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Updated by Lisbet Stuer-Lauridsen on Mar 13, 2018
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Top 10 Most Serious Pet Diseases

You need to know about the diseases that are most likely to affect your pets. In some cases they're preventable, in other cases recognising symptoms early can make the difference between full recovery and life-long complications or even death.

1

Obesity

Obesity

Obesity can have a genetic or metabolic component, but the most common cause in pets as in humans is too much food. Tackled early, weight problems can be monitored and managed but if allowed to go unchecked obesity increases the risk of heart problems, diabetes and arthritis. Obesity is a leading cause of premature death in pets.

Parvovirus

Has a high fatality rate in puppies and kittens. It shouldn't happen at all in older pets as an effective vaccine is available. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhoea and extreme lethargy. Treatment is mainly supportive and success rates depend on how quickly treatment is started and the underlying health of the animal.

3

Dental disease

Dental disease

Good oral hygiene will prevent a lot of gum and tooth problems. If you don't brush your pet's teeth then dental health chews are a reasonable second best option. Apart from the pain of dental diseases, when untreated they can give rise to heart and kidney problems.

4

Distemper

Distemper

Another disease that can and should be vaccinated against. Distemper in puppies too young to be vaccinated or in unprotected dogs has a high fatality rate. Signs of distemper include nasal discharge, high fevers and neurological symptoms.

Kidney disease

Most common in older cats but can affect dogs, cats and other pets at any age. Kidney disease in older cats can generally be managed for a few years, but dogs with kidney disease often deteriorate quite quickly.

6

Arthritis

Arthritis

As in humans, a reduction in mobility as your dog or cat ages is common. Joint supplements can help to keep pets comfortable and there are painkillers specifically developed to help pets with arthritis. When the condition arises as a result of hip dysplasia in lager dog breeds it can be crippling.

7

Rabies

Rabies

Almost unknown in the UK except by reputation, and yet that reputation is so fearsome that no list of pet diseases would be complete without including it. World-wide around 50 000 people die of rabies every year. In the UK, dogs are vaccinated at around three months.

8

Lyme disease

Lyme disease

Lyme is the most common of the tick-borne infections though by no means the only one. Avoiding exercising dogs in tick-prevalent areas reduces risk, as does examining pets for ticks. It's believed that the tick needs to be attached for 18 hours to transmit the disease The best way to reduce the risk of tick-born diseases is with tick prevention treatments.

9

Diabetes

Diabetes

Like humans, pets are more likely to develop diabetes as they get older and as with humans, good diet and exercise can help to control the condition. Severe cases may require insulin injections.

10

Gastric Torsion

Gastric Torsion

Also known as bloat, some breeds of dogs are more susceptible than others. Great Danes, Boxers, and other large breed, deep-chested dogs are most vulnerable. You can reduce the risk of bloat by preventing these dogs from eating food too quickly. Gastric torsion is a life-threatening condition and symptoms can develop quickly. Signs to watch for include retching with the inability to vomit, enlarged stomach area, restlessness and salivation.