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Pet dogs are susceptible to many different diseases, just like humans. However, there are several diseases that are very commonly seen in dogs. Though it is possible for a dog to become afflicted by any one of thousands of different medical conditions, some conditions are fairly commonly treated by veterinarians.

Hip Dysplasia

This is a medical condition that is usually inherited by a dog through genetics. Though there are some reports that a dog’s environment could potentially cause hip dysplasia, this is not yet conclusively proven. A dog with hip dysplasia will have a malformed hip joint, which will contribute to the joint not functioning properly. Hip dysplasia usually occurs in the hip socket, and may cause a dog to become permanently crippled. Treatment for hip dysplasia usually involves surgery, or the use of prosthetics. Pain medication is also commonly used on dogs with hip dysplasia.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a disease that primarily affects a dog’s eyes (usually one eye, though may eventually spread to both). Glaucoma occurs when the aqueous humor (liquid) in a dog’s eye does not drain properly, and causes pressure to build up inside a dog’s eye. This pressure then contribues to significant nerve damage, which occurs progressively over time. Glaucoma can be a genetically inherited condition, usually because of improper development of the eye. However, it can also be caused by an eye injury, which may damage the drainage pores responsible for maintaining the proper level of fluid inside a dog’s eye.

Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is a condition that is caused by a bacterial infection. This bacteria is transmitted primarily through tick bites, and is fairly commonly seen in dogs. Though lyme disease is not a fatal condition, it can cause serious damage to a dog’s health, and may even contribute to lifetime chronic illness. In severe cases of lyme disease, the bacterial infection progresses to a dog’s cardiac and neurological systems. This can cause serious problems, and may prevent a complete recovery. However, most lyme disease is diagnosed in its early stages, and is still treatable by veterinary care. In most cases, antibiotics are used as an effective treatment for lyme disease in dogs.

Distemper

The distemper virus is an extremely dangerous virus that causes death in approximately 50% of all affected dogs. The virus is highly contagious, and is commonly seen in stray dogs. Distemper is also called a “multisystemic” disease, since it has the ability to spread to most of a dog’s internal systems. However, even though this is a fairly common virus, most dogs are now vaccinated against  canine distemper at a very early age. This vaccination procedure has greatly reduced the instances of canine distemper, as most dogs are now vaccinated soon after they are born.

Though these are four of the common diseases that may affect dogs, there are hundreds of other medical conditions that may occur in dogs. The most important way of preventing your dog from being afflicted with a disease is to exercise good pet care. This can be accomplished through common sense, and by paying close attention to any changes in your dog’s overall health.

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