Common Dog Illnesses

Achondroplasia: Type of dwarf-ism with shortened limbs

Acute moist dermatitis: (“hot spots”) Area of extraordinarily itchy and inflamed skin

Addison’s (hypoadrenocorticism): Insufficient secretions by the adrenal cortex

Amyloidosis: Abnormal deposits of amyloid proteins in organs, often kidney, resulting in progressive organ dysfunction

Ataxia: Incoordination

Atrial septal defects (ASD): Hole in the wall separating the right and left atria of the heart

Axonal dystrophy: Problem affecting nerve transmissions

Basenji enteropathy: Severe progressive intestinal malabsorption resulting in protein loss, intractable diarrhea, and weight loss

Brachycephalic syndrome: Group of upper airway abnormalities, including stenotic nares and elongated soft palate, affecting breathing in flat-faced dogs

Canine hip dysplasia (CHD): Abnormal hip assembly wherein the head of the femur does not fit snugly into the pelvic socket

Cardiomyopathy: Enlargement of the heart resulting from dysfunction of the heart muscle

Cataract: Opacities of the lens of the eye

Cauda equina syndrome: Group of neurological signs resulting from compression of the spinal nerves of the lumbosacral vertebral region

Central progressive retinal atrophy (CPRA): Degeneration of retinal cells beginning with those serving primary areas of vision

Cerebellar abiotrophy: Degeneration of brain neurons, causing progressive incoordination

Ceroid lipofuscinosis: Metabolic disorder in which a waste product accumulates in brain cells and leading to abnormal neurologic function

Cherry eye: Tear gland protrudes beyond the “third eyelid,” resulting in a bright red bulge in the inner corner of the eye

Chondrodysplasia: Type of dwarfism

Ciliary dyskinesia: Deformation of cells that generally have cilia, small hair-like appendages that aid in the movement of mucous (such as in the lungs and nose).

Colitis: Inflammation of the large bowel causing diarrhea

Collie eye anomaly (CEA): Congenital abnormalities of varying degrees found in the rear of the eye

Colonic disease: Large bowel disease

Compulsive behavior: Behavior that is repeated to excess to the extent it interferes with normal behavior

Copper toxicosis: Accumulation of copper in the liver, resulting in chronic hepatitis

Corneal erosion: Loss of the outer layers of the cornea; can lead to corneal ulcers

Corneal opacities (corneal dystrophy): Deposits of white or silver spots on the central cornea

Craniomandibular osteopathy: Abnormal development of the jaw involving excessive bone formation

Cushing’s (hyperadrenocorticism): Excessive secretion of cortisol from the adrenal gland

Degenerative myelopathy: Progressive loss of coordination and strength beginning in the hindquarters

Demodicosis: Generalized demodectic mange, a condition caused by Demodex mite to which certain breeds are more susceptible

Dermatomyositis: Systemic connective disease-causing inflammation of both skin and muscles

Dermoid sinus: Tubular indentation leading from the skin along the midline of the back, sometimes extending into the spinal canal

Diabetes mellitus: Deficiency in insulin production or utilization

Digital hyperkeratosis: Thickening of the footpads leading to cracked, infected, and painful pads

Distichiasis: Abnormal eyelashes along the lid, irritating the eye

Ectropion: Outward puckering of the eyelids, leaving a gap between the lid and eye

Elbow dysplasia (ununited anconeal process): Elbow joint laxity eventually leading to arthritic changes

Elongated soft palate: Abnormal extension of the soft palate, such that interferes with breathing

Entropion: Inward rolling of the eyelids, often irritating the eye

Epilepsy: Brain disorder resulting in periodic seizures

Esophageal achalasia: Failure of the walls of the esophagus to relax enough to allow food to pass into the stomach, resulting in regurgitation

Familial nephropathy: Hereditary impaired kidney function

Fanconi’s syndrome: Reabsorptive defects resulting in kidney failure

Fragmented coronoid process: Development flaw in which a fragment of the ulnar bone of the foreleg never fuses, leaving a chip floating in the elbow, resulting in lameness

Gastric torsion (gastric dilation-volvulus): Often called “bloat”; twisting of the stomach that traps the stomach contents and large, deep-chested breeds

Glaucoma: Increased intraocular pressure

Globoid cell leukodystrophy: Gradual destruction of white matter in the brain, eventually fatal

Glycogen storage disease: Deficiency of enzymes required for healthy glycogen metabolism, resulting in variable symptoms including weakness

Hemangiosarcoma: Malignant tumor of the lining of blood vessels, often affecting the heart or spleen, and usually fatal

Hemivertebra: Partially formed wedge-shaped vertebrae

Hemophilia A (factor VIII deficiency): Deficiency in clotting factor VIII leading to excessive bleeding

Hemophilia B (Factor IX deficiency): Deficiency in clotting factor IX leading to excessive bleeding

Histiocytosis: Rapidly progressive cancer infiltrating many parts of the body, often including the lungs, liver, spleen, and central nervous system

Hydrocephalus: Increased accumulation of fluid in the brain. Highest incidence in the toy and brachycephalic breeds

Hypertrophic osteodystrophy: Inflammation of the bone growth plates during periods of rapid growth in large breeds, resulting in lameness

Hypoglycemia: Unusually low level of glucose in the blood

Hypomyelination: Abnormally low amounts of myelin in peripheral nerves, resulting in weakness of limbs

Hypothyroidism: Decreased production of thyroid hormone, often caused by an auto-immune response. One of the most widespread disorders in dogs

Inguinal hernia: Protrusion of abdominal innards through the inguinal canal

Intervertebral disk disease: Abnormality of the disks that regularly provide cushioning between the vertebra

Intracutaneous cornifying epithelioma: Benign skin tumor

Iris coloboma: Pits in the iris (colored portion) of the eye

Keratoconjunctivitis sicca: Decreased tear production of the eye causing a dry and corneal tear

Lacrimal duct atresia: Abnormally small duct that drains tears from the eye

Laryngeal paralysis: Paralysis of the larynx, causing noisy or difficulty breathing

Legg-Perthes disease (Legg-Calve-Perthes): Destruction of the head of the femur bone due to decrease in blood supply

Lens luxation: Dislodgment of the lens of the eye

Lick granuloma: Thickened area of skin, usually of a leg, caused by excessive and often compulsive licking

Lip fold pyoderma: Infection of the skin around the folds of the lips

Lumbar-sacral syndrome: Group of neurological signs resulting from compression of the spinal nerves of the lumbosacral vertebral region

Lupus: Autoimmune condition

Lymphedema: Swelling due to poor drainage of the lymph system

Megaesophagus: Paralysis and enlargement of the esophagus, resulting in regurgitation of food

Meningitis: Swelling of the membranes neighboring the brain and spinal cord

Mitral valve insufficiency: Degeneration of the mitral valve of the heart, allowing blood to flow backward into the left atrium and resulting in enlargement of the heart

Mucopolysacharidosis IIIB: Recessively inherited fatal disease resulting from the lack of an enzyme, giving rise to brain disease

Muscular dystrophy: Progressive degeneration of skeletal muscles

Narcolepsy: Episodes of sudden deep sleep

Narrow palpebral fissure: Abnormally small opening between the eyelids

Nasal solar dermatitis: Inflammation of the nose surface from exposure to sunlight

Necrotic myelopathy: Loss of insulating myelin from the spinal cord, resulting in paralysis

Open fontanel: Incomplete closure of the bones of the skull, resulting in a soft spot on top of the head

Osteochondritis dissecans: Degeneration of bone underlying the cartilage of joint areas, most often seen in young, fast-growing dogs of larger breeds

Osteosarcoma: Malignant bone cancer. More common in large and giant breeds

Otitis externa: Infection of the outer ear, including the ear canal. Most common in dogs with long, hanging ears receiving little ventilation

Pancreatic insufficiency: Inadequate digestive enzyme production by the pancreas, resulting in poor nutrient absorption

Pancreatitis: Inflammation of the pancreas

Pannus (chronic superficial keratitis): Corneal inflammation with abnormal growth of vascularized pigment

Panosteitis: Excessive formation of bone growth in  some joints of young dogs resulting in intermittent lameness

Patellar luxation: Abnormally shallow groove in the knee so that the knee cap slips in and out of position, causing lameness. Most common in small dogs

Patent ductus arteriosus: Failure of the embryonic blood vessel connecting the pulmonary artery to the aorta to go away in the postnatal dog, resulting in the improper circulation of blood

Pelger-Huet: Abnormal development of blood neutrophils

Pemphigus: Auto-immune disease of the skin

Perianal fistula: Draining tract around the anus

Persistent pupillary membrane: Abnormality in which strands of iris tissue is stretched across the pupil

Persistent right aortic arch: Failure of the embryonic right aorta to go away in the postnatal dog, resulting in constriction of the esophagus

Phosphofructokinase deficiency: Deficiency in red blood cell enzyme, causing anemia

Polyneuropathy: Weakness or paralysis of limbs due to problems in peripheral nerves

Portacaval shunt (portasystemic shunt): Failure of embryonic blood vessels within the liver to go away in the postnatal dog, allowing blood to bypass liver processing, resulting in neurological and other symptoms

Premature closure of distal radius: One of the two bones of the foreleg stops growing before the other, resulting in malformation of the leg

Progressive posterior paresis: Paralysis of one or both hind limbs

Progressive retinal atrophy: A family of diseases all involving gradual deterioration of the retina leading to blindness

Prolapse of nictitans gland: Hypertrophy of the gland of the third eyelid

Protein wasting disease: Loss of protein through the kidneys (protein-losing nephropathy: PLN) or intestines (protein-losing enteropathy: PLE) resulting in diarrhea and weight loss

Pug dog encephalitis: Fatal inflammation of the brain

Pulmonic stenosis: Congenital narrowing of the opening in the heart between the right ventricle and pulmonary artery, eventually causing heart failure

Pyruvate kinase deficiency: Deficiency of a particular red blood cell enzyme, causing premature destruction of red blood cells and resulting in anemia

Rage syndrome: Sudden episode of aggression without apparent warning

Renal cortical hypoplasia: Failure of both kidneys to function normally

Renal disease: Unspecified kidney disease

Renal dysplasia: Abnormal development of the retina

Retinal detachment: Detachment of the retina from the back of the eye, leading to partial visual loss

Retinal dysplasia: Abnormal development of the retina

Retinal folds: Folds in the retinal layer. Many disappear with maturity

Schnauzer comedo syndrome (follicular dermatitis): Skin disease characterized by blackhead formation

Scotty cramp: Periodic generalized cramping of the muscles, usually precipitated by excitement; associated with problem with metabolism of a neurotransmitter (serotonin)

Sebaceous adenitis: Inflammation of the sebaceous glands, resulting in scaly debris, hair loss, and infection

Shaker syndrome: Episodic diffuse muscular tremors and incoordination

Shar-pei fever: Recurrent bouts of unexplained fever, often with joint inflammation

Shoulder luxation: Dislocation of the shoulder

Skinfold dermatitis: Skin infection caused by moisture and bacteria trapped within deep folds of skin

Skin fragility (Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, cutaneous asthenia): Tissue disease-causing extremely fragile skin

Spiculosis: Abnormally bristle- or -spike-like hairs interspersed among healthy hairs

Stenotic nares: Abnormally narrow connection between the left ventricle and the aorta, eventually leading to heart failure

Syringomyelia: Spinal cord disease characterized by fluid-filled cavities, causing pain, stiffness, and weakness

Tail fold dermatitis: Infection of the skin around the tail base due to excessive skin folds or an “inset” tail

Tetralogy of fallout: Pulmonic stenosis combined with a defect in the ventricular septum results in de-oxygenated blood being pumped throughout the body

Thrombocytopenia: Lowered platelet number in the blood, leading to excessive bleeding

Thrombopathy: Abnormality of blood platelets

Tracheal collapse: Loss of rigidity of the trachea, leading to weakness of the trachea and breathing problems. Most common in small breeds

Trichiasis: Eyelashes arising from the typical origin are misdirected into the eye, causing irritation

Tricuspid valve dysplasia: Malformation of one of the valves in the heart

Urethral prolapse: Protrusion of part of the mucosal lining of the urethra through the external urethral orifice

Uric acid calculi: Bladder stones resulting from an abnormality in the excretion of uric acid

Urolithiasis: Formation of urinary stones

Vaginal hyperplasia: Overly enlarged vaginal tissue, sometimes protruding through the vulva. More common in giant breeds

Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada-like syndrome (uveodermatologic syndrome): Auto-immune disease leading to progressive destruction of melanin-containing tissues, including those in the eye and skin

Von Willebrand’s disease (vWD): Defective blood platelet functioning resulting in extreme bleeding, caused by a deficit in clotting factor VIII antigen (von Willebrand factor)

Wobbler’s syndrome (cervical vertebral instability): Abnormality of the neck vertebrae causing rear leg incoordination or paralysis

Zinc responsive dermatosis: Thickened, scaly skin condition that responds to zinc supplements