It is not easy for your pup to express what kind of discomfort they are experiencing. As a pet parent, we need to be more vigilant and observe our pet behaviors to notice something out of the ordinary. It is the only way to catch a dog disease early and treat it. But firstly, you need to learn about the types of dog diseases, their symptoms and risk factors.
Deadly Dog Diseases
1. Gastric Torsion a.k.a. Bloat
Does you dog like to gulp down foods without chewing? If yes, then he may be at risk of Gastric torsion. It is basically an enlarged stomach. It can become troublesome if the stomach turns. If this happens then fluid and air doesn’t get to escape and the dog cannot vomit the food out.
- Retching and the inability to vomit
- Enlarged stomach area (extended and sensitive to touch)
Bloat is one of those dog diseases that can affect any dog at any age but there are a few breeds that are more susceptible to it, such as Great Danes, German shepherds, Boxers, Labrador retrievers, Bloodhounds, and Weimaraners. Mid-size dogs such as Basset hounds and Dachshunds are also susceptible to this disease.
The best way to prevent this disease is to train your dog to eat slowly. There are many ways, such as putting the food in a deep bowl and let the dog work for it. This prevents the dog from inhaling the food. Thus deceasing the chances of Bloat.
2. Lyme Disease
This is a highly common tick-borne illness that is easily preventable. Deer ticks are the root cause for this type of disease. It releases a bacteria on prolong contact with the dog skin (18 hours atleast).
- Lameness in limbs
- Stiff legs
- Decrease in appetite
- Kidney problems (if untreated can lead to kidney failure)
Treatment includes antibiotics. Most of the symptoms usually go away within a month. However, some may not fully go in a month and might require more time.
Keep your dog away from tick-prone areas such as high grass fields, hefty bushes, damp corners of the house etc. Always keep the surrounding areas and dog frequent areas clean. Don’t forget to check for ticks once every week.
3. Parvovirus a.k.a. Parvo
Parvovirus is a part of the core vaccines that all puppies should be given. This is one of the viral dog diseases that usually attacks the intestines and the heart of the dog. Mostly puppies in the breeding facilities are at a higher risk. This disease usually spread if a dog comes in contact with the poop of a contaminated dog. However, this disease is preventable with vaccination at an early age.
- Severe diarrhea
- Weight loss
Parvo is hugely preventable by vaccination. So, it is imperative to get your puppy all the core vaccinations early! If your dog does contract this disease, supportive care is the only option along with few medications to tone down the effects of the disease.
4. Heartworm Disease
This is one of the most common dog diseases that can happen from a single bite of an infected mosquito. If you live in an area where mosquitoes are prevalent, take steps to protect your dog from mosquito bites.
- Loss of appetite
- Persistent cough
- Weight loss
This disease is treatable with an intramuscular injection with arsenic as prime agent. It has to given multiple times. The treatment is painful and long but effective. Please note that dogs with severe cases of heartworm don’t survive for long. So, it is best to take precautions.
It is best to consult your vet for medication options and get your dog tested on a monthly basis (if you live in a mosquito prevalent area) for the severity of the disease. You can ask for preventive medications if he doesn’t have heartworm.
5. Kidney Disease a.k.a. Renal Failure
It is one of the most common dog diseases and can happen to a dog over a course of time or from a complication from medications for other diseases. A chronic kidney disease that happens over a course of time is not preventable (most of the times). Usually, the dogs with a genetic susceptibility towards kidney failure are at higher risk. It is imperative to check your pet’s parent’s medical history before getting the pet. Acute kidney disease, on the other hand, is largely preventable.
- Increase in thirst
- Depression etc.
- Frequent urination
Chronic kidney disease that’s caused by a dental disease can be prevented. In the advanced stages of this disease, bacteria from the dog’s gums can enter its bloodstream and damage vital organs such as kidneys. This can be prevented by keeping your dog’s teeth clean. You can offer chew sticks or chew toys to remove plaque from your dog’s teeth.
Acute kidney disease can be caused due to poisoning, infection, or complication from other medications. To prevent acute kidney disease, keep human medications and toxic substances away from your dog.
6. Fungal Diseases
These dog diseases spread via air. They are usually present in soil and if your dog inhales that contaminated soil, he can contract a fungal disease. Not all fungi diseases are fatal, however there are some that affect the entire body like liver, lungs, brain etc and are fatal.
Two most serious fungi diseases:
- Valley Fever: It is the most serious and life-threatening fungi disease. If they are released into the air where dogs can inhale it, the dogs will experience severe respiratory symptoms, such as shortness of breath, lung collapse etc. This disease is deadly and can only be prevented by keeping dogs away from unknown areas.
- Blastomycosis: This is another serious fungal disease. This fungus lives in soil sheltered from the sun and mostly found around damp areas such as along riverbanks, lakes, and swamps. Symptoms typically include difficulty breathing, skin lesions, and loss of appetite. To prevent, keep your dog away from damp soil within 400 meters of a body of water. Large breed male dogs, who like to dig are at higher risk!
7. Chocolate Poisoning
Chocolate poisoning is one of the most common causes of poisoning in dogs. Most people feed chocolates to their dogs and believe it doesn’t hurt them. However, if you have a small dog like pug, a single piece of dark chocolate can cause severe food poisoning. The amount your dog eats and the type of chocolate are the two main issues. You just have to keep in mind that chocolates are poisonous to dogs. Period!
- Irregular heart beat
More serious cases can cause heart attack and even death. If you think your dog has eaten any chocolate, take him to doctor immediately. Chocolate poisoning symptoms can last up to 72 hours. Use this PetMD’s chocolate toxicity meter to gauge your dog’s level of poisoning.
Lastly, canine cancers is becoming common nowadays and is on the rise. It is shocking to note that approx. 50% of old age dogs develop some form of cancer. It is the leading cause of death in the older dogs. The faster you find and treat cancer, the better the chance of survival.
- Lumps on the skin
- Weight loss
- Change in appetite
Lymphoma is the only cancer type that is treatable. It is also one of the most common canine cancers. Don’t forget to get your senior dog checked on a regular basis after the age of 10.
Note: Genetics and environmental factors also play a key role in cancer development. A healthy environment, routine along with good food can reduce the chances of cancer to a drastic level in senior dogs.
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