As much as we adore our furry companions, it’s easy to overlook some of the silent dangers that can lurk within their bodies. Heartworm disease is one such danger that can sneak up on dogs, causing serious health problems if left untreated. But did you know that there are other silent diseases that can affect our pups?
From dental disease to kidney problems, there are several conditions that can go unnoticed until they’ve progressed to a serious stage. That’s why we’re shining a light on five silent diseases that commonly affect dogs. By understanding the signs, symptoms, and treatments of these conditions, we can help keep our furry friends happy, healthy, and by our side for many years to come.
Heartworm disease is probably the most well-known and definitely the most dangerous disease on the list. It is a life-threatening condition caused by parasitic worms transmitted to dogs through mosquito bites. Symptoms can take months to appear, and by the time they do, the disease may have advanced to a severe stage. Symptoms include coughing, difficulty breathing, lethargy, and weight loss.
Thankfully, the disease is preventable with monthly medications like Heartgard and Heartgard Plus, which work by killing the larvae of the heartworms. These medications come in different dosages for different dogs, such as Heartgard Plus for dogs up to 25 lbs, dogs from 26 to 50 lbs, and from 51 to 100 lbs.
Kidney disease is a silent condition that affects dogs of all ages, breeds, and sizes. The kidneys are responsible for filtering waste from the blood and regulating fluid balance in the body. When the kidneys become damaged or fail to function properly, waste products can build up in the body, leading to serious health problems.
According to Western Carolina Regional Animal Hospital, the symptoms of kidney trouble in the early stages may include an increased volume of urine, general depression, or weakness. In later stages, however, you can spot more alarming symptoms like blood in urine, significant weight loss, vomiting, or uncoordinated movements.
Treatment may involve medication, a special diet, and close monitoring by a veterinarian, depending on the nature and severity of the disease. Early detection and treatment can help slow the progression of the disease and improve a dog’s quality of life.
Dental disease is a common but silent problem that affects many dogs. It occurs when bacteria in the mouth form a sticky film called plaque, which can harden into tartar if left untreated. Over time, tartar buildup can lead to gum disease, tooth decay, and even tooth loss. Symptoms of dental disease in dogs can be subtle and may include bad breath, swollen or bleeding gums, and reluctance to eat.
According to the VCA Animal Hospital, Dental disease is one of the most common medical conditions among dogs, affecting over 80% of them after age three. Regular dental check-ups and cleaning by a veterinarian can help prevent and treat dental diseases. In addition, at-home dental care, such as regular brushing and offering dental chews or toys, can also help keep your dog’s teeth healthy and clean.
Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects dogs and occurs due to an imbalance of insulin in the body, just like it does for humans. This results in high blood sugar levels, which can lead to serious health problems. Symptoms of diabetes in dogs can be subtle and may include increased thirst and urination, weight loss, and lethargy.
According to the American Kennel Club, there are two main reasons behind diabetes in dogs. It can happen when the pancreas is somehow damaged and not producing sufficient amounts of insulin, or it is producing insulin, but the body is not using it properly. Due to a lack of insulin, blood sugar is not converted into energy for cells. It starves the cells while also damaging the organs with excess amounts of blood sugar.
Diabetes can be managed through a combination of medication, a special diet, and regular exercise. Close monitoring by a veterinarian is essential to ensure that blood sugar levels are well-controlled. Early detection and treatment are crucial in preventing complications and improving a dog’s quality of life. With proper management and care, dogs with diabetes can lead happy and healthy lives.
Hypothyroidism is a common condition in dogs that occurs when the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone. The thyroid hormone plays a crucial role in regulating metabolism and other bodily functions. According to PetMD, the symptoms of hypothyroidism in dogs can be vague and may include weight gain, lethargy, hair loss, chronic skin and ear infections, as well as heat-seeking behavior.
Hypothyroidism can be diagnosed through a blood test and is treatable with medication that replaces the missing thyroid hormone. Close monitoring by a veterinarian is important to ensure that the medication dosage is correct and that the condition is well-managed. If left untreated, hypothyroidism can lead to serious health problems, so early detection and treatment are important.
Regular check-ups with a veterinarian, a healthy diet, and preventative measures can go a long way in keeping our furry friends safe from these silent diseases. By being aware of the signs and symptoms, we can detect and treat these conditions early on, improving our dog’s quality of life and ensuring many happy years together.