Dog Diseases: The 10 Most Common And Dangerous Diseases



We will explain the most common and potentially dangerous diseases in dogs that may affect them.

As it also happens with humans, all the dog diseases that are going to be listed may appear in a more or less severe way. As you will see, in many cases, they are also quite serious but treatable diseases, or in any case, with a not too high mortality rate.

In other cases, unfortunately, dogs deal with lethal viruses against which current medicine has not yet found shared answers nor satisfactory treatments, and often the initial symptoms are very similar to each other. This is because our four-legged friends cannot tell us what they really feel.

However, a number of common denominators emerge, leading to a general consideration, which applies to all dog breeds, owners, and situations.

Diseases in Dogs: Prevention

  • It is important to pay attention to our dog’s hygiene, diet, and place where it lives. After all, it is a member of the family.
  • Prevention lies mainly in the correct administration of vaccines.
  • It is wise to always rely on and listen to your vet’s advice without making decisions on your own. It is also good to asses your four-legged friend regularity.

Diseases in Dogs: Here Are The 10 Most Common And Dangerous Ones

1) Parvovirus

This disease is passed through the fecal-oral route. What usually happens is that when a new mother cleans the contaminated puppies’ feces, she gets infected by them and it is likely that the whole litter gets infected. It is not a zoonotic disease, i.e., it does not spread to humans.

Which are the parvovirus symptoms? The most common symptoms are vomiting, diarrhea, fever, abdominal pain, exhaustion, mucus, blood in the feces, loss of appetite, lethargy, and tachycardia. However, remember that any obvious signs of parvovirus usually appear five to ten days after infection, so be aware of incubation.

The virus progressively affects different dog’s organs resulting in death. How to cure it? There is no specific cure, but there is a supportive treatment to alleviate the symptoms and lessen dehydration and secondary infections. An antibiotic treatment, gastroprotectants, and antiemetics are usually prescribed.

In any case, the best thing is prevention through vaccination. It is a pathology that is not impossible to treat.

2) Distemper

Canine distemper is a viral infectious disease, which belongs to the same family as the measles virus. It can affect different animal species but not humans.

Generally, distemper starts from the oral route and spreads like wildfire throughout the body. Symptoms are multiple because they progressively concern the respiratory, digestive, and nervous systems. How to treat it? Treatment involves the use of antibiotics. A serum is added to supplement fluids and avoid dehydration.

Distemper mortality varies from 30% to 80%. Once again, this is why prevention is essential. It consists of the general hygiene of our animal and the environment where it lives. The vaccine and its annual boosters are important too.

3) Leptospirosis

It is an acute systemic vasculitic infectious disease caused by the bacterium called Leptospira. Contagion may occur directly or indirectly. This is a zoonotic disease, which means that it may infect both dogs and humans.

Leptospirosis is often associated with the fall season and it mainly affects our furry friend’s kidney and liver. Symptoms include vomiting and coughing, often followed by a relative lack of appetite. How to prevent it? Pay attention to hygiene and don’t forget your pup’s scheduled vaccination.

4) Lyme Disease

This disease, also called Borreliosis, is caused by ticks. Therefore, it is a parasitic disease. First of all, keep in mind that although it is not very serious, it also affects humans.

It has an incubation period of about 2 days before symptoms start to show. They are numerous and may appear progressively: General malaise, fever, lameness, and muscle pain. In more severe cases, symptoms are vomiting, arrhythmias, and neurological dysfunctions.

How to treat your four-legged friend? Careful prevention and vaccine administration are fundamental. If it is too late, you should certainly opt for a treatment with antibiotics according to your veterinarian’s recommendation.

5) Leishmaniasis

This is the classic disease transmitted to the dog through the bite of an insect. The parasite responsible for causing it is called Leishmania Infantum. It affects not only dogs, but also humans.

Symptoms are so wide-ranging and generic that it is difficult to diagnose them accurately: They range from general exhaustion to swelling, eye infections or hair loss. Can you believe that the incubation time can even be years? How to treat your dog? Apply pesticides regularly to prevent it from being bitten by mosquitoes.

In this case, even the vaccine cannot eradicate the disease since the developed one has not been proven 100% effective. As it is a disease related to insects’ harmful action, there is an increased risk of nocturnal contagion outings.

Be careful because even once it has apparently disappeared, it may recur cyclically.

6) Piroplasmosis

This disease is also known as Babesiosis. It is transmitted by ticks and causes anemia and hemoglobinuria. Incubation is approximately 48 hours. There are two degrees of disease severity: acute and hyperacute. In this regard, the most common and increasingly harmful symptoms are varied and range from diarrhea, pulmonary edema, conclusions, to swollen joints.

The diagnosis is made with a blood smear. How to treat your four-legged friend? Clearly, antibiotic treatment is needed. This is added to the serum to re-establish fluid volume and nutritional values.

7) Canine Hepatitis

It is a disease caused by a canine adenovirus known as Cav-1. It mainly affects the liver. It can be mild or acute, but if neglected, it can also cause death. Transmission is particularly treacherous because it can occur in so many different (and relatively “easy”) ways.

The virus is particularly fierce, versatile, and resistant to its external environment. It can be passed through by air, direct contact or by touching infected clothing. Naturally, the carrier-carrier option is also present. Among dogs, it is transmitted by contact with urine.

Fortunately, humans cannot contract the disease. Symptoms are the classic combination of diarrhea, vomiting, and fever. Eye problems may occur later. Which are the precautions? Hygiene, a healthy diet, and obviously vaccination.

8) Ehrlichiosis

Here’s another annoying parasitic disease caused by ticks, bitter enemies of the dog world. The bacterium responsible is called Ehrlichia Canis and it attacks the body’s red blood cells.

There are three stages of the diseases: acute, subacute, and chronic. Symptoms are varied: general exhaustion, weight loss mixed with anorexia, various types of bleeding, tremors, or atrophy.

How to treat it? Antibiotics and supportive treatment come into play. Always remember to give your dog the right anti-parasitics.

9) Rabies

It is undoubtedly one of the most well-known dog diseases in the canine world and one of the scariest. Rabies is caused by a virus that directly attacks the nervous system. This disease also affects other mammals besides dogs, including humans. This is a devastating and incurable pathology.

It is transmitted through saliva and causes our four-legged friend to show serious behavioral problems, ranging from a feeling of fear and restlessness to uncontrollable aggression. Then it may show fever, paralysis, or convulsions, and it may even be lethal. Nowadays, thanks to vaccination, the virus is theoretically very rare, but there would be nothing to do if it were to affect our dog.

10) Bronchitis

Bronchitis in dogs is not different from the one in humans. It is an inflammation of the bronchi that can begin as mild but can also become very violent, to the point of causing the animal’s death. Most respiratory diseases can be worsened by the context in which the dog lives.

In fact, the main causes can be cold, pollution, and everything that can contribute to an unhealthy environment. In terms of symptoms, there are no “surprises”. As in humans, bronchitis causes coughing, dryness in the throat, and excessive saliva, mixed with a general malaise.

There are two types of bronchitis in dogs:

  • Acute
  • Chronic

The first one consists of a dry cough with a considerable amount of yellowish mucus. It can develop the second one, which causes the same symptoms but more severe. Heart and renal problems are added. To cure bronchitis, you will need anti-inflammatories and a lot of patience for the nights it spends coughing.

This list is terrifying. But don’t be discouraged. If you devote the proper attention to your four-legged friend, almost all of these diseases may not get past their acute phase. And you can live a long and happy life with your dog.

If in doubt, consult a professional who will give you good assistance and answer all your questions.

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