Being a pet owner is full of fun and loving moments but it can also bring a lot of responsibility. One thing that pet owners must do is keep an eye on their dog’s health. Dogs can get many different kinds of illnesses, ranging from mild annoyances to severe concerns. Having a good relationship with your vet is a great way to keep your dog healthy, especially if you are the owner of a new puppy. Keeping yourself educated on some of the most common illnesses that dogs suffer from can also ensure that you get help quickly if something is wrong. These are the most common illnesses every dog owner should know.
Rabies is a virus that most people are aware of. Wild animals frequently carry it, and spread it via bites or scratches. Rabies is a virus that can be passed to humans. In dogs, it causes jaw and throat paralysis, weakness, foaming at the mouth, loss of appetite, seizures, and even death. There is no cure for rabies, which is why a rabies vaccine is typically required for dogs that live in city limits. If you don’t live in an area where rabies vaccines are required, it’s still a very wise decision to get your dog vaccinated yearly against this virus.
2. Dog Flu
Just like people can get the flu, dogs can as well. This is a viral infection that causes coughing, fever, sneezing, and loss of appetite. There is no cure for the dog flu – instead, it just has to run its course. It’s not common for dogs to die from the flu, but it is possible. There is a dog vaccine against the flu, but it’s not common enough for many vets to offer it to dog owners. If you are concerned about dog flu, consider asking your vet about this vaccine.
3. Heartworm Disease
Heartworms are tiny larvae that get into your dog through mosquito bites. These worms live in a dog’s body for years, making a home in the internal organs, including the heart and lungs. This condition is deadly if it is not treated, and the treatment is only available from the vet. This disease can be avoided by giving your dog a regular heartworm medication.
4. Kennel Cough
Kennel cough is an umbrella term for multiple types of respiratory illnesses that dogs can pass among themselves. It’s called “kennel cough” because it often plagues kennels and other places where dogs gather in large groups. It can be either viral or bacterial, and leads to coughing and chest congestion. It is very contagious, but it typically goes away on its own after a while. It is not usually a serious illness. If you hear a very distinct hacking noise after your dog has been around other dogs, chances are he’s got kennel cough.
Parvovirus is a viral disease that can be life-threatening in dogs. The virus attacks a dog’s blood cells, which damages the heart and causes cardiac problems. The symptoms include lethargy, fever, vomiting, severe weight loss, and bloody diarrhea. It typically shows up in puppies, who are vaccinated against this virus at a young age to prevent it. You should always make sure that a puppy receives this vaccine.
These five illnesses are not a complete list of the many ways that a dog can get sick. However, understanding the signs of these common illnesses can help you get your dog medical attention before the conditions get worse. Be sure to talk to your vet about other illnesses that your dog could face based on their breed, your area, and your lifestyle, so that you know what to watch for.
Author Bio: Ash Babariya is the co-creator of Simply For Dogs, a licensed breeder of Boxers, and a life-long dog lover. She shares her many adventures from the dog park, as well as her research into the world of dogs, to promote well-informed pet owning.