Canine diseases

Our dogs can get ill and possibly even die from a variety of causes, including parasites, viruses, bacteria, tumors, physical and chemical influences, etc.

Below are some causes of disease or illnesses among dogs.
1.    GENETIC DISORDERS
One generally refers to congenital diseases as those caused by gene mutations and passed on down the line from parents to their offspring. In other words, one generation inherits from another generation changes in DNA strands or genes or major parts of DNA molecules.

Congenital disorders are classified by cause and type of transmission involved:
•    Chromosomal diseases:
This concerns a change in the number or structure of chromosomes.
•    Monogenic diseases:
Only one gene is responsible for such diseases, such that the genetic disorder leads to loss or malformation of a particular enzyme or protein.
•    Polygenic disorders:
These arise from interaction of multiple genes that cannot be identified individually, or often from unknown environmental factors.
2.    PARASITES
•    ECTOPARASITES
o    Fleas
o    Trichodectes canis (dog biting louse/lice)
o    Lice
o    Mites
o    Mosquitoes
o    Ticks
•    ENDOPARASITES
o    Roundworms  
o    Hookworms
o    Tapeworms, including the fox tapeworm
•    ONE CELL PARASITES
o    Babesia / piroplasma
o    Ehrlichia
o    Filaria (e.g. heartworm)
o    Giardia
o    Hepatozoon
o    Coccidia
o    Leishmania
o    Toxoplasma
•    MYCETOID (FUNGUS)
o    Microsporum canis
o    Trichophyton mentagrophytes
•    MICROORGANISMS
o    Viruses
o    Bacteria
Most infectious diseases are transmitted from one animal to another, and often from animals to humans. I suspect that humans can also transmit these to animals. The intensity of the disease is defined in terms of the pathogen’s virulence. The number of pathogens and many other factors determine whether an infection will develop into an infectious disease. Parasites are the most common causes of disease in our dogs.
3.    INJURY
An injury or trauma occurs when body tissue or an organ is damaged or destroyed by mechanical, physical, or chemical effects. Dogs involved in a traffic accident may suffer damage to several organs, bones, and large structures of the body like the stomach or chest. This leads to heavy bleeding and cardiovascular shock, may even be life threatening, and the outcome can be severe diseases and handicaps.
4.    DEGENERATION
Many dogs suffer from diseases in various parts of their body, caused by stressing one side or part of the body more than the other, for instance. Such wear and tear affects muscles, tendons, and joints. The condition is especially aggravated if the dog has inherited HD, patellar dysplasia, ED, or some kind of arthritis in a hip or knee joint.  
5.    TRAUMATIC EXPERIENCES
Extreme physical or emotional stress can lead to severe health problems in our dogs. Depending on how the dog comes to grips with the stressful experience, it may develop symptoms immediately or at some later stage. For example, this could appear as fever bouts, apathy, disorientation, aggressiveness, or even fear. Such symptoms are usually precursors of a disease.
6.    CHEMICAL & PHYSICAL INFLUENCES
A host of diseases can be triggered by physical or chemical influences in the dog’s environment – particularly environmental pollution in the air or water from heavy metals like lead, cadmium, etc. These can cause changes in the dog’s body or blood or lead to disorders of the immune and nervous systems.
7.    CONDITIONS HARMFUL TO HEALTH
Our dogs can get ill from poor living conditions such as inadequate or excessive hygiene, improper feeding, or little exercise. Dogs that lack important vitamins and minerals necessary for good health end up with metabolic, cardiovascular, and/or vascular diseases.
8.    AUTOIMMUNE CAUSES
These are diseases caused by an overly reactive immune system that attacks the dog’s own body. The immune system mistakenly targets the body’s own tissues as foreign bodies, resulting in severe inflammatory reactions that damage the attacked organs.
9.    TUMORS
Any bodily tissue may be the victim of autonomous and pathological growth (neoplasia/abnormal degeneration and growth) called tumors, which may be malignant or benign. Malignant tumors cause cancer and depending on their kind and function of the affected organ, the result could be malfunctions of the whole body or even death.

10.    IATROGENIC CAUSES
This group encompasses diseases resulting from improper treatment by a vet or laypersons (dog owners).

We still do not know the causes of some diseases, just their risk factors. Naturally, the above list is not exhaustive, since dogs can fall ill and possibly die from many other unknown causes.

N. B.
The author has exercised his best knowledge and belief when writing the above articles and content, which are purely for purposes of providing information for visitors. The content of the Web site www.familial-shar-pei-fever.de does not replace professional diagnostics, advice, and therapy from a vet. The information is presented here as accurately as possible and in good faith and trust in the professional integrity of the sources. The author of this site has not evaluated the statements about products and health conditions, whereby any details of diagnostics, therapies, and medications are not intended as recommendations of any kind whatsoever. Never give your dog any medicines or medicinal herbs without consulting your vet. Since the author is not a qualified medical practitioner or vet, he does not accept any liability whatsoever for providing the information herein.  


Hanspeter Kobold
February 2008

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