After purchasing a dog and getting it vaccinated, owners may think that their dog is protected against all future health issues. Unfortunately, this is not true. Even careful pet owners can have dogs that get sick or suffer from common diseases. It is vital that dog owners understand how to detect and treat these conditions.
Even Common Health Problems in Dogs Which are Prevented by Vaccines Have Limits
It is important to understand that vaccines go only so far in protecting dogs against diseases. The right shots or medications can protect dogs against parvovirus or heartworms but they can have expiration dates. Dog owners need to keep up to date on vaccinations and make sure they take their dogs back to the vet before protection expires. Even then, there are many common health problems in dogs which are not covered by routine vaccinations.
Parasites can Cause Common Diseases in Dogs
Fleas commonly plague dogs during the summer months or any time of the year when the weather is warm enough to permit fleas to thrive (they can also bite dog owners as well). They are more than a nuisance. Fleas can give dogs potentially deadly diseases as they pass on tapeworms. They can also cause dogs to scratch themselves so strongly that they suffer from hair loss. Some dogs are even highly allergic to fleas. It is better to get rid of them and not have the dog - or the dog owner - suffer from itching, sores and bothersome bites.
Common Parasites Which can Be Deadly to Dogs
There are also more dangerous parasites and insects, ones that can cause common- and potentially fatal illnesses- in canines. These include various types of worms, including hookworms, tapeworms and heartworms. While early symptoms may not be noticed or cause mild problems, they can be deadly for dogs if left untreated. Symptoms of heartworms include coughing, weakness and general tiredness. A blood test can detect heartworms. Prevention is the best action, giving dogs medications to prevent various types of worms.
Common Health Problems in Dogs Include Skin Diseases
There are a host of skin diseases in dogs, ranging from fungus infections to mange to bacterial conditions. It may often require a skilled veterinarian to determine the exact cause and treatment of canine skin diseases. Just like people, dogs can suffer from allergies that affect their skin. They can even be allergic to food or plant pollen - just like people! Once a dog starts suffering from itchy skin, it may scratch itself so much that the skin is broken and bacteria enters, allowing a bacterial infection to take hold.
Without Proper Oral Hygiene and Care, Dogs Frequently Have Dental Problems
Dogs and dental care? While this may seem like an odd combination, owners of canines should not assume that their pets' teeth will automatically stay healthy. Plaque and cavities cause common health problems in dogs, particularly if dogs aren't given routine check-ups to make sure their teeth are in good shape. Veterinarians can recommend safe treats and bones which can help prevent plaque build-up.
Dog owners should check their dogs' gums to make sure they are not inflamed and also make sure that teeth don't show signs of decay or plaque. Some owners brush their dogs' teeth while others use a soft cloth to wipe off excess material on the teeth. Without proper care, tooth infections can arise.
Stay on Top of Other Common Canine Health Problems and Consider Buying Pet Health Insurance
Vigilant owners should also be on the lookout for ear problems, including scratching and shaking of the head (this can be a sign of ear mites). Any dog which can't hold down food and vomits should be watched for bloat, a potentially deadly condition. Err on the side of safety and call a vet if there is concern.
Photo Credit: Dan Harrelson