Whether you’re a new canine lover or a veteran pawrent, make sure you’re in the know when it comes to the most common dog diseases. Help protect your pup and increase the chances of longer life with these tidbits.

Heartworm
When your vet offers your furball heartworm protection, don’t hesitate! This disease is easily acquired through mosquito bites. The larvae can grow into worms, nest in your four-legged pal’s heart and arteries, and potentially lead to death. Prevention is better than the cure–it's as simple as one injection once a year. Talk to your vet to learn about options.

Obesity
Dogs need to watch their weight, too! Letting your canine companion get too heavy can wreak havoc on the joints, cause diabetes, and impact the liver. One quick check is to see if you can easily feel the spine and ribs without having to apply pressure.

As with humans, a noticeable waist is also an indication that your paw-pal is still within the right weight range. If the furball is a little on the meaty side, cut down on treats and choose higher quality food. Plus, help your dog burn those calories and take them out for regular walks or runs.

Ehrlichiosis

Think "dog dengue." Transmitted through infected Brown Dog and Lone Star ticks, ehrlichia "enters through the white blood cells and reproduces," according to Pet Education. Platelets, which help the blood clot, are often destroyed. Anemia ensues, along with lethargy, fever, loss of appetite, among other symptoms. Some vets claim that once a dog contracts Ehrlichiosis, recurrence is high, depending on the dog’s stress level.

Antibiotics is used to treat canines, but tick control is the best way to prevent infection.

Vomiting and diarrhea
Dehydration is a serious danger when vomiting and diarrhea attack. Don’t take the matter lightly and get your barker checked right away. An isolated incident of vomiting and diarrhea may not reflect any major health concerns, but repeated instances that last more than 24 hours call for an emergency trip to the vet.

Distemper

The best way to keep your dog safe from this communicable disease is to make sure his or her vaccines are up-to-date. And even then, once they’re exposed to a dog with distemper, get them to the vet for a prophylaxis treatment.

Canine distemper is easily transferred through blood, saliva or urine. Dogs can contract this from infected canines through sneezing, coughing, and sharing of bowls.

This virus affects the respiratory, gastrointestinal and central nervous system. Affected dogs may show symptoms such as sneezing, coughing, vomiting, diarrhea and excretion of mucous from the eyes and nose. Body shakes that resemble seizures are also a symptom. Another way to help protect your pups from the virus is to make sure that their living areas are disinfected and cleaned regularly.

Parvovirus
Parvovirus is also a potentially life-threatening disease, characterized in that it divides cells, affects the gastrointestinal tract, and attacks the white blood cells. Symptoms include fever, very stinky diarrhea, severe vomiting, lethargy, and can be passed on easily.

Carriers are anything that comes in contact with the infected dog’s bodily secretions from humans, to animals and inanimate objects like bowls, shoes, pillows and blankets, as the virus thrives for as long as months.

There is no medicine to kill the virus. Infected dogs are treated with supportive care, but parvo is rather difficult to overcome (it’s resistant to most disinfectants!) so it’s best to protect your dogs by administering the proper vaccine.

Dental woes
Periodontal disease affects about 80 percent of dogs, affecting the heart and kidney, and can lead to many other illnesses. Keep your dog’s oral health in excellent shape by regularly brushing his teeth with special dog toothpaste.

Giving your dog rawhide chews and other treats that contain teeth cleaning properties is a good way to keep your canine’s chompers clean. But, to make sure that all plaque is eliminated, schedule regular oral prophylaxis procedures with your dog’s doctor.

Kidney disease
Chronic kidney disease is a furparent’s worst nightmare because oftentimes, your four-legged friend won’t show symptoms until the kidney’s seriously shot. Some don’t show until 75 percent of the kidney has been damaged.

Keep tabs on this organ by getting annual bloodwork and urinalysis for creatinine checks. Dogs with renal disease also have to watch what they eat, and need to switch to a diet that is friendlier to the kidney.

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PHOTO: Pixabay

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