Diseases in Dogs

Diseases in dogs can be breed specific

There are certain diseases that are common in dogs. Some diseases in dogs affect all dogs while others affect specific breeds. Specific diseases can be genetic and may be brought on by inbreeding which may cause a recessive gene to appear.

The common heart diseases in dogs such as Myxomatous Mitral Valve Disease, or  Dilated Cardiomyopathy,  often lead to heart failure. That’s not to be confused with heart attacks experienced by humans. Dogs will generally suffer what is called Congestive Heart Failure (CHF), a relatively slow worsening of symptoms – also suffered by people – as the heart struggles to compensate for whatever defect or disease is present. As the condition develops, it will affect all other organs in the body that rely on the efficient supply of nutrient-rich blood.diseases in dogs

What are some more common diseases in dogs?

Hip dysplasia

Hip dysplasia usually affects the larger breeds of dogs – for example German Shepherds. Hip dysplasia is actually a loose ftting hip joint which, over time, can cause cartilage and ligament damage and probably canine arthritis. Hip dysplasia  may be genetic of simply caused by old age. If identified in a young dog, it can often be successfully treated by surgery.


Unfortunately there is no cure for this serious condition. Distemper is spread by contaminated feces of infected dogs. There is only a 50% survival rate for distemper, but as with any dog  diseases, early intervention will increase the chances of survival.

The symptoms of distemper include coughing, nasal discharge, chest congestion, vomitting and diarrhea. As the disease progresses it affects the nervous system casing possible paralysis. There is a vaccine which can prevent distemper.


Heartworm is a parasitic disease also spread by infected feces and mosquitoes. Heartworm is a disease that progresses very rapidly and tends to affect younger dogs although older dogs may still become infected.. Heartworm is easily prevented by vaccination which should be done at the puppy stage.

Symptoms of heartworm include coughing and lethargy which later progresses to heart disease in dogs (hence the name).


Rabies is a disease of the central nervous system and is spread by a virus. Dogs can become infected through contact with the saliva of infected animals. Rabies is one of the most tragic of all the diseases in dogs.

There is currently no cure for rabies and it is best to have the dog euthanized due to the progressive nature of this horrible disease. The disease progresses in stages. Early symptoms include behavioral changes and slowing reflexes. The behavior gradually gets worse and sometimes violent with increasing lack of coordination.


This is actually a twisting of the stomach caused by overeating. It can be fatal if not recognised and treated quickly. Bloat tends to affect older dogs, particularly those who gulp their food down very fast.

If bloat is diagnosed in time it can be treated by inserting a stomach tube. As the risk of recurrence is very high, surgery is sometimes recommended to prevent this.

To reduce the risk of bloat, it’s best to feed your dog 2- 3 smaller meals a day rather than 1 large one.

All canine diseases should be treated as serious and need immediate treatment. Remember the healthier your dog, the less chance he has of being affected by any of the above diseases in dogs.

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