Dog Health Problems

Diseases, parasites and other dog health issues

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Even though your pet will be vaccinated against common dog diseases early in its life, there are still a large number of dog health problems to guard against. Dog parasites can strike at any time, worms are a constant threat, canine diabetes and heart disease can strike overweight and aging pets, and eye problems are common in older dogs. To keep dog illness at bay, you should monitor your pet for physical symptoms and behavioral abnormalities. Educate yourself with the help of your vet, and get any potential problems checked out early.

Dog Worms and Other Dog Parasites

There are five types of dog worms you need to know about:

Common symptoms that your dog is infected with worms include a dull or patchy coat, lethargy, dog diarrhea, dog vomiting, coughing, loss of appetite and the emergence of a potbelly. If you notice these symptoms, seek prompt treatment, as dog worms can be fatal. Roundworm and hookworm can also be transmitted to humans, so be particularly careful if your dog is diagnosed with either of these conditions.

Proper coat care, including daily brushing and regular shampooing, can help your dog avoid one of the most readily identifiable dog parasites: fleas. Coccidia protozoa also rank among the most common dog parasites, and are spread through direct contact with the feces of an infected animal. To keep your dog safe, always clean up after it and supervise your pet when playing with it in parks or other places where animal feces may be lurking.

Common Canine Diseases

Though your dog will be vaccinated against distemper, infectious hepatitis and rabies, it can still be affected by these canine diseases if you haven't been careful about getting your pet its booster shots. Some other canine diseases you should know about include:

  • Hip dysplasia. This hereditary condition affects many dog breeds, and is marked by an unstable hip joint resulting from a shallow hip socket.
  • Hypothyroidism. This canine disease is a functional disturbance marked by loss of coat gloss and awkward or slow movement. It is treatable.
  • Glaucoma. Eye problems are relatively common in dogs, especially older ones; glaucoma is hereditary in some breeds, while it develops as a complication of underlying eye conditions in others.
  • Congenital heart disorder. This condition affects dogs and people alike; labored breathing is a common symptom. Pneumonia, fluid accumulation and eventual heart failure can all occur.

Use common sense; if you have a sick dog, get it to the vet right away rather than waiting to see if your pet's condition improves. Prompt medical attention is vital, as many canine diseases can worsen rapidly if left untreated.