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Dog Diseases and Symptoms: A to Z

A Comprehensive List of Ailments That Could Affect Your Dog

By Sam Bourne. February 13, 2014 | See Comments

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    PetCareRx Staff Veterinarian

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There are a number of different health conditions that can affect dogs. Here's an extensive list of all the major dog diseases and symptoms.

There are a ton of different afflictions that can take hold of your dog. Whether it is their heart, liver, kidneys, ears, eyes, teeth, or something else, your dog can suffer from health complications in much the same way people can. For a better understanding of the most common issues dogs can face, here is a list of diseases that dogs get, along with their symptoms.

Dog Diseases A to Z

Disease

Symptoms

Asthma

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Blue or purple tinge to tongue or gums
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite

Alopecia

  • Hair loss and bald patches
  • In some cases, scaly, inflamed, or discolored skin.
  • Some dogs will start scratching or chewing at the affected areas, and others become lethargic

Anemia

  • Pallor, or lack of pigmentation in the gums, tongue, and inside the ear
  • Lethargy

Arthritis

  • Limping
  • Muscle loss
  • Difficulty sitting
  • Lethargy
  • Less playful
  • Grouchiness
  • Unable to jump up

Cancer

  • Lumps or bumps under the skin
  • Changes in eating habits
  • Increased urination and/or drinking
  • Difficulty exercising
  • Weight loss
  • Depression
  • Discharge and sores
  • Difficulty urinating

Carnassial Tooth Abscess

  • Swelling
  • Discharge below the eye
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Depression

Cataracts

  • Cloudy or cracked looking pupils
  • Redness, swelling, or inflammation of the eye
  • Impaired vision
  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting
  • Pacing
  • Restlessness
  • Less movement

Cherry Eye

  • Red, thick, irritated bump in the corner of the eye
  • Rubbing or scratching the eye

Coccidia

  • Diarrhea mixed with mucus or blood
  • Persistent diarrhea

Congestive Heart Failure

  • Intolerance of exercise
  • Excessive panting
  • Coughing
  • Heart murmur

Dandruff

  • Skin flakes
  • Dry, irritated skin
  • Excessive scratching, biting, and licking

Degenerative Myelopathy

  • Difficulty getting up or sitting down
  • Difficulty walking
  • Clumsiness
  • Trembling hind legs
  • During the final stages, dogs may experience difficulty breathing, incontinence, organ failure, and muscle atrophy

Demodectic Mange

  • Persistent itching
  • Hair loss
  • Bald spots
  • Alopecia
  • Scabbing
  • Sores
  • Lesions
  • Redness
  • Scaling

Ear Infection

  • Hearing loss
  • Inflammation and redness around the ear canal
  • Milky, odorous discharge
  • Unusual darting eye movement (nystagmus)
  • Dragging infected ear on furniture or floor
  • Shaking their head

Ear Mites

  • Brown, coffee ground-like particles
  • Swelling in the ear
  • Head shaking
  • Scratching
  • Odor

Ehrlichiosis

  • Fever
  • Sores
  • Inflammation of the blood vessels
  • Nose bleeds
  • Pale gums
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Breathing problems
  • Coughing
  • Increased urination
  • Eye problems
  • Lameness
  • Confusion
  • Disorientation
  • Changes in behavior

Elbow Dysplasia

  • Limping or lameness
  • Favoring one leg
  • Abnormal gait
  • Swelling of the elbow
  • Lethargy
  • In pain

Fibrosarcoma

  • A lump
  • Ulceration and bleeding
  • Swelling of the affected area
  • Loss of appetite
  • Loss in sociability
  • In pain

Flea Allergy Dermatitis

  • Severe itching
  • Redness of the skin
  • Pimple-like, pus-filled bumps
  • Hair loss
  • Rash
  • Constant itching
  • Recurrent tapeworm

Gastric Torsion

  • Bloat
  • Empty retches
  • Swollen midsection
  • Increase in saliva production
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Pale gums
  • Drop in body temperature
  • Restlessness
  • Anxiety
  • Shock

Gingivitis

  • Bleeding
  • Redness
  • Swollen gums
  • Bad breath

Glaucoma

  • Pain
  • Redness and inflammation
  • Dilated pupils
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Discharge
  • Vision loss
  • Cloudiness in cornea
  • Enlarged eye
  • Behavioral changes

Heartworm

  • Cough
  • Fatigue
  • Trouble breathing
  • Reluctance to exercise
  • Abnormal lung sounds

Hemangiosarcoma

  • Exhaustion
  • Depression
  • Disinterest in food
  • Anemia

High Blood Pressure

  • Rapid heart rate
  • Dilated pupils
  • Nosebleeds
  • Blood in urine
  • Difficulty seeing
  • Enlarged thyroid gland
  • Misshapen kidneys

Hip Dysplasia

  • Avoiding activities
  • Trouble getting up or sitting down
  • Difficulty jumping up
  • Lameness

Hookworm

  • Anemia
  • Bloody or black stool
  • Diarrhea
  • Pruritus
  • Dermatitis on the paw pads

Hot Spots

  • Sensitivity
  • Circular, red, swollen patches
  • Oozing pus or discharge
  • Unpleasant odor
  • Hair loss
  • Excessive licking, biting, or scratching
  • Fear or aggression

Hyperthyroidism*

  • Weight loss
  • Increased appetite
  • Excessive shedding
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Hyperactivity
  • Enlarged thyroid gland
  • Trouble breathing
  • Increased thirst and urine

*Note that cases of Hyperthyroidism are extremely rare in dogs, more commonly found in cats. Dogs with a thyroid condition generally suffer from Hypothyroidism.

Hypothyroidism

  • Thinning fur on the body
  • Dull coat
  • Excessive shedding
  • Thickening of the skin
  • Darkened skin color
  • Weight gain with decreased appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Intolerant of exercise
  • Intolerant of the cold

Kennel Cough

  • Dry, hacking cough
  • “Honking” sound
  • Retching up a white, foamy discharge
  • Snorting
  • Nasal discharge
  • Sneezing
  • Pink eye

Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (aka Chronic Dry Eye)

  • Dullness or lack of “shine” to the eyes
  • Discharge from the eyes
  • Redness around the eyelid
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Rubbing or scratching at eyes
  • Changes to the cornea
  • Loss of vision
  • Frantic behavior

Liver Disease

  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Weakness or lack of energy
  • Depression
  • Vomiting and stomach pain
  • Increased thirst and urination
  • Jaundice

Liver Shunt

  • Stunted growth
  • Slow weight gain
  • Poor muscle development
  • Seizures
  • Drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Head pressing
  • Disorientation
  • Depression
  • Shaking
  • Kidney and bladder infections
  • Kidney stones

Lyme Disease

  • Depression
  • Fever
  • Lameness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Presence of ticks

Nuclear Sclerosis

  • Opaque, blue-gray lens in the eye
  • Minor decrease in vision

Otitis Externa

  • Scratching or rubbing affected ear
  • Head shaking or tilting
  • Strong odor coming from ear
  • Pain
  • Red, thick underside of the ear
  • Reluctance to open mouth wide
  • Cauliflower-like appearance of the ear
  • White discharge (if bacterial)

Parvo

  • Severe diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Dehydration
  • Blood in stool
  • Especially odorous feces

Patellar Luxation

  • Difficulty walking
  • Trouble getting up or sitting down
  • Taking weight off one leg

Periodontitis

  • Loose teeth
  • Bad breath
  • Tooth pain
  • Sneezing
  • Nasal discharge
  • Loss of teeth

Periapical abscess

  • Halitosis
  • Discolored teeth
  • Swollen gums
  • Facial swelling

Proliferating gum disease

  • Increase in height and thickness of the gums
  • Bleeding
  • Bad breath
  • Excessive drooling
  • Decreased appetite

Pruritus

  • Insatiable need to scratch, rub, chew, or lick the affected area

Pyoderma

  • Red inflamed patches
  • Hot spots
  • Redness, papules, and pustules develop on the hair follicles
  • Scabbed-over circular lesions
  • Pain in the infected area
  • Infection is warm to the touch
  • Red streaks on the skin
  • Pockets of pus

Rabies

  • Lethargy
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Excessive drooling
  • Sensitivity
  • Odd behavior like unchecked aggression, hallucinations, self-mutilation, and ataxia (appearing drunk)

Ringworm

  • Dry, scaly, missing patches of skin
  • Lesions

Roundworm

  • Diarrhea
  • Pot-bellied appearance
  • Vomit
  • Cough
  • Weight loss
  • Dull coat
  • Blocked intestine

Sarcoptic Mange

  • Persistent itching
  • Redness
  • Scabs
  • Sores

Sebaceous Adenitis

  • Stinking sores
  • Scaling skin;
  • Hair loss
  • Lesions and sores around the head, neck, and back
  • Itchiness
  • Purplish looking skin

Spondylosis

  • Stiffness
  • Limping
  • Restricted movement and rotation
  • Sensitivity to touch
  • Back pain
  • Growths that you can feel along the spine

Tapeworm

  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Irritability
  • You may see tapeworm in your dog’s stool

Upper Respiratory Infection

  • Sneezing
  • Discharge from their eyes, nose, and throat
  • Fever
  • Drooling
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Dry, rough cough

Vestibular Disorder

  • Spinning or walking in circles
  • Stumbling
  • Lack of coordination
  • Head tilting or shaking
  • Wide, exaggerated stance
  • Falling or rolling to the side
  • Involuntary drifting or jerking eye movements (nystagmus)
  • Abnormal eyeball alignment
  • Vomiting
  • Motion sickness
  • Loss of appetite and thirst
  • Sleeping on hard surfaces
  • Sleeplessness

Von Willebrand’s Disease

  • Bleeding gums
  • Bloody urine
  • Frequent nosebleeds
  • Bruises easily
  • Inability to clot

Whipworm

  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Dehydration
  • Weight loss
  • Lethargy
  • Anemia
More on Dog Health

Signs on Strong Dental Health in Dogs
5 Ways Neutering Makes Your Pet Healthier
Health and Veterinary Care for Pregnant Dogs
4 Reasons Your Dog May Need Glucosamine and Chondroitin

This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian with respect to your pet. It has, however, been verified by a licensed veterinarian for accuracy.

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