How To Tell If Your Puppy Is Sick
All new pet parents want to keep their puppy safe from common dog illnesses and diseases. Your new puppy is still developing its immune system and may not be fully vaccinated yet. So how do you protect your pup from getting sick during this time? Fortunately, there are many things you can do to prevent your new pup from catching common puppy ailments.
Here are a few common puppy illnesses to watch out for.
One of the scariest puppy illnesses your new pup can catch is Parvovirus. Parvo, as it’s commonly referred to as, is a highly contagious viral disease that is spread through direct or indirect contact with contaminated feces. There are two types of the virus. The most common form attacks the intestines, causing vomiting, lethargy, loss of appetite, severe bloody diarrhea, and fever. Most dogs or puppies become severely dehydrated and thus cannot absorb nutrients properly. If caught early and treated aggressively the survival rate can be as high as 85%. Parvo can live on porous surfaces for years, so proper sanitization is a must before you expose your new puppy to any environment. The best way to prevent your puppy from catching Parvo is by keeping it sheltered in your home and away from other unvaccinated dogs or puppies until it is fully vaccinated. It may be tempting to take your new puppy on a walk when you finally get to bring him or her home but its best to wait until after they are fully vaccinated and away from high dog traffic areas until around 16 weeks old.
Distemper is also a common puppy sickness that is a major concern for puppy parents. Distemper is a serious, contagious disease spread through direct or indirect contact with contaminated bodily fluids. It is airborne which makes it a disease which is even easier to spread than Parvo. Distemper attacks nearly every part of the body eventually affecting the nervous system and spinal cord causing seizures and paralysis. The mortality rate of this common puppy disease reaches 80%. The best way to prevent your puppy from contracting this common puppy ailment is to avoid contact with other dogs (especially unvaccinated dogs) until fully vaccinated.
Kennel cough or canine infectious tracheobronchitis is basically the puppy sickness equivalent of the human cold. Most of the time it is not serious and many dogs recover without serious treatment. Kennel cough can be caused by a variety of things, most commonly the bacterium called Bordetella bronchiseptica. Although Kennel cough is not typically serious it is best you take your sick puppy to the vet and treat it properly so it does not develop into pneumonia.
Parasites such as Giardia and Coccidia are very common among puppies. This common puppy sickness is transmitted when your puppy inadvertently ingests parasite eggs or spores in contaminated soil, water, feces or food. Giardia and Coccidia can cause mucousy diarrhea, or bloody, foul-smelling stool, dehydration, loss of appetite, and lethargy. Other common disease-causing parasites include hookworm, roundworm, whipworm, and tapeworm. Tapeworm is most commonly spread by ingesting contaminated fleas so make sure you keep your puppy free of fleas. Other parasites can be passed through the mother’s milk. If you want to keep your puppy safe from parasites make sure they always have access to clean food and water and put them on a deworming schedule until about 12 weeks old.
Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, is a common puppy illness in toy and teacup puppies, such as Yorkies and Maltese. Most of the time it is not a chronic condition and can be prevented. When a dog’s blood sugar drops too low it can affect neurological function. Some signs of low blood sugar are lethargy, weakness, lack of appetite, lack of coordination, pale gums, trembling, and in later stages, seizures and coma. Some ways you can prevent hypoglycemia is by making sure your puppy is eating throughout the day, every 3-4 hours. It is never a good idea to let your puppy go overnight without eating. Parasites can also cause hypoglycemia so it is important you deworm your puppy. If your puppy won’t eat or is showing any signs of hypoglycemia, seek veterinary care immediately.
Common dog illnesses and diseases can be scary to talk about. In some cases, the risk of death is an ever-present danger. However, with quality care, a good diet, and proper veterinary treatment; you should be able to avoid or solve any common puppy illness problems that arise.