Monday, March 12, 2012

Top Ten Dog Diseases

Top Ten Dog Diseases

A General Guide to dog disease

What are the most common diseases in dogs? Every owner must ask him/herself that question. Many of the most common conditions can lead to serious organ damage and be lethal unless prevention and timely treatment are administered. Find out about these dangerous diseases and how to protect your pet from them.

1) Parvovirus

Parvovirus is a highly contagious virus that is extremely dangerous to dogs. The acute illness following the infection with the virus usually occurs within four to five days after the dog came in contact with infected feces. In puppies the condition can develop within 1 to 2 days. The symptoms include depression, loss of appetite and diarrhoea. Dogs infected with parvovirus and displaying serious symptoms are usually treated in a hospital setting with different types of intravenous medications.

Effective parvovirus prevention does exist. Puppies need to be vaccinated against the virus when they are 6 to 9 weeks old. Those at higher risk of getting the disease may require vaccination when they are 5 weeks old.

2) Rabies

Rabies is a virus that is lethal to animals and humans. This is the reason why it is so dangerous. It is passed from an infected creature to another through saliva, as it contains high amounts of the virus. Once inside the body, rabies will affect the brain and spinal cord. The initial symptoms of the condition include restlessness and sometimes aggression. As the illness progresses, the dog will become weak and get seizures which are usually followed by death.

There is no treatment for this condition. Since rabies is a serious threat to public health, most states require dog owners to vaccinate their puppies against the virus by law. The vaccination is done when the puppies are between 12 and 15 weeks old. Booster vaccines are often required.

3) Distemper

Distemper is considered one of the most life-threatening diseases in dogs. The condition is caused by a virus that is transmitted through the air. The virus affects brain cells, skin cells and lung cells. A dog that has inhaled the virus often does not show symptoms for 6 to 9 days. The primary symptoms of the disease include fever, loss of appetite lethargy and runny discharge from the nose and mouth.

Treatment involves administration of intravenous medications. Effective prevention is achieved through distemper vaccination administered when the dog is between 6 and 8 weeks old. Modern vaccines provide full protection.

4) Kennel Cough

This is a disease affecting the respiratory tract. It is caused by a number of different virus strains with the most common one being Bortadella. It is called kennel cough because it is highly contagious and can be transferred from one dog to another when they are in groups. The infection affects the throat, the trachea and the bronchial tubes. Coughing is the main symptom.

Medication is often administered to canines that have kennel cough, even though the condition goes away on its own in most cases. Vaccination against the different virus strains causing the condition is available and provides the most effective protection.

5) Leptospirosis

Leptospirosis is a disease caused by a class of bacteria. The bacteria are usually found in the urine of animals so they are easily passed into water sources. The liver and/or kidneys are the primary dog organs affected by the disease. The symptoms include lethargy, fever and vomiting.

The condition is treated with the use of antibiotics. Vaccine against Leptospirosis is available and can be administered to puppies.

6) Infectious Canine Hepatitis

Hepatitis usually affects dogs with weakened immune system. The symptoms are mild and usually include fever and lethargy. Treatment includes different types of medication and recovery is usually rapid. Vaccination against hepatitis in dogs is available.

7) Ear Infections

Ear infections are quite common in dogs, especially in ones with long floppy years. In some cases the ear canal just gets blocked by an oily waxy yellowish substance. In others, the infection may be caused by bacteria or yeast and fungi. All of these organisms thrive in the waxy build up in the ear canal. Inflammation occurs as a result of the infection. The dog experiences discomfort and pain. That is why owners first notice the scratching of the ear and the shaking of the head.

Ear infections are treated with different types of medications depending on their cause. Prevention involves regular cleaning of the ears at home and constant monitoring.

8) Heartworm

The heartworm larvae are transferred through mosquito bites. Once they find an animal host, they develop into full-grown worms that live in the right chamber of the heart. The most common symptoms of heartworm infestation include lethargy, easy tiring, exercise intolerance and light cough. As the infestation progresses, the dog may begin having difficulty breathing, lose weight and have faints.

The heartworms are killed with the use of orally administered medication. Surgery is necessary only in rare cases. Heartworm prevention programs are readily available. Preventive medications are usually administered monthly for set periods throughout the year.

9) Arthritis

Osteoarthritis is quite common in dogs. It is characterized by degeneration of the joints. Dogs that have orthopaedic diseases, joint infection or certain genetic conditions are at higher risk of developing arthritis. The condition is incurable, but its progression can be delayed and symptoms may be relieved to an extent. Physical therapy is the most common form of treatment of osteoarthritis in dogs. It is usually accompanied by different methods for pain relief such as medication intake, supplement intake and acupuncture.

10) Diabetes

Diabetes mellitus (sugar diabetes) is quite common in dogs and especially in some breeds such as Golden Retriever. The condition is characterized by the insufficient production of insulin. Frequent urination and drinking lots of water are among the first signs of the condition. Dogs with diabetes have increased appetite, but lose weight rapidly.

Treatment of diabetes involves daily insulin injections. Diet control is essential since weight gain and some foods may make the condition worse.

Your dog should get all the vaccinations that he needs. You must provide proper care and nutritious diet to protect your pet from diseases effectively. Also any condition which your dog contracts you must inform your pet insurance company in some cases it won't invalidate your policy but in some case it can, which means that you could miss out on that all important treatment for your pet.

These ten diseases for dogs are probably the biggest killers of dogs here in the UK. We have come across some of these horrid diseases over the years which is a good reason why you should always make sure your dog has proper pet insurance and also make sure that all his/her vaccinations are up to date.

Remember your dog is venerable when they are a puppy, as their immune systems are quite immature.

So making sure you have proper pet insurance, good diet, adequate exercise and make sure you are up to date with vaccination, as a responsible dog owner it is your duty to provide the best care for your dog.

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Cat food April 13, 2012 10:36 PM  

These illnesses may cause the animal to suffer and sometimes are even fatal. Inside pets as well as outside animals can be affected and diseases are not limited to any particular species.

Anonymous,  October 02, 2012 1:25 PM  

Knowing these illnesses is vital if you own a domestic animal. The amount of fatalities that could be avoided if all dog lovers read this article is immeasurable!

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