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.”
How to treat: Vaccines can be administered regularly to prevent some types of kennel cough. If your dog catches kennel cough you should take him to your vet where he might be prescribed medications that will speed up the recovery process. Keep your pup away from other dogs (especially in public places where the illness can spread rapidly), and give him lots of rest. Once you see signs of recovery, take him for regular walks until he is himself again.
Symptoms are basic: abdominal heaving and drooling caused by nausea. If your dog also has diarrhea, blood in the vomit, seems lethargic, continues vomiting, or can’t hold down liquids, contact your vet right away to prevent life-threatening dehydration.
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.
Jump up ^ Washabau, Robert J. (2005). “Gastrointestinal Motility Disorders of Dogs and Cats”. Proceedings of the 30th World Congress of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association. Retrieved 2007-01-14.
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.
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Be aware that dogs might shed Campylobacter, Giardia, hookworms, roundworms, and other germs in their stool. Plan to clean up after your pet frequently. Wash your and your child’s hands thoroughly with soap and water after feeding or cleaning up behind dogs.
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.
Uveitis* is inflammation within the eye. Anterior uveitis (inflammation of the iris and ciliary body) is most common in dogs. The disease is usually immune-mediated in dogs, but may also be caused by trauma, cataracts, infectious canine hepatitis, leptospirosis, ehrlichiosis, or systemic fungal infections.
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.
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.
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.
They’re commonly known as hot spots, but the medical term for those bare, inflamed, red areas you often see on dogs is acute moist dermatitis — a bacterial skin infection. Anything that irritates your dog’s skin enough to make him scratch or chew can lead to the pain and itch of hot spots, which, if left untreated, can quickly grow larger.
Jump up ^ Morrow, C. M. K.; Valli, V. E.; Volmer, P. A.; Eubig, P. A. (2005). “Canine Renal Pathology Associated with Grape or Raisin Ingestion: 10 Cases”. J. Vet. Diagn. Investig. 17 (3): 223–31. doi:10.1177/104063870501700302. PMID 15945377.
Jump up ^ Eigenmann, JE, Eigenmann, RY, Rijnberk, A, van der Gaag, I, Zapf, J, Froesch, ER. (1983). “Progesterone-controlled Growth Hormone Overproduction and Naturally Occurring Canine Diabetes and Acromegaly”. Acta Endocrinologica. Retrieved 25 January 2011.
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.
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.
Wash your hands with soap and running water after contact with dogs, dog saliva, or dog stool. Be sure to assist children with handwashing. Thoroughly washing hands will reduce the risk of disease transmission to people.
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.
Subvalvular aortic stenosis (Subaortic stenosis; SAS) is a congenital disease in dogs characterized by left ventricular outflow tract obstruction by a discrete ring or tunnel of fibrous tissue immediately below the aortic valve. It is inherited in Newfoundlands, and also found in Golden Retrievers, Rottweilers, Boxers, Bulldogs, German Shepherds, and Samoyeds. Signs include a left basilar systolic heart murmur, weak femoral pulse, fainting and exercise intolerance. Dogs with severe SAS are predisposed to dying suddenly.
Nuclear sclerosis is a consistent finding in dogs greater than seven years old. Nuclear sclerosis appears as a bilateral bluish-grey haziness at the nucleus, or center of the lens, and has little effect on vision. This is may be confused with cataracts.
10. Kidney disease: Kidney disease is common in senior cats, but also seen in cats and dogs of all ages. It can be congenital or develop as the pet ages. While cats with kidney disease can be treated and kept healthy for several years in most cases, dogs typically deteriorate more quickly. Kidney health is typically evaluated with annual bloodwork at your veterinarian.
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).
Common treatments include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and immunotherapy or a combination of therapies. Success of treatment depends on the type and extent of the cancer and the aggressiveness of the therapy. Of course, early detection is best.
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.
Echinococcosis is a parasitic disease caused by eating or drinking food and water contaminated with a specific type of tapeworm eggs or through contact with an infected animal. Dogs become infected by eating tissue of an infected animal. Dogs rarely show any signs of disease, but if they are infected with a large number of worms, dogs can have diarrhea and enteritis.
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.
Jump up ^ Davidson, Gigi (2000). “Providing Care for Veterinary Diabetic Patients-Canine Diabetes” (PDF). International Journal of Pharmaceutical Compounding. Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 March 2016. Retrieved 25 January 2011. (PDF)
Kennel cough is an infectious respiratory disease which can be caused by one of several viruses or by Bordetella bronchiseptica. It most commonly occurs in dogs in close confinement such as kennels.
Megaesophagus is a disease of the esophagus characterized by low motility and dilation. Most cases in adult dogs are idiopathic. It is the most common cause of regurgitation in dogs. Other causes of megaesophagus include myasthenia gravis, lead poisoning, and Addison’s disease.
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.
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.
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.
Certain types of dog or puppy adoptions, like international pet adoption, might not be suitable for your family because of the risk for disease. This is particularly true if young children, pregnant women, or persons with weak immune systems are living in the household. Persons with weak immune systems may include the elderly or people with an illness such as diabetes or HIV/AIDS, or those undergoing chemotherapy.
Jump up ^ Eirmann, L (2017). “Chapter 167: Antioxidants, nutraceuticals, probiotics, and nutritional supplements”. In Ettinger, SJ; Feldman, EC; Cote, E. Textbook of Veterinary Internal Medicine (8th ed.). Elsevier Health Sciences. ISBN 9780323312394.
Lyme disease* is a disease caused by Borrelia burgdorferi, a spirochaete, and spread by ticks of the genus Ixodes. Symptoms in dogs include acute arthritis, anorexia and lethargy. There is no rash as is typically seen in humans.
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.
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.
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.
Learn to watch your dog closely, and you’ll be surprised by how much it communicates how it feels, mentally and physically. The position of its ears and tail, it’s breathing, whether it often scratches or licks its paws can all be signs of distress. “Chronic behaviors and symptoms must be addressed,” says Kerns. “Healthy dogs don’t show symptoms on a daily basis.” Tip: Consider starting a health notebook or a calendar, so you can track when you administer meds, change food, or notice new behaviors, like obsessive grooming.
Although germs from dogs rarely spread to people, they might cause a variety of illnesses, ranging from minor skin infections to serious disease. To protect yourself and your family from getting sick:
“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.”
Chocolate poisoning symptoms can last up to 72 hours. PetMD offers this chocolate toxicity meter to gauge your dog’s level of poisoning, but it’s still best to see a vet right away. For a true life story, read our post, My Dog Ate Chocolate. Here’s What Happened Next.