Dogs get sick just like every kid, so it is essential for pet parents to know about diseases prevalent in dogs. Here are some dog diseases that can affect dogs of every age and breed. Keep watchful eyes on your furry friend for inappropriate behavior or strange symptoms and call the vet!
Canine Parvovirus, commonly referred to as "parvo," is a highly contagious viral infection that affects dogs, especially puppies. Symptoms:
- Severe vomiting
- Diarrhea (often bloody)
- Loss of appetite
- Lethargy or weakness
- Abdominal pain or discomfort
- Rapid weight loss
There is no cure for Canine Parvovirus, so the focus is on supportive care to manage symptoms and prevent dehydration. Here are some treatments that may be recommended:
- Hospitalization: Sick dogs should be hospitalized to receive intravenous fluids and electrolytes, as well as antibiotics to prevent secondary bacterial infections.
- Nutritional Support: Since dogs with parvo are unable to eat or retain food, they may require nutritional support such as a feeding tube or a special liquid diet that is easy to digest.
- Medications: Medications may be prescribed to manage vomiting and diarrhea.
- Isolation: Infected dogs should be isolated to prevent the spread of the virus to other dogs.
The best way to prevent Canine Parvovirus is through vaccination. Puppies should receive a series of vaccinations starting at 6-8 weeks of age, followed by boosters every 3-4 weeks until they are 16-20 weeks old. Adult dogs should receive a booster every 1-3 years, depending on the specific vaccine used.
It is also important to practice good hygiene, such as washing your hands after handling dogs and their feces, disinfecting surfaces with bleach, and avoiding contact with sick dogs.
Canine distemper is a highly contagious viral disease that affects dogs and other animals such as raccoons, ferrets, and skunks. The virus attacks the respiratory, gastrointestinal, and nervous systems of dogs and can cause a wide range of symptoms.
- Thick discharge from the eyes and nose
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Loss of appetite
Treatment for canine distemper is primarily supportive and focuses on managing the symptoms and preventing secondary infections. There is no cure for the disease, and the severity of the symptoms depends on the dog's age, immune status, and overall health.
- IV fluids to prevent dehydration
- Medications to control vomiting and diarrhea
- Antibiotics to prevent secondary infections
- Anti-seizure medication
- Nutritional support
- Isolation to prevent the spread of the disease
Prevention of canine distemper is through vaccination. Puppies should receive their first vaccination at 6-8 weeks of age, followed by boosters every 3-4 weeks until they are 16 weeks old. Adult dogs should receive a booster vaccine every 1-3 years, depending on their risk of exposure. It's essential to keep your dog away from other infected animals to prevent the spread of the virus.
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection caused by Borrelia burgdorferi, which is transmitted to dogs through the bite of an infected tick.
- Lameness and joint pain
- Loss of appetite
- Lethargy and fatigue
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Difficulty breathing
If you suspect your dog has Lyme disease, it is important to take them to a veterinarian for a diagnosis. The veterinarian will perform a physical examination and may recommend blood tests, urinalysis, and X-rays to confirm the diagnosis.
- An antibiotic course is recommended to remove the bacteria. Common antibiotics used to treat Lyme disease in dogs include doxycycline, amoxicillin, and ceftriaxone. The length of treatment will depend on the severity of the infection and how quickly it is caught.
- Veterinarians may recommend anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce joint pain and swelling. It is important to follow the veterinarian's instructions for medication and ensure your dog completes the entire course of treatment.
Prevention is key when it comes to Lyme disease in dogs. This includes regular tick checks, tick prevention medication, and avoiding areas where ticks are common. Consult with your veterinarian for the best tick prevention options for your dog.
Kennel cough, also known as canine infectious tracheobronchitis, is a highly contagious respiratory disease in dogs. It is usually caused by a combination of bacteria and viruses, including Bordetella bronchiseptica, canine parainfluenza virus, and canine adenovirus.
- A persistent, dry cough
- Gagging or retching
- Runny nose
- Watery eyes
- Loss of appetite
In most cases, kennel cough is not life-threatening and the symptoms usually resolve within two to three weeks. However, in some cases, particularly in puppies or dogs with weakened immune systems, kennel cough can lead to more serious complications, such as pneumonia.
- Mild cases of kennel cough can be managed with rest and plenty of fluids. Cough suppressants may be prescribed to help control the cough and reduce discomfort.
- Antibiotics may also be prescribed if there is a bacterial infection involved.
- In severe cases of kennel cough, hospitalization may be necessary for more aggressive treatment, such as intravenous fluids and oxygen therapy.
Prevention of kennel cough involves vaccinating your dog against Bordetella bronchiseptica, which is the most common cause of kennel cough. Dogs who are frequently exposed to other dogs, such as those who visit dog parks, boarding facilities, or grooming salons, are at higher risk of contracting kennel cough and should be vaccinated annually.