Dogs are truly man's best friend. These loyal, loving, protective and playful creatures have served around man for thousands of years with an undying and relentless devotion. It's hard to repay such a service of love, commitment and duty. When put to the basics, we provide our dogs with shelter, healthy nutrition, exercise and friendship. However, a dog's health and well-being sometimes goes beyond the basics, requiring an owner with an eye for disease risks and proper veterinary care.
If you're a dog owner, you should make sure your animal sees a qualified veterinarian on a regular basis. The range of diseases, parasites and genetic conditions that dogs can succumb to is vast, so it's important to keep up your pet's vaccines, stick to regular check-ups and also know what to look for.
Keep reading to learn about some of the most dangerous and fatal diseases that can afflict your beloved pet along with effective prevention methods.
1. Canine Distemper Virus (CDV)
CDV attacks the respiratory, gastrointestinal and central nervous systems. The disease is contracted through contact with other infected dogs and can be fatal to both young and old dogs. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, fever, shivering, redness around the eyes, loss of appetite, weight loss, seizures, thickened footpads, cough and a discharge from the nose. There is no specific treatment, but sometimes antibiotics can be effective. However, a vaccine exists and should always be administrated.
2. Canine Adenovirus or Infectious Canine Hepatitis (ICH)
Infectious Canine Hepatitis (ICH) is an acute liver disease, and highly contagious. The virus is transmitted through bodily fluids like urine, eye or nose secretions. Young and old dogs can be affected by ICH, but puppies are at a higher risk. Symptoms include fever, loss of appetite, vomiting, jaundice and corneal edema, although a blood test is needed to make a final diagnosis. Many dogs recover, but it's best to prevent ICH through a simple vaccination.
3. Para Influenza or Tracheobronchitis (aka Kennel Cough)
The common name for Tracheobronchitis is Kennel Cough because of its propensity for spreading in close quarters, such as in a boarding kennel. It's highly contagious and attacks the dog's senior respiratory system. Like bronchitis in humans, the symptoms are coughing, snorting, hacking and sometimes fever. Kennel Cough can be treated with antibiotics or pretented through vaccination.
Rabies is not just a dog disease; it will affect all mammals that are not vaccinated against the disease. Rabies directly attacks the brain and the prognosis is often deadly. This common disease can be easily transmitted through vaccination. In many states, vaccination for domestic pets is absolutely mandatory.
In short, keep your dog healthy by making sure it gets regular vaccinations. Almost all diseases are preventable.