Most Common Dog Health Problems
Our dogs are faithful companions, and they depend on us for good care. To help your dog live a healthy life, you should know some of the most common health problems dogs face, their signs, and what you can do for them.
Dogs and Ear Infections
Ear infections are a common dog health problem, and they can be caused by allergies, yeast, ear mites, bacteria, hair growth deep in the ear canal, and more. Symptoms your dog may have with an ear infection include:
- Head shaking or head tilting
- Bad ear odor
- Always scratching
- Showing problems with balance
- Unusual back-and-forth eye movements
- Red or irritated ear canal
- Swelling around outer portion of the ear
- Brown, yellow, or bloody discharge
Always take your dog to the veterinarian if you think he has an ear infection. In most cases, cleaning and medicating the ear canal should quickly clear up an infection. However, surgery can be needed for chronic infections or if forceful head shaking results in the rupture of a vessel within the outer part of the ear.
Dogs and WormsvTapeworms, Roundworms,Hookworms, and Whipworms are common internal parasites in dogs. And although any worm infestation can make your pooch uncomfortable, some, like hookworms, can be fatal in puppies. Signs your dog may have worms include:
- Diarrhea (may be bloody)
- A change in appetite
- A rough or dry coat
- Scooting on his bottom
- Vomiting (with roundworms in particular)
- An overall poor appearance
Fleas and Your Dog
It takes just three weeks for one flea to turn into an infestation of 1,000 biting bugs. A very common dog health problem, fleas are easy for your dog to pick up but they’re also easy to treat. Signs your dog may have fleas include:
- Excessive scratching, licking, or biting at the skin
- Hair loss
- Hot spots
- Allergic dermatitis (response caused by contact)
- Tapeworms (carried by fleas)
- Flea dirt (looks like small black dots) against your dog’s skin
Untreated, fleas not only make your dog intensely uncomfortable, they can also cause allergic reactions, infections, and even lead to anemia from blood loss.Talk to your vet about the right flea medicine for your dog, which may include collars, oral medicine, shampoos, sprays, or topical liquids.
How to Help Hot Spots in Your Dog
They’re commonly known as hot spots, but the medical term for those bare, inflamed, red areas you often see on dogs is acute dermatitis — a bacterial skin infection. Anything that irritates your dog’s skin enough to make him scratch or chew can lead to the pain and itch of hot spots, which, if left untreated, can quickly grow and expand.
A hot spot’s location can help your vet diagnose its cause. Fleas, for example, may be the source of a hip hot spot, while a hot spot at the ear might point to ear problems.
Treating hot spots may involve shaving and cleaning the irritated area,antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), steroids, or topical medications, depending on how bad the hot spots are, and how much pain your dog is in.
Common Dog Health Problem: Vomiting
Vomiting is a common health problem in dogs, with dozens of possible causes, from infection or intestinal parasites to pancreatitis, kidney failure, heatstroke, or poisoning.
Symptoms are basic: abdominal heaving and drooling caused by nausea. Also, If your dog has diarrhea, blood in their vomit, seems lethargic, continues vomiting, or can’t hold down liquids, contact your vet right away to prevent life-threatening dehydration.
Treatment depends on what’s causing the dog’s distress, and may include fluid therapy, drugs to control vomiting, and homemade foods like well-cooked skinless chicken, boiled potatoes, and rice.
Diarrhea in dogs, as with vomiting, can have lots of causes, including stress, infections like parvovirus, intestinal parasites, and food sensitivative.
Diarrhea symptoms are pretty obvious — look for loose, watery, or liquid stool.
Because diarrhea can easily lead to dehydration, be sure your dog has plenty of clean water available, then take your dog to the vet if the diarrhea persists for more than a day, or immediately if there is fever, lethargy, vomiting, dark or bloody stools, or loss of appetite.
Dog Joint Pain
As dogs age they start to have problems with their joints. Depending on the cause, arthritis may affect one or any number of your dog’s joints. … Most cases develop as a result of abnormal rubbing within the joint caused by joint instability (e.g. after ligament damage), damage to or abnormal cartilage development, or damage caused by trauma (e.g. fractures).
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