When you bring a puppy home, you want to give him or her the best life possible. And just like any other member of your family, you will want to keep them healthy and safe from illnesses.
Well, the first step towards achieving that is to know about what the common diseases are, how you can prevent them, and the usual treatment plans in the worst case scenario that your dog shows signs of developing any of them.
The Parvovirus is a type of virus that infects the cells of dogs and damages their White Blood Cells. In puppies, this virus can cause lifelong harm to the dog’s heart and other muscles. This illness is highly contagious and can affect your dog through other dogs, or through a human who acts as a carrier (humans are not affected by this virus).
If you notice symptoms such as lethargy (your dog is weaker than usual, for example), vomiting, blood containing diarrhea, and a sudden and unexplained loss of appetite.
The best way to prevent Parvovirus in your dog is to get him or her vaccinated. You can set up a vaccination schedule with your vet – this typically includes one main shot, a secondary booster, and then annual boosters. If one of your other dogs had the disease, you can prevent it spreading to your puppies by completely disinfecting the area.
Because Parvovirus is a virus that mutates rapidly, it is difficult to come up with a medicine to cure it. However, when you take your dog to the vet, they will start a course of medicines to boost your dog’s immunity, and also provide measures to reduce the symptoms of the virus. You may have to keep your dog in boarding, and the incubation time for the virus will be from 3 to 5 days. This virus can also be fatal.
Just like in humans, dogs can contract cancer when their cells start to grow at an extremely fast rate. This cancer can either be widespread or localized. The dog may have a genetic cause for this (the ability is inherited) or it may be caused because of environmental factors.
If your dog shows signs of lethargy, a rapid drop in weight, swelling, black stool, or the presence of lumps. In certain cancers, the dog may experience some degree of difficulty during urinating or passing stool.
Because cancer is caused by a variety of factors, prevention isn’t as easy as it seems. However, you can provide better care and regular check-ups to dogs that are older or have a susceptibility to cancer-based on their breed. This way you will be able to pick on and treat cancers at early stages. Testicular and breast and ovarian cancers can be prevented by early neutering and spaying based on your vet’s recommendation.
When you take the dog to the vet, they will probably recommend some kinds of tests that will prove a diagnosis. Chemotherapy and other treatment options are often used, and in the case of some cancers, which are at a late stage or incurable, therapy may not be given at all. The only option for these dogs is to provide end-of-life care.
Worms cause this disease, which results in severe damages to the lungs and to the heart. This disease is spread through mosquito bites, which spread the parasite. This parasite enters the bloodstream and proceeds to move into the heart and lungs. If not treated promptly, the damage caused by this parasite can be fatal.
If you notice your dog having estranged and laborious breathing, along with severe coughing and vomiting, as well as weight loss, immediately take your dog to the vet.
Annual screenings for heartworm are advised for dogs to catch heartworms before they can damage your dog’s organs. There is also a preventative medicine that can be taken to kill the parasites before they can start growing in the intestines.
Once you go to the vet, they will probably start by screening the dog for the parasite. Next, the best bet is to provide your dog with the injections known as ‘adulticides’. These will be injected into the dog’s muscles. After this, the dog will need to be hospitalized and will be given year-long preventative medicines.
Poisoning by Chocolate
Although it is commonly known that dogs shouldn’t consume chocolate, because of the availability of chocolate around humans, some dogs manage to eat it anyway. This can result in poisoning.
If you observe your dog eating chocolates, and can see symptoms like diarrhea, or vomiting, along with other symptoms like an increased heartbeat, or even a heart attack.
The best way to prevent chocolate poisoning is simple – keep chocolate out of the reach of your dogs. Do not, under any circumstances, offer or give your dog chocolate, or chocolate coated foods.
When you notice this, immediately take your dog to the vet. There, the vet will do the best to remove the chocolate from your dog’s system, which can last for up to 72 hours.
Rabies is a word you must have heard before, and one you probably already afraid of, with good reason. This is a virus which affects various mammals, by causing damage to their brain and their nervous system. This virus is almost always fatal, and highly contagious. Rabies is spread through infected bites or the entry of infected saliva into a wound.
Symptoms of Rabies include abrupt changes in behavior, aggression, hypersensitivity to the light, foaming, seizures, and weakness. This may even result in sudden death.
The best way of preventing rabies is effective and on-time vaccination. In some countries, these are required by law. Vaccines are often paired with keeping dogs indoors and reducing access to wild and stray animals who may be carrying the virus.
If you find your pet interacting with a rabid animal, you should immediately take him or her to the vet. If your dog has been vaccinated already, a booster may be needed at this time. Do not touch the dog directly, and contact animal services to report the rabid animal in the first place. If you have been a bit or hurt, you need to go to a doctor at once.
If your dog shows signs of rabies, he or she may have to be euthanized. This, however, will only happen in the case that the dog has not been vaccinated. However, if your dog has already been vaccinated, he or she will need to be observed for some time.
Symptoms you should never ignore
If you are at home, these are some symptoms that you should never ignore in your dog. Take your dog to the vet as soon as possible. Remember, better safe than sorry!
- Aggression or depression
- Itchiness or redness on the skin or eyes
- Feverish or fever-like symptoms
- Lethargy, fatigue, or weakness
- Bloody stool or urine
- Respiratory symptoms
- Strange or unfamiliar odors
- Panting or breathlessness in excess
- Changes in appetite
- Abrupt changes in weight
- Pain or pain-like responses
Keep an eye on your dog and if you observe any irregularities mentioned above, contact your vet immediately.