Bringing a pet dog home can be the most cherishable decision you’ll ever make in your life. Irrespective of whether you live alone or with your family, a dog can instantly light up your life. They’re known to have a positive impact on your physical health and mental wellbeing. But you need to take care of them the same way you would care for a small baby.
Just like babies, a dog can’t express their feelings of discomfort or pain. That’s why you should be particularly cautious and alert while taking care of your dog. Also, they’re susceptible to a wide array of diseases, ranging from ticks and fleas to intestinal infections and heart diseases. They can also suffer from age-related disorders such as osteoarthritis, kidney damage, and cancer.
If left untreated, many of these diseases can cause long-term damage and even have fatal consequences. As a dog parent, it’s important for you to know the causes and symptoms of various canine diseases and infections. You should also have a fair idea of the treatment protocols and preventive measures for various diseases.
That’s why, in this blog, we’ve outlined a few common infections and diseases that dogs suffer from. Let’s take a look.
1. Kennel Cough
Canine infectious tracheobronchitis or kennel cough is a serious and extremely infectious respiratory illness in dogs. It’s usually transmitted through respiratory droplets or direct contact with contaminated surfaces. If your dog regularly visits a daycare center or competes in dog sports and fashion shows, they might be at risk of contracting kennel cough.
Also if you have many pet dogs at home and one of them gets kennel cough, all your other canine companions will likely have the disease too.
Common symptoms of kennel cough include:
- Coughing (with a honking sound)
- Low-grade fever
- Loss of appetite
- Runny nose
- Lower energy levels
- Gum Disease and Tooth Problems
In most cases, a veterinarian will prescribe antibiotics to help with the cough and prevent secondary infections. You can also use nebulizers or bronchodilators to help relieve respiratory symptoms. Also, make sure you use a flexible harness instead of a stiff collar while walking your dog to prevent further irritation and damage. If you’re bringing a dog home, you should also talk to your vet about getting them vaccinated.
Pyoderma is a superficial bacterial infection that typically manifests itself in the form of red bumps on a dog’s skin. Commonly affected areas include skin folds, paws, lip folds, armpits, and the chin.
Pyoderma is often the sign of an underlying disorder such as:
- Hormonal disorders
It’s also caused by immunosuppressant drugs such as chemotherapy or a foreign body lodged under the dog’s skin. Apart from redness and bumps on the skin, can cause hair loss, excessive shedding, and itching. Make sure you immediately consult a vet when you see your dog frequently scratching or itching their body throughout the day.
Most vets prescribe broad-spectrum antibiotics such as Clavamox for dogs suffering from pyoderma. They can also suggest topical treatments such as anti-bacterial ointments, sprays, and shampoos for symptomatic relief. The exact course of treatment will depend on the underlying condition that’s causing pyoderma.
3. Canine Distemper
Canine distemper is a highly contagious and serious viral infection in dogs that can be fatal if left untreated. It’s transmitted through direct contact with blood, bodily fluids, or respiratory droplets from an infected dog. It affects various parts of a dog’s body including their respiratory, gastrointestinal, and central nervous systems.
Common symptoms of canine distemper include:
- Mucus discharge from the eyes and nose
In severe cases, it can also cause seizures and paralysis, ultimately leading to death.
Unfortunately, there’s no available treatment to completely cure canine distemper. Most vets prescribe medication and intravenous fluids to help relieve the symptoms as well as antibiotics to prevent secondary infections. Even if a dog survives with distemper, they can suffer permanent brain damage leading to frequent seizures.
The good news is that it’s possible to protect your dog from getting infected with the virus through regular and up-to-date vaccination. If you’re bringing a puppy home, make sure they receive their first distemper shot between six and eight weeks of age.
In addition to these infectious diseases, dogs can suffer from various other ailments such as:
- Canine flu
- Heartworm disease or dirofilariasis
- Fungal infections such as blastomycosis, histoplasmosis, etc.
- Canine parvovirus (Parvo)
Has your pet dog recovered from any serious infections? Share your experience in the comments section below.