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The Most Common Dog Illnesses

The Most Common Dog Illnesses

When dogs don't feel well it can be difficult for even the most attentive owner to know just how serious the situation is. Today our Springfield vets explain the signs and symptoms of five common dog illnesses that can be serious.

Serious Illnesses In Dogs

Symptoms such as lethargy, coughing or scratching are quite common in dogs, but they might be signs of a serious disease or infection. Below are a few of the most common, but potentially serious, illnesses found in dogs and what you should do if your pet is exhibiting symptoms.


Parvovirus is a highly contagious, extremely serious viral disease that can threaten your dog's life. Common symptoms include severe vomiting, lethargy, dehydration, lack of appetite, and bloody diarrhea.

This illness can spread to any animal, person or even object that touches an infected dog's feces. The most important step in prevention is to make sure your dog is vaccinated for parvovirus.

If your dog is experiencing symptoms of Parvovirus, contact a vet immediately for urgent care! Parvovirus can be fatal.


Type I diabetes is the most common form of diabetes in dogs and will require insulin therapy in order for your dog to save your dog's life.

Diabetes is considered manageable once diagnosed however if left untreated, diabetes can lead to additional health problems, such as cataracts, coma and even death.

There are a number of symptoms of diabetes in dogs including lethargy and dehydration. If your dog is drinking more water than usual or sleeping more than usual be sure to make an appointment with your vet as soon as possible for a diagnosis.


Spread through the bite of an infected mosquito, heartworm disease is caused by a parasitic worm called Dirofilaria immitis. Once your dog becomes infected the worms will mature into adults and produce offspring while living inside of your pet.

There are no early signs or symptoms of heartworm disease. Symptoms of the progressed condition include fatigue, swollen abdomen, weight loss, coughing, and difficulty breathing however these symptoms will only become apparent once your dog is seriously ill.

Our Mooresville vets recommend protecting your dog from heartworm disease by keeping them on preventive medications year-round and having your dog tested annually. 


Ringworm, unlike heartworm, is a fungus rather than a parasite.

Dogs can actually carry the ringworm fungus without showing any symptoms whatsoever, but the most common signs of ringworm are skin lesions or patchy bald spots. 

Be aware that ringworm is highly contagious and can spread quickly to other animals and even humans. Bring your pet in to see the vet if they are showing symptoms of ringworm.

Kennel Cough

Kennel cough is a respiratory infection that causes inflammation to your dog's windpipe and voice box. Dogs with kennel cough will have a dry, hacking cough that often leads them to bring up foamy phlegm or nasal discharge.

Kennel cough is extremely contagious to other dogs but will clear up on its own over time. If you think your dog is suffering from kennel cough, immediately isolate them from other dogs and call your vet for further instructions.

Ear Infections

Ear infections in dogs can be caused by anything from bacteria to allergies to ear mites. Typical symptoms of ear infections include repeated head shaking, scratching, lack of balance and/or ear odor.

Ear infections in dogs can typically be cleared up quickly through cleaning and medication prescribed by your vet. That said, serious chronic infections may ultimately require surgery.

Head shaking due to ear infections can be so forceful that the dog ruptures vessels within the ear.

If your dog is showing signs of an ear infection see your veterinarian. Your vet will be able to diagnose your dog's ear infection and provide appropriate treatment to help prevent the infection from becoming more serious.

If your dog is showing signs of illness, contact our Springfield vets at Noll Veterinary Hospital to book an appointment. 

New Patients Welcome

Noll Veterinary Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vet and staff are passionate about the health of Springfield companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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