Dogs are human’s best friends. And if you own one, it can be quite painful to see them sick or hurting. While you can take them to the veterinarian for check-ups and yearly vaccines, you must know the fatal ailments that can affect your fluffy friend and how to prevent it where possible.
Here are three fatal diseases that affect dogs of all ages and breeds that you should know about:
1. Cushing’s Disease
Cushing’s disease, or syndrome as the vets prefer to call it, is when your pet’s body starts producing the cortisol hormone in larger than average amounts. The cortisol hormone is usually created to fight infections, handle stressful situations, and control weight. However, an overproduction or too little can lead to health issues.
Cushing’s is also known as “hypercortisolism,” and vets sometimes find it challenging to diagnose. This is because it presents the same symptoms as other diseases. Your dog’s common symptoms seem hungrier and thirstier than usual, pees more often, develop a pot-belly and skin infections, and pants all the time.
The dog will usually require surgery or take a medicine that keeps the cortisol levels in check to treat it. However, you might need to start considering when to euthanize a dog with Cushing’s disease when you notice an enlarged liver or spleen, extreme weight loss, cold ears, back, and abdomen. Fortunately, these are usually uncommon if you see the syndrome on time.
2. Canine Parvovirus Disease
The canine parvovirus (CPV), or Parvo, is an extremely contagious viral illness that causes severe diarrhea in dogs. It also affects the hearts, leading to myocarditis ( inflammation of the muscles in the heart). However, this is a rare form of CPV and is common in very young pups. Puppies between six and twenty weeks are most susceptible to Parvo, but Parvo can also infect older dogs.
Dogs get infected with Parvo if they come in contact with contaminated feces. Most dogs usually get a Parvo vaccine as part of their annual vaccine schedules. So unvaccinated pups are generally the ones at risk. If your dog hasn’t taken a Parvo booster, it can also be at risk.
Symptoms of Parvo in dogs include:
- Weight loss
- Acute diarrhea
Affected dogs also have trouble eating. Dehydration, depression, and weakness are other symptoms, but they are less common.
Once a pup is diagnosed with Parvo, it needs instant medical attention. Dogs suffering from CPV require intensive care and are more likely to survive with early detection and treatment. While being treated, your dog also needs to be isolated from other dogs. The best option is to treat it at the vet and not at home, especially if you have other pets.
3. Lyme Disease
Ticks spread Lyme disease, and it can be deadly if not treated immediately. It is, however, not common, except if you live in a grassy or wooded area. Your pet is also at risk if you live in coastal areas. Once a tick attaches to your dog, it can take between 36 – 48 hours for it to get infected if it hasn’t been vaccinated for Lyme disease.
Lyme disease symptoms in dogs include loss of appetite, fever, stiff joints, and enlarged lymph nodes. If left untreated, your fluffy friend could develop kidney failure. To treat Lyme, an antibiotic regimen should get most dogs back on their feet within four weeks.
It would be best to vaccinate your dog or use preventive tick drugs to minimize the possibility of Lyme disease occurring. Also, make it a habit to check your pet for ticks anytime it goes for a run outdoors.
Other fatal diseases affect your pet, but these three are common, and you should watch out for their symptoms to prevent it from becoming fatal.