"Dental disease is the most common disease in dogs and cats with most authorities reporting that the majority of cats and dogs over the age of 3 years old have some degree of dental disease," states Starkey. "All pets should have a physical exam with a veterinarian at least once a year to maintain optimal oral health."
According to Starkey, osteoarthritis, or simply arthritis, is a common canine malady that occurs when cartilage in a dog's joints wears down, causing joint inflammation. "The condition mostly affects the knees and hips in dogs and may occur as part of the aging process, or it may occur secondary to a traumatic incident, such as a fracture extending into the joint or a cruciate ligament rupture," the pet expert explains.
An ear infection is a common canine condition that may be caused by mites, fungus, allergies and foreign bodies like foxtails and grass awns. Ear infections are particularly common in dogs with long ears that hang down, such as cocker spaniels, or pups with large amounts of fur in their ears, like poodles, and in dogs that swim frequently. Starkey says dogs with upright ears are at less risk because the upright position helps keep the ear canal dry.
Hot spots, also called moist dermatitis or pyotraumatic dermatitis, are painful, intensely itchy skin lesions typically characterized by fur loss and discharge. "They are more common in dogs during the spring and summer months as both heat and humidity levels rise," Starkey explains. Hot spots can be caused by many things, from allergies to anxiety, and it's always important to have them examined by a veterinarian. "The lesions may by more extensive or more serious than they first appear to the untrained eye."
Even though you may think portly pets are cute or funny, obesity or being overweight is an epidemic health problem in dogs. "Certain dog breeds, such as Labrador retrievers or corgis, are more prone to obesity, but the condition is widespread among all dog breeds and mixed breeds," said Starkey. Excessive weight may contribute to diseases like arthritis as well as certain heart and lung conditions.
Though diarrhea isn't a disease, it is a common symptom of a number of other diseases. Starkey says, "Diarrhea has one of the largest number of possible causes of any clinical sign seen in dogs.
"Apart from your dog having an occasional or very short-term bout of mild diarrhea, this symptom needs to be evaluated by a veterinarian," Dr. Starkey advises. Regardless of the cause, the sooner your pet is seen by a vet, the sooner it will be diagnosed, treated and relieved of the condition.
And you'll see personalized content just for you whenever you click the My Feed .
SheKnows is making some changes!