Four Common Dog Illnesses

Your dog is your best friend, and you want to keep him or her around as long as you can. Good health care is essential, as well as making sure all vaccinations are kept up-to-date. No matter how hard you try, however, bad things can still happen to your beloved pet. Here are five of the most common dog illnesses a dog owner should know about, and what to do when something happens.


This common dog illness is categorized as a viral disease in dogs. Puppies are more likely to have problems with parovirus, but it can affect adult dogs as well. This dog illness has a high rate of survival with immediate intervention by a veterinarian. If no medical help is sought, chances are good your pet will not survive.

Parvovirus is spread from one dog to another and there is not a real cure for it. Most times, it is treated by re-hydrating the dog or puppy, and by prescribing antibiotics. Your veterinarian may also treat the symptoms to keep your dog comfortable.

The most common sign of this dog illness is diarrhea. Your dog or puppy may also vomit, seem tired and worn out, and disinterested in eating. Because this virus loves rapidly growing cells, the digestive system and the cardiovascular system are often problem spots for puppies. If you suspect your dog’s diarrhea is more than just an upset stomach, visit your veterinarian as soon as possible.


The rabies virus is transmitted by bites or fluid transfer from an infected animal. This common dog illness is prevented in most cases by vaccination. If your animal has the vaccination, they should be kept up-to-date with booster shots as recommended by your veterinarian.

Symptoms of rabies are usually quite noticeable but may not show up immediately. Sometimes this virus will stay in a pet’s system quietly incubating before symptoms appear. Dogs with rabies will show signs of personality changes first. This might include the dog wanting to be left alone, becoming hostile, and being disinterested in normal activities.

They may also not eat and drink as much as they normally do. If you have not noticed the change at this point, you will shortly there after. Your dog will become vicious, aggressive, have seizures, and become fearless of all things and people. You may also notice the classic foaming at the mouth symptom as paralysis sets in with this common dog illness.

Sadly, once symptoms have set in, the disease is almost one hundred percent fatal. If your animal has been bitten but is not showing symptoms, have them vaccinated and quarantined immediately. If they have had vaccination, they will need to be revaccinated and also quarantined. Your veterinarian will guide you through this situation.


Mange if caused by tiny mites that attack the skin. The result is often fur loss, and irritated skin. It is most common found around the face in its earliest stages. As this common dog illness progresses, large patches of fur fall out, and infection and skin scaling can occur.

Your veterinarian can treat mange with a special shampoo and other medications. If you fear your dog has developed mange, get them to the vet as soon as possible. Contrary to popular belief, mange is not transmitted to humans, but can be spread to nursing puppies in some cases.


Distemper is one of the most common dog illnesses and occurs all over the world. Like, parovirus, it is contagious, mostly affects puppies, and is caused by a virus. This virus is referred to as CDV (canine distemper virus). This virus affects the respiratory, digestive, and nervous systems.

Common symptoms of distemper include fever, none interest in food, and some inflammation of the mucus membranes, most notably in the eyes. You may also notice your dog has trouble breathing, is vomiting, and is experiencing diarrhea.

There is no cure for distemper, but you can help prevent this common dog illness by having your puppy properly immunized and keeping areas clean and disinfected when other dogs are near. Most veterinarians will treat the symptoms of distemper.

Final Thoughts

This is only meant to be a guide for dog owners. Please address any health concerns with your dog’s veterinarian as soon as you think there may be a problem. Also remember that they sooner they get medical help, the more likely it will be that they can fully recover from illness.

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