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13 Common Health Problems of Dogs

Dog is a working companion, hunting partner, or just a best friend. The kindest and most responsible thing we can do for him is that we can provide proper health care. Knowing about common dog diseases and being aware of appropriate prevention measures can better help us in providing that care. Some of the most common and serious dog diseases have been made less common through vaccines: however, these diseases continue to threaten a dog that lacks proper immunization. Puppies many be vaccinated as early as 4-6 weeks depending on each situation and the veterinarian’s advice. Some common health problems of dogs are discussed here.

1. Canine Parvovirus
Canine parvovirus infecton is a very common enteric disease usually attacking pups between weaning age and six-months-of age and pups usually remain somewhat unhealthy and weak for life
Causes and symptoms:
Transmission occurs when dogs come in contact with the bodily fluids of infected animals. Common symptoms are bloody diarrhea, with foul smelling and sometimes yellow in color, vomiting, high fever, lethargy.
Prevention and treatment: There is no known cure for the disease. Use supportive therapy involving giving fluids, regulating electrolyte levels, controlling the body temperature and giving blood transfusions. Vaccinate when pups are six-to-eight-weeks old.
2. Canine Distemper
It is considered as the most serious viral disease of dogs. About 50% of non-vaccinated, non- immunized dogs with the disease will develop the symptoms of the disease. More common in pups younger than three months old.
Causes and symptoms: Canine distemper is caused by a virus closely related to the human measles virus and its a highly contagious disease spread through the air and contact.
The major symptoms of the disease are fever and depression, vomiting and bloody diarrhea, coughing and labored breathing, fits and nervous twitching, paralysis, inflammation of tissues around the eyes and nose and can also cause a hardening of the nose and pads.
Prevention and treatment: Vaccine for the disease should be administered every three to four weeks from six to 16 weeks of age with annual boosters.
3. Internal parasites
Roundworms live in dogs intestine and consume partially digested feed. Passed
Causes and symptoms: The problem arises mainly due to intake of contaminated food and water and dirty surroundings. Loss of appetite, pot belly, vomiting, diarrhea, roundworms, pale gums, weakness, failure to grow properly, dull coat, lack of energy, coughing are symptoms of worm infestation.
Precautions and treatment: Keep surrounding clean and provides fresh food and clean water to dogs. Dewormer (cantel/drontal/plozin) repeat after every 3 months in adult dogs. From the age of 3 month to 6 months deworming should be done monthly.
4. Skin diseases
The skin problems is also commonly seen in dogs resulting in itching, red skin and hair loss.
Causes and symptoms: Common cause of major skin diseases are scabies (sarcoptic mange), demodectic mange (red mange), bacterial infection (may be due to malnutrition), flea infestation, ringworm, severe allergies, hormonal imbalance – low thyroid, high adrenal activity (cushing’s disease), diabetes.
The common symptoms of skin disease are Itching, scratching rashes, pustules, red bumps (papules) and crusting, Red skin and hair loss, not usually itchy, (localized) or over entire body (generalized) and hair loss in ring formation.
Prevention and treatment: Medicated shampoo and Creams, pyrethrin sprays, dips (safe for pups) should be used. Control fleas in the environment. Fipronil spray (Over and Out) last long periods of time. Mitaban (Amitraz, Taktic) dips, dose of ivermectin can also be used. Keep surrounding clean.
Ear infection is also a common problem in dogs, especially in those breeds with a heavy ear flap. Infections are caused by bacteria or yeast that grow in the ear when the ear’s normal environment is changed for any reason. Ear mites, ticks, and water or grass awns in the ear can be predisposing factors.
Signs and symptoms : Signs of ear infections are head shaking, pawing or digging at the ear, pain, redness, and inflammation of the ear canal, and a foul smell in the ear. Any ear infection should be examined by a veterinarian for proper treatment.
Prevention and treatment: Examine your dog’s ears at least once weekly. Try to prevent water from getting in your dog’s ears when bathing the dog. Ask a veterinarian for advice on wax control and routine ear cleaning.
6. Rabies
Is the oldest and most well known of canine diseases. It primarily attacks the nervous system and causes encephalitis and detected only by examining the brain, after death, for signs of infections
Causes and symptoms: Disease is transmitted by body fluids, urine, saliva and blood and primary source of rabies is the bite of a rabid animal
Death occurs three to seven days after signs begin to show. Three phases of the disease exist; Prodomal stage, furious stage, paralytic stage. Prodomal stage lasts two to three days and symptoms include behavioral changes, fever, slow eye reflexes,chewing at the bite site. Furious stage lasts two to four days and signs include irritability, restlessness barking, aggression, vicious attacks on inanimate objects, unexpected roaming. Paralytic stage lasts two to four days, paralysis develops, depression, coma, death from respiratory paralysis.
Prevention and Treatment: Dogs are easily vaccinated and in most countries and cities require dogs should be vaccinated. One of the highest compliance rates of all routine dog vaccinations all dogs should be vaccinated.
7. Cherry Eye
Prolapsed nictitating membrane (3rd eyelid), hereditary weakness of the connective tissue.
Symptoms: Visual redness, 3rd eyelid becoming visible.
Treatment: Best treatment is surgical removal of membrane.
8. Anal Sac Blockage
Anal sac blockage is causing considerable animal discomfort. Anal glands may become infected, causing drainage and foul odors at times. The dog may exhibit uneasy behaviour such as rear-end scooting or nipping at the tail area.
Symptoms: Swollen anus, foul smell, scratching and biting, trouble defecating, anal sac blockage.
Treatment: Squeezing the gland with cotton and surgical removal.
9. Hip Dysplasia
Abnormal formation of hips. Degenerative breakdown of joints. Completely genetic and passed down for offspring to offspring.
Symptoms: Dog will rather sit than stand. Slow getting up, stiff, young dogs, pups will run with back legs together.
Treatment: Manaual backward and inward traction is applied after giving proper anaesthesia, if not comes n position surgery is done.
10. Arthritis
It is inflammation of the joints. It is of two types: Degenerative and Inflammatory, degenerative, destruction of cartilage that protects the bones, stress, dysplasis, inflammatory and causes by infection or immune-mediated disease and affects multiple joints.
Symptoms: Reluctance to walk, climb stairs, jump, limping, lagging and difficulty rising
Treatment: Pain Killers, exercise, rest and surgery in some cases.
11. Cataracts
Cataract is a clouding of the normally clear.
Causes and symptoms: Most are genetically transmitted and other reasons are age-related, trauma, dietary deficiency, electric shock, toxin.Bumping into objects, failing to retrieve favorite toys, fear of being left alone.
Prevention and Treatment: Surgery is the only way to remove cataracts. An intraocular lens is implanted during surgery. 90 to 95% of patients have good to excellent vision after surgery.

12. Infectious Canine Hepatitis (ICH)
Is an extremely contagious viral disease affecting the liver and other organs.
Causes and symptoms: Cause is direct contact with an infected animal or contaminated objects and also can be transmitted by inhalation or from fleas, ticks and mosquitoes.
Symptoms can range from mild to severe nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite, jaundice, bleeding from the nose and gums, bloody vomit and diarrhea, enlarged abdomen, disorientation, seizures and coma, death occurs within five days. One fourth of infected dogs develop a temporary clouded cornea.
Treatment: No known cure for the disease. Use intravenous fluid replacement, fasting, blood transfusions, antibiotics and eye drops as supportive treatments. Vaccination includes injections at 10 weeks, 14 weeks and then yearly boosters.
13. Canine Hypothyroidism
Canine Hypothyroidism is the most commonly diagnosed endocrine disease of dogs. It is underproduction of thyroxin hormone, which is produced by the thyroid gland. Thyroxin controls growth and maintains normal protein, carbohydrate and lipid metabolism. Mostly occurs between two and six years old.
Causes and symptoms: Most cases are due to genetic makeup and other causes include surgical removal of the gland, cancer, low iodine in the diet.
Most common symptoms are increased body weight, develop a skin disease, decreases exercise and become lethargic, develop reproductive problems.
Treatment: A thyroid hormone supplementation is given orally once or twice daily.
The authors are thankful to the researcher enclosed photographs of dogs has been included in this article from internet.


Lalit, S.P. Dahiya and  Sandeep kumar

Department of Animal Genetics and Breeding, LUVAS, Hisar

*Corresponding Author:


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admin • September 19, 2016

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