If you’re a dog owner, you probably want to know why your pet might be having health problems. Luckily, veterinarians have years of training to know what to look for and how to treat a variety of illnesses.
Many of the most common dog health problems are preventable and can be treated early if diagnosed correctly.
Excessive body weight, also known as obesity, is a health issue that affects dogs of all ages. It’s caused by a number of factors, including owner behavior and diet, age, underlying disease, and environmental issues.
Obesity can lead to serious medical problems in your dog, and can be a significant health risk for the entire family. These include heart, kidney and liver disease, diabetes, osteoarthritis, and cancer.
Older dogs are more prone to obesity, but it can happen to young dogs too, especially if they are sedentary and don’t get enough exercise. This problem is a growing concern because it increases your pet’s risk for many diseases and reduces their lifespan.
Cataracts are a common cause of vision loss in older dogs. They form when proteins in the eye clump together and form a cloudy film that blocks light from reaching the retina.
It’s important to diagnose cataracts quickly, as they can progress rapidly and affect the entire lens. This can lead to permanent blindness if left untreated.
Fortunately, some cases of cataracts are treatable with surgery. Pre-operative testing such as an electroretinogram (ERG) and ocular ultrasound can evaluate the retina to determine whether or not cataract surgery is a viable option.
If left unchecked, dental disease can play a role in many health problems your dog may have, including heart disease and kidney disease. Gum inflammation (periodontitis) can also cause pain and damage to the tissues around your dog’s teeth, leading to tooth decay and bone loss.
The bacteria that cause dental and periodontal disease are found in plaque, a soft film of food and saliva that forms on the surfaces of your dog’s teeth. If plaque is not removed, it hardens into a substance called tartar.
Viruses, bacteria, parasites, fungi and other microorganisms can invade your dog’s body. These organisms can cause infection by causing inflammation, and in some cases destroying vital organs or tissues.
These infections can lead to serious health problems in dogs, which can result in pain, suffering and even death. They can also be passed on to other dogs through bites or feces.
Bacterial infections are caused by microorganisms that invade your dog’s body through open wounds, through contact with an infected object or just from being around the same environment as your pet. Without antibiotic intervention, these microorganisms can multiply and cause an array of diseases and symptoms.
Dogs can break bones for a variety of reasons, including traumatic injuries (such as falls and collisions), sports accidents, and underlying health problems like osteoporosis.
Many fractures heal on their own, but some can cause serious health problems if not treated properly. These include displaced fractures that haven’t healed correctly, nonunions (bones are broken but don’t align), angular limb deformities, and long-term arthritis and joint disease.
When a bone breaks, it’s important to get treatment as quickly as possible. Failure to treat a broken bone can result in infection, whole-body sepsis, delayed union, malunion, and other complications. X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs can help your provider identify the location and extent of the injury and make treatment recommendations.
There are many reasons why dogs have health problems. Some are caused by environmental stressors such as tobacco smoke, pesticides and obesity.
Others are due to a dog’s genetic makeup or an underlying disease that can be diagnosed and treated at an early stage, before it spreads. Cancer is one of these types of illnesses and is a leading cause of illness and death in dogs.
If you notice your dog has a lump or something feels off, make an appointment with your veterinarian right away. This will help diagnose the type of tumor and determine if it requires surgery or other treatment options.