As a dog owner, you’ve made a commitment to love, protect, and care for your furry friend. One of the best ways to do that is by reading up on the health issues that might ail them. Much like humans, dogs can encounter a variety of health problems, ranging from flea infestations to parvovirus. Fortunately, most of these conditions can be prevented or minimized through early recognition and comprehensive care.
Two of the most common and most preventable health issues in dogs are viral & bacterial infections. Although these infections may have different symptoms, severities, and localizations, they can all be quite harmful to your pet if they’re left untreated.
For example, one of the most infamous types of canine bacterial infections is canine infectious tracheobronchitis, also known as kennel cough. This illness can be transferred across surfaces or through direct contact and may lead to coughing, sneezing, and fatigue. Fortunately, if kennel cough is caught early enough, it can usually be eliminated with rest and antibiotics. Additionally, it can often be prevented by administration of the bordetella vaccine.
Another common canine infection is canine parvovirus. Because this condition is a viral infection instead of a bacterial one, it is highly contagious and can be spread through contact with the bodily fluids of an infected dog. Symptoms of this illness may include vomiting, diarrhea, sudden appetite loss, and even death. Much like kennel cough, this infection can be prevented through vaccination and may be effectively treated if the infected animal is diagnosed early enough.
Additional viral infections that may affect dogs include canine distemper, hepatitis, and parainfluenza. Although not all of these infections are treatable, they can all be prevented by the DHPP vaccination. As such, it is highly recommended that you make sure your dog’s vaccinations are up to date.
In addition to viral and bacterial infections, certain creatures may pose risks to your beloved pet’s health and comfort. Fleas, ticks, mites, lice, and worms can all be quite harmful to your dog. Bites from external parasites such as fleas and mites may cause rashes, fur loss, and even skin infections. To protect your dog from these painful symptoms, consider treating them with preventative medicines such as chews, topical treatments, or flea collars.
When it comes to external parasites, ticks deserve a special mention because of their connection to lyme disease. Lyme disease is a type of bacterial infection that can be transmitted to mammals through the bite of an infected deer tick. Symptoms of this illness can include limping, lethargy, appetite loss, fever, and kidney failure in extreme cases. Because there is currently no vaccine for lyme disease, the best way to prevent it is by keeping your dog away from tick-infested areas. Additionally, if you notice a tick somewhere on your dog’s body, you should remove and dispose of the parasite as soon as possible.
External parasites aren’t the only pests that can cause harm to your dog; internal parasites like worms and coccidia may also pose health risks to your pet. Roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, tapeworms, lungworms, and heartworms are all parasites that may infect your dog in different ways and at different times. The symptoms of a worm infestation can vary widely, but signs to keep an eye out for include appetite loss, diarrhea, vomiting, and weight loss.
Fortunately, most worm infestations can be prevented by regularly cleaning your dog’s environment, including their bedding and food/water bowls. Even so, if you suspect that your dog has contracted worms, you should reach out to a veterinarian as soon as possible, as they will be able to provide you with an appropriate form of treatment.
Whether your dog needs vaccinations, medication, or a routine checkup, Dr. Ron’s Animal Hospital & Emergency is here to help. For over 19 years, our skilled, compassionate staff has provided excellent care to pets in Simi Valley, Moorpark, Thousand Oaks, Chatsworth, and other areas near Ventura County, CA. We know that your pet is an important member of your family, so if your furry friend is feeling under the weather, give us a call today and allow us to give your beloved animal companion the care it deserves.