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Wouldn't it be great if your dog could tell you about their ailments and illnesses? You'd be able to head straight to the veterinarian, armed with all the necessary details. In the real world, however, it's up to us to identify potential problems immediately.
By knowing the signs of the main ailments that affect dogs, you can act quickly -- maximizing the chances of a happy outcome. And in some cases, you'll be able to offer the necessary treatment yourself. With this in mind, here are five of the most common dog illnesses to look out for.
Dogs love to play and explore in the dirtiest of places. They also like to lick, sniff and explore other dogs. While these traits are part of the reason we love our pets, they can make canines more susceptible to infections.
Ear infections are surprisingly common in dogs. If the symptoms are identified early, the chances of successful treatment are very high indeed. Look out for:
If you notice one or more of these symptoms, a quick trip to the vet will confirm your suspicions. If the infection is caught early, a thorough clean of the ear canal should clear things up. Antibiotics may be required for more serious infections. And if these steps don't work, surgery to cut away the infection may be necessary.
The problems fleas can cause your dog are as numerous as they are dangerous, so it's a good idea to treat the problem as an illness. Dogs are highly susceptible to infestations, so regular preventative measures should be taken. Your vet will talk you through the options.
There are many symptoms of a flea infestation, but the most common are:
If left untreated, fleas can cause severe allergic reactions, infections and blood loss. There are some over-the-counter remedies available, but your first port of call should be your vet. You'll be taken through the treatment options, which include sprays, oral medications, shampoos and flea collars.
Dogs love to scavenge and investigate things they come across on their walks. This is cute, but it often leads to some pretty nasty things ending up in their mouths. All dogs get diarrhea as a result of their inquisitive nature. And in most cases, it's nothing to worry about. But if the problem persists for more than three days, you should visit your veterinarian.
Signs that the diarrhea could be part of a wider health condition include persistent vomiting, blood in stools, fever and a chronic loss of appetite. A vet will usually have to prescribe medication for infections, intestinal parasites or other serious problems. But you can play your part too. Ensure your dog has lots of clean water. If it won't drink, try putting out some clear chicken or beef stock to make the water more attractive.
There are several types of worms that affect dogs, and many of these parasitic organisms can cause serious health issues unless they're dealt with swiftly. Hookworms, roundworms and tapeworms are among the most common, but there are others. The common symptoms of worm infestations include:
You must speak to a vet if you suspect your dog has worms. There are different treatments for different species of worm, so a full investigation and the taking of samples is crucial. Again, you should ensure your dog takes its medication as prescribed and drinks lots of water.
Flaky red skin could be a sign that your dog is suffering from dermatitis. Other signs include incessant scratching, hair loss, discharge and overly oily skin. There lots of potential causes of dermatitis in dogs, such as nutritional deficiencies, allergies, parasites and hormonal problems. But the outcome is the same -- a very uncomfortable condition that can get worse without treatment.
There are oral medications and various creams your dog could be given by a vet. But you can play a role in treatment by providing a balanced diet filled with protein, fatty acids and antioxidants.
Know the signs to look out for and remain vigilant. You're the first line of defence when it comes to common dog illnesses, so always be on the lookout for tell-tale symptoms.
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