As a dog owner, you are responsible for the health and wellbeing of your companion animal. These animals can’t speak for themselves; thus, it is up to you to determine their needs. It is also advisable to be aware of any symptoms of illness and disease so that immediate prevention and diagnosis is performed. Thankfully, most dog health problems are preventable and can be easily treated. With that said, you need to be aware of the common canine health problems and learn how to deal with them.
It has been estimated that 20% of dogs are affected by ear infections; thus, making it the most common dog health problem. The severity and treatment of this infection may vary from one dog to another. With that said, it is crucial that you are able to recognize the symptoms during its early stages. Your dog might be suffering from this condition if you notice any of these signs and behavior:
- Foul odor coming from your canine’s inner ear
- Consistently scratching or rubbing his ear or head
- Finding strange discharge in his ear
- Your dog feels pain around the ear area
- Tenderness in the entire ear area
- Vigorous shaking of the head
Although ear infections are very common among dogs, it doesn’t mean that you can ignore the problem. This condition may lead to more serious consequences. For instance, if the dog vigorously shakes his head, it may rupture the vessel inside the outer area of his ear. If you start to notice any of the signs and behavior listed above, you must immediately take your canine friend to the vet. The veterinarian might clean and medicate the ear canal to treat the infection. For chronic infections, surgery may be necessary.
Flea infestation is a very frustrating problem. This infestation can be hard to control, especially since one flea can quickly multiply to a thousand biting bugs in the span of three weeks. For this reason, if your dog gets infested with these pests, immediate treatment must be given. A few signs you need to watch out for include:
- Hair loss
- Hot spots
- Allergic dermatitis
- Excessive scratching, biting, and self mutilation
If this problem is not treated as soon as possible, it will make your dog uncomfortable. In addition, it can even make him sick. The consequences of flea infestation may include allergic reactions, infections, and anemia. If you believe that your dog has fleas, take him to the vet so that he can provide your dog with the right flea medicine. In addition, you must also take precautions to rid your home of fleas and their eggs.
Hot Spots or Pyoderma
Another common dog health problem is pyoderma also known as hot spots. This condition is also commonly called summer sores. The symptoms of this condition include scratching, licking, and biting their irritated skin. This condition can get worse in a matter of hours. Some cases may even lead to extremely painful health issue.
To treat this dog health problem, you need to dry the moist area on your dog’s body. This means you need to shave the area of hair. This will expose the moist area and will provide space for healing. You must also clean the hot spot with an antibiotic astringent every two hours for the first few weeks. This will help speed up the healing process.
Canine Parvovirus and Distemper
These infectious diseases are very common among dogs. Canine parvovirus is contagious and potentially fatal. This disease can be contracted through the feces of an infected dog. The symptoms you need to watch out for include: bloody stool, chronic vomiting, lethargy, and loss of appetite.
Canine distemper, on the other hand, is a virus which is transmitted through direct contact with an infected canine’s urine, blood, or saliva. This virus infects the dog’s respiratory system and gastrointestinal and central nervous system. The symptoms you need to watch out for include coughing, difficulty breathing, sudden loss of appetite, thick mucus discharge from the nose and eyes, and seizures.
It is crucial to stay alert and watch out for any of the symptoms listed above. Early prevention is the key to saving your dog. The treatment options for these health problems may include IV fluids and anti-vomiting medications along with antibiotics.
- License: Creative Commons image source
Kris Lim is an animal advocate who writes about common pet health problems to raise awareness. She also occasionally works for a credible Fort Lauderdale animal hospital.