Hereditary orthopedic diseases are mainly found in purebred dogs. Hip dysplasia is a common problem that primarily affects larger breeds. Hip dysplasia is a defect in the shape of the hip joint which can, depending on the degree of hip luxation, be quite painful to the dog as it ages. Over time it often causes arthritis in the hips. Dysplasia can also occur in the elbow joint. Luxating patellas can be a problem for smaller breeds. It can cause lameness and pain in the hind legs.
“If you think your dog is too skinny, it’s probably the right weight,” Case say. Dogs with excess weight are more prone to joint problems and diabetes, among other health issues (sounds familiar). How to tell if Fluffy is chubby? “It’s all about the feel,” she adds. “Ribs shouldn’t be visible, but easily felt.” Tip: Rub your hands up and down your dog’s flank. You should feel the ridges of its ribs without having to push in to find them.
Antifreeze* is very dangerous to dogs and causes central nervous system depression and acute renal failure. Treatment needs to be within eight hours of ingestion to be successful. See Ethylene glycol poisoning.
“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.
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Heartworm is a parasitic worm that lives in the heart and pulmonary arteries of an infected animal. The worms travel through the bloodstream—harming arteries and vital organs as they go—ultimately completing their journey to the vessels of the lung and the heart chamber about six months after the initial infection. Several hundred worms can live in one dog for five to seven years.
Kennel cough is a term loosely used to describe a complex of respiratory infections—both viral and bacterial—that causes inflammation of a dog’s voice box and windpipe. It’s a form of bronchitis and is similar to a chest cold in humans.
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.
Samoyed hereditary glomerulopathy (SHG) is an hereditary noninflammatory disease, of the renal glomeruli occurring in the Samoyed breed of dog. The disease has been shown to be a model for hereditary nephritis (HN) in humans
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.
How to treat: Vaccines can be administered regularly to prevent some types of kennel cough. If your dog catches kennel cough you should take him to your vet where he might be prescribed medications that will speed up the recovery process. Keep your pup away from other dogs (especially in public places where the illness can spread rapidly), and give him lots of rest. Once you see signs of recovery, take him for regular walks until he is himself again.
Cataracts* are an opacity in the lens of the eye. Most cataracts in dogs are caused by a genetic predisposition, but diabetes mellitus is also a common cause. The only effective treatment is surgical removal.
Leukemias* are progressive proliferation of cancerous white blood cells within the bone marrow, resulting in destruction of the bone marrow and pancytopenia in many cases. Types of leukemia in dogs include acute lymphoblastic leukemia, acute myelocytic leukemia, acute monocytic leukemia, acute myelomonocytic leukemia, acute megakaryocytic leukemia, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, chronic myelogenous leukemia, chronic basophilic leukemia, and chronic eosinophilic leukemia (or hypereosinophilic syndrome).
How to treat: Sadly, arthritis cannot be cured, but there are things you can do to make it easier on your pet as he ages. Diet and nutrition are the two biggest things you can do to slow down the aging (and arthritis) process. Regular walks and a balanced diet of proper (age appropriate) food will keep your dog’s nutrition levels where they should be. Look for food labeled “Senior” and pay attention not to over or under feed. If your dog’s arthritis is severe, your vet can prescribe medications to alleviate the symptoms.
What to look for: No one wants to think about their dog getting cancer. It is one of the biggest killers in dogs and one of the most expensive diseases to treat. Look out for unusual odors, lumps, drastic weight loss, or long-lasting changes in behavior.
Tetanus* is a disease caused by the bacteria Clostridium tetani following wound contamination. Dogs are not very susceptible to tetanus. Signs include difficulty opening the mouth and eating, contraction of the facial muscles, and rigid extension of the limbs. Dogs may also get localized tetanus, signs of which include stiffness of a limb spreading to the rest of the body.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Jump up ^ Freeman, LM; Abood, SK; Fascetti, AJ; Fleeman, LM; Michel, KE; Laflamme, DP; Bauer, C; Kemp, BL; Van Doren, JR; Willoughby, KN (15 August 2006). “Disease prevalence among dogs and cats in the United States and Australia and proportions of dogs and cats that receive therapeutic diets or dietary supplements”. J. Am. Vet. Med. Assoc. 229 (4): 531–4. doi:10.2460/javma.229.4.531. PMID 16910851.
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.
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.
Retinal detachment* is caused in dogs by genetic disorders such as retinal dysplasia or Collie eye anomaly, trauma, inflammation or cancer. Reattachment may occur spontaneously or with medical or surgical therapy.
Certain types of dog or puppy adoptions, like international pet adoption, might not be suitable for your family because of the risk for disease. This is particularly true if young children, pregnant women, or persons with weak immune systems are living in the household. Persons with weak immune systems may include the elderly or people with an illness such as diabetes or HIV/AIDS, or those undergoing chemotherapy.
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.
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.
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.
Aspergillosis* is a fungal disease that in dogs is caused primarily by Aspergillus fumigatus. Infection is usually in the nasal cavity. Typical signs in dogs include sneezing, nasal discharge, bleeding from the nose, and ulcerations of the nose.
Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF) is a bacterial disease transmitted to dogs and people by ticks. Dogs show a variety of symptoms similar to those in people, including fever, lameness, coughing, vomiting and diarrhea, and swelling of the face or extremities.
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.
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.
Babesiosis* is spread by members of the family Ixodidae, or hard ticks. The two species of the genus Babesia that affect dogs are B. canis and B. gibsoni. Babesiosis can cause hemolytic anemia in dogs.