There are many diseases that dogs can get that only affect dogs specifically, and it is impossible to know what your dog is going through if he suffers from one of these diseases. But there are also a number of diseases that both humans and dogs can suffer from, albeit in subtly different forms. If you own a dog that suffers from one of these diseases it is a little bit easier to relate with how they might be feeling. These types of diseases that consist of a form of the disease that can affect humans, as well as a form of the disease that can affect dogs, most often fall into the category of skeletal and muscular diseases.
Diseases of this type are often some of the most difficult to manage, especially in dogs because they do not so effectively communicate their discomfort. Some such diseases are hereditary, while others may typically affect a certain breed of dogs, and then there are some that may simply be caused by a lack of certain nutrients that a dog may need more of. It is very difficult to determine the risk factors involved with developing some of these diseases, as each dog is very different from the next, as you likely already know. What you can do as a dog owner, though, is take certain general precautions that will at least help ensure your dog’s overall health, which may be what helps him avoid any major health problems. There are four diseases in particular that are common among dogs and that may be minimized in the effects if your dog is kept as healthy as can be.
1) Osteoarthritis – Most people have heard of arthritis before, and possibly even osteoarthritis as well. Osteoarthritis is not much different than the more common form of arthritis that can affect both dogs and humans. Both forms of arthritis affect the joints, but osteoarthritis affects them more significantly because it is a degenerative disease. If your dog has the more common form of arthritis he might be experiencing joint swelling, and as a result pain as well, but you may be able to manage these symptoms without them getting gradually worse. If he is suffering from osteoarthritis, on the other hand, he is not only suffering from these things but is also suffering from a degradation of bone and cartilage as well. It is this suffering that has the potential to have long-term, lasting effects for your dog because as a result of the disease he will experience significant bone and cartilage loss. Some of the symptoms that your dog may be suffering from osteoarthritis include stiffness in the joints, locking up of the joints, muscle atrophy, and of course pain. Some of these symptoms you may be able to visibly notice fairly easily, as you will see your dog moving around abnormally, but not all dogs will show visible signs of osteoarthritis right away. For this reason it is important to pay close attention to your dog’s movements and mannerisms, particularly when your dog reaches older age.
2) Hip Dysplasia – Hip dysplasia affects dogs more commonly than any other diseases, and although it is a disease that can develop in humans as well, it is generally thought of as a canine disease. The main characteristic of the disease itself is not so much what causes the pain, and there is not pain initially with this disease. The pain develops after long term use of the joints affected by hip dysplasia, as hip dysplasia is characterized by a hip socket that has not formed normally. The reason that it may not be all that painful for your dog in the beginning has to do with the body’s ability to produce more cartilage after it has been broken down by the abnormal formation of the hip socket. But because the process of cartilage production is very slow-paced it eventually will be unable to produce as quickly as it degenerates. When this starts to happen the bone and cartilage in the hip joints will become inflamed and this will be the primary cause of pain for your dog. The easiest way to tell if your dog is suffering from hip dysplasia early on is to take notice of how he walks, and it is also important to consider the fact that larger dogs are typically affected by the disease more than smaller dogs. Even detecting the disease early on, though, there is little that can be done to provide permanent relief.
3) Legg-Calvé-Perthes Syndrome – Legg-Calvé-Perthes Syndrome, also referred to as Perthes Disease, is another disease that affects the hips. This disease is also characterized by a deformity in the hip joint, as well as the socket in many cases. Perthes Disease is different from many other dog diseases in two very important ways that have to do with the age group and the size of dogs typically affected by the disease. More often than not this is a disease that affects younger dogs, as well as smaller breeds, unlike most skeletal diseases that tend to affect larger, older dogs. Legg-Calvé-Perthes syndrome is a difficult disease to diagnose because there are really no outer body deformities. The only real way to tell if your dog has the disease is to pay close attention to watch out for visible signs of pain when your dog moves around. In very rare cases both of your dog’s hips can be affected by the disease. In this case you would probably be much more inclined to notice, as when pain sets in it will be significantly worse than if only one hip were affected. Long-term effects of Perthes may include osteoarthritis later in life, so it is important to treat it as soon as possible.
4) Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome – Ehlers-Danlos syndrome is a disease that affects the collagen in your dog’s body, which means that it can lead to multiple physical health problems. Collagen is a very important element in the bodies of both humans and dogs, as it plays a major role in the elasticity of everything from ligaments and joints, to muscles and skin. A lack in collagen results in an increase in elasticity, which can lead to a severe lack in mobility, either at the time of onset or later in your dog’s life. The bad news about this particular dog disease is that it can never be 100 percent fully cured, and for that reason there are only treatment options that provide some supportive relief. Even worse, not only can the disease cause severe pain for your beloved dog, but it can even be life-threatening, depending on the severity of the mutation associated with the disease. Early detection may be able to prevent Ehlers-Danlos syndrome from developing this severely, but unfortunately your dog will not be able to be cured completely if he is suffering from this particular disease. You will have the opportunity to make him more comfortable, though, if you at least know that he is suffering.
There are many diseases that dogs may suffer from that will affect their mobility, and a dog’s mobility is everything they have. What dog doesn’t love to run and frolic and play? The most effective way to try to keep your dog healthy enough to enjoy this kind of physical activity for years to come is making sure that he gets all of the nutrients he needs, such as calcium, vitamin D, and collagen. Even though you may make every attempt, though, your beloved best friend could end up suffering from no fault of your own. You may be able to provide for at least some relief of skeletal-related diseases by providing him with collagen supplements though, and even a little relief for your very best friend is better than none.