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).
Intussusception* is characterized by telescoping of one part of the gastrointestinal tract into another part, forming an obstruction. It is most common in dogs six to eight months old. Surgery is necessary for treatment.
4. Parvovirus: Commonly called “parvo,” this virus is terribly common in parts of the country with low vaccination rates and can be seen in cats and dogs (although the disease cannot be spread cross-species). Parvo is most frequently seen in puppies and kittens who have not yet been vaccinated. The mortality rate depends on how quickly the symptomsare caught by the owner and addressed by a veterinarian and the strength of a pet’s immune system. Most survivors of parvovirus do not harbor long-term effects.
Ringworm is a condition caused by a fungus that can infect skin, hair, and nails of both people and animals. Ringworm is transmitted from animals to people through direct contact with an infected animal’s skin or hair. Puppies are most commonly affected and can have circular areas of hair loss anywhere on the body.
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.
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.
Osteochondritis dissecans (OCD) is separation of immature articular cartilage from underlying bone. It is caused by osteochondrosis, which is characterized by abnormal endochondral ossification of epiphyseal cartilage. It is most commonly seen in the stifle, elbow, shoulder, and hock.
Jump up ^ Grooters, Amy M. (2003). “Pythiosis, lagenidiosis, and zygomycosis in small animals”. The Veterinary Clinics of North America. 33 (4): 695–720. doi:10.1016/S0195-5616(03)00034-2. PMID 12910739.
Cryptosporidium can cause profuse, watery diarrhea with cramping, abdominal pain, and nausea in both animals and people. Illness in people is usually self-limiting and lasts only 2-4 days, but can become severe in people with weakened immune systems.
Veterinary parasitology studies both external and internal parasites in animals. External parasites, such as fleas, mites, ticks and mosquitoes can cause skin irritation and are often carriers of other diseases or of internal parasites.
Diabetes insipidus* in dogs can be central, caused by a lack of antidiuretic hormone (ADH), or nephrogenic, caused by a lack of response of the kidneys to ADH. Neither form is common. Central diabetes insipidus (CDI) is usually idiopathic, but can also be caused by head trauma or tumors of the brain. Nephrogenic diabetes insipidus (NDI) can be primary (hereditary) or secondary (caused by a variety of metabolic and renal diseases, including Cushing’s syndrome and pyometra). Because the disease is characterized by an inability to concentrate urine, the most common sign is increased drinking and urinating. Treatment of CDI is to use desmopressin, a synthetic analog of ADH. Treatment of NDI is to treat the underlying cause, if any.
Jump up ^ Carmichael, L. (2004). “Neonatal Viral Infections of Pups: Canine Herpesvirus and Minute Virus of Canines (Canine Parvovirus-1)”. Recent Advances in Canine Infectious Diseases. Archived from the original on 2006-08-18. Retrieved 2006-06-25.
Jump up ^ Schütt, T; Toft, N; Berendt, M (2015). “Cognitive function, progression of age-related behavioral changes, biomarkers, and survival in dogs more than 8 years old”. Journal of veterinary internal medicine. 29 (6): 1569–77. doi:10.1111/jvim.13633. PMC 4895687 . PMID 26463980.
Finding out that a loved one has cancer can be very scary and confusing. When that loved one is your dog, it’s important to keep in mind that different veterinarians might have different views on the best way to treat the disease. It’s always a good idea to seek out a second opinion, perhaps from a veterinary oncologist, and carefully review your options.
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.
Dancing Dobermann disease is a type of myopathy that primarily affects the gastrocnemius muscle in Dobermanns. It usually starts between the ages of 6 to 7 months. One rear leg will flex while standing. Over the next few months it will begin to affect the other rear leg.
If possible, contact the owner and ensure the animal has a current rabies vaccination. You will need the rabies vaccine license number, name of the veterinarian that administered the vaccine, and the owner’s name, address, and phone number.
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.
Chocolate is a common cause of poisoning in dogs. The toxic principles in chocolate are theobromine and caffeine. Baker’s chocolate is the most dangerous form since it contains higher concentrations of these drugs, followed by semi-sweet, dark, and then milk chocolate. Signs include vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, difficulty walking, seizures, and heart problems.
Jump up ^ Uechi, Masami; Mizukoshi, Takahiro; Mizuno, Takeshi; Mizuno, Masashi; Harada, Kayoko; Ebisawa, Takashi; Takeuchi, Junichirou; Sawada, Tamotsu; Uchida, Shuhei (2012-05-04). “Mitral valve repair under cardiopulmonary bypass in small-breed dogs: 48 cases (2006–2009)”. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. 240 (10): 1194–1201. doi:10.2460/javma.240.10.1194.
Demodicosis, also known as demodectic mange, is caused by Demodex canis mites which live in small numbers in sebaceous glands and hair follicles. These mites can cause inflammation and hair loss, and may also lead to secondary bacterial infections such as fever, lethargy, and enlarged lymph nodes.
My dog will all the sudden get a burst of energy and run so fast he can’t stop and he will run right into things. Now he does this exorcist thing with his head, turning it back violently, teeth chattering and trying to bite his ear kind of thing and will not let anyone near him at all. I think he is having seizures but I’m not sure. I need help. Anyone??
Rabies (hydrophobia) is a fatal viral disease that can affect any mammal, although the close relationship of dogs with humans makes canine rabies a zoonotic concern. Vaccination of dogs for rabies is commonly required by law. Please see the article dog health for information on this disease in dogs.
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.
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.
Corneal ulcer, or ulcerative keratitis, is an inflammatory condition of the cornea involving loss of its outer layer. They are caused by trauma, detergent burns, and infections. Other eye conditions can cause corneal ulcers, such as entropion, distichia, corneal dystrophy, and keratoconjunctivitis sicca.
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.
Jump up ^ Heuter, Kerry J.; Langston, Cathy E. (2003). “Leptospirosis: A re-emerging zoonotic disease”. Vet. Clin. N. Am. Small Animal Pract. 33 (4): 791–807. doi:10.1016/S0195-5616(03)00026-3. PMID 12910744.
Cryptorchidism is when one the testicles is retained in the abdomen or inguinal canal past a normal stage of development. It is a common occurrence in dogs and is thought to be a sex-limited autosomal recessive trait.
Scotty Cramp is a disease in Scottish Terriers causing spasms and hyperflexion and hyperextension of the legs. It is caused by a disorder in serotonin metabolism that causes a deficiency of available serotonin.
Hypothyroidism is the most common endocrine disease in dogs. It can be caused by autoimmune destruction (lymphocytic thyroiditis) or idiopathic atrophy of the thyroid gland. These two causes are responsible for over 95% of the hypothyroidism cases in dogs. Signs include decreased appetite, weight gain, hair loss, dry skin/coat, skin that is cold to the touch, recurring skin infections, and lethargy. The dog may also seek out warm places to lie. The symptoms of hypothyroidism are shared with many other medical conditions; it may not be the first thought when a diagnosis is made. Symptoms may not appear until 75% or more of the gland is non-functional. In less than 10% of hypothyroidism cases, the problem is not with the thyroid gland itself, but with the pituitary gland in the brain. The pituitary gland produces a thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH); without this hormone to signal the thyroid gland to produce its thyroid hormone, the thyroid gland remains inactive. Treatment is with oral thyroid hormone supplementation. Lack of enough iodine in the diet can produce a form of hypothyroidism; without the proper amount of it, the thyroid gland fails to produce enough thyroid hormone. Myxedema coma is a rare but serious aspect of the disease that is a medical emergency.
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.