10 most common dog illnesses and conditions

Ear infections, kennel cough and ringworm are among the common illnesses dogs may develop. Pups of all ages can suffer from a range of medical problems, so it’s important owners learn the common conditions, how to spot them and tips on how they can be treated.

Not sure what to look out for? Keep reading to find out everything you need to know…

1. Kennel cough

The name given to infectious bronchitis in dogs, kennel cough is one of the most common contagious diseases that is caused by a combination of viruses and bacteria. One of the most obvious symptoms of kennel cough is a forceful, hacking cough that can often sound like your pup has something lodged in their throat.

The team at Everypaw Pet Insurance explain: “Affected dogs should be kept in a warm environment, have restricted exercise, and kept away from other animals to prevent spreading. Treatment is not necessary as the cough gradually resolves after 2-3 weeks. But antibiotics can be given if the infection spreads to the chest.”

2. Fleas

Dog fleas – small insects that lay their eggs in fur — is another common condition many pet parents may come across. Not sure what signs to look out for? Dogs with fleas will scratch, bite and lick themselves to relieve the itching. You may also notice your dog suffering from crusty rashes or hair less, particularly those that are allergic to fleas.

“To prevent flea infestations you will need to regularly treat your dog and home,” say the team. “There are tablets, powders, sprays, spot-ons and shampoos available to kill adult and immature fleas. You will need to wash your dog’s bedding and hoover flooring to get rid of eggs.”

3. Pancreatitis

Pancreatitis is an inflammatory condition that is common in dogs and cats, causing the digestive enzymes to leak into the pancreas and self-digest. According to Everypaw Pet Insurance, the signs to look out for include your dog refusing to eat, feeling sad and abdominal upset. If you are concerned about your dog’s health, always head to your local vet.

4. Ringworm

Ringworm has a number of different appearances in dogs, with the main sign being areas of hair loss with a crusty covering. This common fungal infection is highly contagious and can be passed from dogs to other animals or humans, so it needs to be treated immediately.

Once you have visited the vet, don’t forget to throughly clean your dog’s environment to banish the presence of ringworm. Deep-clean their bedding, toys, bed and food bowl.

5. Dog diarrhoea

“There are many causes of diarrhoea, including changes in diet, bacterial infections, poisonous chemicals, or damage to the digestive system. It occurs when there is a disturbance to the normal function of the large bowel (intestine),” the experts say.

“Dogs suffering from diarrhoea may need to empty their bowels more frequently and will have softer than normal stools. Feed your dog a diet of plain chicken and rice, and it should improve in 1-2 days.” If your dog hasn’t improved by then, head to your local vet for advice. Puppies with diarrhoea dehydrate quickly, so should be seen by a vet sooner.

6. Dog ear infections

Ear infections are often caused by excess moisture, which can become painful, itchy and produce a bad smell. If your dog is suffering from an ear infection, you may notice them beginning to groan, cry, shake their ears and head, or rub up against the floor to relieve pain.

“Most ear infections can be treated with ear drops and regular cleaning of the ears. But the primary disease will also need to be treated to prevent a recurrence,” say the team.

7. Conjunctivitis

Much like humans, conjunctivitis is an uncomfortable condition that may cause your dog to paw at their eye, blink or squint. In most cases, your local vet will be able to treat the condition with eye drops or ointment, however some pups will require antibiotic treatment if this is an underlying problem.

8. Mange

“Mange is caused by an infestation of tiny mites on the dog’s skin, causing hair loss and itching,” continue Everypaw Pet Insurance. “Dogs will scratch and chew to relieve the itch, causing damage to the skin. They are highly contagious and can easily pass onto other dogs. They are generally only passed from mother to pup via muzzle.”

While it is an unpleasant experience for dogs, the good news is that it can be easily treated using drugs, anti-parasitic shampoos, dips and spot-ons.

9. Poisoning

From dangerous spring plants to festive foods, poisoning in dogs occurs when they swallow or absorb something dangerous. Common signs include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Vomiting or diarrhoea
  • Salivation or drooling
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations

    If you think your dog has been poisoned, you must take them to the vet immediately for treatment to give them a better chance of survival. Pet parents should also keep all poisonous substances, cleaning products and toxic foods well out of reach.

    10. Blocked anal glands

    “Blocked anal glands occur when the sacs fail to empty, usually due to loose faeces or if the dog’s gland ducts are too narrow. Affected dogs will excessively lick the area, drag their bottom on the ground, and sit down abruptly clamping their tail,” say the experts.

    “A vet or owner (if shown how) can manually empty the anal glands. But chronic blockages need to be drained, flushed and treated with antibiotics. Adding more fibre to the diet may help to prevent a recurrence.”

    — Update: 09-02-2023 — cohaitungchi.com found an additional article 10 Most Common Dog Health Problems from the website www.petful.com for the keyword top 10 most common dog diseases.

    Top 10 most common dog diseases
    The most common dog health problems include accidental injury and dental disease. Photo: AOMSIN

    What’s your best guess as to the most common dog health problems that people think are serious enough to bring their pups to the vet?

    As a veterinarian, I see an awful lot of tummy upsets, ear infections and itchy dogs — oh yes, and anal glands. How could I forget anal glands?

    (Approaching things the other way round, the most common condition dogs have — but their people are not concerned about — is a dirty mouth and dental disease.)

    I was therefore interested to come across this list of the 10 most common canine conditions. This list was compiled by a pet insurance company and its analysis of the reason for claims.

    10 Most Common Dog Health Problems

    10. Soft Tissue Injuries

    This covers everything from strains and sprains to skin lacerations and dog fight wounds.

    This group of conditions is largely “accidental” and part of being an active dog. So, don’t let the risk of injury prevent you from taking your dog out and about — after all, it’s what being a dog is all about.

    9. Dental Disease

    What we’re talking about here is dental disease so severe that it requires medical and surgical intervention. This might be a broken tooth, gum disease or tooth root infection.

    A huge percentage of dogs are walking around with unrecognized dental disease.

    To check your dog’s dental health, do this simple sniff test:

    • Put your nose next to the dog’s mouth, and what do you smell?
    • If you recoil in disgust or start gagging, then odds are the dog has a dirty mouth that needs attention (and they’re just not complaining). Go visit your vet!

    8. Urinary Tract Infections

    Signs of a urinary tract infection or cystitis include the frequent need to urinate, discomfort when urinating or blood in the urine. If you notice any of these signs, seek urgent veterinary attention for the dog.

    Not only is cystitis uncomfortable, but also the signs can be nonspecific. A dog may strain to urinate or try more often. More serious still is if a bladder stone or a plug of debris blocks the exit to the bladder. This needs urgent treatment, so don’t delay getting help.

    7. Diarrhea

    Diarrhea is a symptom rather than a diagnosis and has a wide variety of causes, some of which include:

    • Parasites
    • Infections
    • Food allergy
    • “Garbage gut”
    • Bowel cancer
    • Colitis
    • Inflammatory bowel disease

    If there’s no blood in the diarrhea and the dog is bright, then withhold food for 24 hours and reintroduce a bland diet for a few days.

    However, if there’s blood, vomiting or lethargy — or the dog seems otherwise unwell — then don’t wait. Get them checked by a vet.

    Top 10 most common dog diseases
    Arthritis is a common condition among senior dogs. Photo: skeeze

    6. Arthritis

    Our dogs are living longer, so they are more likely to suffer from this common condition.

    The good news is that there are now more ways than ever to give arthritic dogs back their quality of life. From recognizing pain and relieving it with appropriate medications and nutraceuticals that nourish the joints to trying physiotherapy, laser therapy or stem cell therapy, there are lots of options that can make a significant difference.

    Some vets have special arthritis clinics to advise on how best to manage the patient’s mobility.

    Again, there are a surprising number of ways you can help at home, so if your vet isn’t clued in, ask to be referred to a veterinary physiotherapist.

    5. Vomiting

    Vomiting in a dog should be taken seriously — the dog can quickly become dehydrated, which introduces a whole new set of problems.

    As a rule of thumb, visit the vet if the dog is depressed and vomiting, vomiting for more than 4 hours and also has diarrhea, or if you see blood.

    This is another case of vomiting being a symptom rather than a diagnosis. Causes include:

    • A foreign body in the gut
    • Parasites
    • Infections
    • Garbage gut
    • Pancreatitis
    • Disease elsewhere in the body that is causing toxicity (such as pyometra or kidney disease)

    4. Benign Tumors

    Benign tumors are unlikely to spread to other parts of the body or cause serious harm. Typical examples include lipomas (fatty lumps) or harmless skin lumps.

    That this scores so highly up the list is actually quite encouraging because it indicates that people are being vigilant for lumps and bumps.

    The good news is that it appears that when the majority of those lumps were investigated, they were less serious. It is pleasing to see that malignant cancer (aggressive cancers that spread and cause death) didn’t even make it into the top 10 most common dog health problems.

    Read more  Gastrointestinal & Digestive Disorders in Dogs: Types & Causes

    This means benign lumps are far more common than malignant ones (although you should never be complacent — always get any lump checked out).

    3. Hot Spots and Skin Infections

    This just goes to prove how surprisingly fragile dog skin is.

    Canine skin is much thinner and less sophisticated than human skin, and when scratched or damaged, it’s more prone to infection. This makes sense — dogs also have a fur coat to protect their skin, making abrasions less likely.

    However, you can help reduce the risk of skin infections by keeping their skin clean:

    • Bathe the dog with a mild, moisturizing shampoo that helps wash bacteria from the skin’s surface and keep them cleaner.
    • Also, if the dog gets a scratch or abrasion, bathe it with salty water to help prevent infection.

    2. Ear Infections

    Ear infections are whole topic in themselves. Indeed, we covered treatment in this expert guide: “Ear Infection Treatment: From Ear Drops All the Way to Surgery.”

    OK, ready for the No. 1 most common dog health problem? It’s next on the list…

    Top 10 most common dog diseases
    Gentle exercise can help an arthritic pet tone their muscles and support their joints. Photo: mccun934

    1. Skin Allergies (Atopy)

    Wow! So our dogs’ most common problem is allergic skin disease. Interesting!

    Actually, skin allergies have a strong hereditary basis, so it looks like we’re breeding more and more from dogs who have sensitivities and allergies.

    Signs of skin allergies in dogs include:

    • Excessive paw licking
    • Scooting and excessive bottom licking
    • Scratching
    • Chewing
    • Thickened skin
    • Hair loss secondary to scratching
    • Recurrent skin or ear infections

    If your dog is super-itchy in the spring and summer but fine in the colder months, then they might well have allergic skin disease. It can only be controlled rather than cured.

    Helping a dog with allergies means a multifaceted approach: avoiding allergens, improving skin health and administering medication to reduce inflammation.

    Try brushing your dog’s teeth at home to avoid painful dental problems:

    Final Thoughts on the Most Common Dog Health Problems

    I wonder how skewed this list is because it was compiled by an insurance company.

    If you think about it, those little things, such as a runny eye or broken dog nail, may require only one visit. This means that a person is unlikely to put in a claim, so it won’t show on the insurance company’s data.

    So, what would be my guess of the most common condition that doesn’t show up on the stats? I’d say garbage gut that settles after one visit. Or full anal sacs.

    Yep. Definitely anal sacs.

    — Update: 09-02-2023 — cohaitungchi.com found an additional article 20 Most Common Dog Diseases w/ Explanations & Symptoms from the website breedingbusiness.com for the keyword top 10 most common dog diseases.

    If you are looking for the most common dog diseases, this free and full guide will help you. We will walk you through the top 20 dog health issues, bringing you exclusive insights such as the factors that cause them and which breeds tend to develop them the most.

    Some of them are easy to treat and not fatal, whereas others are deadly dog diseases that will require immediate treatment. As a responsible dog owner, it is your duty to inform yourself, and thanks to our guide, you will obtain all the necessary knowledge.

    This is a must-read for every dog owner or breeder because although dogs bring joy and happiness to the lives of people, it is also important to be aware of potential problems.

    We will bring you a concise explanation of the most common dog health issues, what signs to look for, treatment recommendations and notes on recovery and survival rate.

    Here are the most common canine diseases and their description:

    1. Dog Cancer

    Did you know that cancer is the primary cause of death in dogs older than 10 years? It affects 50% of senior dogs, and according to general stats, 1 in 3 domestic dogs will develop cancer at some point in their lives. It causes the abnormal growth of cells that spread to other organs and tend to form tumors and masses.

    Most cases, if detected early, can be treated and cured. Nonetheless, all types of cancer have the potential of being fatal. These are the most common types of canine cancer:

    • Lymphoma
    • Melanoma
    • Squamous Cell Carcinomas
    • Hemangiosarcoma
    • Brain Tumors
    • Testicular Tumors
    • Mast Cell Tumors
    • Osteosarcoma (Bone cancer)

    Although the symptoms will vary depending on the type of cancer, these are the most common signs:

    • Abnormal lumps or masses
    • Sudden weight loss
    • Abnormal odor
    • Loss of appetite
    • Lethargy and intolerance to exercise
    • Breathing difficulties
    • Abnormal thirst

    The prognosis for canine cancer depends on the type. For example, hemangiosarcoma is very dangerous because it has a high mortality rate and a median survival rate of 3-6 months. Therefore, immediate diagnosis and treatment are recommended for any type of cancer.

    If you notice any of the aforementioned symptoms – especially if there are many – then consult your veterinarian as soon as possible.

    2. Diabetes

    Diabetes affects the ability of the pancreas of your dog to produce enough insulin, which in consequence, makes it impossible for your dog to control the levels of sugar in its blood. In consequence, it is cataloged as a metabolic disorder. Nonetheless, it has differences in comparison to human diabetes such as autoimmune destruction of beta cells.

    It causes several problems such as infections, neuropathies, loss of eyesight and lethargy, all of which can affect the quality of life of your pet. In the case of infections, they can be fatal.

    Nowadays, it is a major health issue in dogs, because according to this study by Banfield Pet Hospital that analyzed 2.1 million dogs, there is a 32% spike in diabetes following a veterinary patient data from 2006 to 2010.

    The symptoms of diabetes are easy to spot:

    • Abnormal thirst
    • Excessive urination
    • Sudden weight loss (despite eating normally)
    • Increase in appetite
    • Cloudy eyes
    • Deteriorated vision
    • Lackluster coat and skin

    If your dog presents some or all of these symptoms, then you should consult with your veterinarian as soon as possible.

    The good news is that diabetic dogs that receive proper treatment can enjoy the same lifespan as non-diabetic dogs. Your veterinarian will prescribe a special diet and exercise regimen, as well as insulin injections if they are necessary.

    3. Canine Parvo Virus (CPV)

    The canine parvovirus is highly contagious and is spread by direct and indirect contact with infected feces or a contaminated area. It causes anorexia, vomiting, diarrhea and chronic pain. Therefore, it can lead to myocarditis and acute hemorrhagic enteritis, for example.

    It presents the following symptoms:

    • Lethargy and intolerance to exercise
    • Bloody diarrhea
    • Severe fever
    • Sudden and progressive weight loss
    • Malaise (general discomfort)
    • Vomiting (can be bloody)

    If you detect these symptoms, then immediate action is advised, especially if your dog is a puppy because it can be fatal.

    This virus is especially dangerous because it has a morbidity rate of 100%, and according to stats, it scores a mortality rate of 10% in adult dogs and 91% in puppies. The best protection against CPV is to get your dog vaccinated. The treatment usually includes IV fluids, antibiotics, injectable vitamins, and colostrum.

    4. Heart Worm

    Heartworm (Dirofilaria immitis) is a parasite that attacks the heart, lungs and blood vessels. It causes a wide myriad of issues such as chronic heart failure and severe lung damage. It is a common canine disease with a growing incidence rate in the USA, especially the southern region. For example, the positive results in Mississippi more than doubled from 2013 to 2016.

    Therefore, it is important to know the symptoms of this potentially fatal disease:

    • Recurrent and persistent cough
    • Intolerance to exercise
    • Decreased appetite
    • Weight loss
    • Abnormal fatigue

    Nonetheless, these are later signs, because, in the beginning, these parasites do not show symptoms at all. Therefore, it is important to take your pet to regular checks to ensure that it is free of heartworms and other parasites.

    The best way to deal with heartworms is to stop them from infecting your dog, and all you need to do is to administer your dog with a preventive year-round. Nonetheless, test your dog every year.

    5. Kennel Cough

    This disease affects the upper respiratory tract and inflames the bronchi and trachea. According to evidence, the responsible for kennel cough is the bacteria Bordetella Bronchiseptica. In addition, the canine parainfluenza virus SV-5 can also cause this disease.

    In consequence, dogs catch this disease when they inhale that specific type of bacteria or virus. It is a frequent respiratory problem and you should watch out for the following symptoms:

    • Strong cough with a honking sound (it is the most remarkable sign)
    • Frequent sneezing
    • Runny nose
    • Loss of appetite
    • Lethargy
    • Excessive tiredness after minimal exercise
    • Low fever

    Fortunately, it has a low mortality rate. Nonetheless, puppies are at higher risks, and in such cases, it can be fatal. The veterinarian will usually prescribe antibiotics, along with other medications such as Baytril, Doxycycline, and Clavamox.

    6. Dog Tapeworm

    Tapeworms (Dipylidium Caninum) are intestinal parasites and they are usually 4 to 8 inches long. Normally, they do not cause problems and they are treated easily. Nonetheless, if they cause a serious infestation known as Cestodiasis, then it can cause health complications.

    It is important to be aware of the signs that a tapeworm infestation might cause because it registers an incidence rate of 2.2 in 100 cases. Watch out for these symptoms:

    • Segments, larvae or eggs of tapeworms in the feces of your dog. They look like seeds or grains of rice. This is the most common sign
    • Diarrhea
    • Nausea and vomiting (check if the vomit contains tapeworms)
    • Abdominal pain and discomfort
    • Inflammation around the abdominal area
    • Weight loss
    • Lethargy
    • Weakness

    They do not cause big health issues and the treatment is easy and effective. Nonetheless, in the case of puppies, they can lead to anemia and cause death. You should take your dog to the veterinarian for a proper check and treatment when you notice the symptoms.

    7. Rabies

    Rabies is a virus that causes the inflammation of the brain in dogs, and in consequence, it affects the central nervous system. It can also affect humans, and according to stats, it kills over 59,000 people and millions of animals every year.

    Dogs get this disease when they are bitten by an infected animal such as a fox or raccoon, or when a wound or a scratch is exposed to infected saliva. It also includes mucous membranes.

    These are the characteristic symptoms of rabies:

    • Hydrophobia
    • Aggressiveness
    • Dropped jaw
    • Seizures
    • Paralysis
    • Pica
    • Fever

    Unfortunately, once the symptoms appear, this disease leads to death. Therefore, dogs diagnosed with rabies are euthanized. The best way to prevent this fatal conclusion is to get your dog vaccinated. In fact, it is a legal requirement in the US.

    8. Prostate Problems

    The prostate of dogs is susceptible to several health issues. Here is the list of the most common prostate issues:

    • Cancer: Fortunately, it is not a common type of cancer amongst dogs. Nonetheless, when it occurs, it can spread to other organs easily
    • Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia: It is the most common type of prostate problem in dogs because it happens when dogs get older. It causes discomfort and in some cases, it can causes problems when urinating or infections
    • Cysts: They are filled with fluid and can develop within the prostate or around it
    • Infections: They are amongst the most problematic issues because they can be hard to treat with conventional medication, and they can lead to abscesses

    Read more  How Many Times A Day Should A Dog Eat?

    The treatment will depend on the kind of prostate issue that your dog is facing.

    9. Ear Infections

    Ears are susceptible to infections, and therefore, it is a common problem amongst dogs. The responsible agents are yeast and bacteria. Some breeds are more prone to developing ear infections:

    • Poodles
    • Bichon Frise
    • Maltese
    • Schnauzers
    • Spaniels
    • Setters
    • Retrievers
    • Hounds

    In conclusion, dogs with hairy and long ears are at higher risk, especially if they love to get dirty like Retrievers and Setters. For example, poodles tend to develop otitis externa more than other breeds.

    These signs will let you know if the ears of your dog are infected:

    • Odor in the ear
    • Your dog scratches its ear or the area around it
    • Yellowish or brownish discharge. It can be bloody too
    • Hair loss around the ear area
    • Your dog tends to shake and tilt its head
    • Loss of balance
    • Abnormal eye movements
    • Difficulties to hear

    The usual treatment includes special medication such as tobramycin and gentamycin. Nonetheless, prevention is the best policy: clean and dry the ears of your dog regularly.

    10. Diarrhea

    Diarrhea is a common problem amongst dogs and there are different factors that can lead to it, and in addition, it can be a symptom of underlying health problems such as inflammatory disorders and metabolic diseases.

    Furthermore, it can range from mild to severe, and in the latter case, it can be fatal. Therefore, observe your dog closely, because if it is out of control, then you should take it to the veterinarian as soon as possible.

    Diarrhea is easy to spot:

    • Watery and loose stools
    • Lethargy
    • Weight loss
    • Vomiting
    • Abdominal pain

    If diarrhea persists for many days (more than two) and you notice exacerbated symptoms such as extreme abdominal pain and excessive lethargy, then you should try an antidiarrheal (like Imodium) from your veterinarian because the treatment will depend on the diagnosis.

    11. Skin Allergies

    Since many dogs have sensitive skin, it is easy for them to develop allergies. It triggers behaviors such as licking and scratching, sometimes to the point of hurting themselves, which can leave open wounds and lead to infections.

    Several elements can trigger skin allergies in your pet:

    • Dander
    • Pollen
    • Contamination
    • Insects (e.g.: fleas)
    • Plants
    • Food
    • Medication

    As you can see, some factors are external such as pollen and contamination, whereas others are internal such as diet and medication.

    They are easy to spot if you notice the following signs:

    • Extreme itchiness and scratching
    • Swelling
    • Inflamed skin
    • Itchy ears
    • Vomiting
    • Sneezing
    • Diarrhea
    • Altered behavior
    • Hives

    The best way to deal with these allergies is to detect what is triggering them in the first place, so you can stop exposing your dog to it. Nonetheless, you should pay your vet a visit.

    12. Canine Distemper

    Canine distemper is a serious viral disease that affects the nervous, gastrointestinal and respiratory systems. In addition, it is highly contagious, and unfortunately, it is one of the most common dog diseases. The most affected targets are unvaccinated puppies and young dogs from two to 6 months old.

    These are the signs to watch out for:

    • Swollen and painful eyes
    • Loss of eyesight
    • Dry cough (at the beginning of the disease)
    • Wet cough (in the later stages)
    • Vomiting
    • Seizures
    • Fever

    If you notice these symptoms, then take your dog to the veterinarian immediately to receive prompt treatment.

    The best way to combat distemper is to prevent it, and that is why it is important to keep a firm schedule of vaccination. According to stats, less than 50% of affected adult dogs die from it, whereas the death rate for puppies reaches 80%. Therefore, it is important to prevent it.

    13. Canine Influenza

    Along with kennel cough, canine influenza is one of the most common respiratory diseases in dogs. Dog flu is caused by Type-A influenza viruses, for example, the virus subtype H3N8, which started to affect greyhounds in the United States in 2004.

    Nonetheless, it is worth mentioning that there is another subtype, the H3N2, which is responsible for seasonal influenza.

    If your dog has canine influenza, then it will display the following symptoms:

    • Coughing (it can be moist or dry)
    • Breathing difficulties
    • Nasal discharge (it can be purulent, which denotes an infection)
    • Fever
    • Sneezing
    • Runny eyes

    The good news is that canine influenza is easy to treat and is rarely fatal. Nonetheless, the most vulnerable to fatality are puppies.

    14. External Parasites

    Parasites are a huge and common problem for dogs. We have internal parasites such as tapeworms, but also external parasites such as fleas, ticks, and mites. They are dangerous because they can carry diseases like anemia and dermatitis, and in addition, they can transport other parasites such as tapeworms.

    Furthermore, many dogs are allergic to flea saliva, which can trigger several skin allergies and other health issues.

    These are the signs to observe to detect if your dog has any of these external parasites:

    • Excessive itching
    • Aggressive scratching
    • Hair loss
    • Inflamed and irritated skin
    • Scabs

    If your dog has fleas, mites or ticks infestation, then you need to take it to the veterinarian for the correspondent treatment. In addition, you need to apply an anti-flea, anti-mite or anti-tick treatment to your home or areas where your dog may have been infested.

    15. Heatstroke

    Because dogs are not as efficient as humans when it comes to releasing heat, they have a higher risk of suffering a heat stroke if the environment is too hot, especially in summer. It is a serious condition and it can have fatal consequences.

    Therefore, it is important to watch out for symptoms to take rapid action:

    • Excessive panting
    • Salivating
    • Restlessness
    • Accelerated heart rate
    • Vomiting (it can be bloody)
    • Diarrhea (it can be bloody)
    • Red or pale gums

    If you notice these symptoms, then you should take your dog to the veterinarian as soon as possible. Nonetheless, the best way to avoid this scenario is to prevent it. Follow these recommendations:

    • If it is too hot outside, then keep your dog indoors
    • If you go outside, make sure that you provide your pet with plenty of shade and water
    • Make sure to keep your home fresh and ventilated
    • Keep your pet hydrated (at least 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight)

    16. Leptospirosis

    The Leptospira bacteria cause leptospirosis and your dog can contract it from getting in contact with infected animals and their fluids (e.g. rats) or an infected area since this bacteria can be found in water and soil alike. It is a common dog disease, and according to stats, it is increasing.

    In consequence, it is important to be aware of the symptoms to detect it early and receive prompt treatment, because it can lead to liver and kidney damage. Here is the full list:

    • Sore and stiff muscles
    • Intolerance to exercise
    • Fever
    • Lethargy and weakness
    • Decrease in appetite
    • Increased thirst
    • Increased urination
    • Shivering

    Fortunately, the survival rate of dogs diagnosed with leptospirosis is 90%, as long as they receive proper treatment. The veterinarian will determine the best treatment to follow, but it usually includes doxycycline and penicillin (in case your pet cannot tolerate doxycycline).

    17. Hip Dysplasia

    Hip dysplasia is the abnormal formation of the hip socket. It happens when the acetabulum (socket in the pelvis) and the head of the femur (thighbone) do not grow at equal rates. It is one of the most widespread dog diseases, and unfortunately, it is a genetic defect. Therefore, scientists are working on genetic predictive models to prevent it.

    Nonetheless, your dog can also develop hip dysplasia due to obesity, poor diet and nutrition, and excessive exercise. Furthermore, this deformation can lead to arthritis and chronic pain. This issue is more prevalent in large breeds.

    Look out for these symptoms to see if your dog has hip dysplasia:

    • Limited range of motion
    • Decreased physical activity
    • Lameness in the hind end (big red flag)
    • Narrow stance
    • Grating in the joint when your dog moves
    • Looseness in the joint

    Depending on the severity of the case, your veterinarian will decide the most appropriate treatment. It usually includes a weight loss regimen, nutritional fixes, physical therapy, joint fluid modifiers, and anti-inflammatory medications. For the most severe cases, surgery will be necessary.

    18. Autoimmune Issues

    Autoimmune diseases are also common among dogs. As the name clearly implies, they cause an autoimmune reaction of the body, which causes several problems such as inflammation. These are the most common cases:

    • Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia (AIHA)
    • Immune-Mediated Thrombocytopenia (ITP)
    • Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE)
    • Immune-Mediated Polyarthritis
    • Autoimmune Skin Diseases: Pemphigus, Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada-like syndrome and discoid lupus erythematosus

    Even though the symptoms will vary depending on the specific autoimmune disease, these are some common signs:

    • Lameness
    • Joint pain
    • Muscle pain
    • Ulcers on feet and face
    • Loss of pigment in the nose
    • Increased thirst
    • Increased urination
    • Anemia
    • Fever

    If you notice these signs, then take your dog to the veterinarian for a proper analysis, because autoimmune diseases are serious, and therefore, they require a precise diagnosis and treatment.

    19. Elbow Dysplasia

    Elbow dysplasia is the abnormal development of the elbow joint and it is categorized as a genetic disorder. This disorder damages the surface of the joint, which causes pain and eventually leads to arthritis and other orthopedic issues. It more usual in large breeds, and from this group, it affects Rottweilers, Retrievers, the German Shepherd, and the Bernese mountain dog the most.

    These symptoms characterize elbow dysplasia:

    • Forelimb lameness
    • Forelimb stiffness
    • Outward rotation of the paw
    • Reduced weight bearing on the affected limb

    To treat it, the veterinarian will have to determine what is causing it. Nonetheless, the most used method to treat it is arthroscopically surgery. Furthermore, this procedure can also include removing loose cartilage and coronoid fragments.

    Fortunately, the treatment is very effective and it will improve the quality of life of your dog. Just make sure to seek professional help as soon as possible.

    20. Luxating Patella

    Luxating patella is the name of the abnormality that happens when the kneecap dislocates from its usual position in the groove of the thighbone, also known as the femur. It is a recurrent knee abnormality, especially in toy and small breeds because they are 12 times more likely to develop it than large breeds.

    Luxating patella can lead to arthritis and other orthopedic issues. In addition, it will limit the range of movement of your dog, and in consequence, diminish its quality of life. It is classified into four categories:

    1. Grade 1 (Mild)
    2. Grade 2
    3. Grade 3
    4. Grade 4 (Chronic)

    These are the most common signs:

    • Licking at the knee
    • Crying
    • Lameness
    • Abnormal gait
    • Bow-legged appearance (the most remarkable trait of grade 4 luxating patella)

    The treatment will depend on the grade. If it is grade 1 or grade 2, then the veterinarian will prescript rehabilitation and other conservative treatments. Nonetheless, if it is grade 3 or grade 4, then surgery will be the choice.

    Top 10 most common dog diseases
    Top 20 most common canine health conditions. (infographic)

    Now you have in your hands the full guide of the most common dog diseases. Since you have this privileged info in your hands, now you can detect these issues quickly and become a better and more responsible owner.

    — Update: 10-02-2023 — cohaitungchi.com found an additional article Top 10 Most Common Health Problems For Dogs from the website bowwowinsurance.com.au for the keyword top 10 most common dog diseases.

    Top 10 most common dog diseases
    Unfortunately, health related problems in our pets are a part of life, affecting the young, the elderly, and every age in-between. While most owners try their best to keep their pets healthy and happy, certain conditions can occur that are simply beyond their control. Although it’s something we’d all rather avoid thinking about, it’s important to educate ourselves about which conditions, illnesses or diseases are most likely to affect our pets.

    Read more  How to use Benadryl to help your dog with allergies, anxiety, and more

    There are many illnesses and conditions that can affect dogs and it’s surprising to learn just how common some of these can be. The fact is, after pet food, veterinary services account for the second largest category of on-going expenditure by pet owners, according to the 2019 Pet Survey Report. In this survey of 806 Australian dog owners, over 84% reported that they had taken their dog to the vet in the prior 12 months, and most of them visited the vet multiple times, averaging 2.1 annual visits per dog. After check-ups and vaccinations, the third most common reason for vet visits was illness or injury.

    We’ve put together a list of some of the most common health problems that we hear about every day at Bow Wow Meow—some are not so serious while others will need more advanced care. In all cases, please don’t rely on Dr Google for a diagnosis or treatment plan! To ensure the most favourable outcome for your precious pooch, it’s always best to consult your vet as soon as possible. Your vet will provide a plan for management and treatment that is optimised for your dog, taking into account individual factors such as its breed, size, age and general health.

    1. Cataracts
    Top 10 most common dog diseases

    This is a big health issue, especially for older dogs, as it can really affect the way they see. A cataract is an opacity or cloudiness of the lens that prevents light from reaching the retina, leading to vision impairment. Cataracts can develop in one or both eyes and they may progress slowly or rapidly, leading to vision impairment and even blindness.

    Signs of a cataract include a whitish, blue or grey area in the centre of the eye as well as behavioural changes relating to decreased vision. Because dogs can use their keen senses of hearing and smell to compensate for loss of vision, it can be difficult for a pet owner to detect cataracts at an early stage.

    It’s not only old age that will bring about these growths on the eye. Cataracts may develop after the eye has been through a trauma or can be caused by disease. Cataracts in dogs may even be present when the dog is first born, or may develop in the first few weeks of a puppy’s life.

    Learn more about cataracts in dogs here.

    2. Arthritis 

    Arthritis, a general term for abnormal changes in a joint, is very a common condition in older dogs. In fact, 1 in 5 Australian dogs suffer from arthritis at some point during their lives. It is a major cause of chronic pain in older dogs and can result in permanent joint damage. The most commonly affected joints in dogs are the hips, knees, shoulders and elbows.

    You’ll notice that your dog is slower to get onto their feet (especially in the morning or in cooler weather) and will be far less active than they used to be. It’s often very hard to tell if your dog is suffering from arthritis. Even though it’s very painful, your dog may be able to hide its pain and discomfort, especially in the early stages.

    Exercise, weight control and anti-arthritic drugs can all lead to helping your dog overcome the pain of arthritis.

    Learn more about arthritis in dogs here.

    Top 10 most common dog diseases

    3. Ear Infections

    Ear infections are very common in dogs, especially in long-eared breeds and those that spend a lot of time outside.

    Often, dirt, dust or some other alien object like a grass seed can become lodged inside your dog’s ear, causing it to become irritated and, eventually, infected. You’ll know if your dog has an ear infection if they’re frequently pawing at their ears and shaking their heads. Infected ears may be red or crusty and may produce a discharge or odour.

    Ear drops with antibiotics will usually be prescribed by your vet in order to fight off the infection. Another good habit to get into is cleaning your dogs’ ears regularly (learn how to do this properly here).

    Learn more about ear infections in dogs here.

    A pet insurance policy with Bow Wow Meow will help ensure you can always afford to give your pet the best treatment and management for many health conditions.

    • Find out more about our pet insurance options for dogs

    • Get an instant online pet insurance quote

    Top 10 most common dog diseases      Top 10 most common dog diseases

    4. Kennel Cough 

    Kennel cough is very common amongst dogs that have been in crowded conditions such as at the animal shelter, vet or in pet accommodation. Unfortunately, it’s a highly contagious illness that spreads easily between animals via droplets in the air or contact with a contaminated surface (water, food bowl or contact with another dog). Fortunately, although kennel cough can sound bad, it’s equivalent to the common cold for us and is not usually serious or life-threatening.

    The best way to look after your pet with kennel cough is to give them rest and plenty of good food and water. You may be given antibiotics by your vet to knock it over if your dog’s case is particularly severe. Check out our dog vaccination guide for information on preventing Kennel Cough.

    Learn more about kennel cough in dogs here.

    Top 10 most common dog diseases

    5. Diarrhoea 

    Diarrhoea  – frequent liquid or loose bowel movements – is very common in dogs, largely because it can be brought about by a number of causes, some of them serious, and others no more than a change in diet or a sensitive stomach. In more severe cases, dehydration may develop and this could lead to more serious health concerns, including weakness, exercise intolerance and even collapse and seizures.

    In most cases, diarrhoea will subside with time, a good diet and plenty of rest. However, chronic diarrhoea may be a symptom of an underlying illness such as inflammatory bowel disease, kidney or liver disease, infections or even cancer. If the condition persists for a week or more, it’s time to visit your vet for a check up.

    Learn more about doggy diarrhoea here

    6. Fleas and ticks 

    Fleas are a common parasite that nearly every dog will get during a lifetime. Fleas jump from one host to the other, and your dog will usually pick them up by coming into close contact with an infested animal. Dogs with fleas can suffer from severe itching all over their body, even if they’ve only got one flea. Scratching, pawing and licking of the bites to try to relieve the itching can lead to inflammation, infection and even hair loss.

    Fortunately, fleas can be eradicated quite easily with the right medication and you can find a number of products for sale at your local pet store to protect your dog from future infestations.

    Ticks, however, are far more serious. The paralysis tick, which is common on the east coast of Australia between the months of August and February, can cause serious health problems for your dog, including poisoning of the blood and even death. Dogs are much more likely to pick up a Paralysis Tick if they are outdoor animals, interact with wildlife or have access to bushy or grassy areas – these sneaky parasites wait in the vegetation until your pet passes through it.

    Tick control is essential to protect your pet from Paralysis Ticks.

    Learn more about the paralysis tick here; learn more about flea control and protection here.

    7. Heartworm  Top 10 most common dog diseases

    Heartworms are long, parasitic worms that live and grow to great lengths in an animal’s heart and lungs. Heartworm infestations will develop over a number of years before your dog will show any serious symptoms, by which time the condition is often life-threatening.

    In the past, heartworms were a very common parasite affecting dogs, however modern medications now prevent most cases from occurring in Australia. Many vets suggest blood tests as well as faecal tests once a year to keep an eye out for any nasty conditions that could be present. The worms can still be found all over Australia and can kill if left untreated. Consult your vet for more information on the most suitable preventative measures for your dog.

    Learn more about heartworm here.

    8. Broken Bones

    A bone fracture or break is caused by abnormal stress on the bone, usually from a traumatic event like being struck by a car or falling from a height. Unfortunately, fractures are common in dogs.

    Your dog will try to remain brave and will avoid showing you that they are in pain so keep an eye out for things like limping, lumps or bones protruding from the skin and whimpering or whining when touched.

    Some fractures are relatively straightforward to treat, while others are extremely complex. Treatment includes surgery in order to realign the bones, immobilising the limb to allow the bone to heal, easing pain and preventing further damage. Bone fractures take four to six weeks to heal, during which time the animal’s activity may be restricted and physical therapy may be required to assist with rehabilitation.

    Learn more about bone fractures here.

    Top 10 most common dog diseases

    9. Obesity 

    Another common condition amongst Australian dogs and one that often isn’t taken seriously enough is obesity. Overseas studies have indicated that as many as 50% of dogs are currently overweight.

    Obesity is one of the greatest causes of serious long-term illness in dogs. If your dog is obese then they risk developing all sorts of related conditions such as heart disease, kidney disease, arthritis and many more.

    The good news is that you can reduce your dog’s weight. It’s believed that 95% of obesity cases can be corrected by controlling the dog’s diet and exercise regime. Speak with your vet if you think your dog may be overweight.

    Learn more about how to help your dog lose weight here.

    10. Cancer

    Unfortunately, just like us, dogs will often develop cancers as they get older. Dogs can suffer from most of  the same types of cancers we do, such as lymphoma, melanoma, breast cancer and even prostate cancer to name a few.

    Skin cancer is common in dogs, so be sure to look out for any unusual lumps or spots on your dog’s skin, ears and eyes. Mast cell tumours are the most common type of dog skin cancers, accounting for around eleven percent of skin cancer in dogs. This is because dogs have many mast cells in their skin. These tumours often appear small and insignificant, and many are benign, but they can be very serious and even life threatening.

    Treating cancer can take the form of surgery, chemotherapy or radiation treatment. Like all cancers, catching it early is the most important thing,

    Learn more about mast cell tumours here.

    A pet insurance policy with Bow Wow Meow will help ensure you can always afford to give your pet the best treatment and management for many health conditions.

    • Find out more about our pet insurance options for dogs

    • Get an instant online pet insurance quote

    Top 10 most common dog diseases      Top 10 most common dog diseases


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