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Dog Health Questions and Answers

If you are in search of answers to dog health problems, all you need to do is go through the list of common questions and answers given in this article.
DogAppy Staff
Last Updated: May 31, 2018
"Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole." ~ Roger Caras

Dogs are more than just pets, and anyone who has had a pet dog in his life, will agree to this. We love our dogs and want them to be healthy and happy, wagging their tails in glee! However, just like we humans have health issues, even dogs fall prey to ailments. Hence, it is essential that you are aware of the common health problems of dogs, so that your dog receives prompt treatment, whenever he is ill. So, what are the many diseases that affect dogs? Well, many of the dog health problems are similar to humans, such as diabetes, arthritis, cancer and even depression. And you need not worry because most of the illnesses that affect dogs, can be cured with proper treatment. An early diagnosis of the health problem can help in quick recovery of your dog. Now, let us take a look at few dog health questions and answers, that can help solve your queries.
List of Questions on Dog Health
Questions on Behavior and General Health

Is my dog overweight?
Obesity is not just a problem in humans, and even dogs can be overweight, chiefly due to overeating and lack of exercise. Many of the dog owners are unaware that their pet is overweight. Usually, veterinarians use a scale of 9 to find out whether a dog is obese or not. 1 indicates an underweight dog while 9 indicates an extremely obese dog. A recent survey concluded that more than 50 percent pet dogs are obese. Obesity in dogs leads to cardiovascular health problems and hence, should not be neglected. Visit a veterinarian to find out whether your dog is overweight or not, and follow the prescribed method to reduce its weight.

Why is my dog shedding/losing hair so much?
Shedding is normal in dogs and is something which irritates dog owners a lot. There are no non-shedding dog breeds, it is just that some dog breeds shed comparatively less, while others tend to shed excessively. So, you need to find out which group your dog belongs to. Shedding is also affected by seasonal changes, nutritional changes, skin infections, etc. Grooming your dog regularly can help reduce the rate of shedding. If you observe that your dog sheds excessively and you suspect that there is some other reason, it is recommended that you consult a vet.

Why is my dog licking everything?
A very common question asked by dog owners is, "Why do dogs lick?" Dogs consider licking as the way of expressing love for their owner. Thus, this behavior is usually ignored by all the dog owners. However, if you observe that your dog is licking everything quite frequently, then you need to be cautious. Excessive licking can be a cause of behavioral disorder. Also, too much licking can be associated with some medical problem. Thus, the treatment depends on the underlying cause. For the behavioral disorder, you can approach a pet trainer and make your dog get rid of this habit.

How often should I take my dog to a vet?
Frequency of your visits to a veterinarian, largely depends on the health condition of your dog. If your dog is healthy, you can give a visit after every six months or so. However, if your dog is suffering from an illness, then you should ask the veterinarian how often you should visit. When you notice any abnormal physical or psychological behavior in your dog, it is recommended that you visit the veterinarian at the earliest.

How often should I take my dog for a walk?
There are no framed rules for how many times a day you should take your dog for a walk. However, you should take your dog for a walk, at least once a day, for thirty minutes. Walking is an essential part of the exercise routine of your dog, and it ensures good health of your dog. Training puppies to walk on a leash is a simple job and you need to take some simple steps for the same. Walking will not only avoid health problems like obesity, but will also help your dog to socialize.

How many and which vaccinations to give?
Vaccination is a very important part of dog grooming, that will ensure a healthy life of your pet. Whenever you get a new puppy, the very first priority should be vaccination. There are a number of vaccinations available for various types of dog diseases. There is a standard schedule designed for vaccination, depending on the breed of dog. Vaccinations are available for lyme disease, rabies, distemper, parvovirus, etc.

Why is my dog panting excessively?
Why do dogs pant? In dogs, panting is a source of releasing body heat or decreasing body temperature, because unlike humans, dogs do not sweat. Though dog panting is quite common, excessive panting in dogs should not be neglected. Make a note that certain dog breeds pant excessively due to their facial structure, which includes dogs with small heads (bulldogs, pugs, etc). Even obese dogs pant too much. Sometimes, there can be some underlying cause that makes your dog pant excessively. Such causes can include stroke, heartworm infection, congestive heart failure, obesity, etc. Thus, in case of excessive panting, it is necessary that you consult a vet to find out the root cause, and start the appropriate treatment at the earliest.

Questions on Feeding Habit

Why is my dog eating grass?
Everyone knows that dogs are carnivores, then why do dogs eat grass? This is a very common question asked by many pet owners, which really does not have a straight answer. There can be many answers to this question,which include, an upset stomach, vitamin or mineral deficiency or just the fact that your dog loves the taste of grass! Grass eating is usually not a problem, until you are sure that the grass is free of harmful pesticides and chemicals. A dietary deficiency of fiber is linked to grass eating. In some cases, when fiber sources were added to the dog's diet, grass eating was not noticed anymore. Grass eating is not harmful but ensure that it is not excessive.

Why is my dog eating poop?
You may have seen your dog eating poop of itself or some other animal and must be wondering why do dogs eat poop? You may find it quite disgusting and yucky. Poop eating or stool eating is usually noticed in puppies, and is termed as coprophagia. There are number of reasons that can lead to poop eating. Some researches relate poop eating to dietary deficiency, while some others say that it can be a method of seeking attention. Poop eating can cause health problems if the poop is infectious due to the presence of harmful worms, virus or bacteria. If poop eating is a result of behavioral reasons, then you need not worry, as you can get rid of this habit by training your dog not to eat poop. However, you may need to consult a vet if your dog is eating poop because of some medical disorder.

Why is my dog throwing up/vomiting?
This is one of the most common health problems noticed in dogs. There are a number of reasons that can cause vomiting. You should try to find the exact cause because some of the causes can be life-threatening. Problems in digestion, overeating, infection, liver inflammation, gastritis, etc. are some of the reasons that can lead to vomiting. Initially, you can change the diet of your dog and observe if it vomits. Because of the wide array of possible causes, diagnosing the problem can be a bit difficult. So, consult a vet at the earliest, when your dog throws up or vomits frequently.

Why is my dog not eating?
Loss of appetite, dislike of the food's taste, behavioral problem, illness, etc are some of the reasons which can make your dog stop eating food. Your dog may not like the smell of the food and hence may avoid eating it. Try and experiment with dog foods that can make your pet want to eat. Sometimes, injury or illness can cause discomfort to the pet, and leads to refusal of food. Viral infections and digestive problems can also be the reasons why your dog is not eating food. Always consult a vet at the earliest, when you observe that your dog is not eating food.

What should I feed my dog?
Dogs are omnivorous and you can feed your dog whatever is nutritious and healthy. Every dog owner should ensure a balanced diet for their pet, which compromises of commercial, as well as natural foods. While choosing commercial food for your dog, make sure that it is the one recommended by a veterinarian, as every dog breed has different requirements. A dog's diet should contain sources that will contribute 50% carbohydrates and 25% protein. An adequate amount of water is necessary to avoid dehydration. Making your own dog food is a good way to feed a nutritional diet to your pet. Onion, garlic, bread, raisins, cooked bones, etc, are some of the foods that you should not feed your dog.

Questions on Respiratory Health

Why is my dog coughing?
There is a broad array of illnesses that can be related to coughing in dogs. It is one of the symptoms that is a result of other health problems. Coughing can be caused by inhaling some irritant, or can be caused due to a fatal problem like heart disease. Due to the many causes associated with it, diagnosing the exact cause for coughing can be difficult. Kennel cough, heart failure, fungal infection, allergies, pneumonia, etc, are some of the causes of coughing. Thus, determining the cause with the help of a vet is necessary, to provide the dog with proper treatment.

Why is my dog sneezing?
Sneezing is commonly observed in dogs and is usually not a cause of concern. Sneezing can be treated as a symptom of some other health problems, that include, upper respiratory tract infection, dust allergy or tumor. Tumor is associated with a discharge of blood while sneezing. If your dog is sneezing frequently, then make a visit to the veterinarian, to find out the underlying cause. Physical examination helps to find out the root cause, and appropriate treatment can be given.

Why does my dog have a runny nose?
Like other respiratory problems, runny nose can also be an indication of some other health problem. If the fluid that comes out of the nose is clear, then runny nose in dogs is not a serious health issue. But if you notice a colored discharge from the nose, then you should visit a vet at the earliest. Nasal mites, infection, allergies, etc are some of the causes of runny nose in dogs. Presence of blood in the nasal discharge can be a symptom of nasal cancer.

Questions on Skin Problems

What are some common canine skin diseases?
Canine skin diseases are common complaints that dog owners come up with. Dogs are susceptible to many types of skin infections, which include parasitic skin diseases, fungal infections, allergic infections or bacterial infection. Scabies in dogs is one such skin disorder caused by parasites. Depending on the cause, skin diseases need to be treated using different methods. A physical examination and a detailed study of the dog's medical history is essential for providing appropriate treatment.

Does my dog have mange?
Mange in dogs can be very painful, and there are two types of mange; sarcoptic mange and demodectic mange. Demodectic mange is caused due to the demodectic mite, while sarcoptic mange is caused due to the sarcoptic mite. These mites lay eggs in the affected area, leading to severe inflammation of the skin. Red spots, infection, hair loss in the affected area, blisters, itching and irritation, are some of the common symptoms of mange. Mange is caused due to microscopic parasites that live on your dog's skin. It is necessary that every dog owner is aware of the symptoms of mange in dogs. If timely treatment is not given, it may lead to death. So, whenever you suspect that your dog has mange, consult a veterinarian at the earliest.

Does my dog have allergies?
Allergies are some of the common reasons that cause itching and scratching in dogs. There are many factors that lead to dog allergies. If your dog scratches or itches frequently, then chances are that it suffers from some form of allergy. Here is a list of some common symptoms of dog allergies,
  • Constant rubbing of eyes and face.
  • Licking and scratching all over the body.
  • Chewing and licking of paws.
  • Reddening of the armpits and groin area.
Allergies can develop due to food, mold, fungus, plant pollen, etc. If you notice the above mentioned symptoms in your dog, approach a veterinarian, to diagnose what type of allergy your dog is suffering from. Once the type of allergy is detected, the veterinarian will guide you with what type of medication should be given to your dog, to reduce the symptoms.

Does my dog have worms?
Maximum number of dogs are born with worms, that are transferred from their mother. But there can be other sources of worm infestations. Worms are nothing but parasites, that live in your dog's body. Tapeworms, hookworms, ringworm and heartworms are some of the worms that can infect dogs. Each of these worms show different symptoms. Weight loss, bloated stomach, low energy level, etc, are some of the symptoms of worm infestations in dogs. When worms are present, they can usually be found in the feces. Dog worms are easy to treat, if timely treatment is provided. Regular deworming is the best way to avoid health problems due to worms. So, consult your vet and get a deworming schedule for your pet.

Does my dog have fleas?
Dog fleas are another health problem that causes trouble to dog owners. Fleas are small insects found on the dog's skin and these reproduce very fast. Scratching and itching are two common symptoms of flea infection. It is better to consult a veterinarian when you doubt that your dog is infected by fleas, because itching and scratching can be associated with other dog allergies also. There are natural remedies available to prevent fleas in dogs. Fleas can make your dog anemic and hence, should be treated at the earliest.

Does my dog have ticks?
Ticks are certainly dreadful enemies of your dog. These are parasites that are visible to the naked eye and they suck blood through the dog's skin. Ticks are small round spider-like insects. To learn more on how ticks actually look, make a search on the Internet and you will find images that will help you identify ticks. Some infected ticks can cause diseases like Lyme disease to your dog, which needs an immediate treatment. Hence, every dog owner should learn to identify ticks. If you find any such parasite on your dog's body and if you are not sure whether it is a tick or not, better visit a veterinarian. Dog tick removal can be done by yourself and you may not require a veterinarian's help.

Questions on Dental Health

How often should I brush my dog's teeth?
This is a very important question on dog grooming. Just like humans, dogs also require proper dental care. A good dog owner should brush his/her dog's teeth everyday. If brushing is not possible everyday, you can go for brushing on alternate days. Brushing your dog's teeth regularly, is essential to remove plaques and other foreign particles. It also helps in reducing the risks of periodontal diseases. A common mistake made by many pet owners is, using their own toothpaste to brush their pet's teeth. These toothpastes contain ingredients that may harm your dog's teeth. Always use a toothpaste and toothbrush specially made for dogs. You can get these from a nearby pet store.

How to get rid of bad breath in dogs?
Bad breath, which is medically termed as halitosis, is one of the common dental problems faced by dog owners. Bad breath can be a result of tooth decay, accumulation of food, plaque, periodontal disease, presence of bacteria in the mouth, digestive system problems, respiratory tract problems, etc. Now, when you come across bad breath from your doggie's mouth, the very first thing you should do is take a detailed look into its mouth. If you are unable to make out what exactly is causing bad breath then visit a veterinarian, as he/she can diagnose the reason for bad breath. An annual dental check-up can help you keep an eye on the dental health of your dog. Prevention is always better than cure, so brush your dog's teeth on a regular basis to avoid bad breath.

Questions on Digestive Health

What is canine pancreatitis?
Canine pancreatitis is a fatal inflammatory disease, which is considered to be the result of inadequate nutrition in the diet. It is difficult to diagnose because its symptoms are similar to other health problems. Dehydration, lethargy, fever, abdominal pain and lack of appetite, are some of the symptoms of canine pancreatitis. Dogs that are neutered, overweight and middle-aged, are usually susceptible to this disease. If you doubt that your dog is suffering from canine pancreatitis, you should consult a veterinarian immediately. If canine pancreatitis goes untreated, it may lead to the death of the dog. Once the veterinarian diagnoses that the dog is suffering from chronic pancreatitis, it needs to be hospitalized for treatment. During and after the treatment, you need to give special attention to your dog's diet, because a recommended diet must be followed for quick recovery and proper functioning of the digestive system.

What causes constipation in dogs?
Just like humans, even dogs can get constipation. There are plenty of reasons that can cause constipation in dogs. Dogs have the habit of licking their fur, but too much licking can lead to formation of hairballs which block the colon. Even certain medications can cause constipation in dogs. Further, if your dog has consumed some foreign material like stones, bones, dirt, etc., it can also lead to constipation. One more reason for constipation in dogs, is dehydration. So, ensure that your dog drinks a good amount of water daily. A poor quality food which is low in fiber, is the most common cause of constipation. Other than these causes, any injury in the hip region can also cause constipation.

My dog is having constipation. What should I do?
Constipation is easy to treat and you need not worry about your dog's health, and the treatment depends on the cause of constipation. If constipation is due to inadequate fiber in the diet, then you must increase fiber content. Make your dog drink more amount of water, and include high fiber dog food in the diet. Give enough amount of exercise to your dog. In most cases, constipation in dogs can be relieved within one or two days. If it requires more time, then it is time to met a veterinarian. Also, constipation due to other causes, may require to be treated differently. A veterinarian can guide you with more specific treatments for different causes of constipation. Stool softeners can be used to expel feces easily.

How will I know if my dog is suffering from intestinal problems?
Since dogs are unable to express their discomfort, the signs and symptoms can only be the source of knowing whether the dog has some intestinal problem. There are various types of intestinal problems, caused due to several factors. Parasites like bacteria or worms can be a cause of intestinal problem. Processed food can also cause problems in dog intestine. Vomiting is considered to be one of the early symptoms of intestinal problems in dogs. Other symptoms of intestinal problems include diarrhea, bloating, decreased energy and loss of appetite. If you observe any of these symptoms, then make an appointment with a veterinarian soon for diagnosis and treatment.

What are the signs of upset stomach?
Upset stomach is one of the most common dog health problem, that can be caused due to stress, infections, diet problem, etc. When your dog has an upset stomach, it will try to rest all the time. It may eat grass to feel better. Grass consumption usually causes vomiting and can relieve the dog. Other symptoms of upset stomach in dogs include bloating, loss of appetite, fever, etc. Whenever you come across these signs, approach a veterinarian, because these can lead to further health problems like diarrhea, weight loss, etc.

What are the symptoms of gastroenteritis?
Gastroenteritis can turn out to be fatal, if timely treatment is not provided to the dog. Diarrhea and acute vomiting are two early and leading symptoms of gastroenteritis in dogs. Other symptoms of gastroenteritis are lethargy, muttering noise in stomach, watery stools, etc. The dog may also show some psychological symptoms like, restlessness and depression. Vomiting and diarrhea can sometimes be the symptoms of other health problems. But gastroenteritis is marked by a sudden onset of these symptoms. Diagnostic tests are necessary to confirm if the dog indeed suffers from gastroenteritis. Diagnostic tests that can help to detect gastroenteritis include blood count, X-ray of abdomen, urine examination, etc.

What is canine liver disease?
Canine liver disease is one of the top reasons for death in dogs. This is the reason you should never ignore any of the symptoms that may indicate canine liver disease. Liver, which is the largest organ in the body, plays an important role in almost all the processes that take place in the body. Thus, any problem that causes dysfunctioning of the liver, can cause severe health consequences. The liver is also responsible for eliminating the toxic wastes from the body. Causes of canine liver disease are bacterial infection, genetics, cancer, pancreatitis, prescribed medications for existing health problem, trauma, etc. The mild symptoms during the initial stages of the disease, make diagnosis difficult, and many a time when the disease is diagnosed, the dog has already reached the severe stage of the disease. Here are some of the common symptoms of canine liver disease:
  • Gastrointestinal problems like diarrhea, vomiting and constipation.
  • Lethargy and depression.
  • Abdominal pain.
  • Weight loss or loss of appetite.
  • Elevated consumption of water and frequent urination.
  • Jaundice
  • Behavioral changes and seizures.
  • Swollen belly.
  • Orange urine
The treatment required for canine liver disease depends completely on the cause. Dietary changes need to be done, once liver disease in dog is diagnosed. Whenever you come across any of these symptoms in your dog, then consult a veterinarian immediately and get the required treatment for canine liver disease.

What can cause diarrhea in my dog?
Canine diarrhea in itself is not a disease and can act as a symptom of some other health problem. Diarrhea is nothing but frequent passing of watery stools with abnormal color. Diarrhea can be a consequence of eating something that does not suit your dog, or even parasite infection. There are two types of diarrhea in dogs, acute diarrhea and chronic diarrhea. Acute diarrhea is not that severe, as compared to chronic diarrhea. Acute diarrhea is a sudden onset of loose bowels, caused due to consumption of garbage or any food that is indigestible, and can be cured within two to three days. However, chronic diarrhea can be caused due to a number of reasons like food allergy, kidney disease, bacterial infection, intestinal parasites, etc. Chronic diarrhea can remain for quite a long period of time. The cause of canine diarrhea should be diagnosed at the earliest, to provide proper treatment.

What causes stomach inflammation in dogs?
Like humans, even dogs can have stomach inflammation problem. Stomach inflammation is medically termed as gastritis. Inflamed stomach is a result of consumption of any indigestible
substance like garbage, hair, plants, or even toxic substances like detergents and chemicals. Other causes of stomach inflammation are allergy to certain foods, over-consumption of food, medications or drugs. Some serious causes of stomach inflammation are bacterial infection, viral infection, and liver failure. Vomiting, lethargy, refusal of food, increased body temperature, diarrhea, weight loss, etc, are some of the symptoms of stomach inflammation in dogs. You can use home remedies when you notice such symptoms. If the dog does not recover within two days, you need to consult a veterinarian as the condition can be serious.

Questions on Orthopedic Health

What are the symptoms of arthritis in dogs?
Arthritis is very common in older dogs and hence, you need not worry if your dog gets arthritis. Initially, it can be quite difficult to recognize that your dog has arthritis. But if you observe the behavioral changes in your dog, you can easily spot arthritis in dogs. Here is a list of some of the arthritis symptoms in dogs:
  • Reduced physical activity
  • Gradual development of lameness in both or just one leg
  • Difficulty in changing positions
  • Swollen joints
  • Inability to jump or climb stairs
  • Licking the affected part of the body
If you notice any of these signs, you should approach a veterinarian soon. The veterinarian will perform required tests for diagnosing arthritis and will prescribe appropriate treatment for your dog.

What can cause leg pain in my dog? / Why is my dog limping?
When your dog finds it difficult to walk, jump or do the physical activities, it indicates pain in the leg. There are several reasons associated with leg pain in dogs. The cause of the leg pain can be as minor as an injury, or some major health problem like arthritis. Other causes of leg pain in dogs, include hip dysplasia, osteoarthritis, panosteitis, hypertrophic osteodystrophy, luxating patella, etc. Diagnosis of the cause of leg pain is necessary for the treatment. So, consult a veterinarian if you find your dog limping.

What are the types of bone fractures in dogs?
Any crack in the bone of the body is called a fracture. This fracture can take place in any bone of the body, like legs, skull, spine, jaw or pelvis. Fractures can be classified based upon the type of the bone that is affected, or even the way the bone is broken. When the bone is fractured in such a way that the overlying skin is left unaffected, the fracture is referred to as closed fracture. On the other hand, when the broken bone projects through the skin, then it is called compound fracture. A greenstick fracture is one where the bone has a crack but remains intact. When a dog has more than one type of fracture in the body, the condition is referred as multiple fracture. Bone fractures in dogs should not be neglected, as some bone fractures, like those in the back, can cause fatal health problems like paralysis. Realignment of the broken bone is possible and the recovery time depends on the type of the fracture.

Questions on Reproductive Health

Is my dog in heat?
This is a very common question asked by female dog owners. Heat cycle is similar to menstrual cycle in humans. Usually, female dogs come in heat twice in a year, with a gap of five to eight months. Blood discharge from vagina and swollen vulva are two common dog heat symptoms. Other than these, your dog may show symptoms like, closeness to male dogs. Frequent urination is one more sign of dogs in heat. Behavioral changes can also be observed during the heat period.

When do female dogs go into heat for the first time? How long does the cycle last?
Usually, the time period when female dogs go into the heat cycle for first time, is sometime between the age of six months to twenty four months. This time period is the same for all dog breeds. Smaller dog breeds go into heat cycle at an early age, as compared to larger dog breeds. If your dog does not go in heat during this age span, then you should take her to a veterinarian. The heat cycle usually lasts for 2 to 4 weeks.

Can my dog get pregnant when she is in heat?
Yes, heat cycle is the period when female dogs can get pregnant. Thus, at any time of the heat cycle, your dog can get pregnant. Usually, heat cycle days are considered as the most fertile days for your female dog. Dog breeders usually recommend that female dogs should not be allowed to get pregnant during their first heat cycle. This can cause certain health problems, if proper care is not taken. You can get detailed information from a dog breeder on dog pregnancy symptoms.

Is my dog pregnant, if yes, how long will be the gestation period?
Usually the gestation period for dogs lasts for about two months and varies with respect to dog breeds. During this gestation period, the dog undergoes physical and behavioral changes. Enlarged abdomen and breasts are some of the physical changes due to pregnancy, while anxiety and restlessness are some of the behavioral changes. Dogs need extra care when pregnant. They should be provided with all the required attention and comfort.

Is my dog in labor, how will I know?
There are a number of behavioral changes when your dog is on the verge of labor. You may notice that your dog will search for a comfortable place and make arrangements for the delivery. Here is a list of symptoms that can help you know whether your dog is in labor.
  • Vomiting can be seen in pregnant dogs, few hours before the delivery.
  • The body temperature of the pregnant dog decreases drastically before delivery.
  • You may observe that your dog is restless.
  • She may want you near her for comfort. You may notice constant staring.
  • Food rejection is considered as one of the early signs of dog labor.
Questions on Infections and Fleas

My dog scratches his ears and shakes head every now and then. Can it be ear infection?
Scratching ears and excessive shaking of the head are some of the common symptoms of ear infection. Anything that causes accumulation of moisture and harms the ear drainage, can lead to ear infection in dogs. Even presence of foreign particles like pollen, ticks, dust, mold, etc, can cause ear infection. Ear infection leads to great discomfort in dogs, hence, a veterinarian should be visited when you notice any of the symptoms of ear infection.

What are the signs of staph infection in dogs?
Staph infection is medically referred to as staphylococcal bacterial infection, and is caused by the staph bacteria. Staph infection can be a result of poor immune system, dog fleas, depression, etc. Symptoms of staph infection in dogs include, rapid hair loss, discoloration of skin, ulcers on skin, etc. These symptoms largely depend on the severity of the staph infection. Staph infection needs immediate treatment and hence, a veterinarian should be approached when these signs of staph infection are observed.

What are the bacterial infections that affect dogs?
There are various types of bacterial infections that can affect dogs. These infections can occur on skin, eyes, urinary tract, respiratory system, nervous system, etc. Bacterial infections in dogs should not be left untreated, as they can lead to complications. Here is a list of some of the common bacterial infections in dogs:
  • Brucellosis
  • Actinomycosis
  • Plague
  • Staph infection
  • Leptospirosis
What are the symptoms of yeast infection in dogs?
There are two types of yeasts that can cause infection in dogs: Candida albicans and Malassezia pachydermatis. Yeast infections are usually caused due to a weak immune system and allergies. The areas that are usually affected by yeast infection are the ears and skin. The presence of yeast is indicated by a very bad odor. Hair loss, scratching, scaling, discharge from the nose and eyes, and waxy skin, are some more symptoms of yeast infection in dogs. If you observe any such symptom in your dog, take it to a veterinarian at the earliest. The veterinarian will diagnose the underlying reason for a yeast infection and accordingly, will provide a treatment.

Questions on Diabetes in Dogs 

What are the types of diabetes in dogs?
Basically there are two types of canine diabetes that can affect dogs, they are diabetes mellitus and diabetes insipidus. Diabetes mellitus is further divided into type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Diabetes mellitus is more common in dogs as compared to diabetes insipidus. Diabetes mellitus is a result of insulin deficiency in the dog's body, while diabetes insipidus is caused due to deficiency of a hormone named Antidiuretic Hormone (ADH). Type 1 diabetes is caused due to insufficient production of insulin, while in type 2, insulin is produced in the body, but the body does not utilize it. Type 1 diabetes usually can be noticed in young dogs or puppies and hence, is termed as juvenile diabetes.

What are the symptoms of diabetes in dogs?
Since, diabetes can turn out to be fatal, every dog owner must be aware of the symptoms of diabetes in dogs. Late diagnosis of diabetes can lead to blindness or even death, thus, knowing the symptoms of diabetes is a must. Symptoms of diabetes may vary and they usually appear gradually. Diabetes is called a 'silent killer', as many times the symptoms are not observed until the dog reaches the severe stage of diabetes. Given below are some of the common symptoms:
  • Being thirsty suddenly and drinking excessive water for continuously for many days, can be a symptom of diabetes. The increased water intake can take place in a gradual manner.
  • Many a time, the first symptoms may go unnoticed. But frequent urination, which is a result of excessive drinking, can be easily observed.
  • You may notice that your dog, who was very active before, has become very inactive due to lethargy.
  • Sweet breath is one more symptom of diabetes in dogs. Since, you are used to your dog's breath, you may notice the difference soon. This may indicate high level of sugar in the body.
  • Shivering and shaking are two more signs of diabetes, which indicate low level of sugar. This is a very severe health problem and needs an immediate treatment.
  • You may notice a sudden increase or decrease in your dog's weight with no reason.
  • Increased susceptibility to infections can indicate diabetes. The dog may get urinary, fungal or gum infections.
What can cause diabetes in dogs?
If you are aware of the causes, then you can avoid diabetes in your dog. There are a number of factors that can cause diabetes in dogs. There are certain breeds like Dachshunds, Keeshonds, German shepherds, etc.which are comparatively more susceptible to diabetes, than other breeds. Obese dogs are at a higher risk of getting diabetes. This is because, their body requires an increased amount of insulin, which cannot be produced by their pancreas. Similar to humans, diabetes in dogs can be hereditary. Thus, if any of the parents of your dog had diabetes, chances are that your dog may also have diabetes. Hormonal changes may affect the insulin production in the dog's body and cause diabetes. Middle-aged female dogs are at higher risks than male dogs. If the dog's diet contains too much of sugar and fatty foods, then it increases the risk of diabetes. Include foods that are low in sugar and carbohydrates, and high in fibers. Diabetes in dogs can also be a result of some other health problem. Diseases like Cushing's disease and canine pancreatitis can lead to improper functioning of the pancreas, thereby, leading to inadequate production of insulin. Some medications may cause dysfunction of the pancreas, further leading to diabetes.

Which dog breeds are susceptible to diabetes?
As mentioned earlier, there are certain dog breeds which have increased risk of diabetes. The list of these dog breeds is given below:
  • Poodle
  • Labrador retriever
  • Doberman
  • Springer spaniel
  • Beagle
  • Old English sheepdog
  • Miniature pinscher
  • Cairn terrier
  • Chow chow
  • Golden retriever
  • Hungarian puli
  • West Highland white terrier
  • Keeshond
  • Dachshund
  • Schipperke
  • Finnish spitz
  • Miniature schnauzer
  • Samoyed
  • Alaskan malamute
How can diabetes in dogs be diagnosed?
Diagnosis of diabetes in dogs is comparatively easier as compared to other health problems. Whenever you notice any of the symptoms of diabetes, you should approach a veterinarian at the earliest. A veterinarian will perform physical and medical tests to diagnose diabetes. The veterinarian will ask you the physical symptoms that made you suspect about the presence of diabetes. Then blood tests are performed to check the blood sugar levels. He/she will perform certain tests to confirm if the dog is suffering from diabetes. Urine of diabetic dogs contains glucose, hence, a urine test is also conducted for diagnosis. Normal blood sugar levels for dogs is 70 to 150 mg/dl. Blood sugar levels above this range indicates diabetes.

What is the treatment for diabetes in dogs?
Diabetes in dogs can be treated and the dog can lead a healthy and long life. So, you may not worry about your dog's life expectancy. The treatment is usually similar to the treatment given for diabetes in humans. Diabetes can be minor or much severe. So, depending on the intensity of the disease, the vet will prescribe the treatment. Change in the diet is the very first step for effective treatment of diabetes in dogs. The veterinarian will provide you with a list of foods that should be restricted, and foods that you should give to your dog to eat. A diabetic diet usually contains foods high in fiber and low in fats and carbohydrates. Insulin administration is one more important part of diabetes treatment in dogs. There are different types of insulin and the veterinarian will tell you which type should be administered to your dog. Some dogs require single injection per day, while some may require two. The veterinarian will guide you with the storage of insulin injections, and with the directions on how to administer insulin. Though diabetes cannot be cured, you can relieve your dog from the symptoms. You should always have a check on the glucose level, when the dog is under diabetes treatment.

What should I do when my dog is diagnosed with diabetes?
The very first thing that you should do when your dog is diagnosed with diabetes, is to learn and gain all possible knowledge about diabetes in dogs. Talk to a veterinarian about all the details that are required for the treatment of diabetes. Never keep any query in your mind and get all your doubts cleared about diabetes in dogs. Insulin administration is an important part of diabetes treatment. Get proper training from the veterinarian about the schedule and the method of administering insulin injections. You should also talk to friends or relatives, who are owners of a diabetic dog. They can help you with some tips on how you should take special care of your diabetic dog. A good knowledge about diabetes can help a lot, for quick recovery of your dog.

Is diabetes insipidus similar to diabetes mellitus? What are the symptoms of diabetes insipidus?
Diabetes mellitus and diabetes insipidus are not the same. Both are two main types of diabetes and are caused due to different reasons. Diabetes insipidus is a rare type of diabetes and is the deficiency of antidiuretic hormone (ADH) in the body. This hormone helps the kidney to absorb water. It is also referred to as water balance disorder, because the dog is unable to produce concentrate urine. The urine in
such dogs is very dilute and does not contain glucose. Frequent urination and excessive thirst, are the two main symptoms of diabetes insipidus. Other signs of diabetes insipidus, that may be observed, are dehydration, seizures, disorientation and sudden weight loss.

What are the causes of diabetes insipidus?
As discussed earlier, canine diabetes insipidus is a result of deficiency of anti-diuretics. This is a hormone, that regulates the kidney function of absorbing water. This hormone is released by the pituitary gland, which is an important organ of the body. Diabetes insipidus can be a result of either inadequate production of ADH or inability of the body to respond to the ADH produced. There are two types of diabetes insipidus, central diabetes insipidus and nephrogenic diabetes insipidus. Central diabetes insipidus is caused due to insufficient production of ADH by the pituitary gland, while nephrogenic diabetes insipidus is caused when kidneys do not respond to the ADH produced in the body. The actual causes that lead to diabetes insipidus in dogs are yet unclear. Central diabetes insipidus can be a consequence of tumor in the pituitary gland, trauma, etc, while nephrogenic diabetes insipidus can be caused due to metabolic disorders or congenital defects.

What treatment should be given if my dog has diabetes insipidus?
Diabetes insipidus treatment depends on the type of disease. Medications and drugs are usually used to treat diabetes insipidus. Central diabetes insipidus is treated by administering a drug called desmopressin, that performs the functions of ADH. This desmopressin is available in the form of nose drops, eye drops and injections. The treatment for nephrogenic diabetes insipidus includes medications like chlorothiazide, thiazide diuretics, etc. Dogs suffering from diabetes insipidus are restricted from consumption of salt. Diabetes insipidus cannot be cured, but the symptoms can be relieved with proper treatment.

Questions on Other Diseases and Health Problems

What are the causes, symptoms and treatment for Cushing's disease in dogs?
Other than dogs, Cushing's disease, also known as hyperadrenocorticism, is observed in humans, cats and horses. This disease is caused due to overproduction of a hormone called glucocorticoid, which is a result of improper functioning of the adrenal glands or the pituitary gland. The disease is usually noticed in dogs that are old or middle-aged. The symptoms of canine Cushing's disease can be observed gradually and hence, many pet owners confuse this health condition as an effect of aging. There are a number of signs and symptoms related to Cushing's disease in dogs. These include, frequent urination, excess drinking of water, increased appetite, loss of hair, slow wound healing, thin coat, lethargy, increased panting, etc. It has been observed that dogs that suffer from Cushing's disease, many a time develop diabetes. The treatment for Cushing's disease completely depends on the health condition of the dog. The treatment is not aimed at increasing the lifespan of the dog, but relieving the dog from the pain caused due to the disease.

What are the symptoms of dog seizures?
Seizure, which is also known as a fit or convulsion, is one of the most common neurological problems in dogs. There are three phases of seizure in dogs, they are pre-ictal phase, ictal phase and post-ictal phase. During the first phase, the dog may exhibit certain behavioral changes like drooling, nervousness, hiding from the master, shaking etc. The ictal phase is the one, where the seizure actually takes place. Muscle contraction, urination, salivation, defecation, etc, are some of the symptoms of this phase. In the next phase, the dog suffers from temporary blindness, disorientation, pacing, etc. A seizure usually lasts for a few seconds to a few minutes. Frequent occurrence of seizures needs medical help.

What is Canine Lymphoma?
Lymphoma is also known as lymphosarcoma, and is one of the most common type of cancer observed in dogs. The tumors that develop in lymphoma are of malignant type. Basset Hound, Boxer, Chow Chow, Poodle, etc are some of the dog breeds that are at a higher risk. The actual cause for lymphoma in dogs is yet unknown. Exposure to harmful chemicals and pesticides is considered as one possible reason for the development of lymphoma. Lymphoma is further classified on the basis of the location of the tumor. Biopsy can help to diagnose the presence of cancer cells and appropriate treatment can be provided. There is no cure to this disease, but the symptoms can be reduced.

How will I know if my dog is suffering from heart disease?
Many a time it happens that the dog owners are unaware that their dog is suffering from a heart disease, until the appearance of symptoms. There are various types of canine heart diseases, but they have similar signs and symptoms. Basically, there are two types of heart diseases in dogs, congenital heart disease and acquired heart disease. Lethargy, coughing, weakness, loss of appetite, breathing difficulty, etc, are signs of mild heart problem. On the other hand, swollen abdomen, sudden weight loss, too much difficulty in breathing, depression, are indications of some severe heart disease. Congestive heart failure and heartworm disease are two common forms of heart disease in dogs. You should always consult a veterinarian when you notice such symptoms in your dog.

Does my dog have cancer?
When you suddenly come across a lump on your dog's body it can frighten you. A lump on the body may not always indicate cancer. Dog cancer symptoms are not observed during the initial stages of the disease. Not every tumor indicates cancer, tumors can be a result of some skin allergy or swelling due to injury. So, if you come across such a tumor, do not panic; instead, visit a vet at the earliest, to diagnose what type of tumor it is. Canine cancers are usually treatable.

What can cause hypothyroidism in dogs?
The thyroid is an important gland which secretes thyroxine. Thyroxine is a hormone that regulates the metabolic process in the body. When the thyroid gland is not functioning properly, it does not secrete adequate amounts of thyroxine, leading to hypothyroidism. The causes of hypothyroidism can be classified into two categories. The first category is known as primary causes, where the thyroid gland is either inflamed or degenerated and hence, is not functioning properly. The secondary causes include other health problems that do not allow the thyroid gland to produce enough amount of thyroxine. In most of the cases, hypothyroidism is a result of an auto-immune disorder, where the immune system attacks the thyroid gland, while in remaining cases, hypothyroidism is caused due to idiopathic reasons.

What is Canine Distemper?
Canine distemper is a highly contagious, incurable, viral disease, that can affect the respiratory, gastrointestinal and central nervous system of the dog. The virus that causes distemper is canine distemper virus (CDV). Vaccination is the only source of preventing this fatal disease. The symptoms of canine distemper are reduced appetite, vomiting, coughing, watery eye discharge, paralysis, etc. The virus may also cause the footpads of the dog to become hard. The signs and symptoms of distemper vary and hence, one should not neglect any possible symptoms of this disease.

What can cause paralysis in my dog?
Paralysis can be caused due to a number of reasons and it is necessary to identify the cause to give appropriate treatment to the dog. An early diagnosis of the cause has been helpful to treat the dog successfully for paralysis. Degenerative disk disease, tick paralysis, viral and bacterial infections, ischemic myelopathy, etc, are some of the major causes of paralysis in dogs. Out of these causes, tick paralysis is the most common cause of paralysis in dogs. It is necessary that every dog owner is aware of the symptoms associated with each of these causes of paralysis in dogs. Paralysis, if diagnosed at the earliest, can be treated successfully and the dog can lead a healthy life ahead.

What are the symptoms of rabies in dogs?
Rabies in one of those horrifying diseases, caused by a virus that directly attacks the nervous system of the dog. This virus is present in the saliva of the infected dog and can be transmitted even to humans. The symptoms of rabies vary, and not every infected dog shows the same symptoms. The incubation period of the virus varies from eight weeks to even six months, hence, the onset of the symptoms also differs. Dramatic behavioral and physical changes are observed when a dog is infected by rabies. Mood change, drooling, loss of leg control, and memory problems are some of the early symptoms of rabies in dogs. The dog becomes hypersensitive to noise and also becomes restless. When the dog reaches the last stage of the disease, it gets paralyzed and may eventually die. There is no cure or effective treatment for rabies. However, vaccination can be the best prevention for this life-threatening disease.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert advice.
These were the answers to some frequently asked questions about dog health. Any abnormal behavior, may it be physical or psychological, should not be neglected and a vet should be consulted at the earliest. A good dog owner should be aware of the signs and symptoms of dog ailments, so that the health problem can be diagnosed at the earliest, and prompt treatment be given.
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