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Top 10 dog conditions

Vladimir is a regular contributor to PetMD, the largest global source of pet health information. PetMD's content is created by veterinary professionals and covers 9 different species.

What's ailing your dog?

No matter how well you look after them, dogs will get sick. But if you know the most common ailments and conditions that affect dogs, you'll be in a better position to know when to take your pup to the vet.

Intestinal inflammation/diarrhea

If your dog has runny poop, poops frequently or just holds it in, visit your vet, as he may have intestinal inflammation. Intestinal inflammation affects both the large and small intestine, and may be due to various factors, including parasites, the ingestion of non-food items and sudden diet changes.

Diagnostic tests and a medical history will help your vet determine what's wrong, but in most cases your dog will need a change in diet, prescribed medications, and fluids administered to replace any which may have been lost during a bout of diarrhea.

Stomach upsets

Did you know pets get upset tummies too? The underlying cause for stomach upset in a dog can be anything from eating something she shouldn't have, to irritable bowel syndrome, to parasites. If your dog has smelly breath, diarrhea, or a rumblin' tummy, take her to a vet. Other common signs of stomach upsets include a lack of appetite, vomiting, bloating, and pain.

Your dog's course of treatment will ultimately depend on the underlying cause for the stomach upset, but it may include a change in diet, vaccines, medication, or simply some Chamomile tea.

Pyoderma

Pyoderma is just a fancy name for a bacterial skin infection. Luckily, it isn't contagious to other dogs, so you won't need to set up an emergency quarantine room in your home, but you will need to mosey on down to the vet.

Some signs to look out for are hair loss, itchy yellow pustules, lesions on the skin, and what may appear like chin acne. Depending on the severity, your vet may shave the affected area(s), give your dog a special antibacterial bath, and a prescription for antibiotics. In extreme cases, your dog may receive a vaccine.

Skin allergies

If your doggy is scratching more than usual, chewing at her coat, or has a suddenly mangy coat, chances are your dog is allergic to something. Allergies can arise from different things, including diet and environmental factors, but a trip to the vet will help ease your pet's discomfort.

Vets will often suggest a dietary change along with supplements like omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, although special baths, Epsom salts, and oatmeal treatments are also sometimes recommended. Special allergy shots, creams and antihistamines may also be administered.

Ear infection

This one isn't a big surprise. Ear infections seems to spread like wildfire, and in your pooch, it may be due to mites, bad hygiene, allergies, excess hair, or a foreign object causing a secondary infection in the ear, among other things. If you see your dog scratching at his ears, shaking his head as if trying to get rid of something, or if he gets irritable when you touch his ears, it's time to take him to visit the vet.

Your vet will clean the affected ear and run lab tests on the discharge. With minor infections you'll be able to use a special antibacterial ear cleanser at home, and a solution to help with your dog's itching. Your vet may also prescribe antibiotics for your dog, either in pill or ointment form, although pills are usually reserved for severe infections.

For more pet health information, visit PetMD.com; and don't forget to visit PetMD's Topic Centers.

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