Dog Diseases, Vaccinations and Preventative Measures

You should familiarize yourself with the many dog diseases that can befall your pet.

What are the symptoms and are vaccinations or natural remedies available? 

Some of these dog diseases can be fatal to your pet, others can leave serious conditions that can attack their vital organs and have a lasting effect on the general health of the animal in later years, robbing him of a long and happy life.

Vets have come up with vaccines and treatments to prevent some of these dog illnesses but some can only treat the symptoms of the disease.

It's important to keep a close eye on your pet and recognise anything out of the ordinary so that prompt action can be taken to catch any illnesses early and treat them accordingly.

Young puppies are particularly vulnerable to dog diseases and must be checked by your vet at an early age to decide which vaccinations and vitamins are available.

Dog Diseases and Natural Dog Health

Natural remedies that treat the whole dog can also be bought. These can be used as a preventative medecine along with anything your vet may recommend.

Below are some of the more serious diseases that can infect your dog

Distemper

Distemper is probably one of the greatest threats to our dogs. In young dogs around 80 out of every 100 dogs that catch distemper will die.

Symptoms: Vomiting, diarrhea, congested lungs, nasal and eye discharge and weight loss. The nervous system is attacked and can cause paralysis and seizures.

Distemper is highly contagious and most dogs at sometimes in their life will come into contact with this dog disease. Dogs less than 6 months old are most at risk, or older dogs that haven't been vaccinated.

There is no cure for this dog disease and only the symptoms can be alleviated. Many dogs that recover from distemper can have health problems for the rest of their life.

An oral homeopathic vaccine to immunize your dog against Canine Distemper and other viral infections

Kennel Cough

This is a common name for one of the respiratory dog diseases that can attack dogs when their immune system is stressed, especially in situations such as boarding kennels or dog shows.

Symptoms: Dry cough, inflamation of the larynx and bronchial tubes. Can also cause pneumonia in some cases.

Not as serious as some dog diseases if caught early but highly contagious in places of large populations of dogs.

KC Defense formula is a natural remedy and preventative medecine for kennel cough.

Cushing's disease

Cushing's disease or hyperadrenocorticism, as it also known, is caused by the adrenal glands and an over production of hormones.

Not to be confused with Addison's Disease which is a deficiency of adrenal cortical hormone.

The adrenal glands produce a variety of hormones that control the dog's body and it's reaction to stress and so affecting heart rate and blood pressure.

The high levels of corticosteroids in your dog's body can cause serious health problems.

Cushex for Cushing's Disease is a natural remedy that treats the symptoms of cushings disease, alleviating such problems as:

Excessive thirst
Thinning of the skin
High blood pressure
Loss of hair
Increased appetite
Digestive problems

If not treated, cushing's disease can lead to other diseases such as diabetes, heart and nervous system problems.

Parvovirus

Parvovirus is one of the dog diseases that can seriously infect a dog within hours and cause death within 2 to 3 days. This disease attacks the intestines, white blood cells and the heart. It is a highly contagious disease that can infect hundreds of dogs if one is a carrier at a dog show or other gathering.

Symptoms: Severe diarrhea, vomiting loss of appetite and light grey feces containing blood.

Young dogs are more at risk from this dog disease and certain breeds such as Rottweiler and Doberman Pinschers.

There is no cure but the dog must be kept warm and fluids lost through vomiting and diarrhea replaced. Infected areas must be disinfected thoroughly as the parvovirus can live for months in an area that is not cleaned properly.

Your vet will advise about a course of vaccinations for your pup for the best protection.

Leptospirosis

This is a dog disease that can be transmitted through the urine of animals and humans are capable of catching this disease.

Symptoms: Fever, vomiting lethargy, kidney inflamation and conjunctiva. It can also attack the liver and cause jaundice and pneumonia. A blood transfusion is sometimes needed.

There are different strains of this disease and vaccinations are not usually given unless the strain can be identified or there is a particularly bad outbreak in an area.

Coronavirus

Coronavirus is transmitted through animal feces or other infected animals.

Symptoms: Some dogs carry the antibodies but show no sign of ill effects. Others suffer from diarrhea, loss of appetite and become dehydrated. Replenishing fluids and cotroling diarrhea is an important factor in aiding recovery.

Vaccines are available but although this is a serious disease if not treated they are not recommended as routine because coronavirus is not a widespread disease.

Lyme disease

This dog disease is spread by ticks.

Symptoms: Lymph node enlargement, fever and joint pain.

Antibiotics can be used but inoculation is not very successful as protection does not last longer than around 6 months.

Tick elimination is very important because lyme disease can be a serious condition in humans also.


Rabies

Rabies is a viral disease that can be transmitted by the bite of an infected animal. The rabies virus is present in the saliva of the infected animal.

Vaccinations have all but eliminated the rabies virus in many parts of the world but in some third world countries, where the vaccinations are not as readily available, rabies is still a big problem.

Symptoms: Rabies attacks the nervous system eventually causing inflamation of the brain and death.

Bloat

Gastric torsion or GDV or bloat in your dog can be life threatening so take him to the veterinarian immediately. The stomach gets filled with air and twists, this can happen suddenly. The symptoms include restlessness, drooling and nausea and the stomach becomes bloated. Your dog may vomit and continue to retch, although not bringing anything up.

Cancerous and benign tumors

Some breeds of dog like boxers are highly prone to cancer. So any time you see a lump on your dog, you should check it out. About 20 out of 100 cases turn out to be cancerous.

Watch out for both external and internal lumps, Eye ulcers, if caught early, are easy to treat. Late treatment can be expensive for you as well as painful for your dog.

Never take tumors in your dog lightly, even small ones! The veterinarian will usually have them removed immediately because of their high chance of them being cancerous.

Cryptorchidism

Cryptorchidism is peculiar to male dogs and a condition present at birth. The testicle/s, which develop in the abdomen, fail to descend into the scrotum. The usually underdeveloped and non-functional testicle/s should be removed, as it could turn cancerous later in life.

If the condition remains after the puppy is more than 2 months old, then the chances are it will remain so permanently.

Dermodicosis

Dermodicosis or non-contagious mange first appears as numerous patches anywhere on the dog's skin. The hair falls off, leaving bald patches in large areas, and the bald skin starts to turn into crusty sores.

Atopy

Atopy is an itchy skin disease caused by an allergy to something the dog breathes in or touches. It cannot be cured and is the number two common allergic skin condition in dogs, after flea allergy dermatitis. . A dog suffering from atopy would have itchiness particularly on the paws. He'd be chewing his paws, scratching his ears, shaking his head, scratching the muzzle or rubbing it on the ground. These same symptoms can also be brought about by food allergy.

Acne

Acne in young dogs appears as red bumps and blackheads on the chin and lips. Shorthaired dogs are more likely to get them. Just as us humans, they start getting acne around puberty, but the problem usually goes away after the dog reaches around twelve months old.

Urinary incontinence

Urinary incontinence in dogs can be due to a neurological lesion - a complication with the parts of the nervous system that deal with urine control. A dog with incontinence will dribble urine and if a neurologic lesion is the cause, then this has to be dealt with by the vet. There could also be other reasons like a congenital defect or a bacterial urinary tract infection, also known as bacterial cystitis or bladder stone.

If your dog leaves wet spots where he has slept and he has skin irritation from contact with the urine, then he may have incontinence. Straining while urinating and blood in the urine are two signs of bladder stone.

Deafness

One surprising fact is that there are more than 35 breeds of dogs on record to have hereditary sensorineural deafness. The condition cannot be reversed with medications, surgery or hearing aids. Dogs also could become deaf from old age, toxicosis or infection.

You can still communicate with your deaf dog through sign language. Dogs have been known to learn as many as 65 command words in sign language. These include signs for, among others, "stop", "potty", "drop it", "stay", "lay down", "sit", "come" and "cookie".

You need to keep your deaf dog in a safe environment as he obviously cannot hear approaching dangers like a car. So keep him on a leash and close to you when in traffic or out for walks.

Add the word "deaf" to his name tag so he will not be misunderstood if he ever gets lost.

And finally, if your dog tested positive for inherited deafness in one or both ears, do not breed him or her.

Epilepsy and seizures

Some dogs develop seizure disorder. They may have an epilepsy attack, become unconscious and may look like they are not breathing. If your dog suffers from seizures, try to stay calm and take some notes to pass to your vet. Include the following information:

Duration of the attack. The type of muscular activity your dog exhibits during seizure. Any abnormal behavior during the attack. Frequency of the seizure .

Emergency treatment is needed if your dog goes into seizure for 10 minutes or longer, twice in the span of 24 hours, or if he has a second attack before he could completely recover from the first seizure attack. Stay by your dog's side; be there when he comes out of the seizure to calm him, and comfort him. To keep your dog from hurting himself during the seizure, make the area around him clear of any funiture or anything else he could bump into and provide a cushion for under his head.

Unlike seizure attacks in humans, animals do not swallow their tongue. So you don't have to put your hand or spoon or any other object into your dog's mouth when he has an attack. You might get bitten. Also, keep children and other pets away from your sick dog. When your dog comes through the seizure, he may be quite groggy and confused so it's important to reassure him and comfort him. And if he doesn't recover fully after 30 minutes, consult your veterinarian.

Heart conditions

Bradycardia or slow heart rate may be a symptom of thyroid disorder in your dog. -Dialated cardiomyopathy constitutes a serious, emergency case. Your dog may collapse from it or the back legs have sudden pain and paralysis. It is a serious heart condition whereby the heart muscle is enlarged and thin walled. Your dog could experience shortness of breath, coughing and be unable to take exercise.

With a little forward thinking and correct preventative measures in the form of vaccinations, vitamins or natural remedies, most of the particularly nasty dog diseases that could infect your pet can be avoided.

Contact your vet immediately if your dog is showing any unusual symptoms.

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