Top 10 Dog Health Problems
Written by: Catalogs.com Editorial Staff
October 4, 2010
Filed Under Pets
Contributed by Emily Gerson, Catalogs.com Info Guru
While dogs are generally quite resilient, they are susceptible to disease and injuries just as much as we humans are.
It’s important to be aware of these 10 common canine health problems so you can keep your dog healthy and happy. Diligent dog owners keep basic dog health care supplies on hand, and have a regular relationship with a veterinarian. Here is the list that every dog owner should be familiar with:
10. Bladder infections
This frustrating ailment can happen in male and female dogs, and it is caused by a bacterial infection. It causes painful urination and should be treated promptly with antibiotics to avoid it turning into a kidney infection.
This is another common eye problem in dogs. A cataract is an opacity in the dog’s eye lens, and it will cause blurred vision. They can be minor at first, but if untreated, they can lead to glaucoma and blindness. While it can happen to any dog, “cocker spaniels, poodles, miniature schnauzers, terriers and golden retrievers” are most susceptible, according to Web MD, as are dogs with diabetes.
This major eye disease can cause blindness in dogs, and it happens when the eye’s fluid is produced faster than it can be removed. “Primary glaucoma is a hereditary disease that affects Beagles, Cocker Spaniels, Basset Hounds, Samoyeds, and other breeds,” according to Web MD.
This highly contagious disease is the number one cause of infection disease death in dogs across the world. It is now quite rare in the United States, though any unvaccinated dogs are still at high risk, according to WebMD. The illness sets on gradually and has a wide range of symptoms that lead to a decline in health and require the help of a veterinarian. The vaccine is nearly 100% effective.
The number of dogs with allergies has increased in recent years, and one in seven dogs now have allergic symptoms, according to WebMD. Some have food and drug allergies, some are allergic to fleas, some dogs are allergic to inhaled allergies (like dust, grasses, or molds), and others are allergic to things that touch the skin. Dogs with allergies often scratch continuously and may have snappy behavior. A veterinarian can help identify the allergen and a treatment plan.
5. Kennel cough
According to WebMD, this extremely contagious respiratory problem in dogs is often due to “exposure to crowded and/or poorly ventilated conditions, such as are found in many kennels and shelters,” hence the name. Affected dogs experience coughing that sounds like choking or hacking. Fortunately, it is treatable and usually isn’t life threatening.
Arthritis is a common problem in dogs, especially dogs that are inactive or overweight. This degenerative disease causes the joints and muscles to be stiff and sometimes painful. According to the Arthritis Foundation, arthritis affects one in five dogs in the U.S. There are a variety of drugs available to help with canine arthritis.
3. Anal sac disease
The anal sac glands are located near the dog’s rectum, and during normal bowel movements, it releases secretions. If your dog is scooting it’s behind on the ground, licking its anus or tail base, has painful swelling, or has difficulty defecating, the anal sacs are full and the dog needs to be brought to the vet. Generally, all they need is for their anal sacs to be expressed. More severe cases may require surgery or antibiotics.
A large variety of worms can harm the health of dogs, though most are easy to treat with dewormers. Dogs can get heartworms through mosquito bites, which can be very deadly, but heartworm preventative is very effective. Roundworms are spread from a pregnant or nursing mother, or from feces, and causes a serious infection that can be fatal to puppies. Hookworms come from pregnant or nursing mothers or from dogs licking themselves, and it can cause malnutrition. Tapeworms come from dogs swallowing flies or licking themselves, and they absorb some of the dog’s nutrients. Whipworms come from grooming or contaminated soil and suck the host’s blood.
1. Periodontal disease
This common dental problem begins as gingivitis and then turns into what is called periodontitis. According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, “Periodontal disease occurs when bacteria from the mouth form on the teeth in a substance called plaque.” This plaque gets under the gum line, where it can cause inflammation, tooth loss, and jaw problems. The bacteria can also enter the bloodstream and decrease organ function. During the gingivitis stage, it is treatable, but once it becomes periodontitis, it is irreversible.
Always consult your dog’s veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment options for any ailments or injuries of your dog.