Osteochondritis dissecans (OCD) is separation of immature articular cartilage from underlying bone. It is caused by osteochondrosis, which is characterized by abnormal endochondral ossification of epiphyseal cartilage. It is most commonly seen in the stifle, elbow, shoulder, and hock.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Elbow dysplasia is a condition found more commonly in large breeds. It incorporates several different hereditary conditions of the elbow, including osteochondritis of the medial condyle of the humerus, fragmentation of the medial coronoid process of the ulna, and ununited anconeal process of the ulna.
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.
Blastomycosis is another very serious fungal disease that affects dogs near the Great Lakes region and other Eastern U.S. river basins. The fungus lives in soil sheltered from the sun, mainly along riverbanks, lakes, and swamps. Most dogs who get it live within 400 meters of a body of water. Large breed male dogs are most at risk and symptoms typically include difficulty breathing, skin lesions, and loss of appetite.
Bladder stones or uroliths are common in dogs. The stones form in the urinary bladder in varying size and numbers secondary to infection, dietary influences, and genetics. Types of stones include struvite, calcium oxalate, urate, cystine, calcium phosphate, and silicate. Struvite and calcium oxalate stones are by far the most common.
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.
Our dogs are faithful companions, and they depend on us for good care. To help your canine friend live a healthy life, you should know some of the most common health problems dogs face, their signs, and what you can do about them.
Lymphangiectasia is an intestinal disease of dogs characterized by chronic diarrhea and loss of proteins such as serum albumin and globulin. It is considered to be a chronic form of protein-losing enteropathy. Breeds commonly affected include the Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier, Norwegian Lundehund, Basenji, and Yorkshire Terrier.
Cauda equina syndrome*, also known as degenerative lumbosacral stenosis, in dogs is a compression of the cauda equina by a narrowing of the lumbosacral vertebral canal. It is most commonly seen in German Shepherd Dogs. Signs include pain, weakness, and rear limb muscle atrophy.
Intussusception* is characterized by telescoping of one part of the gastrointestinal tract into another part, forming an obstruction. It is most common in dogs six to eight months old. Surgery is necessary for treatment.
Nuclear sclerosis is a consistent finding in dogs greater than seven years old. Nuclear sclerosis appears as a bilateral bluish-grey haziness at the nucleus, or center of the lens, and has little effect on vision. This is may be confused with cataracts.
The mysterious illness, which first appeared in the late 1980s affecting greyhounds in America, has been found in at least 27 counties in England and Wales since 2012, with 78 cases confirmed in the UK and 14 being already identified in 2016 alone.
A dog who is up to date with his vaccinations and who has been bitten by a possibly rabid animal should also be given a rabies booster vaccine immediately and kept under observation (length will vary depending on your state laws).
Vaccine reactions are adverse events which occur following vaccination, including granuloma formation, but most commonly the term vaccine reaction is used to describe a type I hypersensitivity reaction. The most common signs are facial swelling and hives, but more rarely very serious signs such as hypotension and collapse may occur.
Subaortic stenosis, or SAS, is a genetic ailment that causes a narrowing of the passage of blood between the heart and the aorta. This leads to heart problems and sometimes sudden death. It affects larger breeds such as the Newfoundland Dog and the Golden Retriever. In some dogs, such as collies, the blue merle or harlequin coloring is actually the heterozygote of a partially recessive gene preventing proper development of the nervous system; therefore, if two such dogs are mated, on the average one quarter of the puppies will have severe genetic defects in their nervous systems and sensory organs ranging from deafness to fatal flaws.
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.
Pyometra is an infection of the uterus. It is a common and potentially fatal condition in dogs. The main risk period for a female is for eight weeks after her peak standing heat (or estrus cycle) has ended.
How to treat: Prevention is your best option. It starts with getting your dog shots every year. You should also monitor your dog’s activity to make sure he isn’t interacting with rabies infected animals in the wild. If you suspect that your dog has rabies, call Animal Control immediately and avoid your dog as much as possible.
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.
We also need to be aware of the regular check-ups and standard treatments that can apply to all dogs, such as vaccinations, desexing, dental care, worming as well as treating fleas and ticks. Other common health issues that you might come across include allergies, arthritis, diabetes, ear infections and obesity. Getting to know the basics of your dog’s health and wellbeing will go a long way to ensuring they live a long and happy life with you by their side.
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.
Urinary incontinence* is leakage of urine, usually due to incompetence of the urethral sphincter in adult dogs and ectopic ureter (a congenital condition in which the ureter enters the urinary tract posterior to the urethral sphincter) in puppies. In adult dogs it is most commonly seen in large spayed females. The lack of estrogens in spayed dogs has been linked to development of incontinence. Replacement of estrogens, phenylpropanolamine, and surgery have all been used for treatment.
Jump up ^ Catchpole B, Ristic JM, Fleeman LM, Davison LJ (2005). “Canine diabetes mellitus: can old dogs teach us new tricks?”. Diabetologia. Diabetologica. 48 (10): 1948–56. doi:10.1007/s00125-005-1921-1. PMID 16151773.
Dog treats are often given to pets as a reward for something they did or just to let them chew on a bone, which works their jaw muscles and helps keep their teeth clean. Although dog treats carry high benefits for dogs’ teeth, they can also be a source of problems when given excessively. The human food treats are usually the ones that cause the most trouble for dogs.
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.
Chocolate is a common cause of poisoning in dogs. The toxic principles in chocolate are theobromine and caffeine. Baker’s chocolate is the most dangerous form since it contains higher concentrations of these drugs, followed by semi-sweet, dark, and then milk chocolate. Signs include vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, difficulty walking, seizures, and heart problems.
Coonhound paralysis is a type of polyradiculoneuritis seen in Coonhounds. The cause has been related to a raccoon bite. Signs include rear leg weakness progressing rapidly to paralysis, and decreased reflexes.