Dog Illness Diagnosis: An Introduction

Getting the proper dog illness diagnosis often requires a skilled veterinary technician, but there are many symptoms that, once they are known to you, make your initial diagnosis quite accurate. If you know what to watch out for in your dog, you will be able to detect any problems before they become life threatening, giving you enough time to get to the vet. Getting your dog treatment for any illness they may be suffering from is important to maintain their health and ensure a long life.

Where to Look

The symptoms you will notice if something is wrong generally appear in the dog's feces, urine, skin, behavior or perhaps other areas of their body. Having a rough idea of what to look for in each of these areas will give you a jump on the treatment. Some ailments such as dog rabies are not often immediately detectable. For these and other preventable diseases, vaccination is recommended.

Feces Becomes More Unpleasant

Unpleasant (more than normal) smells, blood, mucus, strange colors, diarrhea and constipation can all signify problems. Usually digestive in nature, the problem could be an intestinal obstruction, parasites, allergies or colitis. Presence of a foreign object might also be to blame. Inflammation, perineal hernia or intestinal nerve damage are also possibilities.

Urine with Strong Odor

Problems with a dog's urine include a strong odor, blood, odd colors, difficulty urinating and excessive urination. The ailment could simply be dehydration, or it could be something more serious like diabetes or the beginnings of renal failure. Often urinary problems indicate a prostate gland problem in unfixed male dogs.

Skin Problems

A bad smell or the constant licking or scratching of the skin usually indicates dermatitis, but it could also be allergies of various types.

Unusual Behavior

Loss of equilibrium, disorientation, apathy or isolation, starvation, fever or paralysis can indicate a number of different things. Poisoning could be the culprit, but it could also be neurological problems, an inner ear infection, rabies, shock or a number of infectious diseases. If you notice any of these symptoms, it is best to consult with your vet as soon as possible so they can narrow it down, run tests and properly diagnose what is wrong.

Other Symptoms

Other symptoms include respiratory problems which often indicate poisoning or shock but also asphyxiation. Hemorrhaging anywhere may mean internal trauma or other serious gastric problems, abortion in female dogs, or poisoning.

There are many different symptoms that could mean many different things. The best thing you can do without being a trained vet is to keep an eye out for anything out of the ordinary. If you notice something strange, home diagnosis works up to a point, but you should get the dog veterinary attention immediately.