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.
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.
Cauda equina syndrome*, also known as degenerative lumbosacral stenosis, in dogs is a compression of the cauda equina by a narrowing of the lumbosacral vertebral canal. It is most commonly seen in German Shepherd Dogs. Signs include pain, weakness, and rear limb muscle atrophy.
Sporotrichosis is a fungal disease caused by Sporothrix schenckii that affects both dogs and humans. It is a rare disease in dogs, with cat and horse infections predominating in veterinary medicine. The disease in dogs is usually nodular skin lesions of the head and trunk.
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.
Bilious vomiting syndrome is vomiting in response to bile-induced inflammation of the stomach. Bile salts interfere with the gastric mucosal barrier, allowing acid to irritate the stomach lining and cause gastritis.
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.
Ear infections are a common canine health problem, and they can be caused by allergies, yeast, ear mites, bacteria, hair growth deep in the ear canal, and more. Symptoms your dog may have with an ear infection include:
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.
Part of your job as a dog owner will be protecting your family from the parasites that can plague dogs and make their lives (and yours) miserable. Fortunately, that’s much easier done these days than it once was.
As a dog parent, it is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of common illnesses so you can seek veterinary help for your canine friend as soon as possible. Read on for information about diseases and other medical inflictions that frequently impact dogs.
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.
How to treat: First, determine what the allergen is. Common allergies can be treated by changing your dog’s food or the shampoo you use when bathing. Seasonal or environmental allergies can be treated with medications, but those will eventually weaken the immune system if administered repeatedly.
It is not yet clear whether or not vitamins and supplements should be administered in dogs—opinions among veterinarians vary widely. While some think that vitamins and supplements are necessary and can improve the health of a dog, others believe that they are unnecessary and may harm the dog. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), dogs receive a complete and balanced diet from the commercially processed dog food alone. Pet owners who give their dogs homemade diets may incorporate extra vitamins and supplements.
Blastomycosis is another very serious fungal disease that affects dogs near the Great Lakes region and other Eastern U.S. river basins. The fungus lives in soil sheltered from the sun, mainly along riverbanks, lakes, and swamps. Most dogs who get it live within 400 meters of a body of water. Large breed male dogs are most at risk and symptoms typically include difficulty breathing, skin lesions, and loss of appetite.
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.
A dog who is up to date with his vaccinations and who has been bitten by a possibly rabid animal should also be given a rabies booster vaccine immediately and kept under observation (length will vary depending on your state laws).
Vets4Pets, which has nearly 400 practices across the UK, is supporting the research work carried out by Anderson Moores Veterinary Specialists to help understand the disease, how it can be treated and possibly prevented.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Contact your veterinarian immediately if your dog shows any of the clinical signs mentioned on the list above. Should your dog receive a diagnosis of cancer, you may wish to consult a veterinary oncologist, often employed by specialty veterinary practices and teaching hospitals.
Toxocara roundworms cause a parasitic disease known as toxocariasis. Dogs and people can become infected by accidentally swallowing roundworm eggs from the environment. In addition, larval worms can cross through the placenta, milk, or colostrum of a mother dog, passing the infection to her puppies. Infected puppies usually do not develop and grow well and might have a pot-bellied appearance.
Subaortic stenosis, or SAS, is a genetic ailment that causes a narrowing of the passage of blood between the heart and the aorta. This leads to heart problems and sometimes sudden death. It affects larger breeds such as the Newfoundland Dog and the Golden Retriever. In some dogs, such as collies, the blue merle or harlequin coloring is actually the heterozygote of a partially recessive gene preventing proper development of the nervous system; therefore, if two such dogs are mated, on the average one quarter of the puppies will have severe genetic defects in their nervous systems and sensory organs ranging from deafness to fatal flaws.
Infectious diseases that affect dogs are important not only from a veterinary standpoint, but also because of the risk to public health; an example of this is rabies. Genetic disorders also affect dogs, often due to selective breeding to produce individual dog breeds. Due to the popularity of both commercial and homemade dog foods, nutrition is also a heavily studied subject.
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??
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.
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.
Cataracts* are an opacity in the lens of the eye. Most cataracts in dogs are caused by a genetic predisposition, but diabetes mellitus is also a common cause. The only effective treatment is surgical removal.
However, there is one cause of chronic kidney disease that is preventable: dental disease. In the advanced stages of dental disease, bacteria from the dog’s gums can enter the bloodstream and damage vital organs, like the kidneys.
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.
What to look for: Since kennel cough is a respiratory infection, it can be easily transmitted from one dog to another when they interact. Look for lethargy, coughing, leaky nose and eyes or loss of appetite as common signs that your dog might have kennel cough.
Tracheal collapse is characterized by incomplete formation or weakening of the cartilagenous rings of the trachea. It is most common in small and toy breeds. Signs include a cough (often called a “goose honk cough” due to its sound), especially when excited.
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.
^ Jump up to: a b Asher, L.; Diesel, G.; Summers, J.F.; McGreevy, P.D.; Collins, L.M. (2009-12-01). “Inherited defects in pedigree dogs. Part 1: Disorders related to breed standards”. Vet. J. 182 (3): 402–411. doi:10.1016/j.tvjl.2009.08.033.
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.
Pasteurellosis is a bacterial disease associated with animal bites and scratches. Pasteurella is a normal bacterium that lives in the mouths of healthy dogs. The bacteria do not typically make dogs sick; however, dogs can develop abscesses or skin infections in places where they were scratched or bitten by another animal.