Does Your Dog Have Health Problems?

Dog Breed Health

Do you know what type of health issues your dog might get because of its breed? From tooth decay, to hip problems, to skin conditions and allergies--every breed has certain health conditions that it is more likely to experience.  If you learn about this, there might be things you can do to minimize the chances your dog gets them, as well as be on the lookout for them.  To learn more...

  
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Dog Skin Infections

Skin infections can be the result of  fleas/mites, allergies, staph bacteria, fungus (ringworm), or homonal. Fleas/mites will probably result in itching. Staph will have yellow pimple-like sores that can get red, dry, smell, and result in hair loss.  Fungus results in hair loss in patches—head and legs.

  
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Worms in Dogs

There are tapeworms, roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms. The majority of dogs get some type of worm in their lifetime so regular de-worming by your vet is very important. Hookworms, roundworms and tapeworms (rare) can infect humans and you might be able to see roundworms and tapeworms in your pet’s stool.

Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, corresponding weight loss and poor general health.

Roundworms are prevalent in puppies and kittens and they should be checked.  Tapeworms are transmitted by ingesting fleas or lice, and for hunting dogs, in rodents and rabbits.  Hookworms suck blood from the dog’s intestinal lining and untreated can be life-threatening.  Whipworms also suck blood from a dog’s intestinal lining but are less life-threatening and are harder to diagnose and to eradicate.

  
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Hepatitis in Dogs

Hepatitis is from a CAV-1 virus that attacks the liver, eyes, kidney and blood vessels.  It is not contagious to humans.  It is transmitted via urine, eye and nasal secretions from infected dogs.

Symptoms include: fever, cough, lethargy, and vomiting to name a few or be asymptomatic.

It is advisable to see your vet.  In adult dogs, the virus may pass and be  immune to it for the rest of its life; or, if there are complications, it could be very serious.  In puppies, it can be fatal.

  
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Anal Sac problems

Scooting on the floor and licking are two common symptoms of an anal sac problem. Most of the time, it is the result of the anal sacs not emptying. When an animal passes “hard” feces, the anal sacs are emptied and it has a unique scent that other animals investigate and can recognize. If the feces are not hard enough, the sacs do not empty and the fluid becomes thick and then bacteria can cause an abscess. If you see this behavior, go to your vet and get the problem resolved as well as discuss your pet’s diet.

  
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Coronavirus in Dogs

There are two viral types:  intestinal and respiratory.

The intestinal version includes diarrhea, vomiting and lack of appetite and is generally mild but should be addressed immediately (dehydration if left untreated can cause death especially diarrhea in puppies)  unless it presents with another condition.  It is spread rapidly via infected dog feces.  Treatment  is for diarrhea and dehydration.  Most dogs are exposed to this virus and while there is no cure, a vaccine is available.

The respiratory version, which is not related to the intestinal type,  includes coughing, sneezing and runny nose  and can progress to pneumonia.   Your vet can test to see if your dog has it. It is highly contagious.  There is no vaccine to prevent infection or reduce the clinical disease and in the U.S., it  is more rare.

  
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Parvovirus in Dogs

Vaccinating your puppy is critical as this is a highly contagious viral infection that is deadly most (80%) of the time without vaccination or treatment. The virus  causes severe vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea and depression. Dogs can die of dehydration if they are not treated or vaccinated.

With treatment, dogs that do contract parvovirus have anywhere from a 30 to 80% chance of survival depending on the breed, how long you have waited to secure treatment from a veterinarian, and the general health of the dog and other factors.

Avoiding places where dogs gather until your puppy is vaccinated and the vaccination has had time to work (2-3 weeks) is a good idea.  Infected fecal matter can remain infectious for months from a contagious dog.

There is also a second form of parvovirus that affects the heart in puppies which is generally deadly.

  
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Leptospirosis

It is a bacterial infection that affects the liver, kidneys and blood and is  generally contracted from urine from infected dogs, rats, or wildlife or drinking urine- contaminated water (ponds, puddles, wet grass) from those infected.  It can take several weeks for the infection to be noticeable.

It can pass from animals to humans. There are several hundred strains of the bacteria of which nine affect dogs.  There are vaccines and they help with the more common strains.

Fever, loss of appetite and lethargy are the primary symptoms which is probably why you will need to visit a veterinarian  as these symptoms can be a host of  other health conditions and your vet can test for this infection.  Antibiotics and other medicines can treat this infection if it is caught early.

  
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Kennel Cough

Caused from a virus, it is contagious. In mild cases, the dog will improve (but still be contagious for 6-14 weeks).  In more severe cases, medication from your vet will be required and you should be sure it is not some other problem.

  
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Distemper

A contagious, viral disease that attacks the respiratory, nervous and gastrointestinal systems. Transmitted through the air or urine/feces, it is most often seen in puppies or older dogs. Vomiting, diarrhea, eye/nasal discharge,  coughing, loss of appetite, fever, and eventually seizures are symptoms. In adult dogs the fatality rate is 50% and for puppies it is 75%. This is preventable by vaccination.

  
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Rabies in Dogs

If you think your dog may have been bitten by a rabid animal, take it to a vet hospital or shelter  for a 10-day quarantine to make sure it does not have rabies.  If it has contracted rabies death is likely. Rabies vaccination is required by law in all states in the U.S.

  
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Dog Dental Problems

This is something YOU can do to help your dog—brush their teeth and along the gum line, ideally daily, get appropriate chew toys and foods/treats,  and check their mouth for problems.  Think about their teeth in the same way you think about your own (hopefully). Some of the same things can happen—plaque build-up leads to bacteria, and tartar build-up leads to gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) which can eventually lead  to periodontal disease which if left untreated can even lead to heart, liver and kidney disease.  Look for bad breath, discolored teeth, bleeding, red or swollen gums.

  
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People vs. Dog Years

How does your age compare to your pets? You've probably heard 7 years. The breed and weight of the dog are factors in determining pet years. The average dog at age 1 is comparable to a human at age 12. By the time your dog is 3 to 3.5 years, a human would be 28. Around 10, the differences by weight become a larger factor.  A human at age 60 would be equivalent to a smaller dog at 10 and a larger (90 lbs plus) at age 6.5.

  
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Cellphone # on Collar

Put your cell phone number on your pet's collar or tag to prevent losing your pet.  Speed of recovery is critical in finding a lost pet.  Even with a microchip implant, the chip needs to be read which generally requires a vet or shelter to read.  And, only 5% of pets have the microchip.  Your pet is probably outside more in the summer.  It may be chasing other animals or it could be traveling with you and get lost. 

If your dog is lost, the first thing you should do is to call the shelters (25% recovery) as only 8% return home on their own.  Neighborhood signs result in 11% recovery.  To learn more, read Dr. Linda Lord's Research: Search Methods Used to Find Lost Dogs

 

  
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"Harley"

  
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