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The Dog Symptom Checker

Look Up Your Dog’s Symptoms and What They Could Mean

By Meredith Alling. January 24, 2014 | See Comments

  • expert or vet photo
    vet verified

    PetCareRx Staff Veterinarian

    DVM

Two Young Puppies Laying Together

Is your dog sniffling, coughing, itching, or getting sick on the rug? There are dozens and dozens of symptoms that could mean your dog is getting ill. This list of symptoms tells you exactly which illnesses they may be linked to.

Our dogs depend on us to keep them healthy, and part of that responsibility is taking note of any symptoms that could indicate an illness or injury. Our dog symptom checker is organized so that you can find the area of your dog’s body that is showing symptoms, then check the specific symptom and its common causes.

While useful for sending you in the right direction, this chart does not replace a trip to the veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment. Always contact your veterinarian if your dog is exhibiting any unusual symptoms.

BODY AREA

COMMON SYMPTOMS AND CAUSES

Ears

Itching, redness, discharge, or odor: Ear infection, ear mites, allergies, ear cysts, mange, wax buildup, tumor

Swelling: Ear cancer, mange

Hearing loss: Deafness

Bleeding: Ear cancer

Eyes

Discharge, redness, or swelling: Eye infection, allergies, conjunctivitis (pink eye), canine distemper, autoimmune disorder, corneal disorders, dry eye, cherry eye, glaucoma, eye defects, eye injury

Bulging: Cherry eye, glaucoma, eye displacement

Bleeding: Injury, hyphema (blood in front of the eyes)

Blindness: Collie eye anomaly, tumor, glaucoma, seizures, poisoning, encephalitis, meningitis, hyphema (blood in front of the eyes), eye defects, autoimmune disorder, corneal disease

Clouding: Eye infection, eye defects, corneal disease, tumor, glaucoma, cataracts, ulcer, collie eye anomaly

Jaundice (yellowing): Liver disease, liver cancer, infection, heart tumor, stem cell disorders

Mouth

Abnormal gum color: Heart disease, heart failure, anemia, cancer, tumor, liver disease, kidney disease, poisoning, thyroid disorder, clotting deficiency, hookworms, infection

Bad breath: Gingivitis, mouth cancer, gum disease, mouth ulcer, cyst, cavities, tumor, gastrointestinal problems, kidney disease, retained deciduous teeth

Bleeding: Gingivitis, gum disease, mouth cancer, ulcer, clotting disorder

Difficulty breathing or coughing: Kennel cough, canine distemper, dog flu, infection, pneumonia, anemia, heartworm disease, upper respiratory infection, heart problems (disease, failure, murmur), cancer, poisoning, bronchitis, asthma, hernia, shock, foreign object in throat

Difficulty swallowing: Kennel cough, heart problems (disease, failure, murmur), heartworm disease, infection, poisoning, tonsil, thyroid, mouth, or throat cancer, tumor, pneumonia, hernia, foreign object in throat

Drooling: Rabies, mouth, tonsil, or tongue cancer, yeast infection, kidney disease, ulcer, cyst, cavities, gum disease, poisoning, allergies, epilepsy

Eating Grass, Feces, Other Unusual Items: Stomach inflammation, stomach irritation, acid reflux, infection, poisoning

Vomiting: Swallowing of something indigestible, rushed eating, parvo, canine distemper, tumor, intestinal parasites, allergies, leukemia, heartworm disease, infection, cancer, poisoning, inflammatory bowel disease, kidney disease, liver disease, epilepsy, meningitis

Nose

Bleeding: Injury, foreign object stuck in nose, infection, poisoning, tumor, clotting disorder, cancer

Sneezing or discharge: Kennel cough, canine distemper, bacterial, fungal, or viral infections, allergies

Head

Shaking: Ear mites, ear infection, kidney stones, poisoning

Swelling: Allergies, infection

Tilting or Pressing: Rabies, encephalitis, vestibular disorder, brain disorder, meningitis, tumor, cysts

Skin and Hair

Chewing, licking, scratching, flaking, or redness: Parasites, allergies, dry skin, skin irritation, infection, kidney disease, pain, anxiety, boredom

Hair loss: Mange, parasites, allergies, skin irritation, ringworm, ulcer, tumor, cancer, infection, hormonal problems

Urinary

Blood in urine: Urinary tract infection, kidney disease, kidney stones, cancer, diabetes, prostate disease, bacterial or fungal infection, poisoning

Frequent, painful, or strained urination: Urinary tract infection, kidney stones, kidney disease, bacterial or fungal infection, diabetes, bladder stones, prostate disease, liver disease, cancer

Incontinence: Aging, kidney disease, urinary tract infection, bladder stones, spinal cord disease, paralysis, seizures

Bowel

Blood in stool: Parvo, canine distemper, stomach or intestinal bleeding, constipation, inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, poisoning, parasites, infection, ulcer

Constipation: Dehydration, ulcer

Diarrhea: Parvo, canine distemper, parasites, food allergies/intolerance, poisoning, liver disease, kidney disease, diabetes, infection, inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, cancer, ulcer

Abdominal

Pain: Tumor, urinary tract or intestinal obstruction, twisted spleen, infection, gallstones, trauma, poisoning, liver disease, cancer

Swelling or distention: Bloat, heart disease, heart murmur, cushing’s disease, foreign body in gastrointestinal tract, kidney inflammation, tumor, liver fistula

Legs

Limping, stiffness, or difficulty rising: Hip dysplasia, arthritis, meningitis, rocky mountain spotted fever, lyme disease, spinal cord disease, bone or joint cancer, infection, nerve or muscle disorder, injury, back or neck problems

Behavioral

Aggression: Rabies, poisoning, meningitis

Disorientation or loss of balance: Rabies, vestibular disorder, meningitis, high blood pressure, seizures, cancer, encephalitis, eye defect, coma, liver fistula, brain injury, brain tumor, brain parasites, epilepsy

Increased thirst: Kidney disease, liver, disease, liver fistula, cushing’s disease, diabetes, bacterial infection, poisoning, cancer

Lack of appetite or weight loss: Canine distemper, poisoning, cancer, liver disease, intestinal problems, parasites, meningitis

Lethargy, weakness, depression, or hiding: Canine distemper, parvo, kennel cough, heart disease, heart failure, heart murmur, heartworm disease, cancer, cushing’s disease, kidney failure, liver disease, lyme disease, rabies, tumor, meningitis, anemia, encephalitis, infection, arthritis, hip dysplasia, poisoning, tumor, pneumonia, diabetes, anxiety

Other

Fever: Canine distemper, bacterial, viral, or fungal infection, abscess

Paralysis: Rabies, spinal cord injury, botulism, poisoning, meningitis

Seizure: Poisoning, canine distemper, head injury, rabies, meningitis, encephalitis, brain tumor, epilepsy

 

Many of the health conditions listed in this chart require immediate veterinary attention. If your dog is showing symptoms of an illness or injury, don’t wait -- contact your veterinarian right away to schedule an appointment.

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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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