5 Most Common
What are the most
common dog diseases and health problems? In 2008, a popular pet
health insurance provider evaluated this issue and released the
following results, listed in order of frequency:
The most common health problems in dogs are:
1. Ear Infections
2. Skin Allergies
3. Pyoderma/Hot Spots
Rounding out the top ten in their survey were: urinary tract
infections, benign skin tumors, Osteoarthritis, eye inflammation
These ten dog health problems accounted for nearly.
Not included in VPI's list but other highly prevalent canine
health concerns are: parasites (worms, fleas, ticks), Gastric
Dilatation-Volvulus ("GDV") - commonly known as bloat,
It is recommended that you make a list of these health concerns
(the ten in VPI's survey plus parasites, bloat, and obesity) and
bring them with you to veterinary appointments. Ask your vet for
more information on common dog ailments and symptoms of each.
Preventative care can significantly reduce or eliminate the risk
for many of these health problems. Obesity is best avoided by
regulated, measured feedings combined with safe and appropriate
exercise. Parasites can be prevented by keeping your dog's immune
system strong through a carefully chosen, species appropriate
diet, by keeping your dog clean and well-groomed, and through the
use of preventatives, which include a wide array of products from
flea and tick collars to spot on treatments, essential oil blends,
and diatomaceous earth. Ear infections can be prevented or
significantly reduced in frequency through appropriate and
consistent cleaning of the ears.
While all of the mentioned canine health problems can affect a dog
of any breed, some tend to appear more frequently in certain
breeds and types. Bloat is most frequently seen in dogs with deep
chests, and occurs most commonly in Great Danes, followed by Saint
Bernards and Weimaraners. Since bloat is a medical emergency and
can effect a dog of any breed or mix, it is worth asking your vet
about tips for preventing bloat and how to recognize the symptoms
in case, despite your best efforts, your dog bloats.
Similarly, ear infections are most common in dogs with floppy ears
and appear more rarely in dogs with prick ears. However, any dog
can get an ear infection, so it is well worth every dog owner's
time to learn the correct method for cleaning ears, to be diligent
about keeping a dog's ears clean, and to watch for symptoms of ear
infections (shaking of the head, sensitivity about ears being
handled, incessant scratching at the ears, etc.).
Also consider your dog's age - older dogs are more likely to bloat
and have arthritis. Certain parasites seem to appear more commonly
in puppies than in adult dogs.
Certain health problems on the list may increase the risk factor
for other canine maladies, creating a veritable domino effect of
dog health problems. Skin allergies and flea bites can both
contribute to the development of hot spots. Obesity is a
contributing factor in the development of arthritis.
Hypothyroidism can contribute to obesity and skin problems. Ear
infections, if left untreated, can lead to disorientation and
vomiting, bloat can make a dog "dry heave." Diarrhea and
vomiting can be symptomatic of internal parasites.
External parasites can cause internal parasites (fleas can
transmit tapeworms, mosquitoes can transmit heartworm).
Additionally, some parasites common to dogs can be transmitted to
humans, like hookworms and roundworms.
Some of the health problems on the list (diarrhea, vomiting,
urinary tract infection) are also popular reasons for human vet
visits. If you suspect your pet has a urinary tract infection
(symptoms include: discomfort when urinating, urinating very
frequently, blood in urine, excessive water intake), your vet will
likely ask you to collect a urine sample from your dog and bring
it to your visit for testing. As with humans, a prescription
antibiotic is generally advised in the treatment of UTIs.
Just like there can be dozens if not hundreds of reasons for
diarrhea and vomiting in humans, there are a variety of reasons
these maladies can occur in the family dog. Your dog may have
gotten into the garbage and consumed something that did not agree
with her, you may have recently changed her food and she is having
difficulty adjusting to the new diet, she may have eaten too much,
or too rapidly. Dogs can get diarrhea when they are extremely
nervous, or vomit due to carsickness. Vomiting and diarrhea are
not illnesses; they are symptoms of another problem.
Plan for Wellness: Work closely with your veterinarian to make a
plan for total wellness, which should include a high quality,
high-meat content diet, sufficient and appropriate exercise,
veterinary visits at least once a year, and mental stimulation in
the form of training and play. The happiest, healthiest dogs are
in good behavioral and physical condition.
Newsletter Jan 2010