Common medical problems in dogs

Dogs make the vast majority of our pets. Canine medicine is a large and progressive field and the level of care offered to pet dogs is extremely high. The amount of medical information is overwhelming and numerous resources are available. This article concentrates on some of the most common problems seen daily in veterinary practice.  


Not eating (Anorexia)

Dogs go off food when sick. Common problems that can cause anorexia are:

Loss of appetite:

Digestive diseases (infections, tumors, object ingestion, parasites).

Systemic diseases: Liver, kidney, pancreas diseases, infections, toxicities, cancer

Inability to eat or swallow: 

Neuromuscular diseases, Oral and upper digestive pain,  teeth problems, oral and throat infections or tumors, Jaw fractures 

psychological problems:

Stress, food choice


Occasional, self limiting vomiting, is very common in dogs. When vomiting persists, it is a sign of disease. Common causes of vomiting are:

Digestive problems:

Infections (Viruses, bacteriae), foreign bodies, obstructions, ulcers, drugs, irritants/spoiled food ingestion

Systemic problems:

Liver, kidney, pancreas diseases, infections, toxicities, cancer, Brain problems, drugs, congestive heart failure


Regurgitation is passive elimination of food and needs to be differentiate from vomiting. It is usually caused by esophageal disease.


In most cases, diarrhea is occasional and self limiting. Serious, profuse diarrhea can be caused by:

Digestive problems:

Intestinal parasites, infections (Viruses, bacteriae), foreign bodies, drugs, irritants/spoiled food ingestion

Systemic problems:

Liver, kidney, pancreas diseases, infections, toxicities, cancer



Constipation usually is a digestive problem but sometimes the cause is systemic.

Digestive problems:

Ingestion of indigestible material such as bones, cloth, plastic or hair may cause obstruction or facilitates formation of large and difficult to pass stools. Intestinal tumors can also cause partial or total obstruction.

Systemic problems:

Lack of exercise, pain, nerve damage, External tumors, pelvic fracture, enlarged prostate, Kidney failure, infections, drugs, and cancer


Anal sac disease

Anal sac disease is very common in dogs.

Dogs have two sacs on the sides of the anus. These sacs usually empty during the dog's activities. Sometimes the sacs do not empty and get impacted with material, which may get infected and develop an abscess. The condition is very uncomfortable and dogs react by scooting or licking and biting the area. Some dogs are prone to the disease and need periodic veterinary treatment. 

The anal area can also be affected with tumors, which are relatively common in unneutered males. 


Oral and teeth problems


Gastrointestinal parasites

Ear infections

Skin problems

Skin wounds and injuries
Lumps and bumps

Upper respiratory problems

Respiratory problems

Heart problems

lameness and movement problems

Urinary problems

Car accidents

Weight loss/gain




Copyright © 2004 - 2013
Yuval Nir
Naperville University Commons Animal Clinic-
1827 Wehrli rd
Naperville , IL , 60565
(630) 544-3333
Veterinarians, Animal hospital