As pet parents, we know that few things are as heartbreaking as your pet being ill. Regardless of their age, pet dogs can contract and suffer from a host of illnesses and medical issues, which is why owners need to be knowledgeable about common dog illnesses. By being aware of common illnesses and their symptoms, owners can spot them and treat them more efficiently.
Also known as infectious bronchitis, kennel cough is an infectious disease that is caused by bacteria and viruses. It is among the most common diseases in dogs, with obvious symptoms including a forced cough which sounds like your dog has something stuck in their throat or congestion. Dogs suffering from kennel cough should be separated from any other animals to prevent further spread of the disease. Treatment is generally not required, as this cough passes within 2-3 weeks by itself; consult your vet if the cough persists or there are further signs of infection.
Fleas are tiny parasites that somewhat resemble spiders. These bloodsuckers love to burrow into a dog’s fur and lay eggs to reproduce and feed as a cycle. Symptoms of flea infestations include incessant scratching, itching, and biting with hair loss in areas that are being scratched a lot. Fleas are preventable, but you’ll need to treat your dog with an anti-flea shampoo or powder to get rid of the tiny menace. You’ll also need to clean and treat your dog’s immediate area and everyday items like bedding to ensure no laid eggs are lingering in the vicinity.
Pancreatitis is an inflammatory condition affecting the pancreas, as the name implies. When digestive enzymes come in contact with the pancreas, they self-digest and lead to inflammation which can be painful.
Ringworm is a fungal infection that affects your dog’s skin and fur. Symptoms include circular patches of hair loss with a crusty layer covering the affected area, scabby or inflamed skin, and brittle hair. Ringworms can spread to other animals and humans easily; since it is a highly contagious condition, it should be treated immediately. Visit your vet for ringworm treatment and deep-clean your dog's belongings to prevent re-infection.
Diarrhea refers to loose or watery stool cycles. It is a common affliction, as an upset stomach has a variety of causes. A change in diet, bacterial infection, or a disruption in the normal functioning of the intestine can cause diarrhoea. Dogs suffering from a bout of diarrhoea will have to relieve themselves more often, but watch out for dehydration, as the consistent stool cycles will drain your dog of vital nutrients and hydration. Feed your dog a simple diet until their condition improves. If diarrhoea persists for more than a day or two, head to your vet immediately. Puppies are prone to diarrhoea and will dehydrate much more quickly than a fully grown dog, so head to your vet if you spot diarrhoea.
Ear infections are typically caused by a buildup of unnecessary moisture in the ears. Such infections can be painful and give off a bad odour. Dogs suffering from an ear infection usually groan, shake their heads, or rub their heads against a surface or object to try to relieve their aches. Ear infections can usually be prevented by keeping the ear canal clean and making sure to dry it thoroughly after bathing. If your dog’s ears are infected, you can use ear drops to treat it, but consult your vet before doing so for a long-term treatment schedule.
Conjunctivitis is a visual condition, often characterized by a dog squinting, blinking a lot, and trying to paw at their eyes. A visual condition is exceptionally difficult to treat without the input of a vet, so head to your vet for a diagnosis and treatment program. They can decide whether your dog will benefit from eye drops or will require further treatment for an underlying condition.
Caused by another little parasite that loves to make a home in your dog's fur, mange refers to an infestation of mites on your dog's skin. Mites lead to mange, and mange leads to your dog scratching itself for relief from the itch. This scratching damages the skin and will harm it in the long run. Mites are highly contagious as well, and the scratching can spread them to other dogs easily. Fortunately, mites can be treated with an anti-parasite shampoo and pharmaceuticals; consult your vet if you’re unsure of what product to use.
Poisoning refers to the condition where a dog ingests or absorbs something dangerous into their body. Poisoning in dogs can be caused by a variety of substances, some of which are rare and some of which are present in every household. Given that everyday items can be poisonous to our dogs, it is wise to familiarize yourself with the symptoms of poisoning. Symptoms include drowsiness, drooling, vomiting, diarrhoea, seizures, and laboured breathing. If you suspect your dog has ingested something poisonous, rush to your vet immediately. Timely intervention is crucial, especially if your dog has ingested something it really shouldn't.
Dyschondroplasia is a condition which affects the bones and cartilage of a puppy. In this condition, newly developing cartilage fails to turn into bone and bone tissue properly, leading to cartilage retention. Due to an unnatural development of cartilage, a cartilaginous flap can develop and break, leading to pain and lameness if it lodges itself in between the joints. It is a condition which gradually affects a dog’s joints. Symptoms include pain and swelling around a joint, inability to climb, jump or run, inability to put weight on the joint, inability to exercise, lethargy, and lameness.
No pet owner wants their dog to fall ill. Keeping your dog healthy by looking out for symptoms of illness will help your dog stay healthy in the long run. Such awareness is also useful if you embark on frequent pet travel, especially international pet relocations. Pet travel requires your pet to be free of illness and physical ailments, so make sure to schedule a vet visit soon if you're someone who travels frwequently with their dog.