Dog Health Issues

See our Breed Guide for more specifics on your pet.

Addison’s Disease: Also known as hypoadrenocorticism, this extremely serious condition is caused by an insufficient production of adrenal hormones by the adrenal gland. Most dogs with Addison’s disease vomit, have a poor appetite, and lethargy. Because these signs are vague and can be mistaken for other conditions, it’s easy to miss this disease as a diagnosis until it reaches more advanced stages. More severe signs occur when a dog is stressed or when potassium levels get high enough to interfere with heart function, causing severe shock and death. If Addison’s is suspected, your vet may perform a series of tests to confirm the diagnosis. Breeds prone to this ailment: Bouvier des Flandres, Great Pyrenees, Keeshond, Miniature Poodle, Newfoundland, Pointer, Poodle, Schnoodle, Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier.

Allergies: Skin allergies are typically caused by such environmental allergens as fleas, grass, pollen, and dust.They can also be food related, but this is less common. Common food allergens include beef, rice, wheat, and corn. Allergies can cause intense itching and discomfort, which means dogs will dig and chew sometimes till they bleed. This is risky because secondary infections can develop in the damaged tissue. To treat allergies, the cause must be identified and removed from the dog’s environment if possible. A veterinarian can help you with this, as well as let you know which allergy symptoms can be controlled with medication. Breeds prone to this ailment: Afghan Hound, Airedale Terrier, American Pit Bull Terrier, American Water Spaniel, Australian Shepherd, Australian Terrier, Basset Hound, Bearded Collie, Bichon Frise, Black Russian Terrier, Border Collie, Boston Terrier, Boxer, Cockapoo, Cocker Spaniel, Collie, Field Spaniel, French Bulldog, German Shepherd Dog, Golden Retriever, Goldendoodle, Ibizan Hound, Irish Water Spaniel, Italian Greyhound, Keeshond, Labradoodle, Lhasa Apso, Miniature Australian Shepherd, Mixed, Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen, Pharaoh Hound, Pointer, Pomeranian, Pug, Rat Terrier, Saint Bernard, Scottish Deerhound, Shiba Inu, Shih Tzu, Welsh Terrier.

Asthma: Asthma is basically a term for difficulty breathing (called “dyspnea”). It usually includes wheezing and shortness of breath due to spasms and constriction of the large upper airways (the trachea and bronchi). Dogs, like people, can develop asthma, although in dogs the disorder typically is referred to as allergic bronchitis. In dogs, this condition is almost always caused by an allergic reaction to something in the environment, which in turn causes an inflammatory response in the upper airways. Most of the time, the allergen is something that the dog inhales. Long-standing allergic bronchitis can damage the tissues lining the respiratory tract, causing the more permanent changes associated with chronic bronchitis.

Cataracts: As in humans, canine cataracts are characterized by cloudy spots on the eye lens that can grow over time. They may develop at any age, and often don’t impair vision, although some cases cause severe vision loss. Breeding dogs should be examined by a board-certified veterinary ophthamologist to be certified as free of hereditary eye disease before they’re bred. Cataracts can usually be surgically removed with good results. Breeds prone to this ailment: Afghan Hound, Alaskan Malamute, American Bulldog, American Water Spaniel, Australian Shepherd, Black and Tan Coonhound, Boston Terrier, Bouvier des Flandres, Chinook, Cockapoo, Cocker Spaniel, Field Spaniel, Fox Terrier, German Pinscher, German Wirehaired Pointer, Goldador, Golden Retriever, Great Pyrenees, Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, Havanese, Ibizan Hound, Irish Water Spaniel, Italian Greyhound, Japanese Chin, Keeshond, Kerry Blue Terrier, Labrador Retriever, Lowchen, Miniature Poodle, Miniature Schnauzer, Newfoundland, Old English Sheepdog, Peekapoo, Pekingese, Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Pointer, Puli, Saint Bernard, Schnoodle, Siberian Husky, West Highland White Terrier.

Cheyletiella Dermatitis (Walking Dandruff): This is a skin condition that is caused by a small mite. If you see heavy dandruff, especially down the middle of the back, contact your vet. The mites that cause this condition are contagious, which means all pets in the household need to treated.

Collie Eye Anomaly: Collie eye anomaly (CEA) is a congenital, inherited, bilateral eyedisease of dogs, which affects the retina, choroid, and sclera. It can be a mild disease or cause blindness. CEA is caused by a simple autosomal recessive gene defect. There is no treatment.

Cushings Disease (Hyperadrenocorticism): This condition occurs when the body produces too much cortisol. It can be due to an imbalance of the pituitary or adrenal gland, or it can occur when a dog has too much cortisol resulting from other conditions. Common signs are excessive drinking and urination. If your Poodle exhibits these two symptoms, take it to the veterinarian. There are treatments to help with this disease, including surgery and medication.

Demodectic Mange: Also called demodicosis, all dogs carry a little passenger called a demodex mite. The mother dog passes this mite to her pups in their first few days of life. The mite can’t be passed to humans or other dogs; only the mother passes mites to her pups. Demodex mites live in hair follicles and usually don’t cause any problems. If your Pug has a weakened or compromised immune system, however, it can develop demodectic mange. Demodectic mange can be localized or generalized. In the localized form, patches of red, scaly, skin with hair loss appears on the head, neck and forelegs. It’s thought of as a puppy disease, and often clears up on its own. Even so, you should take your dog to the vet because it can turn into the generalized form of demodectic mange. Generalized demodectic mange covers the entire body and affects older puppies and young adult dogs. The dog develops patchy skin, bald spots, and skin infections all over the body. The American Academy of Veterinary Dermatology recommends neutering or spaying all dogs that develop generalized demodectic mange because there is a genetic link. Breeds prone to this ailment: Afghan Hound, Anatolian Shepherd Dog, Boxer, Cane Corso, Chinese Shar-Pei, Pointer, Pug, Rat Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Toy Fox Terrier.

Diabetes: Diabetes mellitus is a disease which affects the production of insulin. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas and necessary in the regulation of blood glucose. If your dog has diabetes, either his body does not produce enough insulin, or he produces sufficient amounts but his body is insensitive to it. Breeds prone to this ailment: Australian Terrier, Beagle, Bichon Frise, Cairn Terrier, Dachshund, Fox Terrier,