Dogs have been mankind's best friends for many reasons. They are true, loyal companions, they are hard workers and they provide many years of love, comfort and dedication for millions of people every year around the world.
Just like humans, dogs need to have their health taken care of on a regular basis. Dogs are just as prone to injury, illness and disease as any other animal would be. Regular checkups and preventative health care can help your dog live a long, happy, productive life.
There is a lot of information on websites, including DoggyToggery and others about the different kinds of dog breeds, dog health care and other concerns. Additional items can be found in veterinary publications or at your local veterinarian's office.
Here are four of the most common diseases found in dogs and ways to treat them:
1. Lyme Disease
Lyme Disease is a common dog disease that is very treatable. It is caused by deer ticks that latch on to the surface of a dog's skin. Dogs often suffer symptoms such as stiffness in their legs or a general loss of appetite after a day or two. If left untreated, dogs with Lyme disease can sometimes experience kidney failure.
How to cure Lyme Disease
Antibiotics are usually prescribed, although they can take up to a month to fully take effect. There are also over-the-counter creams, pills and dog collars that can work at reducing the effects. Repeated treatments are often best, as each application wears off gradually. Year-round treatments are the best course of action for treating this disease.
2. Heartworm disease
Heartworm disease is also common with dogs. Heartworm can be caused by a bite from an infected mosquito. It has even been found in regions where mosquitoes are less likely to appear during the warm summer months.
How to cure heartworm
There are a variety of over-the-counter medications and pills that veterinarians prescribe every year. If you live in an area where mosquitoes are frequently found in warmer months, you may want to consider regular preventative medications if relocation isn't an option. Heartworm can also be treated with repeated injections. While these medications are helpful, in extreme cases, they may not be enough, especially if the disease is not caught in time.
3. Kidney disease
Kidney disease is something that can progress over time just like in humans. It is frequently caused by infection, complications from different medications or even poisoning. Common symptoms include changes in urination frequency, changes in appetite and water intake, vomiting and diarrhea.
How to cure kidney disease
Kidney disease in dogs is sometimes caused by dental disease or bacteria, so make sure your dog's teeth are cleaned regularly, or use dental chews for your dog. Your veterinarian may prescribe specific medicines that can help reduce the symptoms. Keep any harmful products such as human medicines, antifreeze or other chemicals that can be hazardous to your dog's health safely out of reach.
Parvovirus, or parvo as it's commonly known, is transmitted through dog feces or other contaminated surfaces. This is a fairly common dog disease, but it can be extremely fatal if not treated. Common symptoms of parvo are diarrhea, vomiting, sluggishness and weight loss. It can also cause significant damage to a dog's liver and heart.
How to cure the parvovirus
Most dogs are treated with core vaccines when they are puppies to prevent diseases like this along with other conditions like rabies and distemper. The odds of successful treatment are generally better when dogs are younger, are healthy and are treated quickly.
These are just some of the most commonly occurring dog diseases. Fortunately, they are all very curable in most cases. If your dog is experiencing a sudden lack of energy, vomiting, diarrhea or generally unusual behavior, take them to your veterinarian immediately. They can often diagnose the problem quickly and prescribe vaccines or other medicines that can reduce swelling, pain and other symptoms.
There are other common sense things to be aware of, such as making sure that your dog does not eat chocolate or other foods that are intended solely for human consumption, and keep anything else, such as bleach, paint, motor oil or any other chemicals or pesticides safely stowed away from your dog's reach.
Your dog is an important member of the family, and just like any other family member, you want to make sure they're healthy and happy for as long as possible.