Common Sick Dog Symptoms

When you've got a sick dog, the first thing you probably want to do is look up his symptoms and find out how sick he is. Here are a few common dog ailments and their symptoms. If your dog is really sick, don't wait; consult your vet immediately.

Changes in Behavior
Often, the first sign of dog sickness isn't traditional illness, but changes in behavior or habits. If your dog suddenly starts drinking a lot of water, for example, or he only wants to lie around when he's typically quite active, it could simply be a hot day, or you could have a seriously ill pooch.

Get to know your dog's normal routine. Pay attention to any changes in behavior or habits. Any obvious signs of illness, if they're chronic, worsen or last more than 24 hours, warrant attention, including vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, excessive drinking, lethargy or apparent pain.

Rabies Symptoms
Rabies symptoms typically don't occur until several days or sometimes months after infection. When they do begin, rabies symptoms can range from mild to severe. Early signs include a decline in appetite, fever, scratching or biting at the location of the infection, or changes in the dog's bark or behavior.

The second phase of rabies includes wild aggression, attacking anything in sight and attempts to chew or eat even inedible objects. Dogs in the second phase of rabies don't show fear and can attack or even kill people in rare cases. The final stage of rabies is paralysis. The paralysis stage is the point when the dog appears to be foaming at the mouth. Call an animal control officer immediately if you see a dog exhibiting signs of rabies, and stay away from the dog. Once rabies has progressed to the symptomatic stage, there is no treatment. Attempting to take your dog to the vet or contain him only puts your life at risk.

Bloat
Bloat is fatal in some dog breeds, so it's vital to recognize the signs of it quickly so you can get your sick dog to the vet. Your dog may attempt to vomit repeatedly, or have a rock-hard or distended abdomen. The dog may act restless and anxious, with pacing, heavy breathing or whining. He may also lie prone or curl up into a ball, and eventually be unable to stand. If your dog exhibits any or some of these symptoms and is a breed prone to bloat, call your vet immediately.

Poisoning
Many sick dogs have simply been poisoned by the chemicals we take for granted in our homes. Poisoning is a serious, potentially fatal condition that is far too common in dogs. Dogs that have been poisoned may vomit, sometimes repeatedly, or drink excessive amounts of water. Other poisoning symptoms include diarrhea, seizures and coma.

Dogs can eat potentially poisonous substances before you can blink, so be alert for the symptoms. In addition to cleaners and pesticides, keep dogs away from poisonous plants as well as garlic and chocolate. Clean up any spilled chemicals immediately and rinse the area until all residue is gone. Be particularly careful with anitfreeze, which is irresistable to pets. Chemicals in antifreeze cause fatal kidney failure if even a small amount is ingested and there are no treatments available.

Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is fairly common in dog populations where ticks are a seasonal or year-round concern. Two of the most common symptoms of Lyme disease include lameness or stiffness, caused by arthritis in the joints, and a loss of appetite. Lyme disease can also cause fever and problems with the heart, nervous system and kidneys.

Lyme disease is treatable in dogs if it's caught early. Advanced Lyme disease is treatable, but permanent damage to bones or internal organs is possible. If you live in an area with a large tick population, the best advice is to tick-proof your dog with dietary supplements and to inspect your dog for ticks after romps in the woods.

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