Orthopedic diseases in dogs can be developmental, hereditary, traumatic, or degenerative. Because of the active nature of dogs, injuries happen frequently. One of the most common of these is an anterior cruciate ligament injury, a condition which often requires surgery. Bone fractures are a frequent occurrence in outdoor dogs due to trauma from being hit by cars. Degenerative joint disease is common in older dogs and is one of the most likely reasons for prescription of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
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.
If a lump is present, the first step is typically a needle biopsy, which removes a very small tissue sample for microscopic examination of cells. Alternately, surgery may be performed to remove all or part of the lump for diagnosis by a pathologist.
Samoyed hereditary glomerulopathy (SHG) is an hereditary noninflammatory disease, of the renal glomeruli occurring in the Samoyed breed of dog. The disease has been shown to be a model for hereditary nephritis (HN) in humans
Jump up ^ Shearman, JR; Wilton, AN. (2007). “Elimination of neutrophil elastase and adaptor protein complex 3 subunit genes as the cause of trapped neutrophil syndrome in Border collies”. Animal Genetics. 38 (2): 188–189. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2052.2007.01565.x. PMID 17302793.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Salmonella spreads to people through contaminated food (eggs and meat) or contact with stool of certain animals including dogs. Salmonella infections have been linked to some brands of dry dog food, treats, and chew toys like pig ears and to “raw food” diets for dogs. While it usually doesn’t make the dogs sick, Salmonella can cause serious illness when it is passed to people.
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.
Dog hookworms are tiny worms that can spread through contact with contaminated soil or sand. Dogs can also become infected with hookworms through accidentally ingesting the parasite from the environment or through their mother’s milk or colostrum. Young puppies are most often affected and might have dark, bloody stool and anemia. Severe infections in some puppies can lead to death.
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.
It is suspected the disease spreads from muddy and wooded areas – dog owners who do walk their dogs in these places are advised to wash off any mud as soon as possible, and of course, keep close control of their dogs at all times to monitor where they go.
Jump up ^ Eubig P, Brady M, Gwaltney-Brant S, Khan S, Mazzaferro E, Morrow C (2005). “Acute renal failure in dogs after the ingestion of grapes or raisins: a retrospective evaluation of 43 dogs (1992–2002)”. J. Vet. Intern. Med. 19 (5): 663–74. doi:10.1892/0891-6640(2005)19[663:ARFIDA]2.0.CO;2. PMID 16231710.
“Anytime you’re out with your dog,” says Pat Miller, author of The Power of Positive Dog Training, “one of you is training the other.” Better for it to be you. Begin as early as 8 weeks, before it picks up bad behaviors, and continue even into old age to keep your dog sharp. Make training about reward, not punishment. (Old-school devices like choke collars injure and instill fear, Miller says, “the most common cause of canine aggression.”) When housebreaking, “keep your puppy under close supervision and take it outside more often than he needs to go,” says Miller. “Reward it when it goes to the bathroom so it learns that this is the right way to do it.” Tip: “A well-trained dog has more opportunities to improve its physical health,” Miller adds. Walks, fetch, and agility training are more fun for you both if your dog will come when called, wait when asked, and greet other people and pups politely.
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.
Thrombocytopenia* is a common condition in dogs characterized by low platelet counts. Platelets are used in clotting the blood, so dogs with this condition may have spontaneous bleeding or prolonged bleeding following surgery, injury, or during an estrous cycle. Causes include some rickettsial infections such as ehrlichiosis, cancers such as hemangiosarcoma, or immune-mediated disease.
Babesiosis* is spread by members of the family Ixodidae, or hard ticks. The two species of the genus Babesia that affect dogs are B. canis and B. gibsoni. Babesiosis can cause hemolytic anemia in dogs.
Discoid lupus erythematosus is an uncommon autoimmune disease of the skin in dogs. It does not progress to systemic lupus erythematosus in dogs. The most common initial symptom is scaling and loss of pigment on the nose.
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.
Legg-Calvé-Perthes syndrome, also known as Perthes disease or avascular necrosis of the femoral head, is characterized by a deformity of the head of the femur and hip pain. It occurs in small breed puppies.
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.
Jump up ^ Klopfleisch R, Kohn B, Plog S, Weingart C, Nöckler K, Mayer-Scholl A, Gruber AD (2011). “An Emerging Pulmonary Haemorrhagic Syndrome in Dogs: Similar to the Human Leptospiral Pulmonary Haemorrhagic Syndrome?”. Vet. Med. Int. 33: 1–7. doi:10.4061/2010/928541. PMC 3025382 . PMID 21274452.
If your veterinarian has diagnosed your dog with ringworm, he or she will explain what you must do to prevent the fungus from spreading to your other pets—and to the human members of the household. But keep in mind that if you have other pets, it’s likely that most of them have been exposed as well. Your veterinarian may recommend that you do the following:
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)
Horner’s syndrome* results from damage to the sympathetic innervation of the eye. Signs include enophthalmos (sunken eye), miosis (small pupil), elevated third eyelid, and ptosis (drooping of the upper eyelid). Usually the syndrome in dogs is idiopathic, but it can also be caused by trauma, tumors, or ear infections.
Hops, a plant used in making beer, can cause malignant hyperthermia in dogs, usually with fatal results. Certain breeds, such as Greyhounds, seem particularly sensitive to hop toxicity, but hops should be kept away from all dogs. Even small amounts of hops can trigger a potentially deadly reaction, even if the hops are “spent” after use in brewing.
Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease of people and animals that is transmitted through contaminated water and urine or other body fluids from an infected animal. It is difficult to detect early stages of leptospirosis in animals, but the disease can lead to kidney and liver failure if left untreated.
An infectious disease is caused by the presence of organisms such as viruses, bacteria, fungi, or parasites (either animalian or protozoan). Most of these diseases are spread directly from dog to dog, while others require a vector such as a tick or mosquito. Certain infectious diseases are a concern from a public health standpoint because they are zoonoses (transmittable to humans).
Depending on the size of your pup, some health problems are more prevalent than others. For instance, big dogs tend to deal with more bone and joint problems, whereas smaller dogs tend to suffer more with organ and breathing disorders. Again, each breed is unique, but it is important to understand what common dog illnesses and health issues affect your pet. See below for the most common types of dog health issues and make sure to take immediate action if you think something serious is wrong with your dog.
Jump up ^ Shubitz, Lisa; Butkiewicz, C.; Dial, S.; Lindan, C. “Incidence of Coccidioides infection among dogs residing in a region in which the organism is endemic”. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. Retrieved 2013-10-06.
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.
^ Jump up to: a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag Ettinger, Stephen J.; Feldman, Edward C. (1995). Textbook of Veterinary Internal Medicine (4th ed.). W. B. Saunders Company. ISBN 0-7216-6795-3.
“Be aware of it and insist a blasto test be done early,” Picken says. “It’s a small price to pay to eliminate the possibility of a tragic outcome. I found the perfect rescue dog and was ecstatic about the thought of having so many good years with him. To go from that to the heartbreak of losing him so quickly is a pretty steep fall.”
Sarcoptic mange is a parasitic skin disease that is caused by a tiny mite. Mange is transmitted between animals through close contact. In dogs, the mite causes severe itching and self-inflicted wounds from scratching.
“If you think your dog is too skinny, it’s probably the right weight,” Case say. Dogs with excess weight are more prone to joint problems and diabetes, among other health issues (sounds familiar). How to tell if Fluffy is chubby? “It’s all about the feel,” she adds. “Ribs shouldn’t be visible, but easily felt.” Tip: Rub your hands up and down your dog’s flank. You should feel the ridges of its ribs without having to push in to find them.
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.
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.
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.
Renal failure (kidney failure) * is common in dogs and may be found in acute or chronic forms. It is defined by a loss of function of about 75 percent of the filtration system of the kidney and characterized by azotemia and low specific gravity of the urine. Acute renal failure can be caused by loss of blood supply, hypercalcemia, or toxins such as ethylene glycol (antifreeze) or aminoglycoside antibiotics (see: ethylene glycol poisoning). Chronic renal failure can be congenital and/or inherited or caused by cancer, infection, hypertension, glomerulonephritis, amyloidosis, progressive interstitial fibrosis, or any of the causes of acute renal failure.