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Common Ailments in Dogs

Abscess
This is an accumulation of pus caused by a local irritation or infection That swells and is painful to the touch. Bathing in comfortably hot water softens the overlying skin, causing the abscess to form a point and eventually burst. Antibiotic treatment may help.

Anal sacs or Glands
Anal sacs store liquid and are found on either side of the anus. This liquid has a characteristic smell similiar to feces. The sacs may become impacted and fail to empty in the natural way, and thus give rise to local irritation or pain. Your veterinarian will empty the glands when necessary, and will demonstrate this simple manual operation if asked. An affected dog may drag its seat along the ground in an attempt to gain relief or turn and bite at its tail. If neglected, the anal sacs may become infected, producing yellow pus, in which case veterinary treatment will be needed immediately.

Anemia
This is a condition of the body where there is a deficiency of hemoglobin in the blood. Anemia may follow blood loss after an accident or operation, or infestation with parasites. The cause must be diagnosed and treated without delay.

Arthritis
Is an inflammatory disorder of a joint. There are various type of arthritis due to infection, trauma, etc. but all the causes are not fully understood. Diagnosis is often made by an x-ray examination of the affected joint, and though a cure is not available, relief is afforded with surgery, drug therapy, specialized diet, exercise, and the provision of a soft warm bed.

Babesiosis
Is a protozoan transmitted by the brown dog tick infect the red blood cells and causes this disease, characterized by anemia and jaundice. In the acute form the dog passes coffee-colored urine, becomes feverish and very jaundiced and is could be fatal. In the chronic form the dog suffers general malaise, is slightly anemic and is jaundiced. There is no guaranteed effective treatment and blood transfusions may be necessary to save a dog with the acute form.

Bad Breath
This may result from a specific bacterial infection or gum ulcers, from decaying teeth from a disease such as chronic nephritis. Often, bad breath can only be cured by veterinary treatment. It may be corrected by a change of diet (reducing meat content) or a dose of indigestion mixture.

Bladder Stones
These are fairly common, developing in the bladder of male and female dogs, passing into and lodging in the urethra in male dogs. The affected dog strains to urinate, and only passes small quantities of urine, sometimes bloodstained. There is sometimes some localized inflammation. Surgical removal of the stones is the only successful treatment, and compounds to regulate the acidity of the urine help to prevent the formation of further stones.

Cough
This is often a sign of irritation in the throat or bronchial tubes, and may be caused by a foreign body. A persistent cough requires veterinary attention as it could be due to tonsillitis, bronchitis, disease know as kennel cough (infectious canine tracheobronchitis). Dogs can be protected against these last few diseases by vaccination.

Cystitis
Is an inflammation of the bladder characterized by frequent passing of small amounts of urine, and constant straining. It is more common in female dogs. Water intake must be increased by adding liquid to food. Even with antibiotic treatment the prblem may reoccur.

Diarrhea and Enteritis
The treatment for simple diarrhea is to withdraw food and drink for 24 hours to keep the dog warm and quiet. After this the dog should be offered some plain boiled rice with a little chicken stock, and small amounts of boiled water with a little added glucose or sugar. If the diarrhea persists longer than 48 hours or the dog vomits, seek veterinary treatment. Parvovirus enteritis is a highly infectious disease which is frequently fatal. First signs are serious vomiting followed by diarrhea, which may be bloodstained. This disease can be prevented by vaccination.

Distemper (Hardpad)
Starting with a very high temperature, the dog refuses food and may have diarrhea and a cough, and inflamed eyes. As the nervous system can be affected, the dog may suffer seizures. Hardpad is the term used when the virus affects the pads, producing swelling and a leathery feel. Antibiotic treatment controls the enteritis and pneumonia, but most dogs die from the effect of the virus on the nervous system. Vaccination is effective in preventing distemper and hardpad.

b>Eye Infections
Conjunctivitis is common in dogs and is treated with applications of antibiotic ointments or drops. A partially closed, watering eye may indicate the presence of a foreign body. This should be identified and removed if possible with the corner of a clean handkerchief or by flushing out with a syringe of warmed saline solution or water. If the object cannot be seen, seek veterinary advice. If there is any damage to the surface of the eye, or a blue effect is noticed, veterinary attention is urgently required. A blue cornea may follow an infection or some type of vaccination. Other cause of blueness in the eye are the formation of a cataract, or a sign of aging in the dog. Corneal ulcers form on the surface of the cornea. They are painful, and affected dogs rub at the eye while holding it partially closed. The third eyelid may be visible. Eye ointment may effect a cure, though persistent ulcers may need surgical treatment or chemical cauterization.


Gastric Torsion
This is known as acute gastric dilation-torsion or bloat. This is a life-threatening condition which occurs most frequently in large deep-chested breeds. Two to four hours after feeding, particularly if exercise follows a large meal, the dog shows signs of pain and distress, with a distended abdomen. Treat it as an emergency needing immediate veterinary attention.

Gastritis
The dog with gastritis has an inflamed stomach, indicated first by vomiting or the eating of grass. Keep the dog warm, withdraw food and offer small amounts of cooled water. When the inflammation of the bowel also occurs, the result is gastro-enteritis. This may be caused by bacterial or virus infection or by swallowing an object such as a toy or a rubber band. Veterinary advice is essential and should not be delayed.

Heatstroke
Confining a dog in a closed vehicle exposed to the sun is the prime cause of heatstroke in a dog, and this can often be fatal. The dog becomes distressed and unable to breathe properly. As the respiration deteriorates and the dog’s temperature rises, the dog collapses. First aid treatment consists of reducing the dog’s temperature by dipping it in cold water. A bag of ice placed at the back of the dog’s neck, and ice cubes rubbed on the pads will help to get the temperature down. Artificial respiration may be necessary to restore the dog’s breathing and heart rate.

Hepatitis
Hepatitis is an infectious disease cause by a virus. The affected dog develops a high temperature, together with sickness and bloodstained diarrhea. Veterinary attention is vital. This disease affects the liver, causing it to become inflamed and can be prevented by vaccination.

Hip Dysplasia
This is an inherited deformity of the hip joint, occurring particularly in larger breeds. Severely affected dogs suffer pain and lameness, and may be treated by drugs or surgery. Dysplastic dogs should not be allowed to breed.