Diseases & Diagnosis

The article is devoted to the diseases of dogs are usually so technical that the amateur who refers to them for guidance finds only a confusing array of diseases, symptoms, and complications. It is well to know that most of the diseases enumerated are of such rare occurrence that it will not be necessary to consider them; and further, that all the symptoms in connection with certain diseases are seldom present in the patient. The greatest mortality among dogs occurs during puppy hood or early youth, and is the result of worms and distemper; among older dogs indigestion is the chief ailment.

When called upon to minister to a sick dog do not be in a hurry about administering medicine. First be sure you know what ails the patient, and carefully consider the history of the case and the liability to certain diseases at certain ages or under certain conditions, and then begin looking for symptoms that will confirm or refute your diagnosis.

Do not fail to ask yourself the question, “Is the patient suffering from worms?” If a young dog, from two months to a year old, which has never been treated for worms, the fact that all dogs have worms will strengthen the opinion that it has them; and if the patient has the symptoms, treat for them. If, on the contrary, the dog has none of the symptoms, or has been treated for worms, we must look for some other disease.

If the patient is from four months to a year old, and is cutting his teeth, or has been at a dog show or associated with dogs which have, and acts listless and out of sorts a few days afterward, your suspicions should be directed toward distemper, if it has never had the disease; and by studying the symptoms you can arrive at a positive opinion and treat accordingly.

If your patient is an aged dog and has had distemper, and for no accountable cause is slowly going off in flesh and refuses to fatten, no matter how much he eats, and if his breath is foul, his bowels are irregular, and he seems all out of sorts and run down, indigestion should be suspected, due either to poor food, a weakness of the stomach’s digestive glands, or irritation set up by worms.

The condition of a sick dog’s bowels should always be considered. Constipation and diarrhea are common ailments that are responsible for much ill health. Besides the character and frequency of passages, both diseases are accompanied by straining and in some cases colicky pains.

When a dog comes out of the kennel in the morning stiff, sore, and barely able to move, is all humped up, and the history of the case shows that he was given either a hard run the day before, jumped into a pool while heated, became chilled by a cold rain, or slept in a draught or on a bed of wet straw, rheumatism should be suspected.

When the animal is found sitting on his haunches, his forelegs braced apart so as to expand the chest, his breathing accelerated, and the membranes of the eye dark and congested, and the history of the case is the same as that last given, pneumonia is indicated.

If pressure upon the walls between the ribs causes him to flinch and groan, the pleura or membrane surrounding the lungs is affected, and we have pleurisy.

If the small veins of the eye show a yellowish tinge, it is an indication of a disordered liver, and the treatment for jaundice should be administered.

If a dog has been in good health and is suddenly taken sick, exhibiting violent symptoms of pain and great distress, with attempts to vomit or a rigidity of the muscles, poison should be suspected, particularly if he has been allowed to run about freely, or other dogs in the neighborhood have been similarly affected.