What Are the Most Common Diseases for Dogs?

If you’ve welcomed a dog into your life and your home, they’ve likely become an important part of your family. And unfortunately, just like any human family member, a dog can become sick. But when our pets get sick, it can often become very serious very quickly – and very expensive. 

Medical costs are the most expensive aspect of caring for a dog. The average vet visit can cost as little as $50 or as high as $400, depending on your dog’s needs. And should your dog fall ill or develop a disease, the care your pup requires could total thousands of dollars.

That’s why it’s important to understand which diseases commonly affect dogs. If you’re able to do any kind of preventative measures, or avoid certain diseases, you could save a lot of money. You could give yourself and your pet a better life.

Here are the most common diseases that dogs of any breed can develop.

Heartworm

Heartworm is one of the most common diseases a dog can develop. It’s caused by parasites and typically spread by mosquitoes, which infect a dog’s heart, blood vessels, and even lungs. Fortunately, there are plenty of preventative medications available that can help you keep your dog safe.

If your dog does develop this disease, heartworm is treated with a regimen of steroids, antibiotics, and injections. Your vet will also need to see your dog regularly for checkups.

Common symptoms of heartworm include:

  • Lethargy
  • Coughing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Heart disease
  • Unexplained weight loss

Rabies

Rabies is a well-known disease that can affect any dog that’s bitten by another infected animal. Dogs can get rabies from other dogs and other wildlife – it’s spread through saliva. And the only way to prevent this disease is to vaccinate your dog with a preventative rabies shot.

If your dog develops rabies, there is unfortunately no available treatment. Rabies is fatal in dogs, and there is little a vet can do treatment-wise.

Common symptoms of rabies include:

  • Fever
  • Pain, tingling, or burning at the bite or wound site
  • Hyperactivity

Canine Distemper

Canine distemper is a disease you might know by another name: hardpad disease. This highly contagious viral disease hardens dogs’ noses and footpads once contracted. Your dog can get canine distemper from airborne exposure or shared food or water bowls. 

If your dog begins showing signs of canine distemper, it’s important to see a veterinarian. This disease is usually fatal. However, your vet may be able to offer supportive care via rest, fluids, and palliative measures.

Common symptoms of canine distemper include:

  • Runny eyes
  • Fever
  • Coughing
  • Vomiting
  • Body paralysis

Canine Parvovirus

Canine parvovirus, which is better known as parvo, is a highly contagious virus. It commonly affects dogs because it spreads so easily – and any time your dog comes into contact with a sick dog’s fecal matter, there’s a risk for parvo. Parvo can, however, be prevented with a vaccine..

Once a dog is infected with parvo, the disease attacks internal organs. You should take your dog to the vet for treatment, which commonly includes plenty of fluids, electrolytes, and prevention of further or secondary infections.

Common symptoms of parvo include:

  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Dehydration
  • Unexplained weight loss

Lyme Disease

Lyme disease may make headlines for infecting humans – but it can also affect dogs. Just like humans, dogs can get bitten by ticks, who infect them with lyme disease via the bloodstream. And once lyme disease spreads throughout a dog’s body, it causes widespread pain.

If left untreated, this disease can be deadly. However, vets can also treat lyme disease with an antibiotics regimen. Make sure to get your dog vaccinated and to check for ticks if you and your pup have been outdoors.

Common symptoms of lyme disease include:

  • Pain throughout the body
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fever
  • Limping when walking

Kidney Disease

Kidney disease is so common in dogs that one in every 10 dogs will develop it. This disease commonly appears as dogs grow older, and once it begins it cannot be cured or reversed.

However, vets can provide treatment that slows the progression of kidney disease once it’s diagnosed. Vets commonly use a combination of medication and diet changes to combat kidney disease in dogs.

Common symptoms of kidney disease include:

  • Unexplained weight loss
  • A more frequent need to urinate
  • Increased thirst
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting

Consider Pet Insurance Before Your Dog Contracts Any Diseases

Should your dog come down with any of the diseases mentioned here, you’ll wind up financially strapped. Treating illnesses like these can cost thousands of dollars. And no pet owner wants to make the difficult decision of having to choose finances over your dog’s health.

To protect both your pup and your wallet, consider pet insurance. More pet owners are beginning to see the benefits of purchasing a health insurance plan just for their dogs. Pet insurance can cover many of the costs of caring for your dog, such as veterinary visits, routine checkups, and care and treatment in the event of illness. And, depending on the plan you choose, you can determine how much coverage you’d like for your pup.

Look into pet insurance today, while your dog is still healthy. It’s common for insurance companies to deny customers who have preexisting conditions. So, you’ll want to enroll your dog before the worst happens. 

Search online to learn more about different pet insurance companies and polices. Compare their prices and their value. And then you’ll be prepared to make an informed decision on pet insurance for your dog.

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