What to look for: Since there are so many kinds of allergies dogs can have (from food to flea/tick bites and a wide range of other possibilities), it’s important to look for any change in behavior when exposed to something new. If your dog goes a few days showing lack of energy, has a consistent cough or sneeze, or if anything else seems out-of-place, you might be dealing with allergies.
Pasteurella is found in 50% of patients with infected dog bite wounds. Pasteurella can cause painful wound and skin infections. In more severe cases, it can cause widespread infection and might even affect the nervous system.
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.
“While there is currently no known way to prevent a dog from contracting the disease, there is a very useful guide available online to help people understand where in the UK confirmed cases have been found and advice on how to spot signs.
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.
“He is soooo cute,” you thought when you first laid eyes on your dog. And—yay!—he seemed to like you too. So you brought him home—only to realize that maybe you weren’t totally prepared for the work this relationship involved. Well, your mom was right (again): Owning a dog IS a big responsibility, from training to feeding to keeping it stress-free. “We don’t have that many years with our dogs,” says Whole Dog Journal editor Nancy Kerns. Here’s how to make sure each day is filled with health—and happiness for you both.
For most dogs, insulin injections are necessary for adequate regulation of blood glucose. Once your pet’s individual insulin treatment is established, typically based on weight, you will be shown how to give him his insulin injections at home.
There are several fungal diseases that are systemic in nature, meaning they are affecting multiple body systems. Blastomycosis, caused by Blastomyces dermatitidis, is a fungal disease that affects both dogs and humans, although it is only rarely zoonotic. It is found mainly in the United States in the Mississippi River and Great Lakes areas. It has also been reported in four Canadian provinces; Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec. Signs include weight loss, cough, fever, enlarged lymph nodes, draining skin lesions, eye inflammation with discharge, blindness, and lameness. Because dogs are ten times more likely to become infected from the environment than humans, they are considered to be sentinels for the disease. Treatment requires a minimum 60-90 day course of oral antifungal medication or in severe cases intravenous antifungal injections.
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.
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.
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.
Kennel cough is a term loosely used to describe a complex of respiratory infections—both viral and bacterial—that causes inflammation of a dog’s voice box and windpipe. It’s a form of bronchitis and is similar to a chest cold in humans.
Cor triatriatum*, specifically cor triatriatum dexter, occurs in dogs and is characterized by a fibrous division of the right atrium into two chambers, usually with a hole in between them. It results in right heart failure (ascites). It can be treated by balloon valvuloplasty or surgical resection.
The source of the disease is unknown, with the Environment Agency ruling out any chemical contamination in water supplies. Experts believe the disease is “very similar” to Alabama Rot, thought to be related to a toxin produced by E. Coli bacteria. However, no evidence of this has been found after no signs were shown on the infected dogs.
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.
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.
Ehrlichiosis is a bacterial disease that affects animals and people and is transmitted by ticks. Dogs show variable signs that include depression, loss of stamina, stiffness and reluctance to walk, and coughing.
Distichia (including ectopic cilia) is an eyelash that arises from an abnormal spot on the eyelid. Distichiae usually cause no symptoms because the lashes are soft, but they can irritate the eye and cause tearing, squinting, inflammation, and corneal ulcers.
Onions cause hemolytic anemia in dogs (and cats). Allyl propyl disulfide has been reported as being considered to be the main cause of onion poisoning in dogs. Thiosulfate has also been reported as being implicated. Thiosulfate levels are not affected by cooking or processing. Occasional exposure to small amounts is usually not a problem, but continuous exposure to even small amounts can be a serious threat. Also garlic contains thiosulfate, even if to a significantly lesser extent, and it is also known to cause diarrhea and vomiting.
Jump up ^ Richardson, Jill A. (December 2000). “Management of acetaminophen and Ibuprofen toxicoses in dogs and cats”. J. Vet. Emerg. Crit. Care. 10 (4): 285–291. doi:10.1111/j.1476-4431.2000.tb00013.x.
Ear infections are common in dogs, particularly breeds with hanging ears, such as Beagles, and dogs with narrow ear canals, such as Cocker Spaniels. Other predisposing factors include allergies, ear parasites, and hypothyroidism.
6. Rabies: Rabies is the disease made famous in the hearbreaking scene in Old Yeller. Thankfully, the widespread use of the rabies vaccine in recent years has made its occurrence in pets in the U.S. quite rare. However, it is still present in wild animal populations, and because rabies is always fatal, it’s critical to make sure that your pets are current on their rabies vaccination.
Congenital vertebral anomalies, including butterfly, block, and transitional vertebrae, and hemivertebrae, are a collection of malformations of the spine in animals. Most are not clinically significant, but they can cause compression of the spinal cord by deforming the vertebral canal or causing instability.
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.
Pericardial effusion* is a collection of fluid in the pericardium. It is usually serosanguinous (bloody fluid). Serosanguinous accumulation can be caused by cancer, usually hemangiosarcoma or a heart base tumor, idiopathic pericarditis. Rare causes include trauma, clotting disorders, and left atrial rupture. Serous accumulation is rare and caused by heart failure, peritoneopericardial diaphragmatic hernias, uremia, pericardial cysts, or hypoalbuminemia. Rarely pericardial effusion can be caused by infection and consist of pus. An echocardiogram should be done prior to draining the fluid, if possible, to identify the cause (e.g., tumor). Drainage of the fluid (pericardiocentesis) relieves the clinical signs and, in the case of idiopathic pericarditis, can be curative.
8. Arthritis: Arthritis is often seen as a rite of passage for our older pets. They may seem slow to rise in the morning, or a bit reluctant to jump up to their favorite spot on the couch. Your veterinarian can diagnose most forms of arthritis during a routine exam, but they may also recommend an x-ray to rule out other issues or evaluate how seriously inflamed the joints are. While there is no cure for arthritis, there are joint supplements, and even treatments like acupuncture, to help keep your pet as mobile as possible for as long as possible.
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.
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.
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.
“Treatment is supportive, but is only successful in 20-30% of cases, which is why we’re encouraging all dog owners to use the online interactive guide to help them understand the clinical signs and confirmed locations of Alabama Rot.
Pulmonic stenosis* is a congenital heart disease in dogs characterized by right ventricular outflow tract obstruction. Most commonly the narrowing occurs at the pulmonary valve but it can also occur below the valve (subvalvular) or above the valve (supravalvular). The most commonly affected breeds include terriers, Bulldogs, Miniature Schnauzers, Chihuahuas, Samoyeds, Beagles, Keeshonds, Mastiffs, and Bullmastiffs. Signs may include exercise intolerance, but often there is only a heart murmur.
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.
Ever think, “I should Spin more,” and then remember how much you hate Spinning? Same for dogs. Not every dog is a runner or a swimmer or will want to play fetch. In fact, says Case, “If you haven’t started your dog swimming before the age of 1 or 2, it’s not going to like it”—even if it has webbed feet. “There are many more owners who want their dogs to swim than there are dogs that want to get in the water.” Tip: There’s no real data on the optimum cardio workout for dogs, says Kerns, “but the more you can get your dog outside—with the sun overhead and grass under its paws—the better.”
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.
Genetics and environmental factors also play a role in cancer development. Some credit the uptick in canine cancer rates to dogs simply living longer with better health care options. Other blame dog “junk” food for the rise, with brand-name foods using ingredients thought to cause cancer. Check the labels and avoid BHT, BHA, and ethoxyquin.
The problem, says Weese, is there is not a lot of vaccine coverage in dogs in Canada because we haven’t had the virus here. But some dog owners have chosen to get it for dogs travelling to areas with dog flu outbreaks.
Heat stroke can occur in dogs, especially in flat-faced breeds such as the Bulldog or in giant breeds. Breed, lack of water, exercise, and high ambient temperature predispose dogs to heat stroke. Signs include vomiting, diarrhea, collapse, difficulty breathing, and body temperature approaching 42 °C to 43 °C. Treatment includes cooling the dogs with wet towels and fans, intravenous fluid therapy, and other supportive care. If a dog’s temperature begin to drop to around 40 °C, stop the cooling process. Once a dog’s body begins to cool, it can drop quickly and getting them too cool can create different problems. Allow the dog only a couple of laps of water until their temperature begins to drop to a more normal level. Do not allow a dog to gulp large quantities of water. If a dog is panting excessively and then drinks a lot of water, he will swallow large amounts of air with the water and this can cause an equally life-threatening case of gastric dilatation volvulus (bloat) in their stomach.
Jump up ^ Häggström J, Boswood A, O’Grady M, et al. (2008). “Effect of pimobendan or benazepril hydrochloride on survival times in dogs with congestive heart failure caused by naturally occurring myxomatous mitral valve disease: the QUEST study”. J. Vet. Intern. Med. 22 (5): 1124–35. doi:10.1111/j.1939-1676.2008.0150.x. PMID 18638016.
People most often become infected through flea bites or from contact with body fluids of infected animals. An example is a hunter skinning an infected rabbit or other animal. Bubonic plague is the most common form; symptoms include sudden onset of high fever, chills, headache, malaise, and swollen lymph nodes. The other two forms of plague, septicemic and pneumonic, cause more severe disease.
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.