Common Health Issues

There is nothing worse than having a poorly pet. Unfortunately just like us, our pets get sick too. This can be a scary time for pet owners, fortunately most canine health problems are curable and some even preventable. By sharing some of the more common health issues our pets may encounter it may help you to notice when your pet is feeling under the weather. If you notice any changes in your dogs behaviour, eating, or sleeping habits. Please do seek advice from your local veterinarian.

EAR INFECTIONS are one of the most common health issues in dogs. There are a number of factors that can cause ear infections. These include allergies, ear mites, bacteria, and deep hair growth in the ear canal. If you find that your dog is shaking his head excessively, scratching his ear vigorously, has a red swollen ear canal, with a unpleasant odour and a bloody discharge it is time for a visit to your local veterinarian for some simple medication.

WORMS are a very common thing in dogs, and although there are many treatments in our shops and pet stores today, if left untreated this can become a very serious issue and in puppies be fatal. If any tapeworms, roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms are present in your dog he/she will experience extreme discomfort, weight loss, diarrhoea, rough coat, change in appetite, blood in his stools, or dragging his bottom along the ground. Your pet will need to be seen immediately by your vet. Treatment for this will vary depending on which type of worm your dog may have.

FLEAS are something that all dogs experience at least once in their lifetime. In just one month one single flea can turn into a infestation of a thousand. Fleas are a very common health problem for dogs as they can be picked up so easily and from many different places, such as grassy fields, other dogs and even a trip to the groomers. If your dog shows signs of excessive scratching and biting of the skin, hair loss, hot spots, and flea dirt on their skin, it is highly likely he/she will need medicated treatment.

HOTSPOTS are another very common condition in our dogs. This is a medical term for bare red irritated patches of skin, but it is nothing more than a bacterial skin infection that can be cleared up with antibiotic tablets. Hotspots are also a symptom for other medical conditions and the location of where the hotspot is can help to determine what is really wrong with your dog.

VOMITING in dogs is normally another symptom to other health conditions that your dog may have. Although vomiting can be quite common in dogs, it can also be a sign of other conditions, such as infection, intestinal parasites, pancreatitis, kidney failure, heatstroke, or even poisoning. You will notice that when a dog vomits he will experience excessive heaving and drooling. The drooling itself is caused by the dogs upset stomach. It is also common for your dog to go off his food and have a loss of appetite. However if the vomiting doesn’t stop and your dog is still refusing food and water you must get him to a vet immediately or your dog could become dehydrated and this can be life threatening.

HEARTWORMS are a serious and potentially deadly disease in which parasites infect a dogs heart and arteries. Dogs are exposed to larvae through mosquito bites and if left unchecked the larvae can develop into large worms. The symptoms of heartworm disease range from coughing, collapsing, to lethargy, and also depression ( moping around and not greeting you at the door when you arrive home). A heartworm infestation can progress to heart failure and even death, although not always successful, treatment options include medications to kill the parasites and in advanced cases surgery. Fortunately heartworms are easily prevented. Options include daily oral medications, topicals, injections, and a simple once a month pill.

OBESITY is a common health problem in dogs. Just as in people, being overweight can have negative health effects on your pooch. Overweight dogs face a higher risk of joint pain, diabetes, and liver disease. Ask yourself is your dog at his best weight? If he is, you should be able to feel his backbone and ribs without pressing. When looking at your dog from above you should be able to see the abdomen going up from the bottom of the ribcage to the thighs. If your dog doesn’t meet these standards it is advised that you ask your vet to help you create a diet and exercise plan.

SKIN PROBLEMS Most skin problems in dogs are due to parasite skin infections, and allergies. The most common skin problem in dogs is démodé tic mange which is caused by a mite that live in the hair follicles. Common parasites that involve the skin include; fleas, ticks, ear mites, and scarpotic mange mites, which cause scabies. Ringworm is a common skin infection that is a highly contagious fungal infection that can cause hair loss, short hair, or scaly patches. Allergies such as pollen, mould, and dust mites, can trigger itching and rashes. Dogs can also develop allergies to some common dog foods. You may be able to spot fleas and ticks on your pet, if you do, these can be treated with special medicated shampoos to kill the parasites, along with antibiotics, anti-fungal medications, corticosteroids, and antihistamines to control the itching.