Unfortunately, disease often strikes our furry friends, and sometimes the condition can be quickly fatal without medical intervention. By knowing what to look for, pet parents can help ensure that their beloved companion stays healthy, happy, and safe for years to come. Here we discuss common preventable diseases that can be deadly.
Bloat / Gastric Torsion / Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV)
While not technically a disease, this condition can often be fatal. In this condition the stomach dilates from gas build up and then rotates, cutting off blood supply and triggering a chain reaction of life threatening processes. The condition is common in large breed dogs and particularly dogs that eat too quickly.
Symptoms / signs of this condition are an enlarged or visibly bloated stomach area, excessive drooling, or dry heaving. Pet parents who notice these symptoms should contact their veterinarian immediately. This is a true emergency that requires immediate assistance.
For larger breed dogs more prone to this condition, experts suggest grain free diets to reduce gas production, multiple smaller meals throughout the day to avoid gorging, hold off on exercise for a good hour after eating and using a specially designed bowl to discourage eating too quickly.
Parvovirus is an aggressive condition that attacks and destroys a dog’s heart and intestines. It is contracted by contact with the feces of an infected dog, and can easily be spread through kennels, puppy mills, or shelters. Symptoms of Parvovirus include vomiting, severe lethargy, diarrhea, and sudden weight loss.
The mortality rate for Parvovirus is approximately 50%, although treatment is available and is typically most effective in younger dogs. Parvovirus is one of the deadliest dog diseases; however, the good news is that it is also highly preventable. Pet owners can protect their pets by vaccinating against the disease and avoiding areas that may carry the virus.
Heartworm is transmitted through mosquito bites and is often fatal is left untreated. Symptoms of heartworm include a dry cough, weakness, and listlessness. Although heartworm can be treated in dogs, the treatment is painful, expensive, and not guaranteed to work. Because of this, pet parents should protect their dogs with preventative heartworm medication and routine vet check-ups.
Content reviewed by a veterinarian