, here it is: the most common yet preventable dog diseases, along with expert advice from California veterinarian Dr. Nicole Eckholm of the Pet Emergency and Specialty Center of Marin.
Eye proptosis is a condition resulting in forward displacement and entrapment of the eye from behind by the eyelids. It is a common result of head trauma in dogs. Most commonly it occurs in brachycephalic (short nosed) breeds.[62]
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.
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.[62]
Insecticides* used in dogs for fleas and ticks commonly contain either organophosphates or carbamates. they can be absorbed through the skin, conjunctiva, gastrointestinal tract, and lungs. Organophosphates inhibit acetylcholinesterase irreversibly and carbamates inhibit cholinesterase reversibly. Toxicity occurs through overdosage with an appropriate product or use of an agricultural product. Signs for both include hypersalivation, vomiting, lethargy, tremors, difficulty walking, weakness, and death.[168]

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.
Polyneuropathy is a collection of peripheral nerve disorders that often are breed-related in dogs. Polyneuropathy indicates that multiple nerves are involved, unlike mononeuropathy. Polyneuropathy usually involves motor nerve dysfunction, also known as lower motor neuron disease.
Bloat can affect any dog at any age but there are breeds more susceptible to it: usually large breed, deep-chested dogs like Great Danes, German shepherds, boxers, Labrador retrievers, bloodhounds, and weimaraners. Mid-size and smaller dogs aren’t much at risk, with the exception of basset hounds and dachshunds, who also have long, broad chests.
Jump up ^ Washabau, Robert J. (2005). “Gastrointestinal Motility Disorders of Dogs and Cats”. Proceedings of the 30th World Congress of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association. Retrieved 2007-01-14.
How to treat: First, determine what the allergen is. Common allergies can be treated by changing your dog’s food or the shampoo you use when bathing. Seasonal or environmental allergies can be treated with medications, but those will eventually weaken the immune system if administered repeatedly.
experienced vet to execute the regular checkups in order to give your pet a healthy and comfortable life. In addition that, you should not change your dog’s diet without taking the permission of a skilled veterinarian.
Staphylococcus aureus is a common type of bacteria that is normally found on the skin of people and animals. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is the same bacterium that has become resistant to some antibiotics. Dogs and other animals often can carry MRSA without being sick, but MRSA can cause a variety of infections, including of the skin, respiratory tract, and urinary tract.
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.[35]
Note: Do not attempt to handle or capture a wild animal who is acting strangely (i.e., a nocturnal animal who is out during the day, an animal who acts unusually tame). Report the animal to local animal control officers as soon as possible.
Cardiomyopathy, or disease of the heart muscle, is also seen in dogs and is associated with large breeds (the exception being Cocker Spaniels, a medium-sized breed). Dilated cardiomyopathy is seen in Great Danes, Irish Wolfhounds, St. Bernards, Dobermanns, Boxers, and other large breeds. Dobermanns, in addition to heart muscle failure, are prone to ventricular arrhythmias. Boxer dogs are predisposed to a unique cardiomyopathy with clinical and histological changes analogous to human arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC).[29] The disease has been termed “Boxer cardiomyopathy” or “Boxer ARVC”, and is characterized by development of ventricular tachyarrhythmias.[30] Affected dogs are at risk of syncope and sudden cardiac death.[29] Myocardial failure and congestive heart failure are rare manifestations of this disease.[30]
Congenital vertebral anomalies, including butterfly, block, and transitional vertebrae, and hemivertebrae, are a collection of malformations of the spine in animals. Most are not clinically significant, but they can cause compression of the spinal cord by deforming the vertebral canal or causing instability.[6]
What to look for: The signs of obesity might seem obvious, but having regular weight checks is important in order to keep records of your dog’s weight over time. It is important to recognize your dog’s weight gain early to give him the best chance possible for recourse.

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