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Common Dog Illnesses Every Pet Parent Should Know About

When dogs are sick it can be difficult for even the most attentive owner to understand just how serious the situation is. In today's post our Thomasville vets explain the signs of five common dog illnesses that can seriously impact your dog's health and longevity.

Is your dog sick?

Although symptoms such as lethargy, coughing or scratching are relatively common in dogs, they could also be an indication of a serious condition that requires veterinary attention. Below are a few potentially serious but common illnesses found in dogs and what you should do if your pet is experiencing symptoms.


Parvovirus is a highly contagious, extremely serious viral disease that can threaten the life of your dog's! The symptoms of parvo include severe vomiting, lethargy, dehydration, lack of appetite, and bloody diarrhea.

This illness can spread quickly and easily to any animal or person that comes in contact with even minute traces of an infected dog's feces. The most important step in prevention is to make sure your dog is vaccinated for parvovirus.

If your dog is showing signs of Parvovirus, contact your vet immediately! Parvovirus is a life-threatening disease.


Type I diabetes is the most common form of diabetes in our canine companions and when it strikes your dog will require insulin therapy.

Once diabetes has been diagnosed it is considered manageable, however, if left untreated, diabetes can lead to additional health problems, such as cataracts, coma and even death in dogs.

Symptoms of diabetes in dogs include lethargy and dehydration. If your dog is drinking more water than usual or sleeping more than usual be sure to make an appointment with your vet as soon as possible for a diagnosis.


Spread through the bite of an infected mosquito, heartworm disease is caused by a parasitic worm called dirofilaria immitis.

If your dog becomes infected the worms will mature into adults and produce offspring while living inside of your pet's heart, lungs and other vital organs.

Unfortunately there are no early signs of heartworm disease. Symptoms of the progressed condition include fatigue, swollen abdomen, weight loss, coughing, and difficulty breathing however these symptoms will only become apparent once your dog is seriously ill.

Our Thomasville vets recommend protecting your dog from heartworm disease by keeping them on preventive medications year round and having your dog tested for this deadly parasite once or twice a year. 


Unlike heartworm, ringworm is a fungus rather than a parasite.

Dogs can actually carry the ringworm fungus without showing any symptoms whatsoever, but the most common signs of ringworm are skin lesions or bald patches. 

This condition is highly contagious and can spread quickly to other animals and even humans. Bring your pet in to see the vet as soon as possible if they are displaying symptoms of ringworm.

Kennel Cough

Kennel cough is a common respiratory infection in dogs that causes inflammation to your pup's windpipe and voice box. Dogs with kennel cough develop a dry, hacking cough that often leads them to vomit foamy phlegm or nasal discharge.

Kennel cough is also extremely contagious to other dogs but will clear up on its own over time provided that your dog's immune system is strong and your pup is otherwise healthy.

If you think your dog is suffering from kennel cough, immediately isolate them from other dogs and call your vet for further instructions.

Ear Infections

Dog ear infections can be caused by anything from bacteria to allergies to ear mites. Common symptoms of ear infections include repeated head shaking, scratching, lack of balance and/or ear odor.

Ear infections in dogs are often easily cleared up if diagnosed and treated early with gentle cleaning and medication prescribed by your vet. That said, serious, chronic ear infections can be challenging to treat and may ultimately require surgery.

Head shaking due to ear infections can be so forceful that the dog ruptures vessels within the ear.

If your dog is showing signs of an ear infection contact your vet right away to book an appointment. Your vet will be able to diagnose your dog's ear infection and provide appropriate treatment to help prevent the infection from becoming more serious.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Is your dog displaying any of the symptoms listed above? Contact us today to book an examination for your pooch. Our Thomasville vets are here to help your pup feel better.

Common but serious conditions seen in dogs, Thomasville vet

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Whether you need urgent care for your pet or you're looking for a vet in Davidson County, we welcome you to our family at Thomasville Veterinary Hospital Urgent Care + Surgery.

Referrals may be required for some specialty services. Please contact us to learn more.

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