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The Most Common Dog Illnesses: Symptoms and Treatment

The Most Common Dog Illnesses: Symptoms and Treatment

Many common dog illnesses can be cause for concern, or even fatal if left untreated. Our Douglasville vets offer advice about health problems, the symptoms to watch out for, and the treatments.

Common Dog Illnesses

Dog owners need to be vigilant and prepare to go visit their vet for a physical exam if needed. Here are 3 common dog illnesses and their symptoms.


Our dogs are living longer thanks to research, advancements in veterinary medical care, and various vaccines, therapies, and treatments. This sadly means they are living long enough that we also see more incidents of certain diseases.

Causes & Symptoms

Different types of cancer - from skin, bone, and breast cancers to malignant lymphoma and soft tissue sarcomas - can plague dogs as they enter their elder years. Cancer is more common in some breeds than in others because of genetic factors. Environmental factors can also contribute to the odds of getting cancer.

Though early detection can sometimes be difficult if little to no symptoms appear, classic symptoms of cancer include:

  • Lumps or bumps
  • Abnormal bleeding
  • Enlarged lymph nodes
  • Wounds that don’t heal
  • Lameness or swelling in bones or other parts of body

Depending on the type of cancer, a tumor could be removed surgically, and there may be options to treat or cure the disease or prolong your dog’s life such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Early detection and treatment are critical to survival.

Ear Infections

If your dog is suddenly scratching their ear or shaking their head more often, whining, or exhibiting other relatively new forms of concerning behavior, a vet can examine them to find out whether they may have an ear infection.

Potential causes include moisture in the ears, bacterial or yeast infection, allergies, autoimmune disorders, wax buildup, and more.

Causes & Symptoms

In addition to the signs mentioned above, symptoms include:

  • Swelling or redness in the ear canal
  • Dark discharge
  • Pain
  • Odor
  • Itchiness
  • “Crustiness” or scabs

It’s important to see your vet for quick treatment to keep the infection from spreading to other parts of the ear and leading to more serious conditions such as facial paralysis and deafness.


Dogs can contract this highly contagious viral disease from an infected dog’s feces or virus particles, which can survive in the environment for months. Though people and dogs who have not received all of their vaccines are most susceptible, many dogs who receive timely, prompt treatment can be saved.

Causes & Symptoms

Symptoms include:

  • Reduced appetite
  • Dehydration
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea (usually bloody)
  • Fever
  • Weakness

Parvovirus can be prevented with the vaccines your dog should have received as a puppy and with booster shots. If you haven't gotten your dog their vaccines or are unclear on there medical history prior to them joining your family talk to your vet to make a plan to get them protected and vaccinated. It’s imperative that parvovirus is treated as it can lead to bone marrow damage, bacterial pneumonia, chronic heart disease and even sudden death.

What to Do if Your Dog is Ill

If you see any of these symptoms appear in your dog, it’s critical to get them to a vet as soon as possible. 

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Are you worried about your dog's health? Contact our Douglasville veterinary team to book an appointment so your canine companion can get the health care they deserve

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Douglasville Veterinary Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Douglasville companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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