There are two types of dog diseases: hereditary and infectious. Many infectious diseases can be prevented with vaccinations. Certain breeds will be more prone to hereditary problems, especially pedigrees. Be aware of the early warning signs to give your dog the best chance at a happy, healthy, disease free life.
There is no way to replace the information available to you at your veterinarian. Having said that, there are many common diseases most are familiar with, and we will look at a few of the most common diseases and their symptoms. Every dog owner should know how to identify dog diseases and symptoms.
Many of the diseases caused by infections have the same or very similar symptoms. Early warning signs can be as simple as unusual behavior, slow motor skills, or decreased appetite, to more sever things such as fever, diarrhea, coughing, and vomiting. Infectious diseases are contracted either by contact with an infected dog or contact with infected bodily fluids.
Some of the most known of these diseases include rabies, distemper, heartworm, and parvovirus. Distemper and parvovirus are both contracted through contaminated fecal matter. Rabies is contracted from other rabid animals, and heartworm is brought by mosquitoes. Heartworm and parvovirus can often be turned around if caught early through antibiotics. There is currently no cure for rabies or distemper. But vaccines for all of these infections do exist.
Congenital, or hereditary, diseases attack specific breeds. Many will have diseases in their eyes like glaucoma and cataracts. Narrowing of the blood vessels, leaky valves, and uneven beating of the heart are similar problems for both human and dog alike. Some breeds suffer with musculoskeletal problems. These may affect the muscles, skeleton, ligaments, cartilage, and joints. Most common amongst these is dysplasia.
Disorders of the endocrine system like thyroid problems and diabetes also occur. The smaller breeds who have short faces often have respiratory troubles. Some breeds may become deaf or have epilepsy. These are just a few of the numerous congenital problems found in many different breeds that can seriously affect their health.
Always be attentive to the behavior of your pet. As soon as you notice a change, contact your vet. Better to err towards caution rather than missing something. Your veterinarian will be pleased to answer any questions you may have, even if nothing is wrong.
There are some serious diseases and problems dogs can contract. Just like a member of your family, you can never be overzealous when dealing with the health of your dog. By having regular visits to your vet and keeping current with annual vaccines, many of these infections are easily prevented.
Become familiar with the breed of your dog. Each type of dog will have peculiarities and some may be more prone to certain types of infectious diseases than others. This is especially true of hereditary diseases. Contact the specific national breed club for more information.
Knowledge is power when it comes to canine health. Get your dog vaccinated to avoid infections. Thoroughly understand the behavior of your dog, especially the traits of its breed. Have a veterinarian regularly check your dog. These simple steps can prevent many infectious diseases, and the knowledge will help you to keep your dog happy and healthy.