If Man’s Best Friend is behaving strangely, keep a look out for what they’re doing. It could be something small, or something big. Read on for a list of symptoms and what they could indicate.
1. Ticks, fleas, and mange
There are a variety of diseases spread by ticks, including Lyme disease, and much like the human equivalent, they can cause anemia (or blood loss). Look out for lameness, weakness, and lethargy for your dog.
The best thing is to prevent ticks, fleas, and mange by using one of the many products online to keep them all in check.
If your dog is unfortunate enough to catch Lyme disease, vets will treat mild cases with antibiotics, but extreme cases may require a pain relief and drip.
Fever, muscle weakness, vomiting, lethargy, abdominal pain, may all combine to indicate leptospirosis. Dogs can get it from drinking contaminated water containing the Leptospira bacteria and it may lead to kidney or liver failure.
Mild cases can be treated with antibiotics. There is a vaccine to prevent your pooch getting infected and it is in some canine distemper vaccines. Ask your vet if your dog is eligible.
3. Canine parvovirus (or parvo)
The symptoms to parvo can be quite stressful and are not likely to be missed. Blood in your dog’s stool, vomiting, loss of appetite, fever and collapsing are all symptoms of Parvo.
Parvo is a highly contagious disease that spreads amongst dogs and can be caught while they are out for a walk by sniffing something left behind by another dog. It can survive in soil for years, making it very hard to kill.
Thankfully there is a vaccine given as a puppy against parvo.
4. Kennel cough
If you spot coughing, a fever, and a runny nose in your dog, they may have kennel cough. It is very contagious and shares these symptoms with canine influenza (or dog flu).
Caused by a combination of viruses, kennel cough can infect your dog when they come into contact with other dogs. There is a vaccine, although your dog may not need it. Consult your veterinarian to find out if the Bordetella vaccine is right for your dog.
Typically, a mild case of kennel cough will be treated with a week or two of rest, but vets can administer antibiotics to prevent a secondary infection and cough medicine to ease the symptoms.
5. Fungal infections
Look out for fever, coughing, lethargy, and flu-like signs to be sure your dog doesn’t have a fungal infection.
Fungal infections, including blastomycosis, histoplasmosis, cryptococcosis, and coccidioidomycosis are caused by dogs sniffing contaminated soil or if they infect a skin wound.
Your vet may recommend antibiotics, alongside topical anti-fungal treatments such as shampoos and ear ointments.
If you spot your dog obsessively scratching away at the one spot, they might have ringworm.
Not, in fact, caused by worms, ringworm is a fungal infection of the skin and is the most common of fungal infections. Some dogs recover without treatment, but it’s better to treat them to avoid spreading the disease to other dogs and people.
If you’ve been around mosquitos lately and your fur baby is now coughing, weak or having difficulty breathing, he could have heartworms.
Heartworms can lead to heart disease, which isn’t going to be good, but the good news is there are plenty of products to help prevent heartworm infection. Ask your vet if they have any recommendations.
Your pup has a permanent fur coat they can’t put in the cupboard when summer comes, so they’re usually warmer than you are. On a hot day, look out for excessive panting and drooling, anxious behavior, weakness, and abnormal gum colors like dark red or purple. Ignoring these can lead to your dog collapsing.
Prevention is really the key here. We all know not to leave our dog in the car on a warm day, but mistakes happen. If your dog seems too hot to handle, take them to a shaded area and cool them down with wet towels that are wrung out and rewetted a few times to keep them cool. Try to get them to a vet immediately as heatstroke can be fatal.
9. Intestinal parasites
The problem with dogs sniffing and licking everything is that they collect all the bacteria or worm eggs, they contain. Worms can cause malnutrition, diarrhea, and blood loss. Ask your vet for recommendations on the best treatment for your dog, because you will find loads online.
Stephen King fans will be most aware of this one. Cujo would have been showing signs of paralysis in his face, difficulty walking, seizures and noise and light sensitivity before his “behavior changes” kicked in.
The bad news is that rabies is fatal and can be spread across many animals through saliva on a skin wound or a bite from an infected animal. The good news is that dogs can be vaccinated against the disease.