5 Serious Dog Illnesses That Are More Common Than You Think

The symptoms your dog is experiencing could be signs of a serious illness. Our Greensboro vets explain basics about five dog illnesses that can be quite serious, but are surprisingly common.


What do my dog's symptoms mean?

Is your dog lethargic, coughing or scratching more than usual? These symptoms are quite common, but they can be signs of a disease or infection. Keep reading — our Greensboro vets will walk you through five serious, but common, illnesses, and what you should do if your pet is experiencing them.

1. Parvovirus

Parvovirus is a highly contagious, extremely serious viral disease that can threaten your dog's life. Common symptoms include severe vomiting, lethargy, dehydration and a lack of appetite, and bloody diarrhea.

This illness can spread to any animal, person or even object that touches an infected dog's feces. The most important step in prevention is to make sure your dog is vaccinated for parvovirus.

If your dog is experiencing any of these symptoms, you will need to contact your vet immediately. Parvovirus can be fatal.

2. Diabetes

Diabetes is as complex for your dog as it is for humans. The exact cause is unknown and there are a variety of symptoms, including lethargy and dehydration.

Type I diabetes is considered the most common form for dogs and requires your pet to undergo insulin therapy to survive.

Luckily, this illness is considered to be a manageable disorder once diagnosed — but untreated, diabetes can lead to additional health problems, like cataracts, coma and even death.

If you suspect diabetes in your dog, make an appointment with your vet as soon as possible for a diagnosis.

3. Ringworm

Unlike heartworm, ringworm isn't caused by a worm or another parasite — it's a fungus, and it's highly contagious.

This illness can cause skin lesions or patchy bald spots, but a dog can also carry the fungus without showing any symptoms whatsoever. 

Ringworm can spread quickly to other animals and even infect humans. Bring your pet in to see the vet if they are showing any of these symptoms.

4. Ear Infections

A common health problem for dogs, ear infections can be caused by everything from allergies to ear mites and bacteria. Typical symptoms can include repeated scratching, ear odor and a lack of balance.

While in most cases, your vet will be able to quickly clear up the infection through cleaning and medication, serious chronic infections can ultimately require surgery. One of the most common symptoms — head shaking — can also be so forceful that it can rupture vessels within the ear.

If your dog is shaking their head more frequently or violently than normal, you should make an appointment for a check-up. Your vet will be able to determine if treatment is necessary.

5. Kennel Cough

Similar to a chest cold in humans, this disease occurs when respiratory infections cause inflammation to your dog's windpipe and voice box. Dogs with kennel cough will have a dry, hacking cough that can sometimes bring up a foamy phlegm or nasal discharge.

Kennel cough often clears up on its own, but is another illness that is very contagious for other dogs. If you think your pet has kennel cough, you should immediately isolate him or her from other dogs and call your vet.

Is your dog showing signs of pain or discomfort? Contact our Greensboro animal clinic today to book an appointment with a veterinarian.

Serious & Common Dog Illnesses | Greensboro Vet

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