Unfortunately there are many common dog illnesses and diseases that can be life-threatening to your pet. Many of these illnesses are viral and the easiest way to prevent them is by vaccination.
If you think that your pet is very ill, you’ll need to monitor your dog’s behavior and make notes on what you observe. Then call your vet as soon as possible and report your observations.
Some of the most common illnesses in pet dogs include heartworm, bloat, canine distemper, parvovirus, tapeworm, and rabies.
Heartworm is a parasitic disease that is spread by mosquito bites. Once a dog is infected, the parasitic worms grow and live inside the dog’s heart chambers. The most common symptoms of this disease are coughing, difficulty in breathing, an aversion to exercise, and congestive heart failure. Heartworm is very difficult to treat and the sad news is that many dogs don’t survive heartworm treatment. The good news is that heartworm is easily preventable by giving your dog a monthly dose of a heartworm medication available at most pet stores.
Bloat is a life threatening condition commonly found in large dog breeds like Great Danes and Mastiffs. Bloat occurs when a dog overeats or eats its meals too quickly on a regular basis. This causes gas or fluid to build-up in the dog’s stomach. The stomach can then become twisted and will cut off circulation to the internal organs. If this serious condition is not treated immediately it can kill your pet.
Symptoms of bloat include:
• Dry heaves that occur every 5 to 30 minutes
• Weakness or collapsing
• Swollen, bloated abdomen
• Restlessness or anxiety
• Lack of normal digestive sounds in the abdomen
• Tapeworms in the dog’s feces
Another common dog illness is canine distemper, a dangerous and incurable disease that can seriously affect your dog’s health and longevity. Treatment for distemper can be expensive. If your dog survives canine distemper it may suffer neurological damage for the rest of its life.
Symptoms in the early stages of canine distemper are coughing, diarrhea, and mucus discharge from the eyes and nose. As the disease progressively worsens and enters the final stage, the dog will have seizures.
Adult dogs have a fifty percent chance of surviving canine distemper but unfortunately, puppies have only about a twenty percent chance of survival. It is vital that your dog receive a distemper vaccine shot to prevent catching this deadly disease.
Parvovirus is another viral illness that is especially dangerous for puppies. The symptoms of parvovirus include vomiting, decreased appetite, bloody diarrhea and lethargy. Treatment requires lots of fluids and antibiotics. Parvovirus kills about eighty percent of the dogs that become infected with this disease, but it is preventable through vaccination.
Tapeworm is a common dog illness caused by parasites and affects many dogs. Tapeworm parasites live inside a dog’s intestines and can grow as long as eight inches. When a dog gets fleas and swallows one that contains tapeworm eggs, the condition will spread.
It’s easy to tell if your dog has tapeworms because you’ll see small white segments of the worm moving around in your dog’s feces. Tapeworms can easily be treated with medication taken orally.
Rabies is a very serious viral disease that spreads from one animal to another through saliva. Rabies will cause an animal to become aggressive, and it can easily spread the disease through bite wounds. Rabies is deadly and contagious to humans also. In all U.S. cities dogs are required to have rabies vaccinations.
The symptoms of rabies in the beginning stages include fevers, behavioral changes, and slow eye reflexes. As the disease gets progressively worse, a dog will become increasingly aggressive, bark excessively and without reason, and is bad-tempered and restless. In its advanced stage rabies leads to coma and death. Dogs who contract rabies are required to be euthanized.
No ailment in your dog should be considered just a common dog illness and left untreated. The consequences can be the loss of a dearly beloved pet.