4 Diseases That Could Kill Your Dog (You Probably Never Heard Of)



There are many health threats and illnesses that can threaten your dogโ€™s well being, many of which you have probably never heard. To help educate dog parents everywhere, here are four largely unknown, potentially fatal diseases that can affect any dog, and the signs to look out for.

Canine Distemper

Canine distemper is a highly contagious, potentially life threatening condition that, as it happens, is 100% preventable. While treatment is not always effective, with proper vaccination beforehand, your dog will never have to worry about the threat of distemper.

Dogs often come home from the kennel with a case of distemper due to the close quarters and the rapidity with which this disease spreads. If your dog has recently been in contact with a number of other dogs, and has not been vaccinated for distemper, check them for symptoms.

Symptoms for the condition include:

If you suspect that your dog has contracted distemper, contact your vet immediately, as this condition moves quickly.


Parvovirus is a deadly and highly contagious disease that wreaks havoc on your dogโ€™s intestines and immune system. Due to the way it runs your dogโ€™s guts through the wringer, parvo frequently causes vomiting and diarrhea, and stands to make your dog incredibly uncomfortable. Treatment for parvo is arduous, often requiring multiple nights at the vet. However, if it is caught early, your dog has a great chance of making a recovery. Moreover, parvo can be almost 100% prevented with early vaccination. To tell if your dog has parvo, just look for these symptoms:

  • Vomiting

  • Diarrhea

  • Especially odorous feces

  • Dehydration

  • Blood in stool

  • Lethargy

If your dog is exhibiting any of these symptoms, contact your vet right away, as early detection is the best way to beat this condition.


A condition caused by a dearth in thyroid hormone production, hypothyroidism can cause a lack of energy and a general inability to recuperate from other ailments or injuries. Often masking itself as just generic symptoms of aging, if left untreated, hypothyroidism can greatly affect your dogโ€™s life. Here are some symptoms to keep an eye out for.

  • Thinning fur

  • Dull coat

  • Excessive shedding

  • Weight gain

  • Darkening skin color

  • Lethargy

  • Unable to tolerate the cold

If you notice your dog suffering from any of the aforementioned symptoms, it may be time to take them to the vet, as this condition can frequently go untreated for years, causing more damage than it might otherwise.


Also known as Cushingโ€™s disease, this condition is caused by the overproduction of cortisol, a hormone that affects much of your dogโ€™s organ function. Because of the many forms this condition can take, diagnosing this condition can be especially tricky. A few symptoms to be on the look out for include:

  • Increased thirst and urination

  • Increased appetite and weight gain

  • Panting

  • Hair loss

  • Bruises

  • Shift in behavior

If you think your dog might be suffering from hyperadrenocorticism, talk to your vet and find out for sure before the overproduction of cortisol ends up damaging your dogโ€™s organs irreparably.

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Five Common Diseases That Affect Senior Dogs

Life goes by quickly if you are a dog owner. The excited little pup you brought home a few years ago becomes a mellow senior before you know it. Fortunately, with the advances in veterinary medicine, we are able to better identify and manage the health conditions that aging dogs fall prey to.Although conventional wisdom tells us that a dog's age times seven is the equivalent of their age in human years, the fact remains that dogs grow old at different rates and it depends a lot on their size. For instance, giant dogs like Great Danes do not live for more than 10 years on an average, while a Chihuahua might live past the age of 18. As a rule of thumb, a dog can be counted as a senior dog for the last quarter of its expected life span.

  1. Osteoarthritis โ€“ Joint disease is the most common sign of aging, both in dogs and humans. The cartilage that protects the surfaces of the joints tends to wear down over time. Although this condition is irreversible, you can observe a few rules to minimize its impact. Ensure that your pet is not overweight. If your dog is heavier than it should be, it will put more load on its joints. Large dogs are especially prone to this condition as they have a genetic predisposition to conditions like hip dysplasia. Take your dog to the vet regularly to catch joint disease early. Look out for signs like stiffness in the morning, reluctance to climb the stairs, and limping. Also, enquire your vet about therapeutic diets. Some of them are formulated to improve joint health and mobility.
  2. Dental disease โ€“ This condition afflicts all sizes and breeds of canines. If left untreated, it can lead to tooth loss, pain and bacteria in the blood that can damage the dog's internal organs. Home care such as dental treats and tooth brushing might reduce the tartar on their teeth, as can specially formulated foods that are meant to promote dental health. Once the disease has advanced, your dog might need a dental cleaning under anesthesia at the clinic. The key is to start early before the onset of full-blown periodontal disease.
  3. Obesity โ€“ More than fifty percent of the dogs in the US are obese or overweight, and owners do not even realize it. Moreover, overweight dogs are vulnerable to secondary problems like diabetes, joint disease, and respiratory illness. Calorie control and exercise are key factors in managing the weight of a pet. Senior dogs are less active than young dogs and need lesser calories as a result. Diets that are designed for senior dogs provide nutrients in proper balance, with different ratios of protein and fat than you would normally find in standard dog food. Gentle regular exercise can help dogs suffering from health issues. Consult with the vet to come up with an exercise plan and a diet that suits your pet.
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