Dog and Puppy Diseases
Have you ever wondered about dog and puppy diseases?
Getting a new puppy or dog is a wonderful experience, but sometimes they do get sick.
In the next few pages I am going to try and touch upon why your puppy needs its puppy shots and what common aliments you can expect to deal with.
The puppy shots are often called the “five in one shots,” or as they are properly known the DHLP-P vaccinations. It is a combination vaccine that protects against 5 very common diseases that can be fatal to your dog:
Canine Distemper: Is the “D” part of the vaccine. Canine Distemper is a contagious disease that can be passed on from dog to dog and sometimes a dog can pick up the virus up from digging around in infected soil.
The discharge, which can be thick yellow or green “Goo” comes from the nose or eyes of an infected dog and can be passed on to your dog if they come in contact with each other.
Symptoms: The symptoms can appear and then disappear, but that is not the end of the disease. The first signs are the thick runny yellow or green discharge from the eyes or nose. Your dog may run a temperature, vomit or have diarrhea and then suddenly seem better.
However, if your dog starts shivering or twitching, DO NOT hesitate to take you dog to the vet at once. The vaccine is the only preventative for this disease.
Canine Hepatitis Virus: This virus is also prevented by the puppy shots. It, too, is a highly contagious disease. It can be transmitted by saliva or from a stool of an infected dog. It can actually be inhaled..
Symptoms: The virus enters the bloodstream and can affect the eyes, kidneys and liver. The symptoms can include a temperature as well as some discharge from the eyes or nose.. Your dog can run a temperature, stop eating, become very tired, and even pass out.
There is no cure, just treatment that sometimes helps. The dog will either recover or pass on.
Parainfluenza: Is a viral disease that is somewhat similar to bronchitis in humans and kennel cough in dogs. This too, is highly contagious, especially in kennels and shelters, where dogs are under stress.
Symptoms: A dog will run a low grade fever and have an on-going cough.
A dog with this cough should be isolated from other dogs and kept in a room that is warm and humid. A call to your vet is recommended.
Canine Parvovirus: This is a highly contagious viral disease. It can be found all over the world.
It is spread through contact with the stools of infected dogs and can be carried in on almost anything, including shoes, crates, and even on the dogs themselves.
This virus attacks the intestinal tract, blood cells and it can affect the dog’s heart.
One dog with the infection can cause havoc, if it is in a place where there are many dogs.
Symptoms: Symptoms include loss of appetite, diarrhea, vomiting and depression.
There is no cure and treatment consists of making the dog comfortable.
Rottweilers and Dobermans seem to be most at risk.
Preventing these diseases makes it worthwhile to see that your puppy/dog get the 5 in 1 shots.
Along with the shots, most states require dogs and cats to have a rabies shot every year. Rabies is fatal to humans and can be passed on not only by dogs or cats, but raccoons, coyotes, foxes and other mammals.
Depending on the area in which you live there are other vaccines to cover such things as Lyme Disease, Leptospirosis, and Coronavirus.
Your vet will determine if it is necessary to give your puppy/dog any of these shots.
Puppy shots should be started when your puppy is 6 to 8 weeks old and continue every 2 to 3 weeks until the puppy is about 16 to 20 weeks old.
Boosters are given between 1 and 3 years, again depending on the area in which you live.
Now that your puppy/dog has lived through all that, there are a few more things to take under consideration, like internal parasites.
Internal parasites are nasty things like heartworms:
Heartworms are transmitted to a dog by mosquitoes. A mosquito bites an infected dog and then ingests the microfilaria and passes it on to the next dog.
The microfilaria enters the dog’s blood stream and then the trouble begins.
The best gift you can give your dog and yourself is to start your dog on heartworm medication as soon as possible.
There is a treatment for dogs that have heartworms, but it is very unpleasant for the dog and probably worse for you, as your dog gets very sick.
The saddest part of this story is, many times the treatment kills the dog.
Preventive medicine is the best cure.
Roundworms are another internal parasite that a dog can pick up from licking contaminated soil.
The roundworm eggs are swallowed and hatch in the dog’s intestine. Then they begin to travel to the lungs via the bloodstream, manage to get in the dog’s windpipe and are swallowed again and end up back in the intestine where they grow to adults.
The roundworm larva cause the dog to cough.
A puppy can be born with roundworms, if its mother is infected. A trip to the vet will cure the problem.
Coughing: If your dog is coughing, not a quick cough, but coughing for a period of time, may I suggest a trip to the vet. Dogs do not normally cough and there can be several other reasons beside the ones mentioned above that can cause your dog to cough.
Allergies to pollen, dust or food can cause coughing.
There are many types of fungus diseases that can cause coughing. If your dog is kenneled near chickens or pigeons, they could be a cause.
Diarrhea: Diarrhea can be caused by many things, food that upset the dog’s tummy, internal parasites, a virus, a toxic substance and even stress.
Symptoms: If your dog has bloody diarrhea or if the stools are extremely watery and there is a large amount of them, or if the diarrhea lasts longer than 24 hours call your vet at once.
A new food added to your pet’s diet can also cause diarrhea.
In any case it is a good idea to withhold food and water for at least six hours.
As long as there is no sign of blood in the diarrhea and it isn’t extremely watery you can try the age-old treatment of Pepto-Bismal or Kaopectate. Use 1 ml per pound of body weight every 6 – 12 hours and that should do the trick.
You can offer the dog/puppy a little water or an ice cube at this time.
Another suggestion is do not start your dog back on its regular diet. Instead boil some rice and cook some hamburg in a small amount of water, drain off all the grease and mix it with the rice. Feed small amount to your dog for a day or two and then gradually add your dog’s food to some of the mixture until your puppy/dog is back on its regular diet.
Constipation: Constipation can be caused by the lack of exercise, a low fiber diet, insufficient water intake or your puppy/dog may have swallowed something it should not have.
Call your vet as it may be necessary to run some tests to see what the cause is.
Vomiting: Puppies and dogs will vomit occasionally. However, if your puppy or dogs does vomit frequently, call your vet. Especially if within a short time period your dog vomits several times.
Bloody vomiting or vomiting accompanied by diarrhea or pain signals a quick trip to the vet.
Ears: Long eared dogs such as Cocker Spaniels are prone to ear infections that need to be treated by your vet.
If your puppy/dog starts scratching its ears on a constant basis, you need to see why.
Ear mites are another culprit that causes scratching and discomfort to a dog. If you see what looks like a real dirty ear with a waxy like substance, chances are your pet has ear mites. There are medications on the over the counter market, but a better bet is see your vet, as some of the products really do not cure the problem.
Anal Gland Problems: If you find your dog scooting around a nice cool tile floor on his back side, chances are it has anal gland problems.
This is something you can tend to yourself, if you are brave and can stand the smell. My suggestion is take your pet to your vet and give him/her the pleasure of squeezing the glands.
Making certain your dog has plenty of fiber in its diet will help this problem.
Hip Dysplasia: Hip Dysplasia is considered a genetic or hereditary condition in some dogs. However, it can be caused by over exercising your puppy when its body has not fully developed. If you puppy acts lame, see your vet.
Bladder Stones and Cystitis Bladder stones are fairly common in male and female dogs. It is generally caused by acidity in the urine.
Male dogs have problems with the stones lodging in the urethra, making it painful to urinate
Surgery is the only answer.
Cysitis is more often a female problem, it causes frequent passing of small amounts of urine. It can sometimes be very painful. Your vet can treat it with antibiotics.
Eye Infections: A common eye problem among dogs is conjunctivitis (in humans it is commonly known as “pink eye.”) Your vet can give you a medicated eye ointment or drops to treat it.
If your dog gets something in its eye be very cautious if you try to take it out, my advice is see our vet as serious damage can be done.
Dangerous Foods: There are several foods that are enjoyed by we humans that can to toxic to your dog.
Chocolate in large amounts is lethal to a dog. Chocolate contains a chemical stimulant called theobromine and dogs cannot metabolize it.
Just imagine a chocolate candy bar is enough to make a small dog very sick or kill it.
If your dog has found its way into your secret stash of chocolate, call your vet or animal poison control at once.
Onions and even garlic can cause a type of anemia in dogs and puppies. A small amount may not cause a problem, but continuous feeding can be toxic.
Be wary of baby food with onion powder if you are feeding your puppy a diet containing baby food.
Grapes and raisins are possible causes of renal kidney failure in puppies and dogs. Oddly enough some dogs can eat them with no problems, while another dog can almost die from eating one grape or raisin.
To prevent serious problems with your dog/puppy avoid both grapes and raisins.
Alcohol can be hazardous to your dog’s health and can even poison its system.
Anyone that considers getting a dog drunk just to be funny, ought to be tarred and feathered with very hot tar.
Antifreeze is not a food, but dogs and cats seem to enjoy its sweet taste.
It can cause seizures and even death.
If you should spill any antifreeze in your driveway or in the garage CLEAN it up immediately.
Hot Spots: Stress, allergies, constant licking all can cause hot spots. They are very annoying and cause your dog much discomfort. There are many “over the counter” remedies that will help dry out the area. Among them are Gentocin Spray, Desenex- foot powder, Gold Bond powder, and the old stand by Suffadene lotion. If in doubt as to what to do about “hot spots” call your vet.
There certainly are a lot more common ailments to be found in raising puppies and dogs. I have just touched upon a few.
The important thing is whenever you have the slightest doubt about what is ailing your puppy or dog, please call your vet.
Our animals are one of our most treasured gifts and they are worthy of proper care.
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