dog health

Beware of common pooch diseases

What are the common pooch diseases? Does a particular breed have any specific problem? How can we keep our pooch healthy? These are just a few of the questions that plague a pet parent’s mind. Read on to know more about them.

Skin diseases are by far the most common diseases in dogs. Let’s see why. “It’s mainly due to ticks, fleas, dog healthfungal, bacterial and mange. Well, these come single as well as in mixed infections. Most common dog diseases indications for all these vary from hair loss, bald patches, scaling, dandruff and itching,” tells Dr Gaurav Pardeshi.

Other common diseases of dogs include ear infections, limping, anorexia and pyrexia, as observed by Dr Ramesh P Bopaiah.

Diseases on the rise…

Over the years, vets have seen remarkable increase in a number of diseases in dogs. For example, as per Dr Ramesh, diseases like Leptospirosis, Ehrlichiosis have shown a rise, due to improper garbage disposal in Bengaluru, which has resulted in a rise in the population of rats, bandicoots and also ticks and fleas.

While, Dr Gaurav has seen a rise in the number of lameness in forelimbs in puppies ranging from 4-12 months. “These dogs have a condition called DJD (developmental joint disease) where the joint show signs of some kind of arthritis which was limited to older dogs earlier. The reason behind DJD can be inbreeding and management problems (the way the pet parents keep their pets at puppy stage),” he adds. However, Dr Nagarajan has seen increasing cases of dermatological, urological and nephrological problems.

“This is mainly due to unawareness or complications related to severity of the problems or inability to identify the cause (especially, in kidney diseases). Sometimes, the reason can be simply due to delay in treatment,” he explains.

Season-specific ailments…

According to Dr Gaurav, “Though pooches can suffer from diseases in any part of the year but there are a few health problems which are specifically prevalent in a particular season. For example, the summer season attracts skin diseases and viral infections. Infestation of ticks, fleas and mange is very common in this season and some outbreak of gastroenteritis is also encountered.” He added, “Though winter is the healthiest season of the year, cases of Bronchitis and watering of eyes are common. While, rainy season is the season of Gastroenteritis and at times respiratory tract affections.” And Dr Ramesh treats more pooch patients suffering from Anorexia and Pyrexia in this time of the year.

Breed-specific ailments

Dr Guarav explained that each breed is unique and so are its problems. For example, breeds like Labrador, Golden Retrievers, German shepherd and Great Dane are more prone to hip dysplasia, while, giant breeds like Great Danes, Mastiff and Saint Bernard can suffer due to abnormal bone growth.

(With inputs from Dr (Capt) Ramesh P Bopaiah, private practitioner at Saras Veterinary Clinic, Cox Town, Bengaluru and served with the Indian Army (Remount Veterinary Corps) between 1992-97; Dr Gaurav Pardeshi runs Fur N’ Feather pet clinic and shop, Pune; and Dr B Nagarajan¸ PhD, Professor, Department of Clinical Medicine, Madras Veterinary College, Chennai.)

Breed specific ailments

Here’s a list of a few breed-specific ailments for the benefit of our readers

Basset Hounds – Slip disk
Boxer- Mitral valvular heart disease, colitis
Cocker Spaniel – Scaling disorders, otitis, warts, immune mediated haemolytic anaemia, kidney disease, slip disc.
Dachshund – Hormonal dermatoses, intervertebral disc compression, jaw abnormality, slip disc
Dalmatian – Urolithiasis, cutaneous adverse food reaction, deafness
Doberman – skin- bacterial folliculitis, dilated cardio myopathy, hepatitis, E canis, bleeding disorders.
German Shepherd- From mouth to anus all gastro enteric problems (dental problems, Mega oesophagus, oesophageal diverticulum, gastric dilatation & volvulus, inflammatory bowel disease, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, pancreatitis, hepatitis, colitis), GSD pyoderma, atopy, malassezia, otitis, perianal fistula, maggot infestations, flea allergy, E.canis, nasal bleeding(bleeding disorders), Hip dysplasia, Bone disorders, hematoma, Epilepsy, Paralysis, Congestive heart failure, spleenic tumours
Golden Retriever- Cutaneous adverse food reaction, malassezia dermatitis, congestive heart failure, Hip dysplasia, atopy
Great Dane – Hip dysplasia, gastric dilatation & volvulus (bloat), bone disorders, vasculitis, Callous, Bursitis
Labrador – Allergic skin diseases (atopy, chemical contact dermatitis, cutaneous adverse food reaction),
Malassezia dermatitis, duodenal ulcers, dilated cardiomyopathy, hepatitis, otitis, hip dysplasia.
Pug – Cornal ulcers, pigmentary keratitis, cutaneous adverse food reaction, intertrigo (mucosal fold dermatitis), demodicosis, hypertropic pyloric stenosis
Rajapalayam – Cutaneous adverse food reaction

Tips to keep your pooch healthy…Dr Gaurav advises all pet parents as well as ones who want to get pets that it’s a huge responsibility of having and keeping a pet. “So, take very good care of them. The pet parents who are planning to get pets should meet a vet before bringing home a pooch as they can advise on the breed and age of the pet. Besides, they can guide on how to take proper care of your pet,” he adds.The best way to avoid health problems in your dog is to be prepared for every season. Consult your vet for advise and ensure that you pooch gets regular vaccinations and deworming as it help to keep the dog healthy and avoids many problems. Once the dog gets in to geriatric stage (old age), get a thorough veterinary check up. Remember, prevention is always better than cure!

Vaccinate to keep diseases at bay!

Canine Parvo and Canine Distemper are two commonly prevalent diseases in pooches but the good news is that they can be prevented – with effective use of vaccines. Here’s more on vaccinating the right way!

Vaccination is an artificial induction of actively acquired immunity by administration of a non-pathogenic form of a disease causing agent. All the vaccines should be recommended or used with caution. Though vaccination is the best protection against disease but it doesn’t always work, because there is a brief period of time (about a week) during the puppy’s life when the virus can overpower vaccination even when it has been properly administered.

Generally in canine practice, commonly employed vaccines are against prevention of rabies. In recent progressive years the introduction of multi-component vaccines having Canine Parvo Virus (CPV), Canine Adeno Virus (CAV), Canine Distemper Virus (CDV), Canine Para Influenza (CPI) and Canine Leptospira are definitely needed to prevent high risk infectious viral and bacterial diseases.

Here’s more about vaccination against Canine Parvo and Canine Distemper – two of the commonly prevalent diseases in dogs.

Canine Parvo: It is a highly infectious, life-threatening disease that affects puppies and dogs. It is readily transmitted through contact with faeces and vomit of other infected animals. Infected dogs may continue to pass the virus in their faeces for up to 3 weeks. Puppies, who are 6-20 weeks old, are most susceptible to infection, as their maternal antibodies are decreased in this age and antibody levels from vaccination are not yet fully developed.

Some of the symptoms of Canine Parvo include vomiting, loss of thirst/appetite, depression, abdominal pain and severe diarrhea. This results in dehydration and can be life-threatening.

Canine Distemper: It is a contagious, incurable, often fatal, multisystemic viral disease that affects the respiratory, gastrointestinal, and central nervous systems. It is caused by the Canine Distemper Virus (CDV) and puppies between 3 – 6 months old and non-immunized older dogs are mostly susceptible to this infection.

Further the virus can penetrate into blood stream of the pet, which eventually infects the lymphatic tissue and spreading the infection to other organs like respiratory, gastrointestinal, urogenital epithelium, central nervous system and optic nerve. Thus Canine Distemper has typical pathologic features like lymphoid depletion, which causes immunosupression that leads secondary infections and others including pneumonia, encephalitis with demyelination and hyperkeratosis of the pet’s foot pads.

Canine Parvo & Canine Distemper vaccine

Presently available high tittered low passage vaccines of Modified Live Vaccine (MLV) origin are known for their effectiveness even in the presence of moderate levels of maternal antibodies and have narrowed the window of susceptibility that occurs between declining levels of maternal antibodies and acquired immunity conferred by vaccine shots.

Some vaccines that provide a very high titer of the vaccine virus for canine Parvo to overcome interference of moderately high levels of maternal antibodies are recommended as a first vaccination in pup’s life at the age of 4-6 weeks.

This recommended age range is based on the level of maternal antibodies transmitted through mothers. Here actually one needs to interpret the situation in a scientific way.

Why pups have moderate to low amount of maternal antibodies?

  • The number of pups having high amount of maternal antibodies can be less in number if the pups are weaker as they might share less amount of colostrums.
  • If the vaccination history of the mother is not known (unknown MDA status of the pups),the choice of first shot of available high tittered low passage vaccines of Modified Live Vaccine (MLV) origin should be based on the epidemiological situation of the region.
  • Known history of mother having no regular vaccination against Parvo.
  • Regularly vaccinated mother but having exceptionally high litter size (low share of colostrum).
  • Possibilities of pups not received the first milk of mother because of some pathological condition of mother or death of mother during delivery.
  • Difficult breeds where response to vaccine is always low.

Vaccinating: the right way!

  • In all those conditions where the maternal antibody level is low, the first shot for puppy to have distemper and Parvo at the age of 4-6 weeks will be highly useful. Even if the moderate amounts of antibodies are present, such vaccines can break through the immunity and can produce active immunity in the pups.
  • The primary shot must be followed by repeat boosters with normally available multicomponent vaccines for further vigorous and sustained immune response. By adapting this approach, one can expect best possible immunization results in preventing Parvo and Distemper infections. Thus vaccination of puppies against Canine Parvo Virus (CPV) and Canine Distemper Virus (CDV) at a young age improves control of disease.
  • In the reverse situation where the MDA level in pups are at a higher side, vaccination at a lower age will put the pup in an awkward situation because of MDA interference, where neither MDA nor vaccine can protect the pup from the high field challenge.
  • The best way to prevent the dog from contracting the diseases to assure that the dog is vaccinated properly. Puppies should be vaccinated every three weeks from first shot until 12 weeks of age.
  • It is very important for puppies to get their entire series of vaccinations since one shot is not at all enough to protect the dog from Parvo and Distemper. Do consult your veterinarian about the schedule of the vaccination programme.

(Dr P W Borgaonkar is Tech Support Manager & Field Trial Co-ordinator, MSD-AH, Pune).

Protecting your pooch from diseases

Puppies are hard to resist. Once you have got your new pooch home, it is vital to take care of his health-related issues. Dr. Deepa Katyal gives an overview of these important issues.

Protecting your puppy:

Love’s not enough. Your puppy needs a preventive health care program, too. Every new puppy faces a variety of parasites and infectious organisms as it grows. Some can pose a threat to humans too, so it’s important to take your puppy to your veterinarian as soon as you can. That way, your veterinarian may get your puppy started on a preventive health care plan that’s the foundation for a long, healthy life – and your family can enjoy your new member worry free. Here are some puppy health care topics you should discuss with your veterinarian.

Vaccination schedule:

Since puppies are curious and like to explore everything, they’re good candidates for exposure to infection. But your veterinarian can help protect them against a number of infectious organisms through a regular vaccination program. A puppy typically receives its first vaccination at 6 to 8 weeks of age, and vaccinations will continue throughout the dog’s life. Your veterinarian will set up your puppy’s vaccination schedule. In fact, taking your dog to “get his shots” on a regular basis is one of the easiest, most important ways you can protect your pet’s good health, because it also ensures that your veterinarian has the chance to examine your dog regularly to detect any problems before they become serious threats. In most cases, one should vaccinate for the following diseases: Rabies, Canine Distemper Virus, Canine Hepatitis Virus, Leptospirosis, Canine Parvovirus, Canine Parainfluenza Virus and Bordetella.

Rabies: a fatal disease

Rabies is a generally fatal viral disease that affects the central nervous system and can infect all warm-blooded animals. The disease is zoonotic, which means it can be transmitted to humans bitten by an infected animal. People exposed to rabies must undergo an immunisation regime. Canine Parvovirus (Parvo): an intestinal virus Parvo is an acute, potentially fatal disease of the gastrointestinal tract and, less commonly, the heart muscle. Although dogs of all ages are susceptible, puppies are more at risk. Signs include vomiting, bloody diarrhoea, fever and dehydration. Since these symptoms can indicate other diseases as well, the vet will confirm a diagnosis of parvoviral infection by examining the faeces.


Distemper is a highly contagious viral disease that affects a puppy’s skin, respiratory system, intestines, and brain and can cause transient fever, discharge from the nose and eyes, loss of appetite, hardening of footpads, nervous disorders and even death. It is not transmitted to people. Distemper is spread via tiny droplets in a dog’s breath and is so contagious among dogs that the disease is sometimes called the “Canine Plague.” Young puppies are at greatest risk of contracting distemper, though all unvaccinated dogs and dogs with suppressed immune systems are at risk.

Canine Coronavirus:

In most cases, Canine Coronavirus (CCV) is transmitted when dogs or puppies ingest the disease-causing organism following direct contact with infected animals or their faeces. Dogs of all ages and breeds are susceptible. CCV infection can range from very mild and barely noticeable to serious. Dogs infected with CCV may refuse food, seem lethargic, become dehydrated, and suffer from sudden-onset diarrhoea that can last from ten days to several weeks. CCV can occur at the same time as canine parvovirus, intensifying the dog’s illness and even causing death in puppies.

Internal parasites:

In addition to intestinal parasites such as hookworms and roundworms, puppies are also vulnerable to picking up whipworms, tapeworms and heartworms. Roundworm, hookworm, and whipworm infestations are prevented by once-monthly medication called Interceptor, which is also an excellent medication for prevention of infections with heartworms. Heartworm disease is almost always fatal and yet highly preventable. Tapeworms are prevented by preventing flea infestations.


Most puppies are born with worms (lactogenic route of transmission) and therefore should be dewormed by your veterinarian. Faecal examination is the microscopic examination of stools for parasites and may be done to confirm if there are worms or determine which worms are present. Puppies can pick up intestinal parasites from their environment. They can also get roundworms and hookworms from their mother before birth. For this reason – and because humans can potentially develop serious problems if exposed to immature forms of roundworm or hookworms – routine deworming all puppies several times between the ages of 6 and 12 weeks is important. A potbellied appearance of the abdomen is also an indication of worm overload.

External parasites:

The most common external parasites we encounter are fleas, with ticks being common in late winter/spring/early summer. There are a variety of flea control products available which are effective and safe depending on your puppy’s age. Flea control is a very complicated process, it is therefore best to consult a qualified veterinarian to tackle this problem. Ticks too are cause of health issues in canines as are responsible for various blood infection such as Ehrlichiosis, Babesiosis, Hepatozoonoses etc (Tick fever), it is therefore mandatory to pay necessary attention to pups with heavy infestation, loads of safe products including powders, sprays, drop on as well as deticking shampoos are available since most of them can cause toxicity, use of any deticking product should be used after veterinary consultation. It has been observed that ayurvedic or herbal products too viz. neem oil or leaf extract containing products are gaining popularity as a deticking agent.


The energy requirements of a puppy, based on body weight, is nearly double that of an adult. The number of calories a 2-month-old puppy needs varies with his size, activity level and weight. Approximate calorie requirements for the different breed sizes are: 225 for toys; 400 for small breeds; 530 for medium; 990 for large; and 1220 for giant breed dogs. There is no set formula for how much to feed a puppy. Consider your pup’s age, weight, and activity level when deciding how much to feed. Weigh your puppy each week. As your puppy ages and his size increases, he will need more food each day. More active pups may burn more calories and require more food. The opposite is true for less active pups. Every brand of food has different nutrients, caloric densities and feeding recommendations. (Dr. Deepa Katyal, MVSc (Mumbai), MVSt (Australia) is a veterinary practitioner from Chembur, Mumbai. She is the CEO of K-9 Klub for dog lovers. She can be contacted at 9819742557.)

Monsoon blues Help your dog fight skin diseases.

Lustrous fur and skin free from any problem is the dream of every dog owner. But, this dream is invariably shattered during monsoon months. Most of the times, the owners do not know the reason why it happens. Inspite of the best of care, dog owners are often worried by numerous skin and coat problems that crop up during monsoon. It would thus be important to understand the root cause of these problems and find out the ways and means to keep such problems at bay.

Why majority of skin and coat problems crop up during monsoon?

High humidity and moderate to high temperature during monsoon is a very good environment for the growth of ectoparasites and other infectious agents that are responsible for skin diseases. The ectoparasites include ticks, fleas, lice and mites while infectious agents consist of bacteria and fungi. Moreover, the environmental conditions are excellent for fungal infections. Mange is another skin problem that can happen in rainy season. This is because Mange is associated with poor skin condition and the stress to the animal. Both these conditions are present during this season. All of these skin problems are responsible for itching, excess fall of hair, rough hair coat, lesions over the skin, etc. Further, small lesions can turn into serious infectious wounds because of scratching and licking by the dog.

Common skin infections encountered in monsoon :

Ectoparasite infestation- Ticks, fleas and lice have high incidence during monsoon. These ectoparasites can cause itching, loss of hair, bite spots and lesions that can further catch infection. Ticks are blood-sucking and can transmit a disease called Babesisosis. Flea bite cause irritation and inflammation and can transmit tapeworm infestation. Lice are a cause of irritation; leading to scratching, itching and biting. Fungal infection- Ring worm and other fungal infections are very common due to high humidity and moderate temperature conditions. The problem can be in a small area (localised) or the infection may cover whole body (generalised). The infection may be dry or moist. Irrespective of the type of fungus involved, the skin bears lesions, fall of hair, redness, itching. Dry form can be associated with dandruff and excess fall of hair.

Bacterial infection- Commonly this happens as a secondary infection due to contamination of any skin lesion or wound. A variety of bacteria may be involved. Bacterial wounds can further be contaminated by other infectious agents. Mange- It comes as an opportunistic infection if the skin health is compromised and the dog is under stress. Mange can be of various types. The mange lesions are often contaminated with the other infectious agents. Certain type of Mange is very difficult to treat. Mange often shows relapse after treatment.

Maggot wounds- This happens when any open wound is contaminated with fly eggs. The maggots formed eat the animal tissue and as a result can cause deep wounds.

How to prevent the skin problems during monsoon?

Dog owners are often unaware about how to prevent these problems. The DO’S & DONT’S would be helpful in the prevention of skin infections during monsoon.

( is Marketing Manager with Ayurvet Limited. Post Graduate in Veterinary Medicine from GB Pant University, he is an ardent dog lover. He believes proper management could avoid majority of the diseases. He can be seen giving tips on proper management and dog breed behavior in the late evenings or weekends at Doggy World- the pet’s paradise run by his wife Dr. Aradhana at Rohini. He can be contacted at 9811299055, 011- 27942285.)