Health Problems, Prevention, Treatment

Common Health Problems for Puppies & Dogs: Treatment & Prevention

Common Puppy & Dog Health Problems
by Jack Russell

Dog Health Treatment Dogs’ health can be very confusing to most people, especially since their conditions tend to be so different when compared to ours. To add to this, it can also be quite difficult to even suspect any illness since many dogs have a high pain tolerance and do not show any signs of discomfort. All too often, pet owners only discover serious health issues when the problem has already progressed far. At that point it calls for serious medical intervention, surgery or even euthanasia. Apart from the sky-high vet bills, this type of situation causes a great deal of stress and grief for both the pets and their owners. Read through this article to learn what to look out for in your dog and what you can do to prevent it.

Common Diseases
There are several diseases that are very commonly passed between dogs, especially with strays or in areas such as kennels or dog parks. The best way to prevent this is by keeping the dog’s vaccinations up to date and being careful about which other dogs it comes in contact with. One of the most well-known diseases among dogs is rabies, which affects the brain and eventually leads to death. Many vet clinics offer a combination of vaccinations and boosters as a package and they often include Distemper, Bordetella, Kennel Cough, Hepatitis, Leptospiroris and Parovirus. Apart from hepatitis, most of these other diseases are not usually fatal, but they can cause severe sickness, including fever, vomiting and paralysis. Many kennels today also require proof of the dog’s most recent immunization before allowing it to board.

Internal Parasites
The danger of canines contracting internal parasites is that it’s usually not apparent until too late. Sudden weight loss, a bloated belly, white grain-like specks or blood in the feces, or unexplained vomiting or diarrhea are some symptoms of an internal parasite infestation. Roundworms and tapeworms are among the most common to affect dogs and can easily be picked up from soil or the feces of other animals. While hookworms, heartworms and whipworms can also be easily passed on, their effect tends to be more severe, including damage to internal organs and blindness. These worms can also be passed on to humans, so it is imperative to monitor the dog’s health and ensure that it is properly medicated against these parasites. To combat this, there are several medications available in pet stores as well as prescription medications to kill parasites and their eggs. The best way to diagnose suspicions of internal parasites is for the vet to carry out a blood or stool test.

External Parasites
External parasites on dogs are a little easier to manage, but still quite annoying. It is generally very easy for external parasites to multiply and spread to other areas of the home and even attack humans and other pets. Fleas and ticks are generally the most commonly known ones, and apart from the constant itching, they also cause blood loss and allergies. Ear mites tend to limit themselves to the dogs’ ears but they can also be passed on from other pets as well as pet bedding. Ear mites cause severe itching in the inner ear as well as a dark discharge. If left untreated, the dog’s continuous scratching can lead to bleeding and skin injuries in the area. Mange mites are spread in a similar manner and cause a skin infection called scabies or sarcoptic mange that usually causes itching around the belly and rear. The skin may appear hairless, red and crusty. Demodectic mites are less transmittable but they also cause mange and severe skin irritation.

Other Common Problems
There are several other issues that often affect dogs, such as infections of the ear, nose, eyes or teeth. Long-eared dogs very often develop yeast infections inside the ears. It can be spotted if the dog tends to often scratch its ears, or by the distinctly funky smell that is detectable from even a few steps away in worse cases. Aural yeast infections typically feature dry, red skin, which may occasionally be a bit crusty from excessive scratching, as well as a dark, waxy buildup. The nose is also an area that may develop infection, polyps or even nasal mites. Look for dryness of the nose, constant sneezing or any colored discharge. For ideal dental health, dogs should be given a combination of chewies, such as raw hide or dental toys, as well as breath biscuits which typically contain ingredients such as baking soda, eucalyptus and parsley or chlorophyll to help maintain fresh breath. Bad dog breath may be a sign of infection in the teeth or gums, which can lead to blood poisoning. Extreme cases may require surgical extraction and a professional cleaning. Finally, a common but little-known problem that affects dogs is called bloat. It usually occurs after the dog has eaten their meal. If they drink too much water and swallow too much air, or run out to play vigorously after eating, it can create a bloating effect of the stomach. In turn this can cause quick and fatal damage to internal organs. When bloat occurs, the owner usually has only an hour or two at most to get the dog to a vet for emergency aid.

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