Top 10 Health Problems Puppies Potentially Face; Most dogs born into healthy conditions experience few, if any, health problems, but there are some common illnesses puppies are prone to.
Diarrhea: One of the most common health problem that almost all puppies will experience is diarrhea. There are a number of causes for diarrhea in your pup, but fortunately most are not life-threatening. When puppies switch from a liquid diet and start eating solid foods, most will experience diarrhea as their digestive system adjusts to their new diet. Puppies can also experience this problem if they ate something that was not puppy food. If the problem persists for more than 24 hours and is accompanied by other symptoms, you should take your dog to be checked out by a vet to make sure it is not a more serious problem like a disease or parasites.
Hypoglycemia: Also known as low blood sugar, hypoglycemia is a problem some puppies could develop. Puppies, especially toy breeds, are more susceptible to low blood sugar than adult dogs because they only have so much fat and if they are expending more calories than they are consuming their blood sugar level drops. Since a puppy’s liver is not mature yet, it is unable to make enough sugar leading to the puppy being hypoglycemic. Hypoglycemic puppies may appear weak, sleepy and disoriented.
Internal Parasites: Internal parasites like hookworms and roundworms are a common health problem the puppies encounter. It is so common because worms can be passed from the mother to her puppies during pregnancy or through her milk. Most vets deworm puppies even if there are no symptoms of parasites or evidence in their stool just to be safe because worms can remain dormant in a dog’s body.
Kennel Cough: A common condition to affect puppies that is spread from dog to dog is kennel cough. Also known as canine infectious tracheobronchitis, kennel cough sounds worse than it actually is and most dogs will recover without any treatment. However, some puppies could suffer from abnormal lung development or pneumonia if they develop a serious case. Kennel cough consists of your puppy continuously coughing and may even sound like gagging. Puppies are susceptible to kennel cough if they are in crowded or stressful conditions.
Parvo: Another communicable disease puppies are prone to is parvo. Parvo is a highly contagious and spreadable disease that can cause cardiac and intestinal problems in puppies. Puppies suffering from parvo could have symptoms that include loss of appetite, lethargy, fever and trouble sleeping. Puppies under the age of six months are the most likely to catch this virus. Parvo can be fatal if it is left untreated which is why you should see the vet if you suspect your puppy has caught it.
Retained Baby Teeth: Smaller breeds of puppies are the most likely to be affected by retained deciduous (baby) teeth. Like humans, animals have two set of teeths: their deciduous set contain 28 teeth and their adult set contain 42. Puppies who suffer from this still have not lost their baby teeth when their adult teeth have erupted. Usually, retained baby teeth lead to the adult teeth coming in at abnormal positions, abnormal bite patterns and jaw positions, and overcrowding of teeth. Recognizing the problem early will help prevent permanent damage.
Scabies: Also known as mange, scabies is a common skin condition that can affect puppies. This health problem could be very irritating and itchy for your puppy so do not wait to seek treatment. Mange is caused by mites and a dog’s persistent itching can lead to hair loss, nasty lesions and a foul smell.
Umbilical Hernia: When the muscle wall of a puppy’s belly button is opened, it is known as an umbilical hernia. It is usually not a very serious problem, though it requires medical attention, unless the contents of the abdomen begin to come out of the opening. Organs can become stuck in the hernia which will require surgery to be corrected. Small hernias usually do not require surgery but need to be observed to make sure they close. Umbilical hernias are usually inherited, but trauma can also be a cause.
Undescended testicles: When one or both or a male puppy’s testicles have not descended by 16 weeks this is known as undescended testicles or cryptorchidism. Testciles that do not descend need to be removed through surgery because they are more likely to develop cancer and other medical complications.
Vomiting: Like diarrhea, puppies vomit for a number of reason. They may have ate too much or ate too fast which can lead to an upset stomach and vomiting. They may also throw up because they are excited or partake in too much physical activity after eating. Vomiting shouldn’t be something to worry about unless it persists. If vomiting continues, take your pup to the vet as soon as possible.