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.
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.
No two dogs are alike. Likewise, no two dog breeds are alike, especially when it comes to their health. Dog health problems range from infections to cancers, and it’s up to the pet parents to keep their companions happy and healthy by understanding some common dog illnesses and diseases.
There are topical medicines to repel and kill ticks you put directly on your dog’s fur, like Frontline and K9 Advantix. There are also pills, like NexGard, and even collars your dog can wear, like Preventic. Just keep in mind the effectiveness of topical medicines decreases through the month, especially if your dog goes swimming or has a bath. Year-round prevention is best.
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.
The virus attacks rapidly-dividing cells in a dog’s body, most severely affecting the intestinal tract. Parvovirus also attacks the white blood cells, and when young animals are infected, the virus can damage the heart muscle and cause lifelong cardiac problems.
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.
Jump up ^ Meurs KM1, Lahmers S, Keene BW, White SN, Oyama MA, Mauceli E, Lindblad-Toh K. A splice site mutation in a gene encoding for PDK4, a mitochondrial protein, is associated with the development of dilated cardiomyopathy in the Doberman pinscher. Hum Genet. 2012 Aug;131(8):1319-25.
Blastomycosis* is a fungal disease caused by Blastomyces dermatitidis that affects both dogs and humans. Dogs are ten times more likely to be infected than humans. The disease in dogs can affect the eyes, brain, lungs, skin, or bones.
As your veterinarian will explain, it’s important to always give your dog insulin at the same time every day and feed him regular meals in conjunction with his medication; this allows increased nutrients in the blood to coincide with peak insulin levels. This will lessen the chance that her sugar levels will swing either too high or too low. You can work with your vet to create a feeding schedule around your pet’s medication time. It is also important to avoid feeding your diabetic dog treats that are high in glucose. Regular blood glucose checks are a critical part of monitoring and treating any diabetic patient, and your veterinarian will help you set up a schedule for checking your dog’s blood sugar.
Certain breeds are prone to specific cancers. Boxers, Boston terriers and Golden Retrievers are among the breeds that most commonly develop mast cell tumors or lymphoma, while large and giant breeds like Great Danes and Saint Bernards are much more likely to suffer from bone cancer than smaller breeds.
Vaccine reactions are adverse events which occur following vaccination, including granuloma formation, but most commonly the term vaccine reaction is used to describe a type I hypersensitivity reaction. The most common signs are facial swelling and hives, but more rarely very serious signs such as hypotension and collapse may occur.
^ 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.
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.
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.
“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.”
People exposed to Salmonella might have diarrhea, vomiting, fever, or abdominal cramps. Infants, elderly persons, and those with weakened immune systems are more likely than others to develop severe illness.
Although a certain form of diabetes—the type found in dogs less than a year of age—is inherited, proper diet and regular exercise can go a long way to avoid the development of diabetes. Aside from other negative effects, obesity is known to contribute to insulin resistance.
Vaccinations are an important preventative animal health measure. The specific vaccinations recommended for dogs varies depending on geographic location, environment, travel history, and the activities the animal frequently engages in. In the United States, regardless of any of these factors, it is usually highly recommended that dogs be vaccinated against rabies, canine parvovirus, canine distemper, and infectious canine hepatitis (using canine adenovirus type 2 to avoid reaction). The decision on whether to vaccinate against other diseases, including leptospirosis, Lyme disease, Bordetella bronchiseptica, parainfluenza virus, and canine coronavirus, should be made between an owner and a veterinarian, taking into account factors specific to the dog.
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.
Some cancers can be cured, while others cannot. Please note that if your dog’s cancer is not curable, there are still many things you can do to make your pet feel better. Don’t hesitate to talk to your vet about your options. And remember good nutrition and loving care can greatly enhance your dog’s quality of life.
“Anytime you’re out with your dog,” says Pat Miller, author of The Power of Positive Dog Training, “one of you is training the other.” Better for it to be you. Begin as early as 8 weeks, before it picks up bad behaviors, and continue even into old age to keep your dog sharp. Make training about reward, not punishment. (Old-school devices like choke collars injure and instill fear, Miller says, “the most common cause of canine aggression.”) When housebreaking, “keep your puppy under close supervision and take it outside more often than he needs to go,” says Miller. “Reward it when it goes to the bathroom so it learns that this is the right way to do it.” Tip: “A well-trained dog has more opportunities to improve its physical health,” Miller adds. Walks, fetch, and agility training are more fun for you both if your dog will come when called, wait when asked, and greet other people and pups politely.
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.
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.
Overdoses of vitamins can be harmful in dogs. As an example, calcium in excess can cause bone problems, especially in the large-breed dogs. Over-supplementation of vitamins A and D can cause vitamin toxicity in dogs. Excess vitamin A can cause dehydration, joint pain and can also harm the blood vessels, while too much vitamin D can cause muscular atrophy, or loss of appetite.
Gastrointestinal cancer* is uncommon in dogs. The most common type is lymphoma. Nonlymphomatous esophageal cancer is especially rare, the most common types being squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, leiomyosarcoma, and osteogenic sarcoma associated with the parasite Spirocerca lupi. Nonlymphomatous stomach cancer is usually an adenocarcinoma, and nonlymphomatous intestinal cancer is usually polyps, adenomas, adenocarcinomas, leiomyosarcomas, and leiomyomas.
Scotty Cramp is a disease in Scottish Terriers causing spasms and hyperflexion and hyperextension of the legs. It is caused by a disorder in serotonin metabolism that causes a deficiency of available serotonin.
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.
Pythiosis is a disease cause by a water mould of the genus Pythium, P. insidiosum. It occurs primarily in dogs and horses, but can also affect humans. In dogs it affects the gastrointestinal system and lymph nodes, and rarely the skin.
Complications include dehydration, secondary infections, sepsis and a condition in which part of the intestine slips into the part below it (called intussusception). CPV also can damage the spleen. Dogs that have another health condition are at increased risk for developing severe complications and illness.
Brain tumors* can be either metastatic or primary in dogs. The incidence of primary tumors is 14.5 per 100,000 dogs at risk. Types include meningioma, astrocytoma, oligodendroglioma, and undifferentiated sarcoma.
The first symptoms in people can start days to months after exposure and include generalized weakness, fever, and headache. Within a few days symptoms will progress to confusion, anxiety, behavioral changes, and delirium. If you have been bitten by a dog or other animal and feel that there is a risk for rabies, contact your health care provider right away. Once symptoms appear, it is almost always too late for treatment.
Legg-Calvé-Perthes syndrome, also known as Perthes disease or avascular necrosis of the femoral head, is characterized by a deformity of the head of the femur and hip pain. It occurs in small breed puppies.
Cryptococcosis* is a fungal disease caused by Cryptococcus neoformans that affects both dogs and humans. It is a rare disease in dogs, with cats seven to ten times more likely to be infected. The disease in dogs can affect the lungs and skin, but more commonly the eye and central nervous system.
Pica in dogs may be a sign of Immune-mediated hemolytic anemia, especially when it involves eating substances such as tile grout, concrete dust, and sand. Dogs exhibiting this form of pica should be tested for anemia with a Complete blood count including Hematocrit levels, or Packed cell volume.
Foreign body is an object foreign to the body that becomes lodged in the gastrointestinal tract (or other part of the dog). Dogs are susceptible to gastrointestinal obstruction due to their ability to swallow relatively large objects and pass them through the esophagus. Foreign bodies most commonly become lodged in the stomach because of the inability to pass through the pyloric sphincter, and in the jejunum.
Jump up ^ Daminet, Sylvie (2010). “Canine Hypothyroidism: Update on Diagnosis and Treatment”. Proceedings of the 35th World Congress of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association. Retrieved 25 January 2011.
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.
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.
As the name suggests, an infected mosquito injects a larva into the dog’s skin, where it migrates to the circulatory system and takes up residence in the pulmonary arteries and heart, growing and reproducing to an alarming degree. The effects on the dog are quite predictable, cardiac failure over a year or two, leading to death. Treatment of an infected dog is difficult, involving an attempt to poison the healthy worm with arsenic compounds without killing the weakened dog, and frequently does not succeed. Prevention is much the better course, via heartworm prophylactics which contain a compound which kills the larvae immediately upon infection without harming the dog. Often they are available combined with other parasite preventives.
You may not think you need one, but your dog does. “Don’t skimp on a in-depth vet exam every year,” advises Kerns. Since “dogs age on an accelerated schedule compared to us,” she says, serious illness can take hold within a year, so early detection is key. The exam should include a complete blood count, a blood-chemistry panel, a thorough dental check, and a vaccination review to ensure that your dog is up-to-date with rabies and other shots. Tip: Find a vet you can establish an easy relationship with. When you make your appointment, be sure the doc will set aside enough time to patiently answer all your questions.
“Chase has no known medical history, so everything was on the table, and that was a problem,” owner Scott Picken said. “It wasn’t until the fourth vet visit that a blasto test was done and by the time it came back positive, he was pretty sick.”
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.
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.
Although the dog is an animal, still, he is one of the most honest companions of the human being. He usually relies on his pet owner for healthy care. Well, being a pet owner you must be aware of your canine friend health condition. In this regard, I can say that the ear infection(signs- swelling, redness of the ear canal, vigorous scratching), worms-including(tapeworms, hookworms, roundworms), flea attacks(signs- excessive licking, hair loss), hot spots, vomiting, diarrhea etc, are some of the common health issues that your canine friend usually suffers from the lack of care and treatment. Thus, my suggestion is, you must stop this negligence and consult an
Jump up ^ Freeman, LM; Abood, SK; Fascetti, AJ; Fleeman, LM; Michel, KE; Laflamme, DP; Bauer, C; Kemp, BL; Van Doren, JR; Willoughby, KN (15 August 2006). “Disease prevalence among dogs and cats in the United States and Australia and proportions of dogs and cats that receive therapeutic diets or dietary supplements”. J. Am. Vet. Med. Assoc. 229 (4): 531–4. doi:10.2460/javma.229.4.531. PMID 16910851.
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.
Mouse and rat poison is commonly found in the house or garage. Dogs readily eat these poisons, which look like small green blocks and are very attractive to them. The poisons work by depleting stores of Vitamin K in the body, without it, blood cannot clot properly. Clinical signs of poisoning include depression, weakness, difficulty breathing, bruising, and bleeding from any part of the body. These clinical signs often take 3 to 4 days to show up. A blood test will show that the blood is not clotting properly. If the poison has only recently been ingested (within 2 to 3 hours), the dog should be given apomorphine or hydrogen peroxide to make it vomit. Activated charcoal can be given to absorb any remaining poison in the gastrointestinal tract. Then the dog is given Vitamin K supplementation for 3 to 4 weeks, depending on the type of poison. At the end of treatment, the clotting times should be tested again. The prognosis is good in these cases. However, if the dog is already showing signs of poisoning, it is too late to try to remove the poison from the body. A whole blood transfusion or plasma is given to treat the anemia and to try to control bleeding. Vitamin K is also given. The prognosis is poor in these cases.
It is suspected the disease spreads from muddy and wooded areas – dog owners who do walk their dogs in these places are advised to wash off any mud as soon as possible, and of course, keep close control of their dogs at all times to monitor where they go.