Some fungi are worse than others; there are diseases that only affect the skin and there are diseases that affect the entire body – the liver, lungs, and brain. The latter is much worse and can be deadly.
Gastric dilatation volvulus, commonly known as bloat, is a serious condition in which the stomach swells with air (gastric dilatation), sometimes twisting on itself (volvulus). Deep-chested breeds are at a higher risk of bloating. Factors that predispose dogs to this condition are intestinal foreign bodies, intestinal cancer, intussusception, and other intestinal diseases. It has a poor prognosis.
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.
Obesity is an increasingly common problem in dogs in Western countries. As with humans, obesity can cause numerous health problems in dogs (although dogs are much less susceptible to the common cardiac and arterial consequences of obesity than humans are). According to a study published in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine, the prevalence of obesity in dogs is between 22 and 40 percent.
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.
How to treat: Early detection gives your dog the best chance for recovery. Surgery can remove the tumor in some cases, depending on the type and location of the cancer. In others, medications can be prescribed to allow your dog to tolerate the pain better. See your vet immediately if you suspect your dog might have cancer.
The virus attacks rapidly-dividing cells in a dog’s body, most severely affecting the intestinal tract. Parvovirus also attacks the white blood cells, and when young animals are infected, the virus can damage the heart muscle and cause lifelong cardiac problems.
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).
Plasmacytomas* are common skin tumors in dogs that derive from B lymphocytes. Most are benign. Tumors of B lymphocyte origin that affect the bone marrow and are diffuse throughout the body are malignant and are called multiple myeloma*.
Some dog owners opt for no treatment of the cancer, in which case palliative end of life care, including pain relief, should be considered. Regardless of how you proceed after a diagnosis of cancer in your pet, it is very important to consider his quality of life when making future decisions.
What to look for: Since kennel cough is a respiratory infection, it can be easily transmitted from one dog to another when they interact. Look for lethargy, coughing, leaky nose and eyes or loss of appetite as common signs that your dog might have kennel cough.
Although germs from dogs rarely spread to people, they might cause a variety of illnesses, ranging from minor skin infections to serious disease. To protect yourself and your family from getting sick:
Hypertrophic osteodystrophy is a bone disease in rapidly growing large breed dogs. Signs include swelling of the metaphysis (the part of the bone adjacent to the joint), pain, depression, loss of appetite, and fever. The disease is usually bilateral in the limb bones.
Because infection can potentially spread over a dog’s body and infect other animals and people, it is important that you see your vet for an accurate diagnosis if your pet is showing any signs of a skin problem.
Toxocara roundworms cause a parasitic disease known as toxocariasis. Dogs and people can become infected by accidentally swallowing roundworm eggs from the environment. In addition, larval worms can cross through the placenta, milk, or colostrum of a mother dog, passing the infection to her puppies. Infected puppies usually do not develop and grow well and might have a pot-bellied appearance.
So you’ve just adopted your puppy. There is a lot for both of you to learn in those first few weeks and a few basic things you need to do to make sure your puppy stays healthy and to protect your family from catching any nasties from your puppy.
Other diseases affecting dogs include endocrine diseases, immune-mediated diseases, and reproductive diseases. Diabetes mellitus, Cushing’s syndrome, Addison’s disease, and hypothyroidism are the most common endocrine diseases. Immune-mediated hemolytic anemia is a devastating disease that causes severe anemia in dogs through destruction by the immune system. It has been associated with vaccinations and certain drugs, although many cases are idiopathic. A similar but less severe immune disease is immune-mediated thrombocytopenia, characterized by destruction of platelets by the immune system. Clinical signs include bruising and petechiae (pinpoint bruising, often seen in the mouth). Common reproductive diseases include pyometra (distension of the uterus with pus), mammary tumors, and benign prostatic hyperplasia.
Sensitivity to anaesthesia can occur in any breed, but sighthounds have been the breeds most documented to have anesthetic concerns. Sighthounds are known to have prolonged recovery times from ultra short-acting thiobarbiturates such as thiopental.
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.
Blastomycosis* is a fungal disease caused by Blastomyces dermatitidis that affects both dogs and humans. Dogs are ten times more likely to be infected than humans. The disease in dogs can affect the eyes, brain, lungs, skin, or bones.
Avoid bites and scratches from dogs. Dog bites might become seriously infected or might be a source of rabies. Be cautious with unfamiliar animals. Approach dogs with care, even if they seem friendly.
Spaying (females only) and neutering (both genders but more commonly males) refers to the sterilization of animals, usually by removal of the male’s testicles or the female’s ovaries and uterus, in order to eliminate the ability to procreate, and reduce sex drive. Neutering has also been known to reduce aggression in male dogs, but has been shown to occasionally increase aggression in female dogs.
Dental disease is one of the most common diseases in dogs. Accumulation of plaque and subsequently tartar leads to gingivitis and then periodontitis (gum disease). Periodontitis leads to loss of the bony attachment of the teeth and tooth loss. Preventive measures include tooth brushing, providing an appropriate diet (avoiding tinned and other soft foods and providing dental chew treats) and dental scaling and polishing. Cavities are uncommon in dogs.
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.
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.
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.
Cancer is a class of diseases in which cells grow uncontrollably, invade surrounding tissue and may spread to other areas of the body. As with people, dogs can get various kinds of cancer. The disease can be localized (confined to one area, like a tumor) or generalized (spread throughout the body).
9. Diabetes: Just like with humans, pets can develop diabetes as part of the aging process. While diabetes in cats and dogs can often be controlled by a plan of diet and exercise, some pets will require regular insulin shots.
MRSA can be transmitted back and forth between people and animals through direct contact. In people, MRSA most often causes skin infections that can range from mild to severe. If left untreated, MRSA can spread to the bloodstream or lungs and cause life-threatening infections.
Although the name suggests otherwise, ringworm isn’t caused by a worm at all—but a fungus that can infect the skin, hair and nails. This highly contagious disease can lead to patchy areas of hair loss on a dog and can spread to other animals—and to humans, too.
Alabama dog rot was first identified amongst greyhounds in the state of Alabama in the 1980s. After this first flair up, the number of reported cases dwindled and as no clinical research was carried out, the disease was almost relegated to history. Because no one has been able to determine what causes the disease, it is now only recognisable by its collection of clinical symptoms.
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.