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Common Dog Illnesses & Symptoms

Many common dog illnesses and symptoms can be cause for concern, or even fatal if left untreated. Our Los Angeles vets offer advice about health problems to watch for.

Common Dog Illnesses

Dog parents need to be vigilant and prepare to visit their vet for a physical exam and diagnosis if needed. Here are 3 common dog illnesses and their symptoms.


As our pooches live longer thanks to research, advancements in veterinary medical care, and various vaccines, therapies, and treatments, we also see more incidents of certain diseases.

Causes & Symptoms

Cancers ranging from skin, bone, and breast cancers to malignant lymphoma and soft tissue sarcomas can afflict dogs as they get older. Cancer is more common in certain breeds than others due to genetic factors. Environmental factors can also play a role.

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 the body

Depending on cancer, a tumor could be removed surgically, and there may be options to treat or cure the disease or prolong your dog’s life. Early detection and treatment are critical to survival.

Ear Infections

If your dog starts scratching their ear or shaking their head more frequently, whining, or exhibiting other unusual behaviors, a vet can examine them to see if they 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

It’s important to see your vet for quick treatment to keep the infection from spreading to other parts of the ear and leading to more serious conditions such as facial paralysis and deafness.


This highly contagious viral disease can be contracted by dogs from infected dogs' 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 vulnerable, many dogs can be saved if they receive timely, prompt treatment.

Causes & Symptoms

Symptoms include:

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

Parvovirus can be prevented with puppy vaccines and booster shots. Parvovirus must be treated as it can lead to bone marrow damage, bacterial pneumonia, chronic heart disease, and even sudden death.

What to Do if Your Dog is Ill

If you see any of these symptoms appear in your dog, it’s critical to get them to a vet as soon as possible. You can try an online symptom checker for dog illnesses, but it's always best to bring your pet in for an exam.

Are you seeing signs of illness in your dog? Our veterinarians at are experienced in diagnosing and treating serious illnesses. Book an appointment today.

Welcoming Cats & Dogs to Our Animal Hospital 

Shatto Veterinary Center welcomes cats, dogs, and their people to our clinic! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Los Angeles companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's appointment.

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