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Dog Diseases and Symptoms: A to Z

A Comprehensive List of Ailments That Could Affect Your Dog

By February 13, 2014 | See Comments

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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




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


  • 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


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


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


  • 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


  • 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


  • Diarrhea mixed with mucus or blood
  • Persistent diarrhea

Congestive Heart Failure

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


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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


  • Bleeding
  • Redness
  • Swollen gums
  • Bad breath


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


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


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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.


  • 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)


  • 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


  • 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


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


  • 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


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


  • Dry, scaly, missing patches of skin
  • Lesions


  • 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


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


  • 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


  • 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.


I had a Maltese, 8yrs old, that did the same thing. I hope you've had your pet to the vet..cause could be cushings disease as my dog had and unfortunately we lost him.


My Gizmo, a 14 year old shih tzu is doing the same thing. Have you gotten any answers yet?


I have a 5 year old King Charles cavalier, a couple of days ago he stayed with a friend who also looks after other dogs he has come home , he is now lazy, changed his behaviour, heavily breathing / constantly out of breath, foggy eyes that has bright yellow sleep constantly in it and he's also very restless . Is there any way of knowing what these symptoms mean please ? Thank you


Hi , I have a 6 year old mixed Yorkee. This usually only happened when she ate chocolate she found somewhere but now it just happens randomly. She gets dialated pupils, excessive saliva just dripping out of her mouth , and shakes uncontrollably. She tries to move but she just tumbles down.she stops shaking after a while but her pupils are still huge, I have no idea what it is...Anyone please help if you have any idea of what it might be . Thanks.


My dog beat parvo, but never became all the way healthy since. At first he couldn't go for walks, would have to carry him back. He is a Beagle and this was three years ago, he was around five years old. We paid a fortune too, and one of the dogs died. Broke my heart. But the Beagle has had problems ever since. Asthma, coughing, back legs weak. Was quite the runner and wild and crazy Beagle before parvo, but never the same since. Every year we are grateful he makes it one more year.
Right now we have a Lab female five years old, that got sick three days ago, fever and chills and Sat. night started bleeding excessively vaginally. We keep putting new sheets down for her to lay on. She is inside dog only. Eyes hardly open and whites are beet red. She will not eat, but drinks water. It looks like she lost muscle mass and weight just in a few days; like she shrunk. Belly was swollen at the bottom though, not as much now. Every place around us has been closed. I'm paralyzed unable to drive and my husband is blind. We do have a family member come out today thank the Lord. But, it looks like the bottom part of her mouth, jaw is sunken up and only the top remains. I've never seen anything like it. Out of my mind right now with worry. She is the light of my life. Does anyone know what this could be. She has never had puppies and most unlikely pregnancy.


Hello, we have a 8 year old Maltese. The past couple months we have noticed she has lost quit a bit of weight. She has always been overweight, so it is very unusual for her. Also, she drinks alot of water, double or triple what she normally used to. And just started to notice she is loosing hair on her tail. Does anyone know what may be wrong?


I have a 13 year old shitzu, loss of appetite, vomiting , dark stool, if eats anything is instantly brought up.


My dog threw up twice. He is very dizzy and oit of it. Wont drink or eat. Shallow breathing. ..anybody know what i should do or what is wrong


My dog is breathing heavy can't get up and walk his gums are pale and his paws are cold. Please help!!


My puppy is hot, his skin is pink and he is breathing heavily . but still active eating and drinking . What could be the problem ???? Help please ! He just beat parvo. Paid 400$ in treatments ..

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