Bringing home a puppy is an exciting time. If this is your first puppy, you will be especially nervous and hoping that you do not make a critical mistake. Here are some common puppy health problems that you need to watch out for.
This fungal infection is hard to prevent but is treatable. Puppies and very old dogs are the most susceptible for getting this infection. Circular patches of hair start to go missing from the feet, face, ears and under the tail. These patches are edged with a red ring. Ringworm is contagious, so infected puppies need to be isolated from other animals. Always wash your hands after handling infected puppies. Launder the puppy’s bedding frequently and vacuum floors to remove any shed fungal spores that can spread ringworm.
Bowel Movement Problems
Diarrhea or constipation can be a symptom of many different types of health problems. Have you changed the puppy’s food recently? Sudden food changes are a common reason for diarrhea or constipation. If the puppy has other symptoms including fever, listlessness, vomiting, swollen abdomen, uncontrollable shivering, loss of coordination or blood in the stool, contact a vet at once. The cause could be parvovirus infection, poisoning, swallowing a foreign object or a bad worm infestation. Call your vet to see if you need to bring a stool sample as well as the puppy for an examination.
Hip dysplasia is one of the most common genetic problems in dogs. Breeds like Labrador retrievers and German shepherds are most prone to developing hip dysplasia. According to the ASPCA, puppies begin showing symptoms as young as five months old. Symptoms include a peculiar bunny-hop walk, limping, sudden problems climbing stairs or sitting with hind legs in strange positions. If left untreated, the puppy could be crippled for life. The condition is also very painful.
Never leave a puppy in a hot car. Supervise playful puppies on hot and humid days. Puppies have been known to play until they drop from heat exposure. Puppies with a pushed-in face like a bulldog, Boston terrier, pug or Pekingese will be most prone to heat exposure. Symptoms include hyperventilation, drooling excessively, vomiting, lack of coordination and seizures. Get the puppy into a shady spot. Lay towels soaked in cool (not cold) water on the puppy. Take the puppy to an emergency vet. Heat stroke can damage the puppy’s inner organs.