Alcohols Commonly encountered alcohols in veterinary medicine are isopropanol and methanol found in household products and ethanol from alcoholic beverages. They all pose toxicity to dogs. Isopropanol which is found in rubbing alcohol has twice the toxicity of ethanol; however methanol which can be found in windshield washer fluid does not have the same retinal and neuronal toxicity on dogs as it does to humans and primates due to the differences in the way its metabolite formic acid is processed.
What to look for: Arthritis usually, but not always, affects dogs as they grow older. It is the most common health problem in older pets. Your dog will eventually begin to move around less and take more time getting up from lying or seated positions.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis is a disease of dogs characterized by sudden vomiting and bloody diarrhea. The symptoms are usually severe and can be fatal if not treated. It is most common in young adult dogs of any breed, but especially small dogs such as the Toy Poodle and Miniature Schnauzer.
Note: Do not attempt to handle or capture a wild animal who is acting strangely (i.e., a nocturnal animal who is out during the day, an animal who acts unusually tame). Report the animal to local animal control officers as soon as possible.
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.
Cryptococcosis* is a fungal disease caused by Cryptococcus neoformans that affects both dogs and humans. It is a rare disease in dogs, with cats seven to ten times more likely to be infected. The disease in dogs can affect the lungs and skin, but more commonly the eye and central nervous system.
“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.
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.
Rabies is a viral disease that may affect the brain and spinal cord of all mammals, including cats, dogs and humans. This preventable disease has been reported in every state except Hawaii. There’s good reason that the very word “rabies” evokes fear in people—once symptoms appear, rabies is close to 100% fatal.
Hemolytic anemia* is a type of regenerative anemia found in dogs characterized by destruction of the red blood cell. The most important type is immune-mediated hemolytic anemia, which can be a primary disease or secondary to cancer, infection, drugs, or vaccinations. Antibodies are present on the cell surface, leading to lysis and severe anemia. Other causes of hemolytic lesion include hypophosphatemia, exposure to toxins such as lead, infections such as ehrlichiosis or babesiosis, and rarely, neonatal isoerythrolysis. The behavioral condition pica, especially when involving the eating of concrete dust, tile grout, or sand, may be a sign of hemolytic anemia, indicating the need for a complete blood count to investigate a possible diagnosis.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Pythiosis is a disease cause by a water mould of the genus Pythium, P. insidiosum. It occurs primarily in dogs and horses, but can also affect humans. In dogs it affects the gastrointestinal system and lymph nodes, and rarely the skin.
The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit in southwestern Ontario announced this week it has confirmed infections in two dogs brought to Canada from South Korea by a U.S.-based dog rescue group. Both dogs have the H3N2 strain and their new owners have placed each of them into quarantine, away from other pets.
Female cats and dogs are seven times more likely to develop mammary tumors if they are not spayed before their first heat cycle. The high dietary estrogen content of the average commercial pet food may be contributing factors in the development of mammary cancer, especially when these exogenous sources are added to those normal estrogens produced by the body. Dog food containing soybeans or soybean fractions have been found to contain phytoestrogens in levels that could have biological effects when ingested longterm.
Many studies show the health benefits of dog ownership. Dogs not only provide comfort and companionship, but several studies have found that dogs decrease stress and promote relaxation. Dogs have positive impacts on nearly all life stages. They influence social, emotional, and cognitive development in children, promote an active lifestyle, and have even been able to detect oncoming epileptic seizures or the presence of certain cancers. But for all the positive benefits of keeping dogs, pet owners should be aware that dogs can carry germs that make people sick.
Trichiasis in dogs is hair from the eyelid growing in the wrong direction and rubbing on the eye, causing irritation. It usually occurs at the lateral upper eyelid, especially in the English Cocker Spaniel.
2. Heartworm: Heartworm is a disease spread by mosquitoes and it has been diagnosed in all 50 states. While it is much more common in dogs, cats can also acquire the disease. If the infection is caught early enough in dogs, it can generally be treated, but there is no cure for feline heartworm disease. Therefore, the best way to keep your pets heart free of potentially deadly worms, is through a monthly preventative, prescribed by your veterinarian.
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.
Syringomyelia* is a condition where a fluid filled sac develops in the spinal cord. The most important cause in dogs is by a Chiari I malformation, which is when an underdeveloped occipital bone interferes with spinal fluid circulation and results in fluid accumulation in the cervical spinal cord. This is a congenital disease most commonly found in small breeds such as the Brussels Griffon and the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Other breeds known to be affected include the Bichon Frise, Boston terrier, bull terrier, Chihuahua, French bulldog, Havanese, King Charles spaniel (the English toy spaniel), Maltese, miniature dachshunds, miniature and toy poodles, Papillon, Pomeranian, Pugs, Shih Tzu, Staffordshire bull terrier, and the Yorkshire terrier. Signs may include ataxia, weakness, and neck pain.
Often times they suffer in silence, unable to tell us if their tummy hurts or what aches. As pet parents, we try to take the best care of our little guys and gals, but it can be hard when they can’t tell us what’s wrong.
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*.
Older, small breeds of dogs are prone to congestive heart failure due to degeneration of the mitral valve. This condition is known to be inherited in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. Degenerative valve disease is the most common form of heart disease in dogs. Mitral insufficiency leads to turbulent blood flow and increased pressure in the left atrium. This causes increased pressure in the pulmonary blood vessels and pulmonary edema (a build-up of fluid in the lungs). Decreased output of blood by the left ventricle causes the body to compensate by increasing sympathetic tone and activating the renin–angiotensin–aldosterone system (RAAS). Increased sympathetic tone leads to increased peripheral vascular resistance and increased heart rate and contractility of the heart muscle. Chronic elevation of sympathetic tone damages the heart muscle. Activation of the RAAS results in increased retention of water and sodium by the kidneys, vasoconstriction, and other effects that result in increased blood volume. It also results in an increase in diastolic pressure and leads to pulmonary edema. Treatment for congestive heart failure has historically focussed on two types of drugs that address these concerns: diuretics (especially furosemide), which decrease blood volume, and ACE inhibitors, which interrupt the RAAS. Recently, pimobendan – which increases the force with which the heart muscle contracts, and is also a vasodilator – is being more widely used in the treatment of congestive heart failure caused by valvular disease. A major veterinary study, called the QUEST study (QUality of life and Extension of Survival Time), published in September 2008 found that dogs with congestive heart failure receiving pimobendan plus furosemide had significantly better survival outcomes than those receiving benazepril (an ACE inhibitor) plus furosemide. However, ACE inhibitors and pimobendan have different mechanisms of action, and many veterinary cardiologists recommend they be used concurrently. Within the past decade, a new surgical technique has been developed for mitral valve repair that replaces or strengthens the mitral valve chords with polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) prostheses and tightens the mitral valve ring to reduce or eliminate regurgitation.
Jump up ^ Dunayer EK, Gwaltney-Brant SM (October 2006). “Acute hepatic failure and coagulopathy associated with xylitol ingestion in eight dogs”. J. Am. Vet. Med. Assoc. 229 (7): 1113–7. doi:10.2460/javma.229.7.1113. PMID 17014359.
Jump up ^ Trostel, C. Todd; Dhupa, S (2004). “What’s Your Diagnosis?” (PDF). Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. 225 (3): 361–362. doi:10.2460/javma.2004.225.361. PMID 15328709. Retrieved 2007-01-14.
Tetanus* is a disease caused by the bacteria Clostridium tetani following wound contamination. Dogs are not very susceptible to tetanus. Signs include difficulty opening the mouth and eating, contraction of the facial muscles, and rigid extension of the limbs. Dogs may also get localized tetanus, signs of which include stiffness of a limb spreading to the rest of the body.
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.
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.
Since the disease was first detected in 2012 in the UK the number of cases of Alabama dog rot in dogs has risen. The most serious outbreak was in the New Forest region of Hampshire but there have also been reported cases in several other counties, with the most recent cases reported Gloucestershire, Monmouthshire, Devon, Dorset, Cheshire, Warwickshire, Greater Manchester and Worcestershire.
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.
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.
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.
Polyneuropathy is a collection of peripheral nerve disorders that often are breed-related in dogs. Polyneuropathy indicates that multiple nerves are involved, unlike mononeuropathy. Polyneuropathy usually involves motor nerve dysfunction, also known as lower motor neuron disease.
About 4.5 million Americans receive dog bites each year, many of which require immediate medical attention. Young children 5 to 9 years old are most likely to bitten by dogs, with boys being bitten more often than girls.
What’s true for humans is also true for dogs. Of-the-moment food regimens—like the wolf diet, raw-food craze, or grain-free eating—aren’t worth the money or time. Yes, they can provide balanced meals, and thus aren’t harmful, Case says, “but there is no demonstrated evidence of their health benefits” over other more-standard diets. Tip: Want to provide your pooch with raw food? Be sure it’s pasteurized to ensure safety.
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.
“The cause of Alabama Rot, clinically known as idiopathic cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy (CRGV), is still unknown and there is no known way to prevent a dog from contracting the disease,” said David Walker, from Anderson Moores.
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.
Jump up ^ Mazzaferro, Elisa M. (2006). “Emergency Approach to Toxins” (PDF). Proceedings of the North American Veterinary Conference. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 29, 2007. Retrieved February 13, 2007.
Jump up ^ Meurs KM1, Lahmers S, Keene BW, White SN, Oyama MA, Mauceli E, Lindblad-Toh K. A splice site mutation in a gene encoding for PDK4, a mitochondrial protein, is associated with the development of dilated cardiomyopathy in the Doberman pinscher. Hum Genet. 2012 Aug;131(8):1319-25.
Ringworm is a fungal skin disease that in dogs is caused by Microsporum canis (70%), Microsporum gypseum (20%), and Trichophyton mentagrophytes (10%). Typical signs in dogs include hair loss and scaly skin.
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.
Being familiar with these common dog health issues should help you know which ones you can treat yourself, and when it’s time to see a vet. If you find yourself visiting the vet often perhaps pet insurance is something you should consider. It can greatly reduce your out-of-pocket cost when visiting your veterinarian. Check out our Pet Insurance Comparison to see which pet insurance providers might be a good fit for your family.
Squamous cell carcinoma* is a malignant tumor in dogs that most commonly occurs in the oral cavity, including the tongue, tonsils, and gingiva. Squamous cell carcinoma accounts for 5 percent of skin tumors in dogs, and are the most common tumor of the toe. Dogs with unpigmented skin on the nose may develop this cancer from long-term sun exposure.
Sick sinus syndrome* is most commonly seen in female Miniature Schnauzers. It is characterized by sinoatrial node dysfunction and may include atrioventricular node disease and bundle branch block. Electrocardiogram findings include sinus bradycardia, sinus arrest, sinoatrial heart block, and atrial tachycardia. The major clinical sign is fainting (syncope).
How to treat: A steady diet and regular exercise are the two things needed when your dog is overweight. It’s important to recognize the severity of your dog’s obesity and be sure to administer the right changes in nutrition and exercise. Too much exercise, or too significant a reduction in food, can cause other issues, so you should consult your vet before making any drastic changes to the diet.
The risk for contracting rabies runs highest if your dog is exposed to wild animals. Outbreaks can occur in populations of wild animals (most often raccoons, bats, skunks and foxes in this country) or in areas where there are significant numbers of unvaccinated, free-roaming dogs and cats.
Jump up ^ Paciello, O.; Lamagna, F.; Lamagna, B.; Papparella, S. (2003). “Ehlers-Danlos–Like Syndrome in 2 Dogs: Clinical, Histologic, and Ultrastructural Findings” (PDF). Veterinary Clinical Pathology. 32 (1): 13–18. doi:10.1111/j.1939-165X.2003.tb00306.x. PMID 12655483. Retrieved 2007-01-01.
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.