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Common Diseases in Dogs

 by petbucket on 08 Oct 2015 |
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Numerous diseases can affect your pet dog. Some are more serious and contagious and some are preventable, so it's important for owners to understand the symptoms and clinical signs which could point to their dog suffering from a common disease.
 
Kennel Cough
 
Many bacterial infections (e.g. bordetella, parainfluenza, adenovirus) cause kennel cough. It's called kennel cough because it's commonly found among dogs living in kennel environments, such as boarding and rescue shelters. Fortunately, vets can treat it, but it's still important to catch it early enough to prevent the cough from progressing and making the dog seriously ill.
 
Signs that your dog has kennel cough include a hacking cough, phlegm, a high temperature, sneezing, gagging and vomiting.
 
Your vet can administer a simple nasal spray vaccine each year. Many boarding shelters won't allow a dog to stay with them unless they've had this vaccine.
 
Allergic Dermatitis
 
Allergic dermatitis is a disorder of the skin caused by an allergic reaction to flea bites, food, pollen or shampoos. To treat allergic dermatitis, you must find and remove what's causing it. Antibiotics are necessary for treating bacterial infections and in severe cases your dog will need a corticosteroid injection.
 
Signs of allergic dermatitis include dry, flaky skin, persistent itching, chewing at their feet and tail, hair loss, lumps and bumps across their skin, open wounds and excessively waxy ears.
 
It's important for a vet to check your dog if it has any of these signs so you're sure to administer the correct treatment.
 
Dental Disease
 
Dogs must have their teeth cleaned and checked as often as humans do. Dental disease is extremely common among dogs, especially those kept on an unhealthy diet and fed lots of "bad" treats such as "human food".
 
Some common signs of dental disease include bad breath (halitosis), stains on their teeth, build-up of plaque and tartar, loose or broken teeth, bleeding gums and abscesses and infections around the mouth.
 
Rotting teeth can lead to abscesses if you leave them untreated, and the infection can enter the bloodstream, leading to more severe conditions such as kidney disease.
 
Gastrointestinal Disorders (a.k.a. GI Disorders)
 
Dogs are scavengers, often eating something they shouldn't and getting intestinal problems as a result. However, GI disorders don't only occur when your dog eats something bad -- they can be an allergic reaction to their normal diet, a secondary infection due to bacteria or a virus, or even caused by a blockage. It's vital to get any GI symptoms checked by a vet to make sure there's nothing more serious going on.
 
Symptoms of GI disorders include vomiting, diarrhoea, constipation, a high temperature, blood-streaked stools, flatulence and weakness and lethargy
 
If you catch them early enough, GI symptoms are treatable. You can help prevent intestinal problems by making sure your dog is fed a well-balanced diet, with access to plenty of fresh water and regular exercise.
 
Urinary Tract Disease
 
Urinary tract diseases are extremely painful and can lead to severe infections. Crystals or stones form in either the kidneys or the bladder, then pass into the urinary tract and cause an infection. Just like in humans, a crystal or stone that gets stuck in the tract can cause severe pain and become dangerous. Dogs can also suffer from idiopathic cystitis, which means the problem is caused by reasons such as stress.
 
Common symptoms of urinary tract disease include frequent urination or the inability to pass urine, straining to urinate (arching their back while urinating), bloody urine, vomiting and a high temperature.
 
Urinary tract diseases are fairly common and easy to treat. However, some blockages require a simple removal procedure under local or general anaesthesia.
 
Kidney Disease
 
Your pet's kidneys remove waste and toxins from their blood and regulate fluids. The kidneys can get infected or diseased, leading to the dog showing symptoms ranging from mild to severe. A bacterial or viral infection can cause kidney disease. Sometimes it's a secondary infection due to an underlying cause such as rotting teeth or abscesses.
 
When a kidney infection occurs, your pet may experience loss of appetite, increased thirst, increased urination, the inability to urinate, a high temperature, flaky skin, vomiting, depression and lethargy.
 
Kidney diseases and infections are fatal if left untreated. Ask your vet to check if you see any of these symptoms and treat the condition immediately.
 
Obesity
 
Obesity is one of the most frequent problems seen in dogs. Common causes include overfeeding, pampering and a lack of exercise. However, some medical conditions can also lead to obesity, such as an imbalance in hormones. Obesity can lead to weakness in the joints, diabetes and heart conditions.
 
Some of the common symptoms of obesity include excessive appetite, dramatic weight gain and a reluctance to exercise.
 
Many veterinary clinics hold 'Weight Watchers' clinics to encourage dogs to lose weight. These also serve to help owners understand the problem and correct their own behaviour!
 
It's important to keep your dog healthy to prevent disease. Make sure your pet has their yearly vaccines, you regularly treat it for parasites and you feed it a balanced diet with plenty of fresh water. Add regular exercise to make sure your animal companion lives the best life possible.

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