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Looking After Your Dog, Part Ten - Health Problems

Dogs can be inflicted with ailments, which can prove fatal if not apprehended early and treated in an appropriate manner. As far as canine health care is concerned, you need to have a proactive approach. You must look for ominous signs, which indicate that the dog’s health is probably deteriorating. Timely care and treatment can save your dog from the fangs of death. Preventive health care is crucial in order to avoid any grave health disorders. Fortunately, the advances in veterinary science have led to a significant reduction in the occurrence and effects of several dog diseases.

Common viral diseases in dogs include rabies, parvovirus, hepatitis, parainfluenza, distemper and coronavirus among others. Bacterial ailments may include leptospirosis, Lyme disease, and a type of kennel cough. However, all these perilous diseases can be prevented through discreet vaccination of pets. Dog vaccinations work in much the same as vaccines administered to humans. They stimulate the dog’s immune system to produce specific antibodies in order to fight a possible subsequent attack by the pertinent pathogen.

In general, vaccines have led to a decrease in the number of disease occurrences. However, some dogs are known to have an undesired reaction to vaccines, and veterinarians now question the act of overloading a puppy’s immune system with multiple vaccines within a short interval of time. But there are no proven vaccine substitutes, and vaccination still remains the first line of defense to the debilitating diseases in dogs. Dogs may also suffer from skin infections and allergies. One such prominent skin infection is pyotraumatic dermatitis, which is commonly known as hot spots. Hot spots are surface skin infections caused due to an overgrowth of skin bacteria, which overwhelms the resistance mechanism. In general, hot spots are circular patches that lose hair and can be swollen. They can be agonizingly itchy, causing the dog to scratch, lick, or bite to the point of causing self-injury. Hot spots must be treated immediately, since they may spread to an alarming proportion. External parasites can be warded off by proper grooming.

However, an internal parasite called “heartworm” is now recognized as a fatal pest affecting dogs worldwide. The disease gets its name due to the related growth of worms inside a dog’s heart. Heartworm disease has a traumatic progression – each activity or exercise is accompanied by respiratory distress, and an overgrowth of worms may eventually lead to congestive heart failure. The above information explains the possible ailments that might endanger your dog’s health. However, your dog can enjoy great health through proper canine care and regular checkups by a professional veterinarian.


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