12 Dog Medical Conditions

Treating Illness in Your Dog

Just like us humans our dogs can suffer from various medical conditions throughout their lives. Many of these are treatable and a quick visit to the vets can easily diagnose and help treat.

By recognizing the conditions your dog suffers from you can usually take steps which could help you reduce or manage potential flareups. In this article we provide a quick overview of some of the most common medical conditions that could affect your dog.

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia affects the hip joints of dogs. It is based on the malformation and instability of the hip joint. It is a commonly inherited condition and although can be found in any breed, it does that affects larger dog breed dogs more often.


Symptoms may include lameness in the hind legs, difficulty when rising / jumping / or climbing stairs, and a "bunny hopping" gait. In the most severe of cases dogs may show pain and discomfort and have difficulty standing or walking.


Treatment for hip dysplasia could include weight management, physical therapy and medications to reduce pain and inflammation. Surgery is also an option to either repair or replace the affected hip joint.


Arthritis or osteoarthritis as it is also known is a common degenerative joint disease that affects dogs as they age. It is characterized by the wearing down of cartilage in the joints which leads to inflammation, pain, and stiffness.


The symptoms of arthritis could include difficulty rising, lameness or stiffness in the joints, difficulty climbing stairs or jumping, and a decreased desire to exercise. Dogs may also exhibit signs of pain, such as panting or whining, when their joints are touched.


Arthritis treatments may include weight management, physical therapy, and medications to reduce pain and inflammation. In the more severe cases surgery may be required to either repair or replace the affected joint.

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Diabetes, like the human condition is when a body cannot properly regulate its blood sugar levels. This is either a lack of insulin production or the body's inability to use insulin effectively.


Symptoms of diabetes may include an increased thirst and urination, weight loss, lethargy, change in appetite and sweet-smelling breath.


Diabetes treatment usually involves administering insulin injections and sticking to a regulated diet to try and control blood sugar levels. Regular monitoring and adjustments to insulin dosage may be needed to help keep blood sugar levels in check.


Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that is characterized by recurrent seizures. Seizures result from abnormal electrical activity in the brain and can manifest in various ways, including tremors, loss of consciousness, and uncontrolled muscle movements.


Symptoms of epilepsy may include sudden episodes of uncontrolled muscle movements, loss of consciousness, and abnormal behaviour. Seizures can occur anytime and may last for a few seconds or several minutes.


Treatment for epilepsy may involve medications to control seizures and prevent future episodes. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the part of the brain causing the seizures.

Bladder Stones

Bladder stones, also known as uroliths are hard masses which can be found in a dogs' bladder or urinary tract. They are typically made up of minerals such as calcium or struvite and can be painful and can lead to urinary tract infections.


Symptoms of bladder stones may include frequent urination, difficulty urinating, blood in urine and abdominal pain. Dogs may also show discomfort or pain when they are urinating or have a decreased appetite.


Treatment for bladder stones could include changes to the dog’s diet, medications to dissolve the stones or surgery to remove them completely. Long-term management may be necessary to prevent the formation of new stones.

Heartworm Disease

Heartworm disease is a severe and potentially life-threatening condition caused by parasitic worms in dogs' hearts and blood vessels. These worms which are transmitted by mosquitoes can grow up to a foot long and cause damage to the heart, lungs, and any other organs they come into contact with.


Symptoms of heartworm disease may include coughing, difficulty breathing, fatigue, and weight loss. In severe cases, dogs could show signs of heart failure, such as coughing up blood or collapsing.


Treatment for heartworm involves administering medications to kill the worms and prevent new infections. In severe cases surgery may be necessary to remove the worms or repair damaged organs.

Respiratory Infections

Respiratory infections are common in dogs and can be caused by various viruses, bacteria, or other pathogens. These infections can affect the respiratory tract including the nose, throat, lungs, and bronchi, leading to inflammation and difficulty breathing.


Symptoms of respiratory infections may include coughing, sneezing, nasal discharge, difficulty breathing, fever, signs of lethargy and a decreased appetite.


Treatment for respiratory infections may involve antibiotics or other medications to kill the pathogens causing the infection. Supportive care, such as humidifiers and nasal decongestants, may also be necessary to help alleviate symptoms.

Ear Infections

Ear infections are common in dogs and can be caused by various factors, including bacteria, yeast, allergies, or foreign objects in the ear canal. These infections can cause inflammation and pain in the ear and can lead to hearing loss if left untreated.


Symptoms of ear infections may include shaking or tilting of the head, scratching, or rubbing at the ears, redness or swelling of the ears, and a discharge or odour from the ears. Dogs may also exhibit discomfort or pain when touching their ears.


Treatment for ear infections may involve using ear cleaning solutions, medications to kill the pathogens causing the infection, and surgery to remove foreign objects or repair damaged ear tissue in severe cases.


Parvovirus is a contagious viral disease that affects dogs, especially puppies. It is transmitted through contact with infected faeces and damages the lining of the animals’ guts and the infection fighting cells in bone marrow.


Symptoms of parvovirus could include vomiting, diarrhoea, loss of appetite, and lethargy. Dogs may also show signs of dehydration (such as dry gums or skin) and a fever.


Treatment for parvovirus typically involves supportive care, providing fluids and electrolytes to combat the dehydration and medications to help control vomiting and diarrhoea. In the worst cases hospitalization may be necessary to help care for the dog.


Parainfluenza is a viral disease that affect the respiratory system. It’s known as canine cough and is highly contagious. It is transmitted through contact with infected bodily fluids.


Symptoms of parainfluenza may include coughing, sneezing, nasal discharge, and difficulty breathing. Dogs may also be lethargic and encounter a lose of appetite.


Treatment for parainfluenza mainly revolves around supportive care such as humidifiers, nasal decongestants, and medications to help control and reduce symptoms. In severe cases, hospitalization may be necessary.


Rabies is a viral disease that affects dogs and is transmitted through contact with the saliva of infected animals, typically through a bite. It is a severe and potentially life-threatening disease that can also be sent to humans.


Rabies's symptoms may include behaviour changes, such as aggression or lethargy, difficulty swallowing, drooling, and paralysis. Dogs may also exhibit signs of neurological problems, such as seizures or tremors.


Treatment for rabies is not possible once symptoms have developed, and the disease is almost always fatal. Prevention is the key, and dogs should be vaccinated against rabies to protect against infection.


Mastitis is a bacterial infection that affects the mammary glands in dogs. It is most commonly seen in female nursing dogs but can also occur in male and non-lactating females. The mammary glands produce milk to feed the puppies; if the glands become infected, it can cause discomfort and pain for the dog.


The symptoms of mastitis in dogs may include swelling and redness of the mammary gland, discharge from the nipple, and pain or tenderness when the gland is touched. The dog may also have a fever and be lethargic and off their food.


To start treating mastitis in dogs, the first step is to identify the cause of the infection and then address it. This may involve administering antibiotics to kill the bacteria causing the infection and cleaning the affected area to remove any pus or discharge. The dog may also need to be placed on a strict diet to allow the mammary gland to rest and heal. In the more severe cases surgery may be needed to remove any infected tissue.

Left untreated this infection could lead to more serious conditions including sepsis (a potentially life-threatening infection that spreads through the body). Early treatment of Mastitis can help to minimize the risk of these complications massively and ensure a quicker recovery for your dog.

In this article we've covered some of the most common dog medical conditions you need to know about. If your dog is showing any of these symptoms, a vet must check them out as soon as possible. You don't want to wait until the problem worsens and becomes more difficult to treat. By staying informed and proactive about your dog's health, you can help ensure that your beloved companion stays happy and healthy for years to come.

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