Dog Diseases and Symptoms: A to Z

A Comprehensive List of Ailments That Could Affect Your Dog

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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

Typical Treatments

Asthma

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

Theophylline andTerbutaline may be recommended for clearing up the airways.

 Anti-Inflammatory tabs such asPrednisolone are prescribed to reduce pain and inflammation.

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

Alopecia resulting from allergies can be treated withantihistamines for dogs.

 Vets may also recommendskin and coat medications and supplements to reduce hair loss.

Anemia

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

Anemia is a condition, which means its treatment depends on what's causing the condition.

 Anemia caused by ehrlichiosis would need specific medications such as doxycycline.

Arthritis

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

Anti-inflammatory medications such asRimadyl may be recommended to reduce pain and inflammation.

 Joint supplements for dogs such asJoint Max Triple Strength that contains chondroitin, MSM, and Glucosamine may also be recommended.

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

Depending on the type and stage, radiation therapy and surgical interventions may be recommended.

 Certain types of cancer can also be managed medically with medications such as Leukeran.

Carnassial Tooth Abscess

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

Antibiotics are often recommended to control the infection.

Cataracts

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

Apart from surgical removal of the cataract, vets may recommend eye supplements such asOcu-GLO for dogs.

 Vets may also recommend othereye care medications such as anti-inflammatory eye drops.

Cherry Eye

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

While massage therapy may work, it should be recommended and done by a vet due to the high risk of trauma.

Only in certain cases, surgery is recommended to treat the problem

Coccidia

  • Diarrhea mixed with mucus or blood
  • Persistent diarrhea

Vets usually recommend Sulfadimethoxine medications such asAlbon Liquid.

Congestive Heart Failure

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

Medications such asVetmedin is often recommended to improve life expectancy.

 Vets often prescribe diuretics such as Lasix  (Furosemide) andspironolactone to remove fluid buildup.

 Vets May also recommend vasodilators and ACE inhibitors.

Dandruff

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

Special medicated shampoos such asTropiclean Oxy Med Oatmeal may be recommended.

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

Physical therapy, special exercises, and acupuncture may be recommended

 Often treated withvitamin supplements for dogs.

Demodectic Mange

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

Usually treated with special shampoos and dips.

 Certainflea and tick medications for dogs can also work in treating demodectic mange.

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

Antibacterial and antifungal ear drops such asMometamax may be prescribed.

 Vets may also recommend NSAIDs to manage the pain.

Ear Mites

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

Specialear mite treatment kits  to safely administer pyrethrins to kill mites in the ear canal is often recommended.

Ear mite sprays can also effectively eradicate the infestation.

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

Most vets prescribeDoxycycline for 6 to 8 weeks.

Elbow Dysplasia

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

Rehabilitation therapy and surgery are common treatment options.

 NSAIDs such asCarprofen is usually prescribed to reduce discomfort.

Fibrosarcoma

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

Surgical removal of the tumor is the best and often the recommended course of treatment.

 Radiation therapy following surgery is often used to kill the remaining cells.

Flea Allergy Dermatitis

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

Flea control products such as Revolution, Bravecto, Advantix II are recommended to kill the flea population.

 Antimicrobial wipes such as Nootie Dermatology Solutions may also help treat infected areas 

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

Vets detect a rotated stomach based off clinical signs, the pet’s medical history, and X-Rays.

 If detected, vets perform stabilization procedures followed by surgery to put the stomach back in its place.

Gingivitis

  • Bleeding
  • Redness
  • Swollen gums
  • Bad breath

Can be treated by regularly rinsing with Chlorhexidine.

 Special medicated gels likeOratene can also help in controlling the infection.

Glaucoma

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

Administration ofTimolol eye drops is often the preferred way of treating canine glaucoma.

Heartworm

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

An injectable drug called melarsomine is often administered to kill adult worms present in the heart.

 Following successful treatment regular deworming usingheartworm medications for dogs should be recommended.

Hemangiosarcoma

  • Exhaustion
  • Depression
  • Disinterest in food
  • Anemia

Removing the tumor surgically and chemotherapy.

High Blood Pressure

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

Calcium channel blockers and beta blockers such asAtenolol is recommended.

Vets commonly prescribe amlodipine to control high blood pressure.

Low sodium diet is often prescribed following diagnosis.

Hip Dysplasia

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

Surgical procedures such as total hip replacement may sometimes be recommended to improve function and reduce pain.

 Vets recommend apet bed warmer to provide comfort and relieve pain.

 Hip and joint supplements such asPet Naturals Hip + Joint are usually recommended to improve mobility.  

Vets usually prescribe NSAIDs along with Gabapentin to reduce pain.

Hookworm

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

Most multi-parasite dewormer such asIverhart Max that kills intestinal worms also kills hookworms.

Hot Spots

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

Topical medications such as sprays, foams, and creams are often recommended.

Popular products include Vet's Best Hot Spot Spray , Zymox Topical Spray , and Earthbath Hot Spot Relief.

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.

Antithyroid drugsmethimazole  and carbimazole is the most common treatment option.

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

Levothyroxine tabs are used to correct the thyroid levels and reduce symptoms.

Kennel Cough

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

Antibiotic tabs such as Doxycycline, Baytril, andClavamox are usually the only treatment option.

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

Medications such as cyclosporine ( Optimmune ,Atopica ) and tacrolimus is recommended to encourage tear production.

Neurogenic KCS can be treated withPilocarpine.

Liver Disease

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

Supplements with milk thistle andSAM-E can improve liver function.

 Pets with liver tumor or cyst may need surgery.

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

A surgical procedure to improve blood flow to the liver is often recommended by vets.

Lyme Disease

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

Doxycycline andamoxicillin tabs are ideally prescribed.

Nuclear Sclerosis

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

Should be regularly monitored for cataract.

 No medical treatment is usually recommended.

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)

Anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory topical ointments for dogs such as Otomax  are often prescribed by the vet to control the infection.

 Vets may also prescribe special otic gels such as Osurnia. 

Parvo

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

Anti-nausea medication is often recommended.

 Intravenous fluid support may be prescribed to replenish electrolyte levels.

 Antibiotics such ascephalexin, fluoroquinolones, andampicillin may be prescribed.

Patellar Luxation

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

Massage therapy is the most popular course of treatment.

 Surgical correction may be a good option at certain stages of the condition.

Periodontitis

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

Teeth with excess tartar buildup may need dental cleaning done by a professional.

 Regular brushing with a quality dog toothpaste such as C.E.T. Enzymatic toothpaste is recommended.

 Oratene Antiseptic Oral Gel is often prescribed to control the infection.

Periapical abscess

  • Halitosis
  • Discolored teeth
  • Swollen gums
  • Facial swelling

Antibiotics and NSAIDs such as Rimadyl and Quellin are recommended to quickly control the pain and inflammation.

In certain cases, tooth extraction or root canal treatment may be necessary.

Proliferating gum disease

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

Vets usually recommend a strict dental care regimen.

 Anti-plaque medication such asOra-Clens Plaque Control is recommended along with regular brushing with a quality toothpaste such asNylabone Advanced.

 Vets may also recommend antibiotics to control severe gum infections.

Pruritus

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

Treatment depends on what’s causing the itchiness.

 If it’s caused by seasonal allergies something likeVet's Best Seasonal Allergy Support can help.

 If the cause is fleas and mites a reputed flea and tick medication such asFrontline Plus can reduce the irritation by killing off the parasites.  

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

Bathing withantibacterial shampoo with chlorhexidine is recommended.

 Oral antibiotics may also be prescribed.

Rabies

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

There is no known treatment for rabies.

 Timely administration of anti-rabies vaccination is highly recommended.

Ringworm

  • Dry, scaly, missing patches of skin
  • Lesions

To manage serious cases, vets prescribe anti-fungal meds for dogs such as fluconazole,ketoconazole, terbinafine, griseofulvin, or itraconazole.

 Anti-fungal sprays and ointments are recommended for treating minor cases.

Roundworm

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

All quality multi-parasite intestinal dewormer kills roundworms. Some reputed products are Panacur C, Merck Safe-Guard, andBayer Quad.

Sarcoptic Mange

  • Persistent itching
  • Redness
  • Scabs
  • Sores

Treating affected areas with a scabicide is the primary course of action.

 

Antimicrobial shampoos such asMalaseb can help in reducing symptoms

 

Lime sulphur dips and dips with ivermectin or selamectin is often recommended for as long as 6 weeks.

 

Sebaceous Adenitis

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

Light brushing to remove skin flakes is often recommended.

 

Antimicrobial shampoo such as Malaseb andChloraSeb can provide symptomatic relief.

 

Oil massage and moisturizing shampoos such asUltra Oatmeal can remove flaking of the skin.

Spondylosis

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

Common NSAIDs such as Rimadyl,Deramaxx, andPrevicox are recommended for pain management.

 

Acupuncture treatment and physical therapy may help improve quality of life.

Tapeworm

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

Broadspectrum dewormers such asSentinel Spectrum and Iverhart Max work well in killing tapeworms.

 

Specializedtapeworm dewormer may also be administered.

Upper Respiratory Infection

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

Antibiotics such as Doxycycline and Azithromycin is prescribed to reduce the infection.

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

Dogs need to be restricted from climbing stairs or high places to prevent serious injury.

 

Anti-nausea medication such asCerenia may also be prescribed.

Von Willebrand’s Disease

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

Different types of blood transfusions may be required to control severe conditions.

Whipworm

  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Dehydration
  • Weight loss
  • Lethargy
  • Anemia

All broadspectrum intestinal dewormers kill whipworms. Products include Drontal Plus, Interceptor Plus, and many others.

 Some meds such asTrifexis prevents fleas and heartworms along with controlling intestinal parasites.

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.

  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Arthritis (Osteoarthritis)
  • Elbow Dysplasia
  • Patella Luxation
  • Necrotic Myelopathy
  • Degenerative Myelopathy
  • Ataxia
  • Central Progressive Retinal Atrophy (CPRA)
  • Cherry Eye
  • Cancer
  • Gingivitis
  • Abcess Tooth
  • Bad Breath (Halitosis)
  • Cushing's Disease
  • Thyroid - Hypothyroidism
  • Hemangiosarcoma
  • Heart Disease
  • Kidney Failure
  • Kidney Disease
  • Ear Infection
  • Deafness
  • Otitis Externa
  • Hematoma
  • Ear Mites
  • Sarcoptic Mange
  • Hot Spots
  • Pruritus (Scratching/Itching)
  • Flea Allergy Dermatitis
  • Dermatitis
  • Pyoderma (Skin Infection)
  • Sebaceous Adenitis
  • Dandruff & Flaky Skin
  • Alopecia (Hair Loss)
  • Gastritis (Vomiting)
  • Gastric Torsion
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Parvo Virus
  • von Willebrand's disease (vWD)
  • Heartworm
  • Hookworm
  • Whipworm
  • Roundworm
  • Tapeworm
  • Coccidia
  • Diabetes
  • Asthma
  • Lyme disease
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