Recognize and treat dog diseases faq

Many diseases are not immediately visible to dogs. Even with regular examination, symptomatology may not appear until adulthood, due to hormonal changes or old age. However, the sooner treatable dog diseases are detected, the better the chances of cure. Often, the quality of life of the four-legged friend can be permanently improved by a simple change of food and adaptation of everyday life.

Congenital dog diseases

Dog breeding leads to the occurrence of congenital dog diseases in certain breeds. Also crossbreeds from such breeds can be affected by it. Genetically predisposed, these following congenital diseases are most common in pedigree dogs:

Heart disease as malformation or functional disorder

Among the most common congenital diseases in dogs are malformations or dysfunctions of the heart. Some of these handicaps can be well treated surgically or with medication, others remain a lifelong risk and can limit the quality of life of affected dogs. Among them, these heart defects dominate the cardiac clinical pictures:

a) Subaortic stenosis/aortic stenosis (SAS)

In this canine disease, narrowed aortic valves obstruct the outflow of blood from the left main chamber of the heart. Depending on the location of such a narrowing, SAS is again divided into three forms. Under certain circumstances, SAS can also be acquired through secondary diseases in the course of a dog's life. Thereby aorta (main artery). Pulmonary artery (pulmonary artery) incorrectly connected. Spontaneous closure after birth does not work here physically in the newborn puppy. The lungs are supplied with too much blood, and the heart is overloaded and weak. Consequential damage to the heart is possible with untreated PDA up to death at a young age. However, there are good surgical options to correct this developmental defect.

c) Pulmonary stenosis

In this congenital malformation, the pulmonary valve is narrowed among the four heart valves. The necessary pumping resistance from the right heart for the transport of blood to the lungs leads to a less vigorous development of affected dogs. In the long term, the right ventricle and atrium of the heart may enlarge due to constant high resistance, causing secondary diseases. Early therapy improves dogs' prospects for a normal, agile canine life.

Age-related diseases in dogs

Dogs live shorter lives than humans, which is why many dog owners are often shocked to learn of ailments and handicaps. The dog's body changes just as slowly as the human body in the translated time ratio.

Many diseases of old age can be alleviated without medication. Consideration for the changes and special care allow dog seniors to continue to enjoy a pleasant dog life even with these common diseases:

Joint diseases due to wear and tear

Arthritis and Osteoarthritis are like in humans painful wear and tear of the joints. Special water gymnastics, physiotherapeutic training and sparing in future activities help against it. Some dog owners now feed dissolved gelatin for pain relief, others resort to painkilling drugs for dogs in severe cases.

Especially in breeds such as German Shepherd or Dachshund can be a Hip dysplasia or elbow dysplasia are developed. Often the predispositions for this are already congenital. Also the dorsal vertebrae are now more susceptible when climbing stairs. Other compressive efforts.

The least problems in this area have normal-weight dog seniors with short, straight backs. These joint diseases include spondylosis, in which the joints of the spine become painfully inflamed.

Age-related overweight

The metabolism of older dogs slows down with increasing age. At the latest from the seventh year of life, a change to senior-friendly food combats the risk of obesity. Because right now every gram too much has a negative effect on the development of joint problems and other handicaps.

Also, normal-weight senior dogs remain agile significantly longer than overweight dogs. This means a long high quality of life. Also for dog owners long joy without larger restrictions.

eye, ear and dental diseases in senior dogs

Cataracts Can develop in dogs as early as nine years of age. For most four-legged friends this means hardly any restriction. In the case of very rapid development and signs of disability, this can be treated surgically in special clinics in a simple and painless way.

Hearing loss tends to occur in very old seniors, from about the age of eleven to 14. Year of life. Through a now clearer body language owner and dog still communicate clearly. A little more care is necessary, however, when walking near traffic. It is also advisable to lead the dog on a leash or harness to ensure communication over short distances.

Some dogs get lifelong only minor Tartar. Other dogs already have problems with it around the sixth to eighth year of life. Removal of tartar is recommended if the dog shows clear signs of gentle chewing or if there are demonstrable inflammatory changes. Otherwise, regular chewing of chewing bones or other, hard things can slow down the process.

Organic and tie diseases in advanced dog age

Life-threatening develops Myopathy, in which the musculature of affected dogs degenerates up to the paralysis. Through early detection, the diet can be changed. With physiotherapeutic measures are supplemented. This will significantly slow down the degradation process.

Organic dog diseases with increasing age include Incontinence. Especially bitches are affected when the estrogen level decreases. However, infections of the urinary tract, adult-onset diabetes or kidney disease can also be causative factors. Medication can help, but also consideration of the now shorter times between loosening facilitate the coexistence with such weaknesses.

The reproductive organs also often become diseased with age. Prostate and uterine infections are treated with life-saving surgery, or with medication in the case of mild symptoms. Examine age-related diseases. Through dietary changes. Medication can improve the quality of life almost in all cases for a long time again. Through dietary changes and medication, the quality of life can be improved again for a long time in almost all cases.

The Skin as the largest organ changes as with humans also with dogs. It can tend to sensitivity, become dry, develop lumps, growths and benign tumors. Monitoring and, if necessary, rapid treatment of the symptoms prevents degeneration and ensures a high quality of life in later dog life.

Environmental dog diseases

Allergies are a health problem especially in certain dog breeds. Eczema and skin irritations with loss of fur affect mainly long-haired breeds. Scaly skin with loss of fur, inflamed areas up to an increased tendency to sunburn are a risk in short-haired dog breeds.

In general, allergies to environmental influences occur predominantly in the light season, i.e. in the waxing and flowering season. With some dogs the allergy begins already early, with others only with increasing dog age. If dog seniors suffer from allergies, dry skin can be the cause for it. Moisturizing care products or treatment with preparations containing effective microorganisms can alleviate symptoms and generally reduce susceptibility to allergies.

Nutritional diseases in dogs

Food intolerances can be environmentally induced, often in conjunction with existing inflammatory diseases of the digestive tract. First of all, the exact causes must be determined before the intolerance to specific food components is investigated.

Eventually the symptoms disappear with individual special food. Many types of food are developed by the manufacturers of food for dogs especially for sensitive animals. Only if there is no relief in this case, the veterinarian can give a particularly individual dietary recommendation.

Breed-related tendency to certain dog diseases

The vanity of man has led in the course of many breeding lines to the fact that breed-typical beauty characteristics such as face form, stand or coat color at the same time strengthen the tendency to corresponding dog diseases. The following breed diseases are particularly common, even in mixed breed heirs of the affected dog breeds:

Short-headed breeds

French Bulldog, Pug and occasionally Boxer often suffer from respiratory diseases from birth or increasingly with age. Especially overweight aggravates the symptoms. May affect the quality of life of these breeds. Many of these dogs also have protruding or deep-set eyes. Here suppurations or irritations can cause discomfort.

Large dog breeds

Canine diseases of the heart, blood vessels and digestive tract often affect large breeds such as Great Danes, Bernese Mountain Dogs and St. Bernards. Their muscles and skeleton also tend to suffer from congenital malformations and acquired weaknesses or signs of degeneration, which are typical of the breed. Hip and elbow dysplasia can occur in mild to severe forms.

Small breeds of dogs

From joint problems such as shoulder dysplasia or diseases of the kneecaps small dog breeds are not immune at all. By overbreeding it comes with many small race dogs to neurological disturbances. These are caused by a smaller skull size. Can painfully affect the quality of life of affected dogs.

Fashion dogs – beauty mania with drastic health risks

A breeding factor without practical use for the dog is the "merle factor", which only influences and determines the color variation in pedigree dogs. Dogs with the merle factor are often deaf. Suffering from eye diseases typical for the breed. White dogs also have an increased risk of deafness and develop skin cancer more frequently than other, less purebred dogs.

Sad fashion is also the Ridge (opposite growing hair strip on the back) of the Rhodesian Ridgeback. Actually, these breed dogs have a first form (mild effect) of a congenital open back (spina bifida). In the course of the dog's life, health restrictions can occur, which in the worst case can lead to paralysis and death after only a few years of life.

Also the fashionable highly popular strong curl of the pug's tail is a form of this disease and can lead to a wedge vertebra, another dog disease typical for the breed.

Therapy options for congenital diseases

Many congenital canine diseases cannot be treated with medication or can only be treated with medication for life. Partially complex operations in the puppy age make a nearly normal dog life possible. But in general, when acquiring puppies with congenital diseases, dog owners should be made aware of the high permanent costs, peculiarities of keeping and possible complications later on.

Congenital handicaps, as long as the dog seems visibly vital and full of life, do not have to be an exclusion criterion for the acquisition of such a dog. Likewise, it is worthwhile to always be attentive to possible changes in seemingly perfectly healthy dogs.

Because some congenital diseases do not show symptoms until the dog is half-grown, adult or older. The earlier treatable hereditary lesions are treated, the better the chances for a long and happy dog life.

Remedy for short-term acquired dog diseases

Acquired diseases can usually be treated well by dietary changes, temporary medication or surgery. Physiotherapy, gymnastic measures and as needed adjustments in the daily routine can also favorably influence the healing process. The sooner therapy is started after the onset, the better the chances are that the dog's disease will not become chronic.


Mixed breeds are considered to be more robust in health compared to many pedigree dogs. Nevertheless, every dog can experience restrictions and pain congenitally or in the course of his life. Through care and attention, owners can respond to changes in a timely manner, improving their four-legged friend's quality of life. Therefore: When training dogs, always pay attention to physical symptoms!

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