3. Dental disease: While everyone dreads “dog breath,” a stinky mouth is no joke. Both cats and dogs can develop tartar, gum disease, and cavities that require a professional dental cleaning. Dental disease is the perfect example of “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” because bad oral health can also lead to dangerous heart and kidney conditions in pets. Teach your kittens and puppies that brushing their teeth is a normal part of your grooming routine and save your pet a dental procedure down the line.
Developmental orthopedic diseases include panosteitis and hypertrophic osteodystrophy. Panosteitis occurs in large and giant breed dogs usually between the age of five and fourteen months and manifests as fever, pain, and shifting leg lameness. Hypertrophic osteodystrophy is also seen in young large and giant breed dogs and is characterized by pain, lameness, fever, and swelling of the long bone metaphysis.
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.
Jump up ^ Rijnberk A. (2002). “The mammary gland, an endocrine gland”. Nederlands tijdschrift voor geneeskunde. Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde (PubMed Summary in English). 146 (51): 2457–62. PMID 12534096.
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.
As the name suggests, an infected mosquito injects a larva into the dog’s skin, where it migrates to the circulatory system and takes up residence in the pulmonary arteries and heart, growing and reproducing to an alarming degree. The effects on the dog are quite predictable, cardiac failure over a year or two, leading to death. Treatment of an infected dog is difficult, involving an attempt to poison the healthy worm with arsenic compounds without killing the weakened dog, and frequently does not succeed. Prevention is much the better course, via heartworm prophylactics which contain a compound which kills the larvae immediately upon infection without harming the dog. Often they are available combined with other parasite preventives.
What to look for: The signs of obesity might seem obvious, but having regular weight checks is important in order to keep records of your dog’s weight over time. It is important to recognize your dog’s weight gain early to give him the best chance possible for recourse.
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.
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 ^ 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.
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.
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.
Tetralogy of Fallot* is a congenital heart defect in dogs that includes four separate defects: pulmonic stenosis, a ventricular septal defect, right ventricular hypertrophy, and an overriding aorta. Keeshonds and Bulldogs are predisposed. Signs include cyanosis and exercise intolerance. Polycythemia is often present and, if severe, needs to be controlled with phlebotomy or drugs to suppress red blood cell production.
So what is a severe case? How about up to 250 worms living in your dog for several years! Better just get the more cost-effective heartworm medication; there are pills, topicals, and injections, some of which also prevent other types of worms.
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.
von Willebrand disease* is a common inherited disease in dogs caused by a deficiency of a protein called von Willebrand factor, which is involved in blood clotting. The disease varies from mild to severe, depending on the amount of von Willebrand factor present in the dog. Signs include spontaneous bleeding and excessive bleeding following surgery, injury, or during an estrous cycle.
Spondylosis*, known as spondylosis deformans in dogs, is growth of osteophytes on the ventral and lateral surfaces of the vertebral bodies. It is usually an incidental finding on radiographs and rarely causes symptoms.
Cocoa within chocolate contains theobromine, a chemical stimulant that, together with caffeine and theophylline, belongs to the group of methylxanthine alkaloids. Dogs are unable to metabolize theobromine effectively. If they eat chocolate, the theobromine can remain in their bloodstreams for days, and dogs may experience fast heart rate, severe diarrhea, epileptic seizures, heart attacks, internal bleeding, and eventually death. “One ounce of milk chocolate per pound of body weight is a potentially lethal dose in dogs.” In case of accidental intake of chocolate by especially a smaller dog, contact a veterinarian or animal poison control immediately; it is commonly recommended to induce vomiting within two hours of ingestion. If chocolate ingestion is suspected (mostly dark or baking chocolate), hydrogen peroxide can be used to safely induce vomiting, then making a trip to the veterinarian is suggested. Large breeds are less susceptible to chocolate poisoning, but can still die after eating four ounces of chocolate.
Unfortunately, kidney disease that develops over a pet’s lifetime—a.k.a. chronic kidney disease—is not preventable most of the time. Dogs with a genetic predisposition to kidney failure are most at risk.
Ocular tumors* in dogs are found in the eyelid, conjunctiva, third eyelid, cornea, sclera, iris, ciliary body, retina, choroid, optic nerve, and orbit. The most common types are Meibomian gland adenoma (eyelid), papilloma (eyelid), melanoma (eyelid, conjunctiva, sclera, iris, ciliary body, choroid), squamous cell carcinoma (conjunctiva), adenoma (ciliary body), adenocarcinoma (ciliary body), lymphoma (retina, choroid, ciliary body), medulloepithelioma (retina, choroid), ganglioglioma (retina, choroid), osteosarcoma (orbit), mast cell tumor (orbit), and optic nerve sheath meningioma.
Thyroid cancer* is rare and usually nonproductive in dogs (unlike in cats, in which it causes hyperthyroidism). One-third of thyroid tumors are small benign adenomas; the rest are malignant carcinomas, usually large and invasive.
Although Echinococcus invades many different organs of the body, most people who are infected with the disease will not have any signs of illness for years. Symptoms start when the slow-growing cysts become large enough to press on the organs they have invaded. The tapeworms grow slowly in several different organs of the body, most commonly the liver and lungs.
How to treat: First, determine what the allergen is. Common allergies can be treated by changing your dog’s food or the shampoo you use when bathing. Seasonal or environmental allergies can be treated with medications, but those will eventually weaken the immune system if administered repeatedly.
Sudden acquired retinal degeneration (SARD) is a disease in dogs causing sudden blindness. It can occur in any breed. The cause is unknown, but possibly involves either autoimmune disease, a toxin, or Cushing’s disease. Symptoms include sudden permanent blindness, dilated pupils, and loss of the pupillary light reflex.
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.
I love playing with my family. Running, jumping, swimming: it’s all great. But my favorite is fetch. For some reason, when we play fetch with my Humunga Stache, my family seems to have even more fun than usual. There’s lots of laughing and they take extra pictures of me. I don’t know why, but if it makes them happy, it’s fine with me!
Patent ductus arteriosus* is one of the most common congenital heart defect in dogs around the world. It is inherited in toy and miniature Poodles, and seen commonly in German Shepherds, Pomeranians, Bichon Frises, and Malteses. Signs include a continuous heart murmur, bounding (strong) femoral pulse, tachypnea (increased breathing rate), dyspnea (labored breathing), and exercise intolerance.
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.
What to look for: If your dog is vomiting, there could be any number of causes. Generally speaking, it’s best to assess your dog’s behavior leading up to the vomiting to see if there might be a more serious issue. General vomiting, initially, is normal and could have been from something your dog ate.
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.
The first sign of Alabama Rot is skin sores that have not been caused by a physical injury. These sores can present as lesions, swelling, a patch of red skin, or may be open and ulcer-like. The sores are most commonly found below the knee or elbow or occasionally on the stomach or face. Usually, this will cause localised hair loss and the dog will begin licking the wound. These lesions will be followed – between two and seven days later – with outward symptoms of kidney failure: reduced appetite, fatigue, and vomiting.
In people, children are most often affected with roundworm. There are two forms of the disease in people. Ocular larva migrans happens when the larvae invade the retina and cause inflammation, scarring, and possibly blindness. Visceral larva migrans occurs when the larvae invade parts of the body, such as the liver, lung, or central nervous system.
Jump up ^ Braddock JA, Church DB, Robertson ID (2004). “Selegiline Treatment of Canine Pituitary-Dependent Hyperadrenocorticism” (PDF). Australian Veterinary Journal. Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 November 2010. Retrieved 8 April 2011. (PDF)
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.
Hypoadrenocorticism, also known as Addison’s disease, is a reduction of production of glucocorticoids and mineralocorticoids by the adrenal glands. There is more familiarity with the glucocortcoids, such as cortisol; mineralocorticoids control the amount of potassium, salt and water in the body. It is most commonly caused by destruction of adrenal tissue, probably by autoimmune disease. Signs include increased drinking and urination, vomiting, diarrhea, collapse, shivering and weight loss; at times neither the causes nor symptoms are especially specific. Because of this it is sometimes referred to as “the Great Mimic” or “the Great Imitator”. It is possible not to see any symptoms of the disease until the adrenal cortex is 90% dysfunctional. Addison’s can occur when regular steroid use is abruptly discontinued; during their use, the system the adrenal gland does not function at 100%. The system senses sufficient levels of these hormones in the body and does not signal for their production. Tapering the medication off gradually allows them to return to full production after discontinuation. About 35% of affected dogs are not diagnosed until they experience an Addisonian crisis, which outwardly appears to be a “classic” shock and is a medical emergency. Hyperkalemia can develop and cause severe bradycardia. Only typical Addison’s patients have the risk of Addisonian crisis due to the lack of mineralocorticoids. Treatment is with supplementation of mineralocorticoids in daily pills or a monthly injection. The atypical form and the form caused by abrupt withdrawal of steroids do not need mineralocorticoids. Glucocorticoids are usually supplemented with oral prednisone.
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.
With two rescue dogs brought to Canada being diagnosed with what are believed to be the country’s first cases of dog flu, dog owners are being warned to keep an eye out for the highly contagious virus.
Insecticides* used in dogs for fleas and ticks commonly contain either organophosphates or carbamates. they can be absorbed through the skin, conjunctiva, gastrointestinal tract, and lungs. Organophosphates inhibit acetylcholinesterase irreversibly and carbamates inhibit cholinesterase reversibly. Toxicity occurs through overdosage with an appropriate product or use of an agricultural product. Signs for both include hypersalivation, vomiting, lethargy, tremors, difficulty walking, weakness, and death.
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.