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.
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.
Female cats and dogs are seven times more likely to develop mammary tumors if they are not spayed before their first heat cycle. The high dietary estrogen content of the average commercial pet food may be contributing factors in the development of mammary cancer, especially when these exogenous sources are added to those normal estrogens produced by the body. Dog food containing soybeans or soybean fractions have been found to contain phytoestrogens in levels that could have biological effects when ingested longterm.
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)* is a group of diseases in dogs that are idiopathic and characterized by the presence of inflammatory cell infiltrates in the stomach and/or intestinal walls. It is a common condition. Signs include vomiting, diarrhea, and weight loss. Treatment is with dietary modification and use of medications such as corticosteroids, metronidazole, sulfasalazine, and azathioprine.
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.
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.
One of the most common fungal diseases in dogs is ringworm, or dermatophytosis, an infection of the skin, hair, or nails. There are three fungal species that cause ringworm in dogs. About 70 percent of infections are caused by Microsporum canis, 20 percent by M. gypseum, and 10 percent by Trichophyton mentagrophytes. Signs include hair loss and scaling of the skin. Treatment for localized ringworm is not always necessary as the disease is self-limiting, but the cliinical course can be shortened by using topical miconazole or clotrimazole. Generalized infections, most commonly seen in immunocompromised dogs, can be treated with oral antifungal drugs such as griseofulvin or itraconazole. Infection can spread to humans.
Mouse and rat poisons containing cholecalciferol cause hypercalcemia and hyperphosphatemia in dogs. Clinical signs include depression, loss of appetite, vomiting blood, weakness, and shock. Treatment is as above for recent exposure. When hypercalcemia occurs (which can take 1 to 2 weeks), treatment is with intravenous fluids (saline), diuretics, corticosteroids, and calcitonin. Long term prognosis is good once the dog is stabilized.
Due to the indiscriminate nature of a dog’s appetite, gastrointestinal upset is a frequent occurrence in dogs. The most common symptoms are anorexia, vomiting, and diarrhea. Foreign body ingestion can lead to acute obstruction of the gastrointestinal tract, a very dangerous condition. Acute pancreatitis can also result from dietary indiscretion.
Jump up ^ Braddock JA, Church DB, Robertson ID (2004). “Selegiline Treatment of Canine Pituitary-Dependent Hyperadrenocorticism” (PDF). Australian Veterinary Journal. Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 November 2010. Retrieved 8 April 2011. (PDF)
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.
6. Rabies: Rabies is the disease made famous in the hearbreaking scene in Old Yeller. Thankfully, the widespread use of the rabies vaccine in recent years has made its occurrence in pets in the U.S. quite rare. However, it is still present in wild animal populations, and because rabies is always fatal, it’s critical to make sure that your pets are current on their rabies vaccination.
“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.”
Masticatory muscle myositis (MMM) is an inflammatory disease in dogs affecting the muscles of the jaw. Signs include swelling of the jaw muscles and pain on opening the mouth. In chronic MMM there is atrophy of the jaw muscles, and scarring of the masticatory muscles due to fibrosis may result in inability to open the mouth (trismus).
Jump up ^ Grauer, Gregory F. (2002). “Diagnosis and Management of Canine Glomerular Disease”. Proceedings of the 27th World Congress of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association. Retrieved 2007-01-16.
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.
8. Arthritis: Arthritis is often seen as a rite of passage for our older pets. They may seem slow to rise in the morning, or a bit reluctant to jump up to their favorite spot on the couch. Your veterinarian can diagnose most forms of arthritis during a routine exam, but they may also recommend an x-ray to rule out other issues or evaluate how seriously inflamed the joints are. While there is no cure for arthritis, there are joint supplements, and even treatments like acupuncture, to help keep your pet as mobile as possible for as long as possible.
Jump up ^ Heuter, Kerry J.; Langston, Cathy E. (2003). “Leptospirosis: A re-emerging zoonotic disease”. Vet. Clin. N. Am. Small Animal Pract. 33 (4): 791–807. doi:10.1016/S0195-5616(03)00026-3. PMID 12910744.
Nutmeg is highly neurotoxic to dogs and causes seizures, tremors, and nervous system disorders which can be fatal. Nutmeg’s rich, spicy scent is attractive to dogs which can result in a dog ingesting a lethal amount of this spice. Eggnog and other food preparations which contain nutmeg should not be given to dogs.
Primary ciliary dyskinesia* is a dysfunction of cilia, which manifests as sperm immotility and respiratory disease. Signs include nasal discharge, recurring pneumonia, and infertility. Symptoms develop soon after birth.
Coprophagia is the ingestion by a dog of feces, either its own or those of another dog or animal. It can be caused by medical conditions such as exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, overfeeding, or malabsorption. It can also be a behavioral problem characterized by attention-seeking, reinforcement, or as a learned behavior. Numerous health problems can arise from this activity, including internal parasites or infection with canine parvovirus or toxoplasmosis. Treatment includes behavioral modification therapy or altering the feces to affect its taste.
What to look for: If your dog is vomiting, there could be any number of causes. Generally speaking, it’s best to assess your dog’s behavior leading up to the vomiting to see if there might be a more serious issue. General vomiting, initially, is normal and could have been from something your dog ate.
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).
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.
Treat your dog to prevent fleas, ticks, heart worm, and other ickies from making your dog their home, says Kerns. The health effects of infestation are far worse than pesticide side effects. That said, don’t overdo it, she warns. “Use what’s absolutely necessary for your environment,” rather than mindlessly dosing your dog every month against pests it’s not like to encounter. Tip: You can check the prevalence of pests in your area at capcvet.org.
This list of dog diseases is a selection of diseases and other conditions found in the dog. Some of these diseases are unique to dogs or closely related species, while others are found in other animals, including humans. Not all of the articles listed here contain information specific to dogs. Articles with non-dog information are marked with an asterisk (*).
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 ^ Cerundolo R, Court MH, Hao Q, Michel KE (2004). “Identification and concentration of soy phytoestrogens in commercial dog foods”. Am. J. Vet. Res. 65 (5): 592–6. doi:10.2460/ajvr.2004.65.592. PMID 15141878.
Jump up ^ Uechi, Masami; Mizukoshi, Takahiro; Mizuno, Takeshi; Mizuno, Masashi; Harada, Kayoko; Ebisawa, Takashi; Takeuchi, Junichirou; Sawada, Tamotsu; Uchida, Shuhei (2012-05-04). “Mitral valve repair under cardiopulmonary bypass in small-breed dogs: 48 cases (2006–2009)”. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. 240 (10): 1194–1201. doi:10.2460/javma.240.10.1194.
Anal fistulae*, known as perianal fistulae in dogs, are most common in German Shepherd Dogs. They are characterized by draining tracts in the skin around the anus. The cause is unknown. Surgical treatment is common, but recently use of cyclosporine in combination with ketoconazole has been shown to be effective.
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.
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.
Urinary tract infection*, specifically cystitis or bladder infection, is common in dogs and usually caused by bacteria. Signs include blood in the urine (hematuria), difficulty urinating (dysuria), and frequent urination (polyuria). The most common types of bacteria cultured from the urine of dogs with cystitis are E. coli, Staphylococcus spp., Proteus mirabilis, Streptococcus spp., Klebsiella pneumoniae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Enterobacter spp.
If your veterinarian has diagnosed your dog with ringworm, he or she will explain what you must do to prevent the fungus from spreading to your other pets—and to the human members of the household. But keep in mind that if you have other pets, it’s likely that most of them have been exposed as well. Your veterinarian may recommend that you do the following:
Brachycephalic airway obstructive syndrome is a condition of brachycephalic (short-nosed) dogs, characterized by the presence of stenotic nares, elongated soft palate, narrow trachea, collapsed larynx, and everted laryngeal saccules. Signs include difficult and noisy breathing. Surgical options are available.
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.
Cushing’s syndrome, also known as hyperadrenocorticism, is characterized by an increase in glucocorticoids secreted by the adrenal glands. About 85 percent of cases are caused by a tumor in the pituitary gland, while 15 percent are caused by an adrenal tumor. The pituitary gland produces a hormone that signals the adrenal gland to produce cortisol; a tumor can cause it to produce the adrenal-stimulating hormone even when it is not needed. Signs include increased appetite, increased drinking and urination, a pot-bellied appearance, muscle weakness, and lethargy. Cushing’s can be caused by overuse of steroid medications; in some cases, stopping the medication is enough to solve the problem. Diagnosis can be difficult as there are no tests with both high sensitivity and specificity. Treatments inclulde mitotane, trilostane, ketoconazole, or selegiline. Surgery is used in some cases of adrenal tumors.
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.