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The Most Common Dog Illnesses: Symptoms and Treatment

The Most Common Dog Illnesses: Symptoms and Treatment

There are several prevalent illnesses in dogs that can exhibit concerning symptoms, and some of them can be life-threatening if not treated promptly. Here, our Arlington veterinarians discuss the symptoms and treatment options of the most common illnesses found in dogs.

Common Dog Illnesses

Dog owners should stay vigilant and be prepared to take their dogs to the veterinarian for a physical examination and potential diagnosis if needed. Here are three common illnesses in dogs, along with their symptoms and common treatment approaches employed by veterinarians.


As our dogs live longer than ever before thanks to advances in veterinary medical care and vaccinations, therapies and treatments, it becomes much more common for our dogs to live long enough to develop diseases like cancer at some point in their lives. 

Causes & Symptoms

Different types of cancer - from skin, bone, and breast cancers to malignant lymphoma and soft tissue sarcomas - can plague dogs as they enter their elder years. Cancer is more common in some breeds than in others because of genetic factors. Environmental factors can also occur.

Though early detection can sometimes be difficult if little to no symptoms appear, classic symptoms of cancer include:

  • Lumps or bumps
  • Abnormal bleeding
  • Enlarged lymph nodes
  • Wounds that don’t heal
  • Lameness or swelling in bones or other parts of body


The treatment options for your dog's cancer will depend on the type of cancer they have. In some cases, surgical removal of the tumor may be possible, and there may be additional treatments available to manage or potentially cure the disease and extend your dog's lifespan.

Alongside cancer treatments, your dog may also require veterinary care to help alleviate any pain and discomfort caused by the condition. This could involve various approaches such as the use of hot and cold packs, acupuncture, or topical medications, tailored to address your dog's specific needs.

Early detection and treatment are critical to survival when it comes to cancer and, because of this, routinely schedule wellness exams are key to preserving your dog's life and catching diseases like cancer in their earliest stages. 

Ear Infections

If your dog is suddenly scratching their ear or shaking their head more often, whining, or exhibiting other relatively new forms of concerning behavior, a vet can examine them to find out whether they may have an ear infection.

Potential causes include moisture in the ears (a breeding ground for bacteria and yeast), allergies, autoimmune disorders, wax buildup, and more.

Causes & Symptoms

In addition to the signs mentioned above, symptoms include:

  • Swelling or redness in the ear canal
  • Dark discharge
  • Pain
  • Odor
  • Itchiness
  • “Crustiness” or scabs


If your dog is diagnosed with an ear infection, your veterinarian will carefully clean your dog's ear using a medicated cleanser and prescribe appropriate antibiotics or anti-inflammatory medications to treat the infection. They may also recommend a topical medication and provide instructions on how to apply it to your dog's ear at home.

When treated in the early stages, a simple ear infection typically clears up within a week or two. However, if the infection is more severe or caused by an underlying health condition, the treatment may be more complex and could take several months to resolve.

In some cases, severe infections can lead to chronic ear issues or recurring infections throughout the pet's life.


Dogs can contract this highly contagious viral disease from an infected dog’s feces or virus particles, which can survive in the environment for months. Though people and dogs who have not received all of their vaccines are most susceptible, many dogs who receive timely and prompt treatment can be saved.

Causes & Symptoms

Symptoms include:

  • Reduced appetite
  • Dehydration
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea (usually bloody)
  • Fever
  • Weakness


The most effective approach to dealing with Parvovirus is through prevention, which can be achieved by administering puppy vaccines and booster shots. Preventing Parvovirus is crucial as it can lead to various severe complications, including bone marrow damage, bacterial pneumonia, chronic heart disease, and even sudden death.

In the unfortunate event that your dog contracts Parvovirus, there is currently no cure available. However, your veterinarian will provide supportive treatments to manage symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea. Ensuring your puppy receives adequate hydration and nutrition is essential for their recovery from Parvovirus.

Since dogs with Parvo are prone to secondary infections due to their weakened immune systems, your vet will closely monitor your puppy's condition and may prescribe antibiotics to combat any developing bacterial infections.

What to Do if Your Dog is Ill

If you see any of the symptoms of the above three illnesses in your dog, it's critical that you get them in to see a vet as soon as possible. At Crossroads Animal Clinic, we have the services and diagnostic capabilities to help treat your dog's most challenging health conditions. 

If you have noticed any signs of illness in your pooch, don't hesitate to contact Crossroads Animal Clinic to book an appointment. Your dog's health begins with prompt treatment!

New Patients Welcome

Crossroads Animal Clinic is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Arlington companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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Contact (817) 277-9183