Canine Common Medical Problems


Allergies (Inhaled Allergens and Food)

Common signs of allergies are inflamed, itchy skin around a dog’s feet, face, ears, and “armpit” folds. In addition, recurring ear infections may indicate an allergic reaction. Your veterinarian at Yankee Hill Veterinary Hospital can pinpoint the allergy-causing source by blood testing and food trials with a hypoallergenic diet. Food allergies can also be responsible for recurrent vomiting and diarrhea episodes. There are a host of medications, both topical and oral, that can alleviate the discomfort caused by allergies.

Bladder Control

What are bladder control issues?

Any dog that starts losing bladder control, having accidents, or frequent urination should see the veterinarians at Yankee Hill Veterinary Hospital for blood and urine analysis. Radiographs can be used to check for kidney or bladder stones that may indicate bladder problems. Incontinence can indicate diabetes, other endocrine disorders, chronic kidney failure, or infection. If all medical concerns have been checked, the dog may be having behavior issues that can be managed through training. Older female dogs and medium to large size dogs are most often affected by urinary incontinence.

Autoimmune Disease

What is autoimmune disease?

Autoimmune diseases can cause immune system failures that pose serious health problems and threats to dogs. With autoimmune diseases, the immune system fails to recognize some part of the body, and attacks this unknown part. Dogs that are fighting other dog diseases are more susceptible to autoimmune diseases.

Breathing Problems

How do I know if my dog has breathing problems?

If your dog is coughing, wheezing or experiencing difficulty breathing, a veterinarian visit should be scheduled. Occasional panting could indicate a nervous or overheated dog. Coughing and other respiratory symptoms could represent more serious possibilities for canine health problems such as heartworm, tracheal collapse, laryngeal paralysis, heart failure or pneumonia.


What should I know about canine cancer?

Skin tumors are the most common form of tumors seen. Surgical removal of skin tumors, followed by laboratory evaluation, will help determine if further treatments are warranted. Cancer diagnosis and treatments for dogs are becoming increasingly common today. Chemotherapy is often used in treatments of certain cancer.

Experts have recommended the following courses of action to aid in the prevention of cancer in pets:

  • Spaying or neutering dogs by 6 months of age.
  • Limiting dogs’ exposure to flea and tick dips, asbestos, and tobacco smoke.
  • Keeping dogs off lawns that have been recently sprayed with herbicides.
  • Diets rich in antioxidants
  • Supplements

Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome

What is cognitive dysfunction syndrome (Canine Alzheimer’s)?

Dogs are living longer lives due to recent advancements in veterinarian medical care. As dogs age they have a higher risk for developing cognitive dysfunction syndrome (also called Canine Alzheimer’s).

A dog might be suffering from memory problems if he or she:

  • Forgets how to navigate staircases
  • Sleeps during the days and paces the floor all night long
  • Stops greeting people and stops responding to commands
  • Presses his or her head into the corners of walls
  • Stares at the walls
  • Doesn’t recognize his or her owner

Medications and diets are available. Consult Yankee Hill Veterinary Hospital for more information.


What should I know about dogs diabetes?

Diabetes is defined as either a lack of insulin hormone or a lack of insulin activity. Dogs with diabetes have difficulty controlling the amount of sugar in their blood, which can lead to serious infections and organ failure. Obesity can be a risk factor for diabetes. Presently, diabetes in dogs is incurable, but can be managed and controlled with proper insulin administration and dietary management.

Ask your veterinarian at Yankee Hill Veterinary Hospital about current treatment for diabetes.

Dog Flu

What is dog flu?

The flu strain known as H3N8 previously found in horses jumped to racing dogs or greyhounds and has now spread to most species of companion dogs.

Researchers are not sure when or how the flu strain known as H3N8 made its way from horses to dogs but the mortality rate for this flu appears to be relatively low for dogs — about 5 to 8 percent.

Most dogs that contract it — about 80 percent — develop a mild form of the illness. However, it is best to monitor your dog’s health closely and if your dog develops symptoms such as coughing, a low-grade fever, or nasal discharge make an appointment as soon as possible. For most dogs, the flu may just need to run its course but with a visit to the vet you can identify how serious your dog’s symptoms are.

Eye Problems

How do I know if my dog has eye problems?

If your dog’s eyes are squinting, blinking, tearing, unequal in pupil size, or foggy, a veterinarian visit is in order. Many eye conditions are serious dog health problems; here are a few of the most common:

  • Conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the membrane that lines the eyelids. Redness of the lining, squinting, and discharge are the usual signs of this infection. Drops may be prescribed.
  • Keratoconjunctivitis Sica (KCS) is a condition where tear production is decreased, causing the outer surface of the eye to become dry. This causes the eye to be prone to infection and corneal ulceration. This can also be caused by a reaction to certain medications.
  • Wrinkled-faced dogs and others are pre-disposed to suffer from entropion, a condition in which the eyelids turn inward and the eyelashes scratch the cornea. Surgery can correct this condition.
  • “Cherry eye,” which is a swelling of the gland in the third eyelid (nictitating membrane). A bright red bulge will appear in the corner of the dog’s eye. Surgery corrects this condition.
  • Although Cocker Spaniels, Poodles, Huskies, Labrador Retrievers, and Schnauzers are genetically predisposed to cataracts, any breed can be afflicted with the condition. Cataracts turn the pupils white and can cause blindness. Cataract surgery can restore sight in many dogs.
  • Glaucoma, a condition that can afflict any breed, causes a fluid buildup that increases eye pressure. This can lead to partial or total blindness. Medication or laser surgery may control this condition.

Hearing Problems

What can cause hearing problems?

Congenital deafness has been found in over 85 breeds of dogs. Different causes of hearing loss include:

  • Noise: Depending on the loudness, noise can cause temporary or permanent hearing loss.
  • Infections: Otitis media (middle ear) and otitis interna (inner ear) are infections that can cause permanent deafness.

Your dog may be experiencing some hearing loss if he or she is less responsive to greetings or commands. Consult Yankee Hill Veterinary Hospital if you notice any symptoms of hearing loss.

Heart Disease

Can dogs develop heart disease?

Dogs can develop several types of heart disease:

  • Defective valves that lose the ability to close properly, which causes abnormal blood flow
  • Abnormal heart beats
  • The thinning and weakening of the heart muscle (myocardium) walls

All types can result in significant illness or heart failure. A cardiac workup including EKG, X-rays, blood pressure and blood work may be used to indicate heart disease.

High Blood Pressure

Can dogs suffer form high blood pressure?

High blood pressure (hypertension) is not as common in dogs as humans; however, this condition can result in other health problems, such as blindness or kidney damage.

Joint Pain

Do dogs experience joint pain?

Aging dogs may experience arthritic pain, swollen joints, stiffness, and age-related immobility. Degenerative joint disease usually affects larger breeds of dogs, such as Labrador Retrievers or German Shepherds. Inadequately balanced diets, obesity, genetics, and aging can contribute to a higher risk for diseases such as osteoarthritis.


Lameness (unable to use one or more limbs effectively)

Canine lameness has many different causes:

  • Injuries such as cuts, wounds, infections, and splinters to the pads of the feet can lead to lameness. Cruciate ligament rupture is very common in large breed dogs.
  • Joint disease or arthritis cause lameness.
  • Leg-Calve-Perthes disease (also known as Femoral Head Necrosis) is an inherited condition that affects

Small dogs:

  • Spinal disease such as slipped discs or decay of the spinal cord discs can cause severe lameness.
  • Osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer, causes persistent limps and much pain.
  • Some ticks can cause weakness in dogs’ hind limbs and, if left untreated, can eventually progress to paralysis of the front legs.

Oral Disease

What types of oral disease can dogs develop?

Watch for the following oral disease symptoms in your dog:

  • Excess plaque and calculus (dental tartar) deposits on your dog’s teeth cause bad breath. Without treatment, this could lead to painful gum and bone infections.
  • It is perfectly normal for young dogs to lose their “baby” teeth, just like children do. After the “adult” teeth have grown in, tooth loss becomes a great concern for canine health. Tooth loss is caused by an infection of the tissues and bones surrounding the teeth.
  • Bleeding gums could indicate dog health problems known as pyorrhea or gingivitis. Pyorrhea causes inflamed and infected gums that could eventually cause kidney infections or endocarditis in older dogs. Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gum line from food particles.
  • Your dog should not have difficulty chewing on hard foods or toys. Sensitive teeth or gums could indicate a tendency towards pyorrhea or gingivitis.
  • Fractured Teeth are a source of pain, inflammation and infection and should be treated promptly.
  • Root canal therapy, vital pulpotomy, root planing and dental extractions are advanced procedures we perform to improve the well being of your pet.


Osteoarthritis or Canine Hip Dysplasia

Immune-mediated, infectious, and traumatic joint diseases all can lead to the onset of osteoarthritis. In dogs, a common cause of osteoarthritis is canine hip dysplasia (CHD). The prevalence of CHD can be as high as 75 percent in some breeds of dogs. CHD mostly occurs in larger, rapidly growing dogs. While CHD is a genetic disease, research indicates that excessive weight can exacerbate the incidence and severity of the disease.

Combinations of treatments are available for osteoarthritis including medical, alternative, and surgical options. Maintaining a healthy weight, regular daily exercise, good nutrition, and drug therapy are widely used treatment options.

Canine Hop Dysplasia

Osteoarthritis or Canine Hip Dysplasia

Immune-mediated, infectious, and traumatic joint diseases all can lead to the onset of osteoarthritis. In dogs, a common cause of osteoarthritis is canine hip dysplasia (CHD). The prevalence of CHD can be as high as 75 percent in some breeds of dogs. CHD mostly occurs in larger, rapidly growing dogs. While CHD is a genetic disease, research indicates that excessive weight can exacerbate the incidence and severity of the disease.

Combinations of treatments are available for osteoarthritis including medical, alternative, and surgical options. Maintaining a healthy weight, regular daily exercise, good nutrition, and drug therapy are widely used treatment options.

Spinal Disease

What types of spinal disease exists for dogs?

Two types of spinal disease are disc herniation (slipped disc) and disc decay. Spinal disease can occur in any breed of dog but is commonly seen in the short-legged breeds such as dachshund, basset hound, Shih Tzu, Lhasa Apso, Corgi, and Pekingese.

Kidney Disease

What is kidney disease?

Kidney disease in dogs occurs when the kidneys cannot adequately clear the blood of certain toxins.


What is epilepsy?

Epilepsy is found in all breeds of dogs but is more prevalent in certain breeds. Epilepsy can cause severe seizures and is diagnosed by testing to rule out other causes of seizures.

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