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Updated 23 April 2014

Main diseases in dogs

Dogs are often classified as man's best friend. Which is why they deserve to be looked after properly – especially when they are ill.

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Dogs are often classified as man's best friend. Which is why they deserve to be looked after properly – especially when they are ill.

There are some common dog diseases that you should look out for. The good news is that there are vaccines for most of them.

Bordatella
An airborne contagious bacterial disease affecting the lungs. Symptoms include severe coughing.

Corona
A viral disease that affects the intestines. Leads to fever, diarrhoea and weakness. Corona can be fatal in puppies.

Distemper
A highly contagious disease that affects the central nervous system. Symptoms include fever, lethargy, vomiting, discharge from the eyes and nose, diarrhoea and seizures. Those who recover from distemper usually suffer permanent damage to vision and the nervous system.

Heartworms
A very fatal, but preventable, disease that is contracted through the bite of an infected mosquito. It enters circulatory system and infests in the animal’s heart.

Hepatitis
Mostly affects dogs at a young age. Affects organs such as the liver and kidneys and is potentially fatal. It is important to note that hepatitis in dogs is not the same disease as the human form and cannot be passed on to humans.

Leptospirosis
A bacterial disease that affects organs such as the liver and kidneys. If the disease spreads to the kidneys it can be fatal. Overexposure to rat urine poses the highest threat.

Lyme
A disease carried by ticks that can cause permanent damage to muscle joints. Symptoms include lameness.

Para-influenza
The viral form of bronchitis, also known as kennel cough.

Parvo-virus
An intestinal disease causing diarrhoea, vomiting, dehydration, severe abdominal pain, high fever and possible death if not treated correctly. Dogs living in unhygienic conditions are more susceptible to the virus as they are in the 'perfect breeding ground' for the disease.

Rabies
A fatal viral disease that is contracted through wild animals. It can be passed on to your pet and humans and affects the central nervous system. Symptoms include excess drooling, seizures, unexplained aggression, and difficulty with swallowing.

(Matthew Louw, Health24, last updated February 2013)

Visit the Pet Health Centre to find out more about caring for your pet.

 
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