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.
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).
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.
Nutritious mass-market food abounds, says Linda Case, author of Dog Food Logic, but some of the best products come from smaller companies that make food in their own US facilities. Sure, you can feed your dog on 15 cents a day, but making the investment in higher-priced food, say at a few dollars a day, can mean the difference between giving your dog chicken and serving it ground chicken heads (yes, gross!). Tip: Grain should not be one of the first two ingredients on the label, and the protein source should be named (“trout” not “fish,” for example). Bonus: Worried about pet-food recalls? Follow the American Veterinary Medical Association on Twitter @AVMARecallWatch or its Facebook page to stay informed.
Conjunctivitis* is inflammation of the conjunctiva. In dogs it is most commonly caused by mechanical irritation (such as by entropion, ectropion, or trichiasis), allergies, and keratoconjunctivitis sicca. Any bacterial infection is usually secondary.
Brucellosis in dogs is caused by Brucella canis. It is a sexually transmitted disease, but can also be spread through contact with aborted fetuses. The most common sign is abortion during the last trimester or stillbirth. Other symptoms include inflammation of the intervertebral disc and eye (uveitis), and inflammation of the testicle (orchitis) and prostate (prostatitis) in males.
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.
To avoid acute kidney disease, keep human medications away from your dog, unless advised otherwise by your vet. Also, keep antifreeze away from dogs; they like the taste but it’s quite poisonous, even in low doses. There are various ways dogs can get their paws on antifreeze, including licking it off the garage floor or getting it from winterized pipes.
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.
Weese advises that, if you’re out and see a dog that’s coughing and looks sick, keep your dog away from that animal. If your dog does become sick with a cough or runny nose, keep it away from other pets for at least 2 weeks.
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.
Jump up ^ Probst, Sarah (1999). “Blastomycosis–Fungal Disease Common in Outdoor Dogs”. Pet Columns. UIUC College of Veterinary Medicine. Archived from the original on 2015-02-05. Retrieved 2007-08-18.
Jump up ^ Rebar, A. H.; MacWilliams, P. S.; Feldman, B. F.; et al. (2005). “Platelets: Overview, Morphology, Quantity, Platelet Function Disorders (Thrombocytopathia or Thrombopathia)”. A Guide to Hematology in Dogs and Cats. Retrieved 2006-12-16.
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.
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.
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.
Cushing’s syndrome, also known as hyperadrenocorticism, is characterized by an increase in glucocorticoids secreted by the adrenal glands. About 85 percent of cases are caused by a tumor in the pituitary gland, while 15 percent are caused by an adrenal tumor. The pituitary gland produces a hormone that signals the adrenal gland to produce cortisol; a tumor can cause it to produce the adrenal-stimulating hormone even when it is not needed. Signs include increased appetite, increased drinking and urination, a pot-bellied appearance, muscle weakness, and lethargy. Cushing’s can be caused by overuse of steroid medications; in some cases, stopping the medication is enough to solve the problem. Diagnosis can be difficult as there are no tests with both high sensitivity and specificity. Treatments inclulde mitotane, trilostane, ketoconazole, or selegiline. Surgery is used in some cases of adrenal tumors.
What to look for: Thankfully, rabies is not as common today as it once was due to the development of vaccinations, but it is still possible for your dog to become infected with rabies even if he has received his shots. Symptoms of rabies include heavy, thick drool and aggressive behavior.
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!
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.
Between approximately 10 and 30 percent of dogs in the United States receive nutritional supplements. A survey of U.S. pet owners in 2006 found that the most commonly used supplements were multivitamins and chondroprotective agents.
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.
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.
Jump up ^ Marks, Stanley L. (2003). “Bacterial Gastroenteritis in Dogs & Cats–More Common Than You Think”. Proceedings of the 28th World Congress of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association. Retrieved 2006-11-26.
People who are infected with brucellosis will usually become sick within 6-8 weeks of exposure. Sick people will have flu-like symptoms that last 2-4 weeks. Sometimes brucellosis can become a chronic illness that can be difficult to treat.
My dog was having seizures quite regularly, I had been to vets and they did not have answers. This is my empty nest child. So we constantly were changing his diet, I prayed about his health constantly and one day my husband and I were talking about it and it was like a light bulb went off in my head. STOP THE DAIRY! I used to feed him cheese like it was good for him. We have stopped the dairy for over a month and he hasn’t had a seizure since. I know this probably isn’t the answer for all fur babies but it was for mine and it changed his life.
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.
Certain breeds are more likely to develop particular tumors, larger ones especially. The Golden Retriever is especially susceptible to lymphoma, with a lifetime risk of 1 in 8. Boxers and Pugs are prone to multiple mast cell tumors. Scottish Terriers have eighteen times the risk of mixed breed dogs to develop transitional cell carcinoma, a type of urinary bladder cancer.
Gastric dilatation volvulus, or gastric torsion and bloat, primarily affects breeds with deep, narrow chests, such as Great Danes, St. Bernards, German Shepherds, Standard Poodles and Irish Setters. The stomach twists on its supporting ligaments, sealing off the exits, and the contents begin to generate gas pressure which is very painful and rapidly causes shock and necrosis of large areas of stomach tissue. It can be fatal within a few hours. Dogs who have experienced bloat are very susceptible to recurrences. Treatment involves stabilization and abdominal surgery to tack the dog’s stomach down to prevent recurrence (gastropexy).
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)* is a group of diseases in dogs that are idiopathic and characterized by the presence of inflammatory cell infiltrates in the stomach and/or intestinal walls. It is a common condition. Signs include vomiting, diarrhea, and weight loss. Treatment is with dietary modification and use of medications such as corticosteroids, metronidazole, sulfasalazine, and azathioprine.
Macadamia nuts can cause non-fatal stiffness, tremors, hyperthermia, and abdominal pain. The exact mechanism is not known. Most dogs recover with supportive care when the source of exposure is removed.
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.
1. Obesity: Obesity has become as serious of a problem in our pets as it is in the human population. Sadly, overweight pets are more prone to heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and premature death. But while underlying disease or slow metabolism might be a factor, all too often, pet obesity is caused by doting pet parents who overfeed and underexercise their cats and dogs. There is no quick fix for obesity, but, just like with a human diet, check with your veterinarian for feeding and exercise guidelines. It might be as easy as swapping the dog treats with green beans or giving your cat a five-minute run with the laser pointer before bed. It might sound crazy, but when it comes to obesity, we can love our pets to death. You can help your dogs and cats live long lives by giving them the tools to stay light on their paws.
Some dogs have food allergies just as humans do; this is particular to the individual dog and not characteristic of the species as a whole. An example is a dog becoming physically ill from salmon; many humans likewise have seafood allergies.
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.
Tick paralysis* is a disease in dogs caused by a neurotoxin found in the saliva of female ticks. Dermacentor species predominate as a cause in North America, while Ixodes mainly causes the disease in Australia. There is a gradual onset of signs, which include incoordination progressing to paralysis, changed voice, and difficulty eating.
Salmon poisoning disease is a fatal disease caused by infection with a rickettsia, either Neorickettsia helminthoeca or Neorickettsia elokominica. Dogs are infected by eating raw salmon from the Pacific Northwest.
“If you live in a heartworm endemic area, which is an area with mosquitoes, heartworm prevention is a must,” Dr. Eckholm says. “There are parts of the country where mosquitoes aren’t prevalent and therefore heartworm prevention isn’t used as frequently.”
Back pain* in dogs, particularly in long-backed breeds, such as Basset Hounds and Dachshunds, is usually caused by intervertebral disk disease. It is caused by degeneration and protrusion of the disk and compression of the spinal cord. It occurs most commonly in the cervical and thoracolumbar regions. Signs include back pain, hind limb weakness, and paralysis.