Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Dog Health - Diseases


The number one killer that is passed on from dog to dog and usually attacks puppies is often hard to diagnose. Symptoms are much like with any health issue; vomiting, diarrhea, cough, fever, lack of appetite, nasal discharge, inflamed eyes, or lethargy. Treatment is most successful if at the first signs of symptoms. Depending on the stage of the disease anticonvulsants, antibiotics to prevent a secondary infection, eye ointment, and medication to ease the diarrhea and vomiting is administered. Fluids are also given to counteract any dehydration caused by the vomiting and diarrhea.


Not just a disease that affects dogs this virus borne contagion is transmitted by various wild animals. Infected saliva enters its victim through bites, open cuts, or even scratches. Affecting the nervous system the first symptom is generally disposition. Pupils dilate causing bright light to become uncomfortable to the victim, as well as facial tics, or even loss of facial muscle control. The lack of control contributes to the most familiar symptom when one thinks of rabies and that is the open mouth and drooling. Behavior such a formerly independent dogs becoming clingy, aloofness, stomach upset or even fever are also areas of concern when diagnosing whether your dog has contracted this deadly disease.

There is no effective treatment for canine rabies. The final stage of this horrific disease is coma and then death. It’s crucial to keep your dog vaccinated from this disease. All warm blooded animals are potential victims and preventative actions should be made toward protecting you and your dog.

Canine Bordetellosis (kennel cough/bordetella)

This disease is caused by bacterium in many animals respiratory tracts. Typically in healthy dogs it runs its course in a few days or within a couple weeks, but it may be life threatening for puppies or seniors. The symptoms generally resemble a bad cold accompanied with a hacking couch and running nose. Isolating the dog and having them rest in a humid environment can often help. Humidity can be produced by using a vaporizer or humidifier in the sleeping area. Getting your vet’s permission okay first often it’s okay to give a mild kid’s cough syrup. Once the coughing stops the dog should be able to restore its energy and be okay. It’s highly recommended that your dog is immunized if they’re going to be around other dogs on a regular basis or in a doggy care or boarding environment.


Before 1977 this deadly disease wasn’t heard of. It’s believed that a strain of the feline distemper mutated to infect canines. This disease can be easily spread contaminated stool often found on shoes or paws. Quickly it spreads to attack the bone marrow, lymph nodes, and stomach lining. In young puppies the heart is infected causing them to die suddenly or within days. This form of the virus is known as Myocardial Parvovirus. The few puppies that are lucky to survive may end up developing heart issues later in life.

Possible signs that your dog may have contracted this potentially fatal virus are depression, vomiting, fever, loss of appetite, diarrhea. Depending on the symptoms, age of the dog, and the severity of the case hospitalization is usually necessary. Fluids are given to combat dehydration and medication is administered to stop the diarrhea and vomiting. Antibiotics are also given to cure any possible secondary bacterial infections.


Several different viruses as well as bacterium can cause this not so dangerous illness. Although it’s not typically dangerous it does spread easily among dogs and common in boarding kennels, doggy day care, or other places where many dogs are in contact with each other. Sometimes even vaccinated dogs can contract this but it’s still recommended and often required that they be vaccinated in that type of environment.

Due to the frequent hacking cough this illness is often inaccurately referred to as kennel cough. Like the flu in humans it usually runs its course. Not usually too debilitating most dogs that contract this don’t even lose their appetite. Antibiotics and medications may be prescribed to prevent complications and ease the coughing. 

Coronavirus (Corona)

This viral infection has several different stains and can infect many species. The canine form doesn’t affect humans. In the dog it attacks the intestinal lining. Dog to dog, contaminated bowls, or feces are how a dog contracts this virus. Often the symptoms are confused with Parvovirus. Dogs infected with this virus become lethargic and have a decreased appetite accompanied by sudden diarrhea that is orange tinted, foul smelling, and possibly containing blood.  If you suspect your dog may be suffering from this seek vet care immediately as there’s no cure. It’ll usually run its course within several days but treatment will still be required to get the dog on antibiotics and intravenous fluids to combat the dehydration caused by severe diarrhea.

Infectious canine hepatitis
Much like the human strain of this disease it affects the liver. Dogs contract it from other dogs by infected urine, saliva, or stool. Symptoms are similar to distemper; coughing, vomiting, diarrhea, nasal discharge, inflamed eyes, fever, intense thirst, lack of appetite and lethargy.

Early detection is crucial to surviving this potentially fatal disease since it can spread quite rapidly. Depending on the severity treatments may vary but with acute cases hospitalization is required. Vitamin supplements, antibiotics, and plenty of fresh water accompanied by several small fat free meals through the day are typically the treatment. 

Lyme Disease

Caused by bacterium typically from an infected deer tick this disease can spread to both humans and dogs. The size of a poppy seed the nymphs are virtually undetectable. Often it’s not until the symptoms present themselves that it’s even discovered that bite has taken place. Severe joint pain, fever, fatigue, and skin rash sometime don’t appear until two months after the dog has been infected.

This disease can be contracted in every continent except for Antarctica and it’s prevalent in the eastern United States. Typically antibiotics and analgesics (pain relievers) are given to the sufferer and recovery time varies on the severity of the case and how early it is detected. There are vaccinations available and recommended to help prevent your dog from contracting this bothersome disease.


Caused by spirochete this microorganism is usually carried by rats. If an unvaccinated dog comes into contact with a contaminated rat they can contract this illness.

Immediate treatment should be administered if your dog shows any of the following symptoms; bloody stool or urine, depression, fever, vomiting, thirst, lack of appetite, painful mouth sores, red eyes and mouth, and pain when moving.

This disease can permanently damage liver or kidneys and it’s transmittable to humans so it’s vital that treatment is performed quickly. Your vet can inform you of the precautions you should take during the course of treatment. Acute cases do require hospitalization but most dogs typically recover at home.

Disclaimer – In no way am I claiming to be an expert on these topics. These are only informational articles written to help dog owners. It’s recommended that you always do your own research and consult with your veterinarian for more detailed information. (01-24-13)

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