Jump up ^ Schütt, T; Toft, N; Berendt, M (2015). “Cognitive function, progression of age-related behavioral changes, biomarkers, and survival in dogs more than 8 years old”. Journal of veterinary internal medicine. 29 (6): 1569–77. doi:10.1111/jvim.13633. PMC 4895687 . PMID 26463980.
Every year when you bring your pet in for a check-up, your veterinarian likely talks to you about vaccines and gives Fluffy or Fido a good look over. They may draw blood, or recommend preventative care routines, like a dental cleaning or grooming. But what are some of the most common serious ailments for cats and dogs that your veterinarian wants to help you prevent and control?
Jump up ^ Holt, Peter E. (2004). “Urinary Incontinence in the Male and Female Dog or Does Sex Matter?”. Proceedings of the 29th World Congress of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association. Retrieved 2007-01-16.
It takes just three weeks for one flea to turn into an infestation of 1,000 biting bugs. A very common canine health problem, fleas are easy for your dog to pick up, but they’re also easy to treat. Signs your dog may have fleas include:
Jump up ^ Arnold S (1997). “[Urinary incontinence in castrated bitches. Part 1: Significance, clinical aspects and etiopathogenesis]”. Schweiz. Arch. Tierheilkd. (in German). 139 (6): 271–6. PMID 9411733.
No two dogs are alike. Likewise, no two dog breeds are alike, especially when it comes to their health. Dog health problems range from infections to cancers, and it’s up to the pet parents to keep their companions happy and healthy by understanding some common dog illnesses and diseases.
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). The disease has been termed “Boxer cardiomyopathy” or “Boxer ARVC”, and is characterized by development of ventricular tachyarrhythmias. Affected dogs are at risk of syncope and sudden cardiac death. Myocardial failure and congestive heart failure are rare manifestations of this disease.
The frequency of bilateral glaucoma with a genetic base in purebred dogs is higher than in any species except humans. Cataracts in dogs either have a genetic base or can also be caused by diabetes. Nuclear sclerosis resembles a cataract but is actually a normal age-related change.
Valley Fever is the most serious and life-threatening of the group, mainly impacting hot, dry, dusty desert areas of California, Arizona, and Texas. The fungi are usually buried in the soil but can be displaced a number of ways—earthquakes, construction, rain—and released into the air where dogs can inhale it. If your dog develops respiratory symptoms, the disease can be deadly.
Atrial septal defect* is a hole in the division between the heart atria (upper chambers of the heart). It is an uncommon abnormality in dogs. Most are not clinically significant, but large defects can cause right heart failure and exercise intolerance. Standard Poodles are the most common breed diagnosed with ASD in the USA.
Skin diseases are very common in dogs. Atopy, a chronic allergic condition, is thought to affect up to 10 percent of dogs. Other skin diseases related to allergies include hot spots and pyoderma, both characterized by secondary bacterial infections, food allergy, ear infections, and flea allergy dermatitis. Canine follicular dysplasia is an inherited disorder of the hair follicles resulting in alopecia (baldness). Mange is an infectious skin disease caused by mites. Endocrine diseases such as hypothyroidism and Cushing’s syndrome can also manifest as skin problems like alopecia or recurring bacterial infections. Another class of integumentary malady is hygromas, a swelling typically on or near the elbow joint. Nutrition may also play a role in skin disease, as deficiencies in certain nutrients may result in scaling, redness, oiling, balding, and/or itching of the skin.(See dog skin disorders for specific nutrients that impacts skin)
Canine parvovirus is caused by infection with CPV, most often, CPV-2a or CPV-2b. All dogs are at risk for developing canine parvovirus. Puppies less than 4 months old and dogs that have not been vaccinated against the virus are at increased risk for infection.
Epilepsy in dogs can be a primary, idiopathic, inherited disorder or secondary to previous head trauma or CNS infections. Idiopathic epilepsy is commonly found in breeds such as German Shepherd Dogs, Beagles, and Dachshunds. The most common sign recurring generalized seizures beginning at a young adult age.
Jump up ^ Modiano J, Breen M, Burnett R, Parker H, Inusah S, Thomas R, Avery P, Lindblad-Toh K, Ostrander E, Cutter G, Avery A (2005). “Distinct B-cell and T-cell lymphoproliferative disease prevalence among dog breeds indicates heritable risk”. Cancer Res. 65 (13): 5654–61. doi:10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-04-4613. PMID 15994938.
Part of your job as a dog owner will be protecting your family from the parasites that can plague dogs and make their lives (and yours) miserable. Fortunately, that’s much easier done these days than it once was.
Jump up ^ Reynolds, Cecily A.; Bain, Perry J.; Latimer, Kenneth S. “Canine and Feline Cryptococcosis”. College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Georgia. Archived from the original on 2006-09-11. Retrieved 2006-11-27.
Kennel cough is an infectious respiratory disease which can be caused by one of several viruses or by Bordetella bronchiseptica. It most commonly occurs in dogs in close confinement such as kennels.
Fleas and ticks of various species can be acquired and brought home by a dog, where they can multiply and attack humans (and vice versa). These two parasites are particularly important to note, now that tick-borne Lyme Disease has become endemic throughout a large area, in addition to other similar diseases such as Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Although dogs do not seem to be as susceptible to such diseases as humans, similar rickettsial diseases have been spread by dogs to humans through such mechanisms as a dog killing an infected rabbit, then shaking itself off in the house near enough to its owners to fatally infect most of the family.
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.
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.
Jump up ^ Hazewinkel, Herman A. W. (2004). “Hereditary Skeletal Diseases in Companion Animal Practice”. Proceedings of the 29th World Congress of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association. Retrieved 2006-12-09.
Jump up ^ “17 Products With Xylitol Which Could Kill Your Dog & Marketing Phrases Indicating Xylitol As A Possible Ingredient, Dog, Cat and other Pet Friendly Travel Articles”. www.petswelcome.com. Retrieved 2016-06-16.
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.
About 4.5 million Americans receive dog bites each year, many of which require immediate medical attention. Young children 5 to 9 years old are most likely to bitten by dogs, with boys being bitten more often than girls.
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.
7. Flea and tick borne diseases: Fleas and ticks are certainly undesirable guests on your pets fur, but they are more than just unwelcome creepy crawlies. These tiny passengers can carry serious diseases that can cause profound illness in both pets and people. Want to keep your cats, dogs, and human family healthy? Use a monthly topical flea and tick preventative, vacuum regularly, and always check your pets and yourself after playing with other animals or in grassy fields.
Prostate cancer* is rare in dogs and occurs in both intact and neutered animals. It is malignant. The most common type is adenocarcinoma. Signs include blood in the urine and straining to urinate or defecate. It most commonly spreads to bone and the lungs.
Chocolate poisoning symptoms can last up to 72 hours. PetMD offers this chocolate toxicity meter to gauge your dog’s level of poisoning, but it’s still best to see a vet right away. For a true life story, read our post, My Dog Ate Chocolate. Here’s What Happened Next.
Eye diseases are common in dogs. Cataracts, canine glaucoma, and entropion are seen in dogs. Canine-specific eye diseases include progressive retinal atrophy, Collie eye anomaly, sudden acquired retinal degeneration, and cherry eye. Injury to the eye can result in corneal ulcers.
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.
^ 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.
People most often become infected through flea bites or from contact with body fluids of infected animals. An example is a hunter skinning an infected rabbit or other animal. Bubonic plague is the most common form; symptoms include sudden onset of high fever, chills, headache, malaise, and swollen lymph nodes. The other two forms of plague, septicemic and pneumonic, cause more severe disease.
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.
However, there is one cause of chronic kidney disease that is preventable: dental disease. In the advanced stages of dental disease, bacteria from the dog’s gums can enter the bloodstream and damage vital organs, like the kidneys.
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 ^ Morrow, C. M. K.; Valli, V. E.; Volmer, P. A.; Eubig, P. A. (2005). “Canine Renal Pathology Associated with Grape or Raisin Ingestion: 10 Cases”. J. Vet. Diagn. Investig. 17 (3): 223–31. doi:10.1177/104063870501700302. PMID 15945377.
It is important, however, not to get overly worried by this as the percentage of dogs in the UK who have contracted this disease is truly minuscule. Though, what is vital, is that you understand the problem and know what to look out for, should your dog come into contact with it, as time plays a large part in successfully treating the disease.
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.
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.
Jump up ^ Richardson, Jill A. (December 2000). “Management of acetaminophen and Ibuprofen toxicoses in dogs and cats”. J. Vet. Emerg. Crit. Care. 10 (4): 285–291. doi:10.1111/j.1476-4431.2000.tb00013.x.
Jump up ^ Heuter, Kerry J.; Langston, Cathy E. (2003). “Leptospirosis: A re-emerging zoonotic disease”. Vet. Clin. N. Am. Small Animal Pract. 33 (4): 791–807. doi:10.1016/S0195-5616(03)00026-3. PMID 12910744.
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.
Acromegaly (also known as hypersomatotropism) is a hormonal condition resulting from over-secretion of the growth hormone somatotropin from the pituitary gland. The hormone is responsible for growth from birth to adulthood. Normally in adulthood, the growth plates of the bones close and the secretion of the hormone slows considerably. Because the bone plates close when entering maturity, the continued growth of acromegaly is not of normal proportions. Most dogs with the disease are unspayed females, but the condition can come about with use of medications containing progesterone. Acromegaly patients often also have diabetes mellitus. There is a transient form of acromegaly which can affect females at the diestrus portion of the reproductive cycle. This condition is brought about by the mammary glands excreting excess growth hormone, which is triggered by progesterone from the ovaries. As with non-transient acromegaly, spaying is necessary. The symptoms can include overgrowth or enlargement of gums with wide spaces between teeth, increased drinking, increased urination, thickening of the skin and skin folds, enlargement of the tongue and excessive panting. Acromegaly is also possible from a somatotroph adenoma. The hormone somatostatin can also be useful in treatment. Since hypothyroidism is connected with the release of excess growth hormone, hypothyroidism can be mistaken for acromegaly.
Treating hot spots may involve shaving and cleaning the irritated area, antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), steroids, or topical medications, depending on how bad the hot spots are, and how much pain your pooch is in.
Jump up ^ Thrusfield, M. V; Aitken, C. G. G; Muirhead, R. H (1989). “A field investigation of kennel cough: Efficacy of vaccination”. J. Small Animal Pract. 30 (10): 550. doi:10.1111/j.1748-5827.1989.tb01471.x.
How to treat: A steady diet and regular exercise are the two things needed when your dog is overweight. It’s important to recognize the severity of your dog’s obesity and be sure to administer the right changes in nutrition and exercise. Too much exercise, or too significant a reduction in food, can cause other issues, so you should consult your vet before making any drastic changes to the diet.
Jump up ^ Eubig P, Brady M, Gwaltney-Brant S, Khan S, Mazzaferro E, Morrow C (2005). “Acute renal failure in dogs after the ingestion of grapes or raisins: a retrospective evaluation of 43 dogs (1992–2002)”. J. Vet. Intern. Med. 19 (5): 663–74. doi:10.1892/0891-6640(2005)19[663:ARFIDA]2.0.CO;2. PMID 16231710.
Megaesophagus is a disease of the esophagus characterized by low motility and dilation. Most cases in adult dogs are idiopathic. It is the most common cause of regurgitation in dogs. Other causes of megaesophagus include myasthenia gravis, lead poisoning, and Addison’s 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.
Campylobacter spreads through contaminated food (meat and eggs), water, or contact with stool of infected animals. Dogs infected with Campylobacter might show no signs of illness at all or might have diarrhea and a slight fever.
Consider fencing in your yard rather than tying your dog outside. A fence will not only give your pet room to play, but also will protect it from wild animals and reduce the risk of strangers interacting with your dog. Several studies have shown that dogs on a chain are more likely to bite than those in a fenced yard.
It’s great when our dogs are at optimum health however when you know something isn’t quite right, we all like to be well prepared as possible with the right information on how to deal with any health issues that may arise. There are a number of factors that can cause dog health issues, many of these are dependent on the breed of your dog, genetics, its age, physical fitness, diet and the environment in which you live in.