Common Diseases in Dogs to Watch For

Just like humans, dogs are also prone to various medical conditions. That is why keeping your dog on a healthy diet with exercise is very important. Here are some common diseases in dogs and what you can do identify and treat them.

Addison’s Disease
Addison’s Disease involves problems with the adrenal glands. This causes hormonal imbalances in the dog and affects the way that the dog’s body uses sugar, fat and protein. There may also be an imbalance of potassium and sodium in the body.
The initial symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea and weakness. As the disease progress, the heart rhythm can be affected, causing shock, fainting and even death. The disease can be managed by oral medications.

Allergic dermatitis
Itchy, rough and flaky skin in a dog can signal a skin condition. If you notice your dog biting, scratching or licking his skin more often, he may have allergic dermatitis. Your dog may have an allergy to his food or to something in the outside environment, such as grass and weeds. Parasites are also a common skin irritant. Fleas, ticks and mites can all make a dog’s skin itch. Hormone problems and infections are also causes of itchy skin.

Many dogs have skin conditions because of their diet. Dog food should contain high amounts of protein, antioxidants and fatty acids to properly protect your dog’s skin. If you notice your dog has dry, oily or flaky skin, a vet visit is in order.

Arthritis and joint pain are common in dogs, especially older ones. Arthritis refers to changes in the joint that occur when the cartilage wears away. The bones are protected by the cushiony cartilage, so when the amount decreases, pain and inflammation can result.
Arthritis can be caused by a variety of factors, including age, breed, infection, congenital defects and excessive weight on the joints. If your dog has arthritis, you will notice symptoms such as stiffness, difficulty moving and being hesitant to run or jump.

Dogs can develop cancer in various parts of their body. Age, breed, environment and gender can all play a role in whether or not your dog will develop cancer at some point in his or her life. Symptoms of cancer include rapid weight loss, abnormal swelling, sores, decrease in appetite, bloody discharge, lack of energy and difficulty eating or swallowing.

Dental disease
Common Diseases in DogsJust like humans, it is important to keep your dog’s teeth clean. But that doesn’t mean you need to break out the toothbrush. The food you feed your dog cleans his teeth though the scraping movement that chewing produces. Feeding a dog the right food will ensure that plaque does not build up on his teeth.

Plaque causes bad breath and gum disease. Plaque can also cause tartar to build up on the teeth. This causes gingivitis, which is characterized by inflammation and redness in the gums. Gingivitis, if left untreated, can lead to periodontal disease, which can destroy teeth, gums and the surrounding tissues. Regular cleanings by a vet can prevent this disease from occurring

Diabetes occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin to control the levels of sugar in the body. This often occurs when the pancreas is damaged, so proper maintenance is required in order to avoid serious health complications. Diabetes is a chronic disease in dogs that cannot be cured. However, with proper diet and exercise, it can be managed. High fiber intake is especially important, as fiber keeps blood glucose levels low.

Diabetes can be caused by genes, poor nutrition, obesity, hormones and stress. Symptoms of diabetes include rapid weight loss, weakness, abdominal pain and frequent urination.

Heart disease
Heart disease refers to the enlargement of the heart. This enlargement causes the heart to hold more fluid and causes serious health problems to develop. It cannot be cured, but it can be managed by leading a healthy lifestyle.

Heart disease is typically caused by old age, but heartworms can cause it as well. The symptoms of heart disease include shortness of breath, inability to exercise, coughing, changes in weight and abdominal swelling.

Liver disease
The liver is an important part of your dog’s body. It filters out toxins from the body and performs various other functions. The liver is susceptible to damage and when it becomes diseased, the results are often fatal.

Liver disease can be caused by poisonous substances, infections, congenital defects and genes. The symptoms of liver disease include lack of appetite, weight loss, yellowing of the skin or eyes, pale gums and dark urine.

It is important to spend time monitoring your dog frequently for any noticeable changes in health. Any changes in appearance or behavior could signal a potentially deadly disease, so if you notice anything unusual, make an appointment to see your veterinarian right away. Early intervention and diagnosis is key to a favorable prognosis.

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