Guide to Common Puppy Illnesses
Puppies as so full of energy, it is difficult to think they could ever get sick. But with repeated exposures to various bacteria, viruses and parasites, sometimes a puppy’s curiosity and immature immune system can do them in. If you have a puppy now or plan to get one, this article will help you prepare and keep your pooch healthy.
Vomiting. At one time or another your dog may have a bout of vomiting. Usually he’ll have eaten something disagreeable, eaten too much or too fast, exercised too soon after eating or any number of non-serious conditions. Vomiting may be a sign of a very minor problem. Or it may be a sign of something very serious.
Diarrhea. Acute diarrhea is one of the most common clinical problems seen in veterinary practice. It is characterized by sudden onset and short duration (three weeks or less) of watery or watery-mucoid diarrhea that may be overtly bloody in severe cases. Diarrhea results from excessive fecal water content and is the most important sign of intestinal disease in the dog.
Parvo. Parvo is a virus causing severe infection in puppies and dogs. It invades and destroys rapidly growing cells in the intestine, bone marrow and lymphoid tissue resulting in nausea, vomiting and severe hemorrhagic (bloody) diarrhea. The disease can vary from mild to fatal if not properly treated.
Tracheobronchitis. You might think your dog has something stuck in his throat. The cough associated with acute infectious tracheobronchitis, (ITB) or kennel cough, is a high-pitched, honk-like cough, sometimes followed by retching. It’s a highly contagious inflammation of the trachea (windpipe) and bronchial tree and is associated most often with dogs housed in a high-density population or boarding kennel.
Coughing. Coughing is a common protective reflex that clears secretions or foreign matter from the throat (pharynx), voice box (larynx), windpipe (trachea) or airways, and protects the lungs against aspiration.
Ear mites. If you see your dog shaking his head and scratching his ears excessively, or if there is an abnormal odor emanating from his ears, he may be suffering from ear mites. Ear mites are tiny crab-like parasites that live in the ear canals and head of dogs, and sometimes their bodies. Imagine thousands of these tiny insects crawling around in your dog’s ears.
Demodectic mange. Demodicosis, or red mange, is a common skin disease of dogs caused by a microscopic mite called demodex canis. Why some dogs develop demodicosis and others don’t is not understood. It is thought to be genetic; affected dogs have an immune system defect that may be inherited, making it difficult to keep the mites under control.
Sarcoptes. Sarcoptic mange (also known as scabies) is a highly contagious parasitic disease caused by a microscopic mite called Sarcoptes scabiei that affects animals and people. These mites invade the skin of healthy dogs and puppies and create a variety of skin problems. Humans exposed to infested dogs commonly are affected.
Panosteitis. Panosteitis is an inflammation involving various layers of the bones of young, growing dogs. This condition occurs spontaneously and ultimately resolves on its own. The exact cause of panosteitis is unknown, but the disease tends to occur in large and giant breed dogs between five to 12 months of age.
General lameness. Any decrease in an animal’s ability to bear weight on a limb or a decrease in the normal mobility and function of a limb can be considered lameness. Lameness can be extremely subtle or profound, affecting one limb or several limbs. It can be intermittent or constant, worse in the morning, worse at night, worse after rest, worse after or during exercise.
Fractures. A fracture is a break or crack in a bone. Although we commonly think of fractures as involving a leg, it is also possible to fracture the skull, jaw, spine, ribs, pelvis and digits (fingers) as well as the long bones and small bones of the front and back limbs.
By knowing what can happen and the potential illnesses and injuries associated with puppies, you can be a better prepared owner and may even have a healthier dog.