What to look for: Since there are so many kinds of allergies dogs can have (from food to flea/tick bites and a wide range of other possibilities), it’s important to look for any change in behavior when exposed to something new. If your dog goes a few days showing lack of energy, has a consistent cough or sneeze, or if anything else seems out-of-place, you might be dealing with allergies.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Cor triatriatum*, specifically cor triatriatum dexter, occurs in dogs and is characterized by a fibrous division of the right atrium into two chambers, usually with a hole in between them. It results in right heart failure (ascites). It can be treated by balloon valvuloplasty or surgical resection.
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.
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.
How to treat: Again, assess the behavior leading up to the vomiting. If there was nothing unusual, then there’s probably no need to be concerned. If the vomiting is persistent, however, or you noticed your dog acting differently before the vomiting, there could be a number of things wrong and it’s best to take your dog to your vet to get him checked out.
Certain breeds are prone to specific cancers. Boxers, Boston terriers and Golden Retrievers are among the breeds that most commonly develop mast cell tumors or lymphoma, while large and giant breeds like Great Danes and Saint Bernards are much more likely to suffer from bone cancer than smaller breeds.
Food allergy* in dogs is commonly manifested as itching, especially of the face, paws, and the underside. Skin testing has proved unreliable, and a trial of a hypoallergenic diet is usually used for diagnosis.
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.
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 ^ Daminet, Sylvie (2010). “Canine Hypothyroidism: Update on Diagnosis and Treatment”. Proceedings of the 35th World Congress of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association. Retrieved 25 January 2011.
Pancreatitis*, or inflammation of the pancreas, is common in dogs. It is most commonly seen in middle-aged and older overweight dogs. Miniature Schnauzers are predisposed. Contributing factors include diabetes, hyperlipidemia, obesity, and dietary indiscretion. Signs include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, lethargy, and anorexia.
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.
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.
Deafness* in dogs can be either acquired or congenital. Predisposing factors for acquired deafness include chronic infection, use of certain drugs, and most commonly, age-related changes in the cochlea. Congenital deafness can be genetic, seen sometimes in dogs with merle or white coats, or caused by in utero damage from infections or toxins.
Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada syndrome is a condition seen in dogs characterized by uveitis (inflammation of the inside of the eye), poliosis (whitening of hair), and vitiligo (loss of pigment in the skin).
Jump up ^ Ruchinsky, Renee; et al. (2010). “Diabetes Management Guidelines for Dogs and Cats-page 7” (PDF). American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 March 2012. Retrieved 25 January 2011.(PDF)
That could happen if a dog infected with canine flu also contracted a human flu, and the two strains combined to create a new virus that was capable of infecting humans. That would be a concern, says Weese, because it would create a novel virus that humans had no immunity to.
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.
We created a list for you and and any other dog owners too, so feel free to share! Print it out and/or save somewhere you can easily reference that way you have these conditions top of mind and know what symptoms to look for in case your dog is ill.
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.
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.
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)
Treat your dog to prevent fleas, ticks, heart worm, and other ickies from making your dog their home, says Kerns. The health effects of infestation are far worse than pesticide side effects. That said, don’t overdo it, she warns. “Use what’s absolutely necessary for your environment,” rather than mindlessly dosing your dog every month against pests it’s not like to encounter. Tip: You can check the prevalence of pests in your area at capcvet.org.
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.
Gastrointestinal cancer* is uncommon in dogs. The most common type is lymphoma. Nonlymphomatous esophageal cancer is especially rare, the most common types being squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, leiomyosarcoma, and osteogenic sarcoma associated with the parasite Spirocerca lupi. Nonlymphomatous stomach cancer is usually an adenocarcinoma, and nonlymphomatous intestinal cancer is usually polyps, adenomas, adenocarcinomas, leiomyosarcomas, and leiomyomas.
Symptoms are basic: abdominal heaving and drooling caused by nausea. If your dog also has diarrhea, blood in the vomit, seems lethargic, continues vomiting, or can’t hold down liquids, contact your vet right away to prevent life-threatening dehydration.
There are some bacteria that are contagious from dog to dog. The most notable of these are Bordetella bronchiseptica, one of the causes of kennel cough, Leptospira sp, which cause leptospirosis, and Brucella canis, cause of brucellosis in dogs. There are also common tick-borne bacterial diseases, including Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
“The first sign that is normally seen is a skin sore that isn’t caused by a known injury. Most commonly these sores are found below the elbow or knee and appear as a distinct swelling, a patch of red skin or are open and ulcer-like.
Symptoms of chocolate poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, pacing, panting, and shaking. More serious cases could cause an irregular heart beat, seizures, heart attack, or even death. If you think you dog has eaten any chocolate, do not wait to take him to the doctor.
Leishmaniasis is a protozoan disease of people and animals. It is transmitted by sandflies and is uncommon in North America. The two forms of the disease are visceral and cutaneous. The cutaneous form of leishmaniasis is most common in people and appears as one or more painless ulcers on the skin. Visceral leishmaniasis is less common and is characterized by fever, weight loss, enlarged spleen, and anemia. Dogs can develop both forms at the same time and have a variety of symptoms.
Visit a veterinarian for routine evaluation and care to keep your dog healthy and prevent infectious diseases. Keeping your dog on a monthly preventative for fleas, heartworms, and other parasites, and up to date on vaccinations can help prevent certain diseases.
Learn to watch your dog closely, and you’ll be surprised by how much it communicates how it feels, mentally and physically. The position of its ears and tail, it’s breathing, whether it often scratches or licks its paws can all be signs of distress. “Chronic behaviors and symptoms must be addressed,” says Kerns. “Healthy dogs don’t show symptoms on a daily basis.” Tip: Consider starting a health notebook or a calendar, so you can track when you administer meds, change food, or notice new behaviors, like obsessive grooming.
What to look for: Arthritis usually, but not always, affects dogs as they grow older. It is the most common health problem in older pets. Your dog will eventually begin to move around less and take more time getting up from lying or seated positions.
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.
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.
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.
My 13 yr old male miniature (24lb) neutered Dachshund has started to urinate when at rest. Usually at night, other than that he is acting normal & eating well. He does drink a lot but not really any more than what he has normally consumed before this all started. We are waiting for the results of his urinalysis. Any suggestions out there?
Diabetes mellitus in dogs is type 1, or insulin dependent diabetes: a lack of insulin production due to destruction of pancreatic beta cells. Current research indicates no evidence of type 2 diabetes in dogs. Among the causes of diabetes mellitus in dogs are autoimmune disease or severe pancreatitis. Forms of diabetes which may not be permanent, depending on the amount of damage to the beta cells of the endocrine pancreas, are transient and secondary diabetes. Some causes of transient or secondary diabetes are Cushing’s syndrome, glucocorticoid, progestin or other steroid use, and the hormones of pregnancy or heat. In these cases, correcting the primary medical issue may mean a return to non-diabetic status. Common signs include weight loss, increased drinking and urination, and cataracts. Treatment involves insulin replacement therapy, and use of a diet high in fiber and complex carbohydrates. Oral diabetes medications cannot be used for dogs because none repair or surmount the permanent damage to the beta cells of the pancreas.