Dog Owner's Guide

Common dog diseases

Canine cancer

For healthy dogs, cells are continually dying and being replaced. When a dog has cancer, the replacement cells (also called mutant cells) reproduce quickly and form into large groupings. These new cells do not function the same way that healthy cells do and they will eventually replace older healthy tissue and cause death. Symptoms include unusual swelling, sores that do not heal, weight loss, bleeding or discharge from any body opening, reluctance to move, loss of energy, difficulty breathing, urinating or making a bowel movement and sleeping more than usual. If you suspect you dog has cancer you should take it to the vet immediately so that you can determine if you dog has cancer. The earlier you start to treat the cancer, the higher the chance of your dog surviving it.

Canine infectious hepatitis

Canine infectious hepatitis is caused by an adenovirus that affects the liver, kidneys, eyes and vascular endothelium. Symptoms include a fever that lasts for 36 hours and goes back to normal, abdominal pain and conjunctivitis. Ten to 14 days later, the virus makes it way to the kidneys, where it is eliminated through urine for six to nine months. If a puppy contracts this disease, his physical development will be seriously affected. Puppies should be vaccinated against this disease once they reach six weeks.

Canine Parvovirus

Canine Parvovirus is contracted when a dog has contact with faeces containing the virus. The virus can survive for up to 5 months on inanimate objects like clothing, food pans, and cage floors. Symptoms include severe vomiting, diarrhoea, dehydration, bloody faeces, and in some cases, lowered white blood cell count. The treatment of parvovirus should be undertaken by a veterinarian because as the severity of the disease. Even with the best available care, severely infected animals have a very slim chance of surviving.

The most important treatment will be replacing fluids lost through vomiting and diarrhoea. Intravenous administration of a balanced electrolyte solution is preferred, but in less severe cases, oral fluids may be used. For severely infected animals, blood transfusions may be necessary. Antibiotics are also usually given to help control secondary bacterial infections. If a dog does survive Parvovirus he will be immune to the disease for at least 20 months. To reduce the risk of your puppy contracting Parvovirus, you should get him vaccinated. Every puppy has a different period of genetic immunity to this disease, so only a vet can determine how early and how often your dog can receive this vaccine.

Distemper

Distemper is a canine virus that is contracted through the faeces of other infected dogs. It has no cure, but there is a vaccine available. It is considered one of the more serious canine diseases because of its high fatality rate. Puppies that contract this disease have a 25% chance at survival and adult dogs have a 50% chance at survival. Infected dogs will exhibit symptoms like diarrhoea, chest congestion, eye and nose discharges and coughing. As Distemper progresses it attacks the dog's central nervous system, leading to paralysis and even death.

Heartworm

Heartworm is a parasitic disease that is contracted through mosquitoes. The parasitic cells multiply, grow and divide quickly. Heartworm tends to affect puppies more than adults. Infected dogs exhibit symptoms like mild cough and fatigue. If untreated, this could lead to congestive heart failure. All puppies and dogs should be checked for heartworms and vaccinated against them.

Kennel Cough

Kennel Cough is the common name for Canine Infectious Tracheobronchitis. It is also known as Bordetellosis, or Bordetella. Fever, dry cough, lack of appetite and restlessness are some of the symptoms of Kennel Cough. The best way of treat Kennel Cough may just be to let it run its course. Humid atmospheres help to relieve a dry cough, so get an air humidifier and place it near your dog's bed. If symptoms worsen, do consult a veterinarian immediately.

Rabies

Rabies is a virus that attacks a dog's central nervous system. It is spread through saliva from rabid animals. Usually dogs contract rabies when infected animals bite them. The dog will first display slight behaviour changes, slow eye reflexes and may have a fever. Next, your dog may display aggressive behaviour, irritability, restlessness and excessive barking. In the advanced stage of rabies, your dog will experience a breakdown in the coordination of motor movements. There is no cure for rabies but there is a vaccine available. Dog owners are required by Singapore law to vaccinate their dogs against rabies.