3 Dog Illnesses You Should Be Aware Of

3 Dog Illnesses You Should Be Aware Of

Dogs are just as at risk for serious illness as humans. As a pet parent, it can be hard to know when something is wrong and you have to get them the treatment they need. In this blog, we’ll look at three dog illnesses that you should be aware of, their symptoms, and what you and your vet can do about them.

The three dog illnesses you should be aware of are:

  1. Cancer
  2. Diabetes
  3. Heartworm

1. Cancer

A cancer diagnosis can be scary and lead to questions about what to do next, even when it’s your family dog. Veterinarians can have different views on how to proceed with a diagnosis so it’s a good idea to get a second opinion. This will help you get a better idea of what your options are and how to proceed in caring for your dog.

Canine cancer doesn’t have a single known cause. On the other hand, environmental and genetic factors may play a role. Be on the lookout for symptoms such as:

  • Swelling
  • Unusual discharge
  • Lethargy
  • Sudden lameness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lumps
  • Continuous sores
  • Rapid weight loss
  • Black stools
  • Problems breathing or using the bathroom

If your dog has a lump, your vet’s first step will be to take a sample of tissue via biopsy. In some cases, a pathologist will remove part or all of the lump for testing. Your vet may also recommend further testing such as X-rays, blood tests, and ultrasounds to confirm a diagnosis.

Dog Illnesses - PetWellClinic
Bring your dog to your local PetWellClinic for a physical exam or wellness package!

Available treatment options will depend on factors such as the type and stage of cancer. Options may include:

  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation
  • Immunotherapy

A combination of treatments may be recommended in certain cases. Palliative or end-of-life care is recommended if the cancer isn’t treatable or if you opt to not have the cancer treated.

If you are concerned your dog may show signs of cancer, you can bring them to your local PetWellClinic for an exam and labs. If our team finds reason for concern, they can work to refer you to a veterinarian who can discuss diagnosis and treatment options with you.

Click here to learn more about dogs and cancer!

2. Diabetes

Diabetes is a condition that prevents the body from creating its own insulin or using it correctly. This leads to increased blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia) which can result in severe health problems in humans and dogs alike. Fortunately, diabetes can easily be managed, resulting in your dog living a long, happy, and healthy life.

Diabetes comes in two types:

  • Type I
  • Type II

Type I means that your dog is limited in their ability to create insulin or can’t at all. Dogs tend to have this form of diabetes and require insulin injections from their owners. Type II means that your dog’s ability to create insulin is limited nor do they respond correctly to the hormone.

Like cancer, canine diabetes doesn’t have a known cause. However, obesity, autoimmune diseases, certain medications, and other factors may play a role.

Symptoms of canine diabetes include:

  • Drinking more water than usual
  • Urinating more often
  • Lethargy
  • UTIs
  • Cataracts
  • Appetite changes
  • Weight loss
  • Vomiting
  • Chronic skin infections

Some dogs may be more likely to develop diabetes than others. For instance, obese and female dogs run a higher risk later in life. On the other hand, keeshonds and golden retrievers are at higher risk of juvenile canine diabetes.

Other breeds at risk of diabetes include:

  • Australian terriers
  • Dachshunds
  • Poodles
  • Samoyeds
  • Schnauzers (miniature and standard)

Diagnosis involves your vet collecting clinical signs of diabetes along with a physical exam, blood work, and a urinalysis. Treatment varies based on the severity of their condition and any possible complications. In most cases, treatment consists of glucose injections with meals at the same time every day. This regulates sugar levels and improves their ability to absorb nutrients.

If your dog has been diagnosed with canine diabetes, your local PetWellClinic team can help you create and enact a management plan to keep your furry friend healthy and happy.

To learn more about dogs and diabetes, click here!

3. Heartworm

Heartworms are parasites that collect in the arteries and hearts of infected dogs. Their final destination is blood vessels in the heart chamber and lungs, harming your dog’s vital organs and arteries as they make their journey. This takes about six months following infection with the possibility of several hundred worms living in a dog for up to seven years.

Heartworms are passed between animals by mosquitos which pick them up from biting an infected animal. While they are practically invisible in the beginning, heartworms can eventually reach over 12 inches once they have fully matured.

Common heartworm symptoms include:

  • Not wanting to exercise
  • Loss of appetite
  • Mild, persistent cough
  • Easily fatigued

Your vet will diagnose heartworms with an exam, ultrasound or radiograph, and a blood test. Ideally, they should be screened every year during the spring or if being placed on a new heartworm medicine. This will enable your vet to catch the condition early and put them on medicine or provide a new prescription for their condition.

Dogs are at the highest risk of heartworm infestation in areas where mosquitoes are prevalent, making hot and humid areas the most dangerous. While it has been documented in dogs in every state except Alaska, it is most common:

  • Along the East Coast
  • In the southern United States
  • In the Mississippi River Valley

Once diagnosed, your vet will perform a thorough examination of your dog. This will help them determine the best course of action along with any risks they might face. In most cases, your vet will administer a series of injections in the muscles. The vet will then prescribe preventative medicine to help reduce the risk of future infections.

Our convenient walk-in model keeps busy pet owners in mind.

PetWellClinic offers convenient Dog Wellness Packages that bundle the vaccines and lab tests your furry friend needs. Both the Total Dog Package and Complete Dog Package include a heartworm test. You can also purchase heartworm preventatives at your local PetWellClinic.

Visit your local PetWellClinic today to learn more about prevention and treatment for canine illnesses!

PetWellClinic provides high-quality walk-in veterinary care for pet owners across the U.S. PetWellClinic has locations and services built with convenience in mind. Stop by with your pet anytime! No appointment necessary.

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