It's our job to keep our pets healthy and safe. Dogs get sick just like people and some of the most common pet illnesses are similar to those affecting humans. Dogs are susceptible to influenza, allergies, ear infections, and complications from obesity just like their human owners. Complications from these illnesses plague dogs much the same as humans.
Here are just a few of the common ailments:
The "Dog Flu" is one of the common dog illnesses. Much like its human complement, it is characterized by sneezing, runny nose, cough, and mild fever. It can be passed from dog to dog during a seven to ten day period of contagiousness. It is an airborne virus and generally runs its course without medical treatment.
Allergies are common in canines with an estimated one of seven dogs suffering from this common dog illness.
Dog allergies are characterized by irritated, itchy skin. Indications include excessive licking of paws and belly, as well as rubbing of the face and ears. Common dog allergens are pollen, grass and mold. Dogs can also be allergic to insect bites as well as food and drugs. Hives are symptomatic of dog allergies, appearing as red raised bumps on the skin much the same as they do in humans. This may be easily confused with many dog illnesses.
Many dogs suffer from the common dog illness of ear infections resulting from wax buildup or ear mites. Ear infections can be bacterial or fungal as well as allergy related. Dogs most prone to this common dog illness are those with hair on the underside of the ear flaps. Head shaking, rubbing of the ears, or a bad smell are strong indicators that a dog may be suffering from an ear infection.
One in five dogs suffers from arthritis. This can occur as a genetic condition or can be caused by injury and disease. Hip dysphasia is the most frequent form of this type of dog illnesses happening most often in larger breeds.
Kennel Cough is an airborne virus or bacteria. This common dog illness causes an irritation of the canine’s trachea resulting in a distinctive cough that sounds like the animal is attempting to clear its throat. Easily passed along when dogs are in large groups, it generally lasts 7 to ten days.
Although dogs do not have heart attacks, about one in ten experiences the dog condition of congenital heart disease. This dog illness is a weakening of the dog’s heart. As the heart muscle slowly fails, not enough blood is circulated through the dogs system requiring the heart to beat faster. This dog disease is not curable. Treatments do exist, but generally other organs are compromised as the heart weakens.
The most common of the dog illness is an ailment shared by the human population; obesity. An estimated 40 percent of canines suffer from this illness. Its effects in dogs are much the same as in humans, frequently resulting in diabetes, high blood pressure and arthritis.
Diabetes is pretty common ailment for dogs. The average age of onset is 6 to 9 years. Diabetes is a result of inadequate production of insulin by the islet cells in the pancreas. There may be a genetic predisposition for this in some dogs. The signs of early diabetes are frequent urination, drinking lots of water, a large appetite, and unexplained loss of weight. Dietary control and daily injections of insulin can regulate most diabetic dogs, allowing them to lead active, healthy lives.
If your pet has an underlying condition such as diabetes, they are at risk for eye diseases such as cataracts. Treating the underlying condition may lessen the chances that cataracts will develop.
Vision loss due to cataracts can often be restored through surgery. A veterinary ophthalmologist will surgically remove the lens, replacing it with a plastic or acrylic lens. Cataract surgery generally has a good success rate, but your veterinarian will need to determine whether your dog is a good surgical candidate. The procedure also requires extensive postoperative care.
Dog diseases should be carefully diagnosed by a veterinarian, and then treated with medications manufactured for the particular condition or with surgery if necessary. Always consult with your veterinarian if your pet displays any abnormal signs.