Dogs are susceptible to many diseases both common and rare; therefore, this is not a comprehensive list. The diseases mentioned below are among the most common diseases of canines. They are mostly preventable through vaccines and proper care.
Rabies is well known due to media attention and because it is zoonotic, meaning it is transmittable to humans. Rabies causes acute inflammation of the brain in warm-blooded mammals, eventually leading to death. Symptoms include changes in behavior such as loss of coordination and depression. The classic foaming of the mouth due to excess salivation and aggressive behavior are not always evident. Visible symptoms occur days or even hours before death. There is no cure, only prevention.
Leptospirosis is another zoonotic disease contracted through water contaminated with cow, rat or canine urine. Symptoms mimic other diseases and include depression, lack of appetite, fever, vomiting, muscle pain, and bloody urine. Some dogs show few or no signs of infection at all and most clear the infection with antibiotic treatment. Vigilance and awareness go far toward preventing fatalities or transmission of leptospirosis from dog to human.
Lyme disease is acquired through the bites of deer ticks. It is one of the most common and debilitating tick-born diseases in the world. Symptoms include joint pain, fever and general depression. Prevent lyme disease with prophylactic flea and tick remedies available in feed-through or topical formulas. Brush your dog’s coat frequently and remove any crawlers or visit your vet with questions concerning canine skin and coat care.
Canine parvovirus is not zoonotic, but is highly contagious to other dogs. Adult animals rarely contract parvo, but young puppies are highly susceptible. The younger the puppy, the more grim the prognosis. For this reason, care should be taken to keep puppies off of potentially contaminated surfaces until they have had at least two sets of vaccinations for the disease.
To take care of your pup, make sure to take him or her for regular evaluations and checkups. There are many veterinarians you can trust that want your pup to remain in great health for a long time.