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Home » Dog Diseases » Dog Disease Signs

Dog Disease Symptoms Checklist

Dogs can be affected with a number of diseases. The signs of viral and bacterial diseases vary a great deal and may affect many body organs. Some of them can go undetected for years, others may be life threatening and progress rapidly. Many bone, joint, muscle and heart diseases in dogs are hereditary and breed specific.

Acanthosis nigricansdarkening of the skin as a result of chronic inflammationA skin disease where the skin becomes thickened and dark, primarily affecting the axillae (armpits).
Acral dermatitislicking on the forelegs; pinkish-red, shiny, and sore skin; thickening of the skin and hair discoloration and loss;A skin disease caused by an animal's licking a localized area excessively, especially on the legs and paws.
Acute moist dermatitisthe skin becomes red, hairless and oozes fluid from the blood (serum); scratching or chewing of the hair;Known as "hot spots," a localized area of a severely itchy, inflamed and oozing dermatitis exacerbated by the animal's intense licking and chewing at the spot.
Addison's diseaseloss of appetite, lethargy, depression; weight loss, vomiting, weakness
Amyloidosisweight decreased muscle mass, swelling of the limbs, sometimes sudden blindness; loss of appetite, nausea, increased thirstA condition where abnormal deposits of Proteinaceous material called amyloid are laid down in tissues and impair their function. Common in Akitas and Chinese shar peis.
Atopic dermatitisskin inflammation and itchiness; licking the paws, groin or armpits; rubbing the face; darkening of the skin; skin crusts, erosions, ulcers (result of infections)A skin disease caused by a dog's reaction to an inhalant allergy.
Basal cell tumorbenign or malignant hard, raised nodules around the head or neckA cancer arising from a type of skin cell.
Bladder cancerblood-tinged urine; straining in order to urinateTransitional cell carcinoma (TCC) of the bladder is prevalent in Scottish terriers and West Highland white terriers. Herbicide exposure increases the risk of TCC, whereas increased consumption of green leafy and yellow orange vegetables the decreases the disease risk.
Bloatswelling of abdomen; drooling, retching, wandering restlessly; animals may become listless or show signs of pain; shockGastric Torsion - This is a life threatening hereditary problem prevalent in deep chested dogs such as Standard Poodles, Dobermans, Great Danes etc. Breeders should be very aware of this problem. Be alert to symptoms: abdominal swelling and unproductive vomiting. Signs that your dog is in discomfort also signal an alarm-anxiety, whining, pacing, groaning, inability to find a comfortable position. Contact a veterinarian immediately. Time is critical.
Bullous pemphigoidblisters and ulcers on the skinAn autoimmune (i.e., the body attacking itself) disease associated with the formation of painful blisters. 34. Bundle branch block: an abnormality of the electrical conduction mechanism of the heart.
Cardiomyopathylethargy; exercise intolerance; weight loss, night cough, swelling of the abdomenA disease of weakened heart muscles. Associated with taurine deficiency in golden retrievers. Also, seen in giant breeds, boxers, American cocker spaniels, Doberman pinschers.
Cataractfoggy or opaque eye lens with yellowish castA cataract is any opacity or loss of transparency of the lens of the eye. The opacity may be confined to a small area of the lens or capsule, or it may affect the whole structure. A complete cataract affecting both eyes will result in blindness, whereas small non-progressive cataracts will not interfere with vision. You may suspect your dog is having visual difficulties and/or you may notice discoloration of your dog's pupil(s). Cataracts can be removed surgically. The decision whether to do so
Color dilution alopeciaareas of blue or fawn hair become brittle, dry and dull; the hair falls out; the affected skin is flaky and prone to blackheadsA form of follicular dysplasia causing various degrees of hair loss in middle-aged blue and fawn Doberman pinschers.
Conjunctivitisinflammation of the conjunctiva (protective membrane); discharge from the eye; signs depend on the type of the disease (allergic, bacterial, fungal or viral)An inflammation of the conjunctival membrane of the eye.
Copper-associated hepatitisfailure to thrive, jaundice, ascitesAbnormal copper metabolism: (usually Bedlington terriers or Doberman pinschers) an inability to utilize and store copper properly, resulting in liver disease and other problems.
Corneal dystrophywhite, opaque ares in some places of the cornea (both eyes); may cause swelling of the corneaAn abnormality of the cornea usually characterized by shallow pits in the surface.
Craniomandibular osteopathyanimals may experience intermittent but considerable pain when using their jaws due to the developmental joint diseaseAn abnormal development of the bones of the face and the jaw. Seen in West Highland white and Cairn terriers, among other breeds.
Cushing's diseaseexcessive thirst, hunger and urination; pot-belly appearance; hair loss (body); panting, weakness, lethargy, skin infectionsHyperadrenocorticism; a disease characterized by an excess secretion of corticosteroids from the adrenal glands.
Degenerative myelopathyslow and painless loss of coordination in the hind legs resulting in partial paralysisProgressive disorder primarily in German shepherd dogs where the spinal cord degenerates and causes rear limb weakness and incoordination. Can end up with cauda equine syndrome, where the nerve roots at the end of the spinal column become atrophied.
Demodicosishair loss; oily skin; skin thickening; sometimes bacterial infectionsA kind of skin disease (mange) caused by microscopic Demodex canis mites living within the skin layers and producing an immunodeficiency syndrome.
Diabetes mellitusincreased appetite and thirst; increased fatigue, urination; weight loss; recurrent infectionsDiabetes mellitus is a disruption of the body's ability to use carbohydrates/sugars. The diagnosis is made based on the typical clinical signs - increased eating, drinking, and urination, with weight loss - together with persistently elevated levels of glucose in both the blood and the urine. 

In the diabetic dog without any other illness, the goals of therapy are to achieve near-normal blood glucose levels and minimize the daily variation in those levels to prevent the complications.
Distemperfever, lethargy, runny eyes and nose, vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, coughing, yellow eye and nose dischargeViral infectious disease
Eclampsiarestlessnes, panting, heavy breathing, jerky movements, muscle spasms, loss of coordination, seizures (female dogs)Convulsions usually seen around the time of parturition (whelping).
Ectropionthe lower eyelids turn outward, causing the pink conjunctiva to be visible and contact with debrisAn abnormal rolling out of the eyelids.
Elbow dysplasialameness that gets worse with exercise; in severe cases elbows gets swollen and is held away from the body.An abnormal development of the elbow joint.
Encephalitisdepresssion, behavior changes, seizures, loss of coordination; sometimes feverAn inflammatory condition of the brain causing signs of central nervous system dysfunction and epilepsy (seizures). A unique form of encephalitis is prevalent in the pug breed and is calledPug Dog Encephalitis
Endometritisusually no signs; when used for breeding affected females fail to conceiveInflammation of the internal layer of the uterus.
Entropionirritation of the surface of the eye; excess tear productionEntropion (rolling in of the eyelids) and ectropion (rolling out of the eyelids) are conditions caused by abnormal eyelid position in relation to the globe itself. Entropion will often cause abrasions of the cornea and/or irritation of the conjunctiva. This is very painful and will require surgery to correct. Most cases of entropion and ectropion are heritable. Entropion or ectropion may also occur due to scarring from previous injury or surgery.
Epidermal dysplasiaitchiness, loss of hair from feet and trunk; scaly and greasy skin; thickening and darkening of the skin; secondary bacterial infectionsAbnormal development of the outer layer of the skin. Common in West Highland white terriers and begins in puppyhood.
Epilepsyfrequent or recurrent seizuresSeizures are the result of a disturbance in the electrical activity of brain cells. They can occur for a variety of reasons, in any breed of dog. Epilepsy is the term used for recurrent seizures where no underlying disease process can be identified as the cause (also called idiopathic epilepsy). 

Treatment depends on factors such as the severity and frequency of the seizures. A dog that experiences the occasional mild seizure probably needs no treatment other than watchfulness on the
FibrosarcomaNAA cancer arising from certain types of fibrous cells.
Folliculitispustules within the inflamed hair follicles; often the follicles develop into widened cavities that drain on the skin in the armpits, abdomen, and groinAn infection of the hair follicles.
Gingival hyperplasiaovergrowth of the gum tissue; gums cover the teeth leading to periodontal diseaseOvergrowth of the gum tissues.
Glaucomasquinting, excess production of tears, oversensitivity to light; fixed stare, hazy cornea; eyeball may be enlargedGlaucoma is a leading cause of blindness in dogs. It is the result of increased fluid pressure within the eye (elevated intraocular pressure or IOP). If the pressure can not be reduced, there will be permanent damage to the retina and optic nerve resulting in visual impairment. 

Glaucoma is one of the conditions your veterinarian will suspect if your dog has a painful eye. It is diagnosed by measuring the intraocular pressure with a tonometer. 

Preserving vision in an eye wi
HemangiosarcomaNAA cancer of blood vessels involving liver, spleen or skin.
Hemeralopiablindness in full daylight; affected dogs retain some vision in dim lightInability to see in daylight.
Histiocytomabenign skin tumor with a round, raised, hairless, and often red appearanceA common benign tumor of certain skin tissue cells (i.e., histiocytes).
Histiocytosismalignant skin condition with skin nodules; affected animals lose weight and are lethargicThe most prevalent cancer of Bernese mountain dogs, usually leading to early death.
Hydrocephalusseizures and, sometimes, vision lossA condition where there is an abnormal accumulation of fluid in the ventricles of the brain.
Hypothyroidismsymmetrical hair thinning, hair loss; patchy hair loss; oily skin; increased skin pigmentation; thickened skin; ear infectionsA common endocrine disease where the body produces an abnormally low amount of thyroid hormones. An autoimmune destruction of the thyroid gland which affects more than 50 dog breeds.
Malabsorption syndromelarge, greasy, and smelly stools; oily hair around the anus; dogs look malnourished although they eat a lotA disease where the intestinal tract does not absorb nutrients properly. Also known as protein-losing enteropathy as a consequence of inflammatory bowel disease. In Irish setters there is also a wheat-sensitive enteropathy.
Myasthenia gravisfull paralysis or paralysis that only affects face, vocal cords, mouth or esophagusA syndrome characterized by muscle fatigue due to an autoimmune disease which produces chemical abnormalities of the muscles and nerves. An enlarged esophagus called megaesophagus can result and causes regurgitation of food.
Nasal solar dermatitiscrusting of the nose; nasal callusesA skin disease of the nose and muzzle which is greatly affected by exposure to sunlight. Common in collies.
Nodular panniculitislumps in the fat layer under the skin which ulcerate and drain, leaving scars on the skin surfaceA skin disease characterized by nodules of inflammation under the skin.
Osteochondrosislameness, altered gaitA group of developmental diseases resulting in abnormal formulation of joint cartilage. Commonly involves the shoulder, stifle, hock or elbow.
Otitis externasmelly, inflamed, hot ears; dogs shake their heads and scratch their earsAn infection of the external structures of the ear.
Pannusbrown patch of pigment on the cornea, reddened by blood vesselsAn immunologic eye disease characterized by abnormal growth of tissue over the cornea.
Patellar luxationhopping, not bearing weight on the affected legA condition where the knee cap slides in and out of place.
Perianal adenomabenign tumor in the tissue surrounding the anusA cancer arising from a cell of a gland found near the anus.
Protein-losing enteropathyvomiting, diarrhea, fluid buildup under the skin or in the abdomenA relatively common genetically predisposed condition also called inflammatory bowel disease. Vomiting, diarrhea, and weight loss are the common signs. Seen in many breeds but mostly in soft-coated Wheaten terriers, rottweilers, Bernese mountain dogs, German shepherd dogs, golden retrievers, Dalmatians, Akitas, Irish setters, English setters.
Pyometradischarge of mucus (pale green, creamy or bloody) from the vagina after the estrus stage of the cycleAn bacterial infection of the uterus where it fills with pus.
Sarcoptic mangechewing, licking, and scratching; elbows and ear tips are inflamed and lose hair.
Sebaceous adenitisskin inflammation; yellow scales on the skin and hair lossA skin diseases that has come to life in the last few years. Although not normally life threatening is does make the appearance of the animal unpleasant.
Ulcerative keratitisinflammation of the cornea resulting in its ulceration; squinting, excess tear productionAn inflammation of the cornea characterized by the formation of ulcers.
Vitiligoparts of the body spontaneously lose pigment (either seasonally or permanently)A lack of pigment in the skin (called vitiligo in man and hypopigmentation in nonhuman animals). Common in rottweilers, Doberman pinschers, Old English sheepdogs and dachshunds.
von Willebrand's diseaseunexpected bruising, nosebleeds, blood in the urine or fecesCanine von Willebrand's Disease is an inherited deficiency in one of the clotting factors of the blood. It is similar to hemophilia in some respects, but may appear in either male or female. Dogs affected with VWD may have symptoms varying from very mild to severe or lethal. These bleeding problems include prolonged bleeding from toenails cut too short, hemorrhage from even minor surgical procedures, lameness, hematomas, and so on.
Zinc-responsive dermatosisscales on the foot pads and nose leather, around the eyes, ears, mouth, prepuce, and vulva; crusting and hair lossA condition where the skin is abnormal (scaly, hair loss, etc.) but which responds to the administration of zinc in the diet.


By glenn5239   Sunday, December 21, 2014 10:32:52 PM

My teacup yorkie got into my wife plate where she had some cut up pieces of steak and suddenly seems very sick and despondent. Does anyone know what might be wrong?

By baltzell   Wednesday, December 3, 2014 9:47:59 AM

A pet owner of mine has a 13 month Std. Poodle, male that has had issues with ear and eye and scratches therefore losing hair. Vet says seasonal allergies. She also said that the black pigment on his nose, gums and feet are turning pink. Vet says with no other problems not an issue. but she is concerned. I have never seen that in any of my dogs.I have had one puppy with food allergy to chicken.

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