8 Potentially Fatal Illnesses For Your Dog And How You Can Avoid Them

Andrea A.
5/12/2015

Leptospirosis, parvovirus, leishmaniasis…Names that are almost impossible to pronounce. But if you share your life with a dog, you should definitely know about them.Animals don’t usually complain when they are unwell. Nothing is insignificant, we must be wary. Even slight changes in their behaviour are sometimes signs of a serious illness.Here’s how to spot the 8 main illnesses that are a threat to your dog.

1. Parvovirus

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Source : @321lovemooIt’s a very contagious and deadly virusthat attacks the intestines and heart and is more common in young dogs. Does your dog like to sniff the faeces of other dogs? That’s normal. But be careful: that is precisely how the virus is transmitted. The illness usually mainfests itself as severe gastoenteritis: diarrhoea, weight loss, weakness, vomiting...How can you avoid it?A treatment exists but it is expensive and the chances of survival are slim (around 50%). However there is an effective vaccination. This should be given to them when you adopt them. Like other vaccinations, your dog should have boosters throughout their life.

2. Canine distemper

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Source : @bongo_thebullyIs your dog suffering from a runny nose and abnormal looking eyes? Even worse, has pus started to appear 24 hours later? Consult your vet straight away as it could be canine distemper. It’s a viral infection that is highly contagious and fatal. Infection occurs when a dog comes into direct contact with an infected dog. Other warning signs include a high fever, loss of appetite and diarrhoea.How can you avoid it?Unfortunately there isn’t a treatment for canine distemper. As for parvovirus, the best remedy is vaccination. Puppies are the most vulnerable but it can affect dogs of all ages. Remember to check that their vaccinations are up to date.

3. Leptospirosis

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Source : @dedemusicA dreaded disease that’s transmitted by certain rodents and that’s also very contagious and fatal. In particular, it’s transmitted by rats that have contaminated the soil and water where they urinate. Be careful, your dog probably loves stagnant water ... Always stop them from drinking it.Once in the blood, the bacteria attacks several organs. There are a great variety of symptoms including vomiting, diarrhoea, kidney failure, black stools. Warning: Leptospirosis can be transmitted to humans by skin contact. Adhering to strict hygiene routines is necessary if your dog is suffering from it.How can you avoid it?Antibiotics can help fight the effects of the disease. Sadly few dogs survive it... And for the lucky ones who do, they are often left with some irreversible effects. We strongly recommend that you vaccinate your dog when you adopt them.

4. Lyme Disease

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SourceIs your dog limping or drinking a lot for no reason? Pay attention, it could be a symptom of the well known disease carried by ticks: Lyme disease. If they are treated for it, it can affect different organs and can sometimes lead to irreversible, renal, cardiac and skin problems.Fever, fatigue and depression are precursors of the disease.If your dog shows any signs of these, go to the vet immediately.How can you avoid it?The best defence against Lyme disease is to avoid walks in areas that are likely to be infested with ticks. It takes less than 18 hours for a tick to infect your dog. After each walk, make sure you thoroughly check their fur. Some collars and sprays are specially designed to repel ticks and can be quite effective.If your dog is diagnosed with Lyme disease, your vet can prescribe antibiotics. Your dog should recover within 4 weeks. But be careful as some symptoms can remain with them for the rest of their life. You should be very careful as there is no vaccination against this illness.

5. Piroplasmosis

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Source : @mr_winstagramLike Lyme Disease,Piroplasmosis is carried by ticks. Every year, many dogs are killed by this infection that attacks red blood cells. With Piroplasmosis, your dog may lose their appetite, feel dejected, vomit or even have a high fever. Therefore, it’s very important that you take them to the vets.How can you avoid it?Once again, some collars and sprays can help reduce the risk of ticks. If your dog becomes infected there is treatment available. It is effective provided that treatment begins shortly after contamination. A vaccination is also available but it’s not always effective and is often very expensive.

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Source : @djoublaye

6. Rubarth’s disease (Infectious Canine Hepatitis)

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Source : @alex_smeegThis highly contagious and infectious disease attacks the livers of young dogs in particular. It is usually contracted by oral or nasal contact between dogs (or foxes) who are infected with the disease.The symptoms are those of hepatitis: fever, vomiting, diarrhoea, despondency, weight loss…How can you avoid it?There is no specific treatment. Your vet will treat your dog depending on their symptoms. Although many dogs recover, mortality remains high in young dogs. So you can choose to get your dog vaccinated for peace of mind.

7. Kennel Cough

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Source : @svalans_Why “kennel”? Because it usually affects dogs that aren’t vaccinated as well as puppies in kennels. It is an infection of the airways. Unsurprisingly, a cough is one of the first symptoms that should signal the disease. Your dog may also have a high fever, fatigue and loss of appetite.If left untreated, Kennel Cough can turn into pneumonia. The risk of death is then increased.How can you avoid it?Recovery is possible. Your vet can prescribe cough medicine or antiobiotics. If your dog is often in contact with other dogs (in the park, in fields etc…) you should know that an effective vaccination exists against this disease. Speak to your vet about it though as views do vary.

8. Leishmaniasis

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Source : @mr_winstagramDo you live in the south of Europe? Or are you planning a trip to the Mediterranean with your dog? Beware of leischmanosis. This chronic disease progressively attacks dogs organs and immune system and can be fatal.The culprit: a miscroscopic parasite (Leishmania infantum) which invades your dog’s body via the bite from a fly or mosquito carrying the disease. Whilst these insects are in their most active period(from May to September), dogs can be stung up to 100 times an hour.So be careful if you see your dog getting thinner, if you notice any minor skin wounds (generally in the eye area), visible loss of fur, bleeding...How can you avoid it?If you live in an at risk region,limit walks at dusk when mosquitos and midges are the most active. You can also get your dog a collar which repels insects and is effective against mosquitos and ticks.A treatment exists, but it is often a long process and can be difficult for your dog to tolerate. A vaccine has become available recently, only for dogs over six months. As always, seek the advice of your vet.

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SourceThere are many dangers for your dog. But one thing is certain: the more you know about the subject and the more you listen, the better your dog will be protected. Spend time observing them, inspect their skin, regularly look at their stool (hmm) and pay attention to any changes in their behaviour.

Featured image: via @mr_winstagram