Did you know that keeping your pet well-groomed is not just a great way of keeping them cute and cuddly, but also a great tool to help you detect any health problems? Identifying your pet’s health conditions is often a difficult task, as our pets could not aptly describe what they are particularly feeling or experiencing.
Keeping our dogs well-groomed will help us get in tune with our dog’s health. Changes in our dog’s appearance like hair loss, dry and scaly skin, accompanied by constant itching and scratching are the warning signals of health ailments. Keeping our pets tidy will improve your dog health make it a whole lot easier to spot unusual behaviors such as constant itching and scratching.
Here are the common dog health problems and what you can do to care for your pet when they experience it:
#1 Ear Infection
Usually caused by the bacteria, ear mites, yeast or hair growth in the ear canal, canines are prone to ear infection. Symptoms include ear odour, ear discharge (brown, yellow or bloody), scratching, head shaking or tilting, loss of balance, redness and swelling of the ear canal and unusual eye movements. A simple ear infection can be cured through cleaning and medicating the ear canal, but it’s ideal to bring your pet to the vet if symptoms don’t clear up.
Dogs are naturally curious and would put everything in their mouth, that’s why it’s easy for parasites to enter their system. Roundworms, tapeworms and whip worms are common internal parasites in canines and are pretty easy to deal with but hookworms are known to be fatal to dogs, especially puppies. A change in appetite, diarrhea and weight loss are signs that your pet has worms and should be brought to the vet immediately.
#3 Hot Spots
A bacterial infection, hot spots are those bare, inflamed areas in your dog’s fur that they can’t stop scratching. The fleas are a common cause of a hot spot. Depending on the cause, these itchy and painful spots may be treated with antibiotics, topical medications, steroids or simply shaving and cleaning the affected area.
Diarrhea can hit canines as easily as it can hit us and are usually caused by food-related problems. In dogs, it can also be caused by intestinal parasites, parvo virus or even stress. Symptoms of diarrhea are obvious – loose, watery stools sometimes accompanied by lethargy, dark and bloody stools and vomiting. Be sure that your pooch remains hydrated but if symptoms last for more than a day, it’s time to bring him to the vet.
Some Inherited Disorders
- ENT Disorders
There are several inherited conditions that affect the eyes, ears, nose and mouth of dogs. For the eyes, cataracts are quite common. This is characterized by the presence of opacity in the lens of the eyes. Dogs will have a hard time seeing things in either one or both of their eyes. Another condition of the eyes called ectropion causes the lower eyelid to sag and roll out. This, in turn, causes the inside part of the eyes to be exposed.
- Musculoskeletal Disorders
There are some dogs that have significantly shorter legs. Their legs are not proportionate to their bodies. This is a condition called dwarfism. This is due to an abnormality in the formation of the bones of the legs.
Dysplasia of the bones mostly happens in joints like in the elbows, hips or the legs. The bones do not meet together correctly and so the overall gait and posture of the dog might be affected.
- Cardiovascular/Hematologic Disorders
For this part of the body, the heart is the most famous victim. There are structural defects usually affecting the heart chambers and parts. Aortic stenosis is characterized by a narrowing of the aorta, a blood vessel that connects to the heart.
Also, the heart valves are affected. The valves serve as passages and regulator of blood flow. When in normal conditions, they ensure that blood does not back flow into previous structures but continues to flow towards the direction it is expected to go. In the case of stenosis of the heart valve, there is a narrowing of the passage.
It may also occur in dogs specifically in the form of hemolytic anaemia. This is an autoimmune disorder. This means that the body’s own immune system destroys or hemolyzes its own red blood cells.
With a little knowledge pet owners can be more proactive in the dog health care. With greater knowledge you can help your veterinarian come up with the best treatment plans for your pet, and are able to give a more complete history on your pet which can lead to a quicker and more accurate diagnosis. Knowing these common dog health problems will help you better take care of your furry friend!