Symptoms In Dogs

By Susan Posted in Symptoms in Dogs /

Early recognition of symptoms in dogs is very important, particularly in senior dogs or very young pups. I was the owner of a senior dog, a Golden Retriever. August 6th 2009, she finally had to be put to sleep. Abigail was her name and she was my heart. It was because of her that I decided to make this blog. I wanted to do something that might help others with their dogs, senior or not.

408b36c5f80ebca Symptoms In Dogs

I also have a special needs pet, a paralyzed dog, Isabel. . The special challenges that she presents are an education in themselves. And early recognition of her symptoms was critical for saving her life.

So you can see by these two dogs alone, there is a wealth of information that I can share with you about symptoms in dogs.

Our Abigail and Isabel were both rescued puppies. Abigail was a product of a puppy mill, and Isabel was an abandoned pup that we got from the rescue league. You have no idea what you are getting when you rescue a puppy so you need to be aware of symptoms in dogs related to multiple possible diseases. And taking any precautions recommended by your vet. But there are some things you can be aware of at the beginning.

All reputable rescue shelters provide veterinarian care. All diseases detected are properly treated and the animal cared for. Diseases such as distemper, parvo, rabies, leptospirosis, are detected and treatment administered. It is important to remember these are rescue centers and they are usually short funded. So if they do not believe the animal can be saved or is too far gone with a disease, a humane euthanasia is performed. So for you this means your dog has been treated and is felt to have been cured, or it would not be offered to you for adoption.

You still want to take proper precautions and have your own vet look your new family member over. Disease symptoms can be missed especially if they are very early, or the animal was not handled much or emotionally withdrawn where it wouldn’t show it’s symptoms very readily. These animals need a lot of love and attention, but be sure to give it to them on their terms. Don’t force anything. Allow them to get used to you. But monitor and observe them for symptoms of dogs diseases. Educate yourself. You know what feels right or what causes you to be worried. The sooner detection does occur, the more likely it will be a full recovery.

Let’s just cover a few common diseases today.


Symptoms in dogs wit distemper are similar to the common cold – like runny nose and eyes, coughing, high temperature, and diarrhea. These are early symptoms. If the disease has progressed, you may observe nervous twitching, convulsions and even paralysis. Unfortunately there is no treatment or cure. Veterinarians can treat the dog palitively in the early stages, but the humane treatment is put the dog to sleep. Canine distemper is caused by a very contagious virus transmitted by air. The good news this is a common disease for vaccination. Puppies at rescue leagues will probably have been vaccinated.  But a neglected older dog, now rescued dog may not have had such treatment, so early detection is key for your animal’s humane care.


Symptoms of dogs with Parvovirus are lethargy, fever, vomiting, bloody diarrhea and rapid dehydration. It is spread by contact with infected stools. It is deadly and highly contagious. Treatment will entail rigorous intravenous fluids to combat the diarrhea and resulting dehydration. Supportive therapy may also be required. And isolation is necessary because it is so contagious.   However, like distemper, cared for animals are vaccinated against parvo, so your dogs already in the home would be safe.

Tracheobronchitis (aka Kennel Cough)

Symptoms in dogs of this common ailment is a chronic, dry, hacking cough, usually associated with a recent trip to be kenneled, so in close association with other dogs. It is caused by a variety of viruses and bacteria. It attacks the respiratory system and results in the chronic cough.  It is very transmittable but generally remains a mild infection. The reason we need early detection is the protection of the young pups and the senior dogs, if untreated, it could develop into pneumonia. There is treatment and recovery is usual. There is a vaccination available to prevent kennel cough.


This disease infects the kidneys and is caused by bacteria. It is spread through contact with mucous, urine or saliva of infected animals. Leptospirosis is of particular concern since it can infect humans. Symptoms in dogs include vomiting, diarrhea, and jaundice (detected by yellow color to gums, whites of the eyes and skin) excessive drinking, and distention of the dog’s abdomen.   Intensive care is necessary for these animals. They require antibiotics and intravenous fluids. Animals can recover but are often left with permanent kidney damage. Vaccinations do exist, but the multitude of strains of this disease often thwart the effectiveness of preventive measures.

I hope this introduction to some diseases common to our rescued friends can help you with early detection of symptoms in dogs. It is my goal to help with the care and treatment of our beloved pets.




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2 Responses to “Symptoms In Dogs”

  1. Jan Davis Says: November 4th, 2010 at 1:46 pm

    My deal friend has an 8 yr old Dauchshund (male). His has several symptoms and the vet doesn’t seem to know what the problem is. Here are his symptoms:
    Increased appetite, Weight gain, Increased plaque build up, Change in
    behavior, Dry/swollen nose, loss of sense of smell, Loss of vision
    Loss of balance/sense of direction, Eye’s always dilated
    Things the vet has told us: Heart is ok…except right side a bit enlarged.
    No heartworms. High blood pressure. Liver is good
    We are desperate to find out what’s wrong with him!

  2. Susan Kaul Says: November 6th, 2010 at 9:38 pm

    Jan I am so sorry for your friends little Dauchshund. I am not a vet and can not possibly know what is going on with this little guy, but it never hurts to get a second opinion, just like with people. Also have they checked him out for poisoning. The dilated pupils gives us hint there. Also what about diabetes. Have they checked for that? Just some thoughts I am so sorry for your friend.

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