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10 Common Dog Health Problems

Being a responsible pet owner means knowing when there is something not quite right with your pet. Dogs, like all animals, can develop health problems. Here is a list of 10 of the most common dog health problems you will see along the way.


1. Urinary Tract Infections


Urinary tract infections can happen in any breed of dog when bacteria get into the urethra. Your dog will likely dribble urine, constantly lick at the urinary opening, and need to urinate more often than expected. Your dog may also develop a fever and cloudy or bloody urine.


2. Skin Allergies


Dogs have allergies just like people, and they struggle with skin issues. Found in all breeds, dogs can experience contact allergies, flea allergies, food allergies, medication allergies, and various other allergy-related problems. Symptoms are relatively straightforward as they will itch and scratch excessively.


3. Diabetes


Diabetes tends to present in older dogs as their pancreas struggles with insulin creation. If your dog is obese, diabetes is more likely. Symptoms include excessive urination, dull coat, unusual thirst, an appetite that cannot be satisfied, and unexplained weight loss.


4. Arthritis


Just like people, dogs can also suffer from arthritis as they get older. Primary symptoms include stiffness, a reluctance to walk beyond necessary needs, sleeping more, losing appetite, and seeking out warmth to soothe the aches and pains.


5. Autoimmune Issues


Dogs suffer from autoimmune issues, including skin disease, lupus, and polyarthritis. Some conditions can be fatal if not treated, so you need to act quickly with these problems. Symptoms can include pain, fever, lethargy, increased thirst or urination, unexplained weight loss, and rapid breathing.


6. Distemper


Canine distemper is caused by a highly contagious virus that can affect the GI tract, nervous system, and respiratory system. It spreads through the air in coughs or sneezes and shared dishes. Early symptoms include nasal and eye discharge, coughing, sneezing, fever, and loss of appetite.


7. Parasites


Parasites like ticks and mites can carry disease and cause additional problems like tapeworms and Lyme disease. You will see these parasites living on your dog’s skin, but you may also see persistent scratching, scabs, hair loss, and hot spots. Hot spots are lesions that need prompt treatment, too.


8. Ringworm


Fungal infections are common in dogs, and ringworm is incredibly contagious to humans, too. It causes hair loss, itchy skin patches, and brittle nails. You may also see scabs on the skin and what looks like dandruff.


9. Tapeworms


Tapeworms are flat, white worms that live in the intestinal tract and can grow to around two feet long. Tapeworm eggs are ingested when a dog is grooming or licks or bites any other infected animal. Symptoms of tapeworms include rear-end scooting on the ground, a swollen belly, unexpected weight loss, and the appearance of malnutrition, like a dull coat or lethargy.


10. Parvovirus


Parvovirus is caused by a highly contagious virus that affects the small intestines, stomach, and occasionally the cardiovascular system. Symptoms include bloody diarrhea, fever, vomiting, extreme lethargy, and pain and discomfort.

If you are concerned about your dog or want to make an appointment, contact Santa Monica Pet Medical Center at 310-393-8218 or visit our office in Santa Monica, California.

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