Common Dog Illnesses and Meds That Can Help

By | March 1, 2017

When you first get a dog, you never really think that down the road at some point your pet will get sick. Thankfully, most common canine ailments are readily treatable with medication, so dogs can live long happy lives as modern medicine keeps their illnesses at bay. Common dog illnesses that can be managed with medication include ear infections,heart disease, heartworm, kidney disease and arthritis.

Ear Infections

Ear infections are a very common treatable ailment that can affect dogs. Some breeds, especially those with large floppy or hairy ears, are more prone to these types of infections of the outer ear canal (otitis externa). Dogs with ear infections exhibit symptoms such as head shaking and ear scratching. Ears can also become inflamed, crusty, and malodorous.

One medication used to treat ear infections is Mometamax Otic Solution. This medication is used to treat otitis externa caused by various strains of yeast and bacteria. Mometamax Otic Suspension contains gentamicin sulfate, mometasone furoate monohydrate, and clotrimazole in a mineral oil-base. For dogs weighing less than 30 pounds, four drops per day must be used for each infected ear. Dogs over 30 pounds should receive 8 drops per infected ear daily.

Heart Disease

One of the more serious dog ailments is congestive heart failure. This condition is caused by an abnormality in the function or structure of the heart, which leaves it unable to pump blood normally to the tissues of the body. This leads to fluid retention in the lungs and body cavities. This in turn causes congestive heart failure.

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Benazepril hydrocloride is one of the medications used to treat congestive heart failure, high blood pressure and some types of kidney disease in dogs. It is an angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor; a vasodilator and anti-hypertension agent. This means it dilates the veins and decreases fluid retention. Dosage is usually once daily, but it is necessary to follow your veterinarian’s instructions as prescribed. Dogs taking this medication will usually need to remain on it for the rest of their lives.

Kidney Disease

Chronic renal (kidney) failure (CRF) is a common problem in all dog breeds. With CRF, the kidneys are unable to remove waste products cause by food digestion. This leads to the buildup of toxins in the blood. Symptoms of CRF include excessive thirst and urination, weakness, bad breath, uncoordinated walking, vomiting and lethargy.

CRF usually affects older pets, but if caught early enough, dogs with this disease can still live a comfortable life with medication. One such medication is Furosemide(Rx).Furosemide is a diuretic, which removes the excess body fluids that are a byproduct of CRF. This medication is available in tablet or liquid form. Dosage is usually one to three tablets per day as prescribed by your veterinarian. Pets that are dehydrated or have an electrolyte imbalance should not use this drug.

Heartworm

Heartworm (dirofilariasis) is a common yet deadly disease that is spread by a simple mosquito bite. When a mosquito bites an infected dog and then goes on to bite another dog,the infected larvae of the heartworms are passed on. Heartworms are essentially long white worms that live in the right side of the heart in the adjacent blood vessels of an infected dog. These worms impair blood circulation, which in turn damages the heart, lungs, liver and kidneys. These worms can be present long before any symptoms show up,so it is important to check for the disease before you see signs.

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As with any disease, prevention is the best solution, so treatment with products such as Heartgard Plus is advised. Heartgard prevents heartworm disease by eliminating the tissue stage of heartworm larvae for 30 days. Heartgard Plus is a combination of the anti-parasitic drugs Ivermectin and Pyrantel Pamoate. Heartgard prevents heartworm infection and treats and controls roundworms and hookworms. This product is chewable and may be given with or without food. Veterinarians will usually authorize a maximum of 12 months of heartworm preventative medicine per pet per year to insure proper dosing.

Arthritis

Just like people, older dogs can suffer from arthritis, making it difficult to climb stairs and even walk without stiffness and pain. Symptoms of canine arthritis include stiffness,reluctance to jump, run, stand or climb stairs. But rather than watch your dog suffer doing the things he enjoys, there are drugs that will ease mobility.

One such medication is Deramaxx chewable tablets. These pills will not cure osteoarthritis, but they will help control the pain and inflammation that comes with it. Deramaxx is a prescription non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) of the coxib class. It is flavored to make giving it to your pet a bit easier. Consult with your veterinarian for the proper dosage for your dog’s age, breed and weight.

Though no one wants to see their pet suffer from diseases or ailments related to age, thankfully, modern medicine can provide either a cure or some relief from the symptoms that hamper their lives. By taking your dog to annual veterinary check-ups and being an observant pet owner, you can catch any problems before they become unmanageable. Though no one wants to see their dog on medication, these drugs can help not only their quality of life but prolong it as well.

Stephen Leonard is a freelance writer who writes about pet care and Dog Medicine.

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