Just like kids, dogs can and often do get sick. Any responsible dog owner knows that a big part of keeping your pet healthy and safe is to ensure that you know which diseases are prevalent in dogs. As a dog owner, it’s so important to recognise the signs that something is wrong and act on it swiftly. So, knowing which diseases are most common in dogs and how dangerous they are can help you to know how to prevent them and what to do if you think your dog might be sick. Read on to learn about the top 6 diseases in dogs and how dangerous they can be.
1. Canine Parvovirus
Parvovirus is a highly contagious virus that is easily transmissible among dogs. Dogs infected by parvovirus suffer lethargy, loss of appetite, bloating, vomiting, fever and diarrhoea. It is recommended that you keep your puppy or dogs away from other dogs and areas they frequent until they have had their vaccinations against Canine Parvovirus as it’s a vicious and often deadly disease. Spread through contact with an infected dog’s faecal matter, once contracted, it’s incredibly hard to cure and is often fatal.
Parvovirus is easily prevented with vaccinations and boosters that are administered regularly.
2. Canine Distemper
Canine Distemper is an extremely virulent viral infection that is transmitted through the air as well as by direct contact with infected surfaces, i.e., a shared water bowl. Dogs infected with Canine Distemper often show symptoms of a watery or pus-like discharge from their eyes. They will also exhibit a fever, loss of appetite, lethargy, vomiting and nasal discharge.
Canine Distemper is a disease that is hard to treat once it has been contracted and is often fatal.
Heartworm is a preventable infection that is still unfortunately all too common. Heartworms are parasites that live in your dog’s heart and pulmonary arteries causing havoc to the blood vessels and lungs. When initially infected, the parasites travel through the bloodstream towards the heart, causing harm to other organs as they go. It is easily spread via mosquitoes and other infected animals.
Heartworm is preventable with preventative medication and for the most part treatable with a rigorous regime of antibiotics, steroids and arsenic injections.
4. Kennel cough
Kennel cough is a highly contagious respiratory infection that causes irritation and inflammation to your dog’s airways. It’s spread through proximity and direct contact with other dogs (hence the name) and the sharing of infected bowls and blankets. Kennel cough is not considered a fatal disease, however, your dog will be uncomfortable, rundown and sore for the duration of the illness.
Kennel cough is treatable with antibiotics, plenty of rest and a cough suppressant if it’s a particularly bad cough. You can keep the likelihood of your dog contracting kennel cough low by ensuring they are up to date with their vaccinations.
Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection that spreads through your dog’s body via its bloodstream. Dogs can come into contact with the bacteria through infected bodies of water or direct or indirect contact with urine from infected wildlife. Most common in tropical or wet environments, Leptospirosis is considered a life-threatening disease if it is not treated by your dog’s vet.
While Leptospirosis is often treatable with antibiotics and plenty of supportive care, it is often much easier to simply reduce the chances of your dog becoming infected by ensuring that they have had their vaccination.
Rabies is a viral infection that can impact the brain and spinal cords of dogs. Rabies can be transmitted through the bite of an infected animal or less often when the saliva of an infected animal comes into contact with fresh wounds or mucous membranes. Some common symptoms of rabies include disorientation, hypersensitivity, foaming at the mouth, loss of appetite, seizures and sudden biting, snapping or attacking of other animals and humans. This disease can instil fear in people due to how brutal it is on the dog and how easy it is to transmit.
Rabies can be easily prevented with vaccinations, however, once infected, rabies has a high fatality rate. It is considered untreatable with no cure.
Is your dog due for a checkup?
If your dog is due for a health and wellness check-up, vaccinations or you think they may be getting sick, it’s important that you book in to see a vet as soon as you can. The sooner you can have your dog vaccinated or examined and treated, the better. Keeping up to date on vaccinations and knowing what symptoms to look out for for the more virulent diseases could save your dog’s life.
Get in touch with us today to organise your dog’s appointment.