Common canine illnesses

by Nancy Boland

If your dog succumbs to an illness it can be very upsetting to see them go downhill. One of the first and biggest signs that something’s wrong with your dog is if they’re off their food. If a poor appetite is unusual, keep an eye on them for a day or two to see if you notice other symptoms and then take them to the vet.

Here is a list of some of the most common canine illnesses:

Kennel cough

An inflammation of the upper respiratory system, kennel cough is a highly contagious form of bronchitis. Symptoms include a hacking cough, sneezing, retching and a fever. Kennel cough can last for up to two weeks, but can be easily treated with a course of antibiotics. However, several vaccinations are available that can help to prevent it.

kennel cough


Cancer is extremely common in dogs. Almost one in four dogs will die from cancer and 50% of dogs over the age of 10 will die from cancer-related symptoms. Like with people, early detection can make all the difference so it’s important to get to the vet as soon as you discover any symptoms like lumps or bumps.


More common in females and older dogs, a diabetes diagnosis should not prevent your dog living a normal life. Insulin injections will probably be needed up to twice a day, but it is quite a simple procedure to administrate Common symptoms of diabetes is increased thirst and appetite, frequent urination and cataracts.

dog diabetes

Canine distemper

A viral disease, canine distemper is particularly common in young puppies. This systemic infection that attacks the respiratory and nervous systems is caused by contact with infected bodily fluids and can be fatal. Symptoms include vomiting, runny nose, dehydration and weight loss. There are several vaccinations that can prevent canine distemper.


Symptoms of heartworm include coughing lethargy, depression, collapsing and can be fatal. Heartworms are parasites that infect a dog’s heart and arteries leading to infestation which left untreated results in heart failure and death. However, if diagnosed early can be treated effectively.


Dogs are curious creatures, with the tendency to eat anything and everything that looks mildly appealing, so if your dog is vomiting, they may just have eaten something that has disagreed with them (a plant, something out on their walk, or even a small object). Monitor them closely if they seem off their food. If symptoms persevere take them to the vet immediately.

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