Luxating patella is a medial or lateral displacement of the patella, or kneecap. It is strongly suspected to be inherited, but can also result from trauma. It is more common in smaller breeds of dogs 
Heartworm is easily preventable with an inexpensive, chewable pill or topical medication available as a vet’s prescription. The pills or topical are usually administered monthly and can be given to dogs under 6 months of age without a blood test. Older animals must be screened for the disease prior to starting medication.
Important: if your dog is sick, do not hesitate to contact your veterinarian immediately! Your vet is skilled at properly caring for your dog. DogHealth.com is not a replacement for care by a veterinarian. It is only a resource for you to learn more about your dog’s health.
Ticks* are an external parasite of the dog and can spread diseases such as Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, babesiosis, and ehrlichiosis. They can also cause a neurological disorder known as tick paralysis.
Tapeworms, roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms are common internal parasites in dogs. And although any worm infestation can make your pooch uncomfortable, some, like hookworms, can be fatal in puppies. Signs your dog may have worms include:
Atrial septal defect* is a hole in the division between the heart atria (upper chambers of the heart). It is an uncommon abnormality in dogs. Most are not clinically significant, but large defects can cause right heart failure and exercise intolerance. Standard Poodles are the most common breed diagnosed with ASD in the USA.
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.
Avoid bites and scratches from dogs. Dog bites might become seriously infected or might be a source of rabies. Be cautious with unfamiliar animals. Approach dogs with care, even if they seem friendly.
5. Distemper: Distemper is a tragic, often fatal disease of dogs and puppies. While the distemper virus is part of the typical puppy vaccine series, puppies too young for vaccination and dogs who were never vaccinated are most vulnerable. The virus typically comes along with neurological symptoms, nasal discharge, and high fevers. It also has a high mortality rate, and the rare dogs who survive infection often bear long-term effects, such as seizures and hardened paw pads.
To avoid acute kidney disease, keep human medications away from your dog, unless advised otherwise by your vet. Also, keep antifreeze away from dogs; they like the taste but it’s quite poisonous, even in low doses. There are various ways dogs can get their paws on antifreeze, including licking it off the garage floor or getting it from winterized pipes.
Heartworm is a parasitic worm that lives in the heart and pulmonary arteries of an infected animal. The worms travel through the bloodstream—harming arteries and vital organs as they go—ultimately completing their journey to the vessels of the lung and the heart chamber about six months after the initial infection. Several hundred worms can live in one dog for five to seven years.
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.
Parasites, particularly intestinal worms such as hookworms, tapeworms and roundworms, can be transmitted in a dog’s feces. Some tapeworms have fleas as intermediate hosts: the worm egg must be consumed by a flea to hatch, then the infected flea must be ingested (usually by the dog while grooming itself, but occasionally by a human through various means) for the adult worm to establish itself in the intestines. The worm’s eggs then pass through the intestines and adhere to the nether regions of the dog, and the cycle begins again.
Physical elements of certain dog breeds also affect susceptibility of individuals to skin problems, such as wrinkled skin or excessive skin folds. For instance, skin-fold dermatitis is a skin infection more prevalent in breeds such as the bulldog, cocker spaniel, and English Springer spaniel.
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.
Granulomatous meningoencephalitis (GME) (including Pug Dog encephalitis and other noninfectious causes of meningoencephalitis) is an inflammatory disease of the central nervous system of dogs. It is a form of meningoencephalitis. The disease is more common in female toy dogs of young and middle age.
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.
Jump up ^ “Control of Canine Influenza in Dogs: Questions, Answers, and Interim Guidelines”. American Veterinary Medical Association and Nichole Irish. 2005-12-01. Archived from the original on 2006-08-13. Retrieved 2006-11-26.
Jump up ^ Reynolds, Cecily A.; Bain, Perry J.; Latimer, Kenneth S. “Canine and Feline Cryptococcosis”. College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Georgia. Archived from the original on 2006-09-11. Retrieved 2006-11-27.
Staphylococcus aureus is a common type of bacteria that is normally found on the skin of people and animals. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is the same bacterium that has become resistant to some antibiotics. Dogs and other animals often can carry MRSA without being sick, but MRSA can cause a variety of infections, including of the skin, respiratory tract, and urinary tract.
Covering issues such as dog diseases, arthritis, dog care, dog training, dog grooming, dog behavior, and just plain how to have fun and play with your dog, DogHealth.com will help you answer your dog questions.
Babesiosis* is spread by members of the family Ixodidae, or hard ticks. The two species of the genus Babesia that affect dogs are B. canis and B. gibsoni. Babesiosis can cause hemolytic anemia in dogs.
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.
People start showing signs 2-14 days after exposure; these may include fever, rash, headache, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and muscle pain. RMSF can develop into a serious illness if not promptly treated.
Pemphigus is an uncommon autoimmune skin disease. The most common form in dogs is pemphigus foliaceus, which manifests as erosions and crusting of the skin and mucocutaneous junctions. Pemphigus vulgaris is more rare and manifests as blister-like lesions in the mouth and at mucocutaneous junctions. Bullous pemphigoid is most commonly seen in Dobermanns and Collies and appears as a scald-like lesion of the groin.
Umbilical hernia* is a failure of the umbilical ring of the abdominal wall to close. They are very common and can be caused by genetics or by traction on the umbilical cord or by the cord being cut too close to the body. They are corrected by surgery.
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.
Prostate disease* in dogs includes benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), prostatitis (infection of the prostate), cancer, and cysts and abscesses. BPH is the most common and is found in older intact (not neutered) dogs. Signs include blood in the urine and straining to urinate and defecate. Castration is the treatment of choice. Prostatis can be associated with BPH. Bacteria causing prostatitis include E. coli, Staphylococcus spp., Streptococcus spp., and Mycoplasma spp.
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.
Congestive heart failure* is the result of any severe, overwhelming heart disease that most commonly results in pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs), pleural effusion (fluid around the lungs), and/or ascites (fluid in the abdomen). It can be caused by the above two diseases, congenital heart defects such as patent ductus arteriosus, pulmonary hypertension, heartworm (Dirofilaria immitis) disease, or pericardial effusion. Signs depend on which side of the heart is affected. Left-sided heart failure results in rapid and/or difficulty breathing and sometimes coughing from a build-up of fluid in the lungs (pulmonary edema). Right-sided heart failure results in a large liver (congestion) and build-up of fluid in the abdomen (ascites), uncommonly fluid around the lungs (pleural effusion), or, rarely, peripheral edema.
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.
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.
If your dog will be housed outside, provide shelter such as a doghouse for when it is cold or rainy and shade for when it is hot. Protecting your dog from the changes in weather will reduce stress and help keep it healthy.
^ Jump up to: a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag Ettinger, Stephen J.; Feldman, Edward C. (1995). Textbook of Veterinary Internal Medicine (4th ed.). W. B. Saunders Company. ISBN 0-7216-6795-3.
You need a heads-up on potential health problems and their risk factors, so you can prevent them altogether. Well, here it is: the most common yet preventable dog diseases, along with expert advice from California veterinarian Dr. Nicole Eckholm of the Pet Emergency and Specialty Center of Marin.