Just like humans, your furry friend needs a general checkup, too. Many people assume that pet vaccinations and annual shots are the only reason for your veterinarian visit. These may be routine veterinary procedures, but aren’t in fact the most common reasons for pets to go to the vet. Read on to learn the top ten reasons your dog will need to see a veterinarian.
Have you noticed your dog shaking his head persistently or scratching his ears? This may be a sign of an ear infection. Canine ear infections are commonly caused by yeast and bacteria. Long-eared breeds that have excessive hair growth in the ear canal, such as the Cocker Spaniel, Labrador Retriever and Springer Spaniel, may be more susceptible to ear infections. Prevention is always better than cure, so learn how to take care of your dog’s ears.
If you see your dog licking, scratching or chewing his skin, then he may be suffering from an allergy. Skin allergies are quite common in dogs and are caused by anything from ingredients in their food to environmental irritants such as dust mites, fleas, ragweed, and pollens from grass, flowers and trees. In order to identify the primary cause, it is recommended that all skin conditions be checked by a veterinarian.
Hot spots, also known as acute moist dermatitis, usually appear as red, irritated sores on a dog’s body. It is a result of a bacterial infection and occurs when your dog licks or scratches himself excessively. If you notice hair loss and irritated skin that is crusty on your dog, then a hotspot could be present. Hot spots are itchy and painful, and require a visit to the vet. Learn more about canine hot spots here.
Dogs are prone to cases of upset stomach and this is often caused by eating spoiled food, garbage or overeating. An upset stomach can also be a symptom of a more serious illness or infection.
Diarrhea is common in both canine and feline species, and can take various forms from abnormally soft to liquid stools. Watch out for symptoms such as blood in the diarrhea, dark or black diarrhea, lethargy, weight loss, fever, or a change in appetite. Since there are numerous causes of diarrhea, it is best to consult your veterinarian to determine the best possible treatment.
Dogs with bladder trouble may display symptoms such as blood-tinged urine, excessive licking at the genital area, increased water consumption, difficulty urinating, or urinating frequently, but only small amounts. Female dogs are more susceptible to bladder diseases because of anatomic differences.
Just like humans, dogs can get eye infections. This is usually caused by bacterial particles that get in and around the eye, or from another infected dog. When your dog has an eye infection, he may exhibit behavioral changes like pawing at his eyes, a lack of interest in food, or persistent crying and whining. If these actions are accompanied by symptoms such as swollen eyelids, red inflamed eyes, sensitivity to light, or watery discharge from the eyes, see your veterinarian for a diagnosis and treatment to clear up the infection.
Has your pup’s carefree run become a stiff walk? He may be suffering from arthritis, a common ailment that is caused by the breakdown of soft cartilage that covers the ends of bones within joints. Arthritis is typically a health problem seen in older dogs; however, larger breeds and overweight dogs are also at a higher risk due to the added strains on their joints. Signs of canine arthritis include limping or favoring certain legs, reluctance to jump or climb steps, loss of mobility, and swollen or sore joints. Unfortunately, arthritis can’t be cured, but your veterinarian will work closely with you to manage the disease and to ease your pup’s pain.
Canine hypothyroidism is a disorder that occurs when too little thyroid hormone is produced. This condition is commonly seen in dogs between the ages of four and ten years old. Breeds such as the Doberman Pinscher, Golden Retriever, Irish Setter, Great Dane, Dachshund, and Boxer are also more susceptible to it. The symptoms of hypothyroidism are usually variable and often confused with other illnesses.
Sprains or Soft Tissue Injuries
Dogs love to play and run with their families, but just like humans, they can also pull a muscle, tear a ligament or even break a bone. Sprains involve injuries to the muscles or joints and can range from mild to severe. When your dog limps or can’t put his full weight on a leg, it is usually a sign that he is in pain and may need to be examined by a veterinarian.
Just like humans, our beloved four-legged companions can be stricken with various illnesses and infections. Having your pup taken care of by professionals is the best way to ensure a long and happy life for them. As the pack leader, it is your responsibility to make sure that your dog stays “tail-waggingly” healthy.