Although you may spend every day with your dog, it’s a good bet that you don’t always know how your dog feels. Even the most loving dog is often very stoic when it comes to pain. A dog may hide an injury or not let you know that something hurts. Even if your dog has a fever or an illness of some kind, you may not realize it until your dog is very sick.
Here are some of the most common dog health problems in Dogs.
The single biggest killer of dogs is cancer. The problem with cancer in dogs, as with humans, is that it comes in many different forms. This can make noticing a problem or identifying a symptom difficult. However, you should always be on the lookout for lumps that don’t go away, hard places that suddenly appear, strange swellings; signs that your dog is limping or feeling pain; loss of appetite; loss of weight; loss of energy; vomiting and diarrhea; black, tarry stools; and any other sign that your dog is not feeling well. When in doubt, take your dog to the veterinarian and describe the symptoms. Some forms of cancer can be fast-moving, so do not delay if you think there’s something wrong with your dog. In many cases your vet can take a look at a lump or run a simple test and reassure you that there is nothing seriously wrong. If there is a problem, the sooner your vet can make a diagnosis, the faster your dog can be treated and start healing. Skin tumors which turn out to be benign are a leading cause of visits to the vet.
According to the pet health insurer VPI, ear infections are the number one most common health problem in dogs, causing more dogs to have to go to the vet than any other health problem. Imagine that! Ear infections can be caused by ear mites, or by either bacterial or yeast infections. Ear mites are easy to treat with simple ear miticides. Yeast infections are harder to treat and eliminate and often follow a bacterial infection. In both cases, ears may become infected if a dog’s ears are not cleaned regularly; or, if the dog’s immune system is being challenged in some way. For example, if your dog has an allergic reaction to his dog food or something else in his environment, his immune system may be under stress. His immune system would normally have no problem keeping his ears healthy but when it is under stress a little bacteria or yeast may be enough to bring on an ear infection. Yeast is typically present on your dog’s skin at all times but when your dog’s immune system is challenged the yeast can grow out of control, which also leads to more ear infections. Ear infections can become chronic and even lead to loss of hearing, so you need to take them seriously. Clean your dog’s ears regularly and consult with your veterinarian if you notice a problem.
Skin allergies are one of the common dog health problems. Allergies can be caused by several factors: food allergies, inhalants, contact allergies (things your dog touches), flea allergies, and an allergy to some kinds of staphylococcus bacteria on the dog’s own skin. In all of these cases, whatever the cause, your dog may manifest his allergy by itching and scratching at his skin, by having hives, pustules, and other skin problems. Even in the case of a flea allergy, if just one flea bites your dog, he may react as though he has 100 fleas biting him and itch madly all over his body. Skin allergies can make your dog miserable. If your dog has an allergy and it is affecting his skin (or any other part of his body), you will need to consult your veterinarian. don’t wait. Such allergies only get worse with age.
Hot spots, or pyoderma, are red, irritated areas that develop on your dog, often almost overnight. They can be caused by bacteria, by stress, by environment such as rubbing against wet grass and irritating the skin. Actually, hot spots are not well understood. They seem to flare up in many circumstances for many different dogs. They are usually not serious as long as they are treated promptly. Treatment consists of removing the hair around the affected area and applying an antiseptic solution. This is usually following by a drying powder to help the area heal. The trick then is to keep the dog from bothering the area while it heals. In some cases a dog may need to wear an Elizabethan collar so he can’t reach the spot to lick it or gnaw at it. for a few days.
Gastritis/vomiting and Enteritis/diarrhea
Vomiting and diarrhea are frequent problems with dogs. Whenever your dog eats something he shouldn’t he often has to vomit it up. Sometimes it results in a one-time case of diarrhea. Since dogs often eats things they shouldn’t eat, this happens fairly often. As long as the vomiting or diarrhea is a one-time event, this is not usually something to be too concerned about, especially if you know why your dog is vomiting or having diarrhea (ate a dead mouse; ate a pie off the stove). However, if your dog has more than one or two episodes, or if you see bright blood in your dog’s vomit or stool; or if you see black, tarry stool, you should take your dog to see your veterinarian. There may be something more serious going on.
Urinary tract infections
Urinary tract infections are fairly common in dogs. They can be a sign of a more serious infection of the urinary tract, though they are usually not difficult to treat Some UTIs affect the lower tract and others affect the upper urinary tract. Signs of a urinary tract infection can include painful or difficult urination; increased frequency of urination; increased volume of urination; excessive thirst; pus in the urine; crystals in the urine; and lower back pain. If you notice your dog displaying these symptoms you do need to take them to see a veterinarian for treatment. Treatment usually involves a course of prescription antibiotics for your dog.
Arthritis is one of the most common dog health problems. It often occurs in dogs as they get older, and even in younger dogs who have some joint problems from hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, luxating patellas or other conditions. As dogs age the natural cartilage that acts as a cushion between the bones begins to break down. Connective tissues wears away and lubricating fluids break down. With these losses a dog’s bones can begin to rub directly against each other, causing pain and inflammation. The result is arthritis pain.
Symptoms of arthritis are probably familiar to you if you’ve had an older dog: occasional limping; slowness getting up and down from a sleeping position; occasional irritability from pain; loss of mobility; less activity and energy; sometimes there may be loss of appetite. Your veterinarian can assess your dog’s condition and prescribe pain medication for him to help with many of these symptoms. NSAIDs or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are usually prescribed, such as Rimadyl or Deramaxx. However, be sure to discuss possible side effects with your veterinarian as some of the side effects can be very serious. Your vet should perform a complete blood panel on your dog prior to prescribing these drugs to make sure your dog’s liver and kidneys are in good shape and able to tolerate the drugs. If you notice any negative change in your dog from taking the medication, you should stop giving the drugs immediately.
There are also many good supplements to help a dog with arthritis, such as glucosamine and chondroitin, shark cartilage, green lipped mussels, Omega-3 fatty acids such as fish oil, and others. Your veterinarian can also give your dog an injection of Cosequin or Adequan which are glucosamine injections to provide more lubrication between your dog’s joints.
Parasites are one of the most common problems found in dogs. Parasites include fleas, lice, and worms, including heartworms. Fortunately, these pests are easily treated today. Topical, spot-on products make it easy to eliminate fleas for months at a time. Worms include roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms, and whipworms. Most of these worms can be eliminated if you keep your dog on a good worming schedule. Heartworm products such as Heartgard Plus and Advantage Multi contain dewormers that also help get rid of these other worms.
Obesity in dogs is a serious problem. it’s estimated that between 25 and 40 percent of dogs in North America are overweight or obese. The causes of obesity are overfeeding and a lack of exercise for most dogs. Obesity increases your dog’s risk of many health problems, such as arthritis, heart problems, diabetes, respiratory problems, digestive problems, skin problems, and increased risks during surgery. If your dog is overweight or obese you should talk to your veterinarian about ways to help your dog lose weight safely.