Osteoarthritis*, also known as degenerative arthritis, is a common condition in dogs characterized by progressive deterioration of articular cartilage in the joints of the limbs. It can cause a great deal of pain and lameness. Treatment options include medications such as NSAIDs, corticosteroids, and joint fluid modifiers such as glycosaminoglycans. Other treatments include surgery, massage, warm compresses, chiropractic, and acupuncture.
Feeding table scraps to a dog is generally not recommended, at least in excess. Just as in humans, a dog’s diet must consist of the appropriate mix of nutrients, carbohydrates, and proteins in order to give them the minerals and vitamins that they need. Dogs get ample correct nutrition from their natural, normal diet; wild and feral dogs can usually get all the nutrients needed from a diet of whole prey and raw meat. In addition, a human diet is not ideal for a dog: the concept of a “balanced” diet for a facultative carnivore like a dog is not the same as in an omnivorous human. Dogs will usually eat all the scraps and treats they are fed: usually too much food. While not all human delicacies are acutely toxic to dogs (see above), many have the same chronically unfortunate results as they do for humans.
Depending on the size of your pup, some health problems are more prevalent than others. For instance, big dogs tend to deal with more bone and joint problems, whereas smaller dogs tend to suffer more with organ and breathing disorders. Again, each breed is unique, but it is important to understand what common dog illnesses and health issues affect your pet. See below for the most common types of dog health issues and make sure to take immediate action if you think something serious is wrong with your dog.
Jump up ^ Dunayer EK, Gwaltney-Brant SM (October 2006). “Acute hepatic failure and coagulopathy associated with xylitol ingestion in eight dogs”. J. Am. Vet. Med. Assoc. 229 (7): 1113–7. doi:10.2460/javma.229.7.1113. PMID 17014359.
Samoyed hereditary glomerulopathy (SHG) is an hereditary noninflammatory disease, of the renal glomeruli occurring in the Samoyed breed of dog. The disease has been shown to be a model for hereditary nephritis (HN) in humans
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.
Histoplasmosis, caused by Histoplasma capsulatum, is a disease with a worldwide distribution. In the United States it is mainly found in the Mississippi and Ohio River areas, most commonly in bird and bat feces. Signs include weight loss, cough, fever, enlarged lymph nodes, and gastrointestinal symptoms. Coccidioidomycosis, caused by Coccidioides immitis, is found in arid and semi-arid regions of Central and South America, Mexico, and southwestern United States. Signs include weight loss, fever, cough, enlarged lymph nodes, and lameness.
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.
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.
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.
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.
How to treat: Prevention is your best option. It starts with getting your dog shots every year. You should also monitor your dog’s activity to make sure he isn’t interacting with rabies infected animals in the wild. If you suspect that your dog has rabies, call Animal Control immediately and avoid your dog as much as possible.
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.
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.
Jump up ^ Authement JM, Boudrieau RJ, Kaplan PM (1989). “Transient, Traumatically Induced, Central Diabetes Insipidus in a Dog”. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. Retrieved 8 April 2011.
There are some bacteria that are contagious from dog to dog. The most notable of these are Bordetella bronchiseptica, one of the causes of kennel cough, Leptospira sp, which cause leptospirosis, and Brucella canis, cause of brucellosis in dogs. There are also common tick-borne bacterial diseases, including Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
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.
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.
The best outcomes seem to be achieved by catching it early and the animal receiving high-quality veterinary care. Whilst some infected dogs do survive the treatments of skin sores and kidney failure, unfortunately, many do not – it is estimated that treatment is only successful in around 20-30% of cases.
Salmonella spreads to people through contaminated food (eggs and meat) or contact with stool of certain animals including dogs. Salmonella infections have been linked to some brands of dry dog food, treats, and chew toys like pig ears and to “raw food” diets for dogs. While it usually doesn’t make the dogs sick, Salmonella can cause serious illness when it is passed to people.
Syringomyelia* is a condition where a fluid filled sac develops in the spinal cord. The most important cause in dogs is by a Chiari I malformation, which is when an underdeveloped occipital bone interferes with spinal fluid circulation and results in fluid accumulation in the cervical spinal cord. This is a congenital disease most commonly found in small breeds such as the Brussels Griffon and the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Other breeds known to be affected include the Bichon Frise, Boston terrier, bull terrier, Chihuahua, French bulldog, Havanese, King Charles spaniel (the English toy spaniel), Maltese, miniature dachshunds, miniature and toy poodles, Papillon, Pomeranian, Pugs, Shih Tzu, Staffordshire bull terrier, and the Yorkshire terrier. Signs may include ataxia, weakness, and neck pain.
Collie eye anomaly (CEA) is a congenital, inherited, bilateral eye disease of dogs involving the retina, choroid, and sclera. It can be a mild disease or cause blindness. It is known to occur in Smooth and Rough Collies, Shetland Sheepdogs, Australian Shepherds, Border Collies, and Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers.
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.
Insecticides* used in dogs for fleas and ticks commonly contain either organophosphates or carbamates. they can be absorbed through the skin, conjunctiva, gastrointestinal tract, and lungs. Organophosphates inhibit acetylcholinesterase irreversibly and carbamates inhibit cholinesterase reversibly. Toxicity occurs through overdosage with an appropriate product or use of an agricultural product. Signs for both include hypersalivation, vomiting, lethargy, tremors, difficulty walking, weakness, and death.