Common Diseases That Can Affect Your Dog

With their lovability and loyalty, it’s little wonder that so many households choose to welcome a dog to their family. In Canada, many families go to Mercier Vet Hospital to get some pieces of advice for basic health needs, such as vaccinations and dietary recommendations. Despite this, pet owners aren’t always ready for the diseases that can affect their dog’s well-being. By understanding a bit more about common canine diseases, you can be better prepared to know how to help your pet — as well as when they need professional treatment.

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Despite its name, ringworm is actually used to describe a fungus. This disease is often detected by the presence of skin lesions and patchy, red bald spots on a dog’s head, paws, and legs. However, such symptoms aren’t always immediately noticeable. Young puppies and malnourished dogs are at the highest risk. The fungus is often diagnosed using ultraviolet light, and can be treated by bathing your dog with a medicated shampoo or an oral treatment. Other items your dog has touched should also be disinfected.



Heartworms are small parasites that make their home in the bloodstream and heart. Infections typically occur after a dog is bit by a mosquito that carries the larvae, but the worms can grow over 30 centimeters in length. Heartworms can prove fatal to a dog, with symptoms including vomiting, weight loss, and labored breathing. Chewable pills can prevent heartworm, while infected pets will need to be hospitalized and administered adulticide injections.


Kennel Cough

You might be alarmed when your dog shows signs of a dry cough that won’t go away, but thankfully, kennel cough is most comparable to the common cold. Dogs sometimes also display nasal discharge or cough up phlegm, but the condition will typically go away on its own after a few weeks. You can help ease symptoms by using a humidifier or using a cough suppressant, if prescribed. Dogs that are frequently exposed to other animals in a confined environment, as well as younger dogs, are at the highest risk of developing kennel cough. It’s still a good idea to see a vet, however, as more severe cases can lead to pneumonia and other conditions.


Parting Thoughts

By helping your dog live an active lifestyle and providing routine preventative care, you can often prevent these and other health complications from affecting your pet. By adequately caring for your dog’s health needs, you can ensure many happy experiences together in the years ahead.

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