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The Most Common Dog Illnesses: Symptoms and Treatment

If your dog shows signs of certain illnesses and symptoms, taking action quickly is important. Some of these health issues can be serious and even deadly if left untreated. Our veterinarians at Richmond are here to provide guidance on the most common health problems in dogs and how to treat them.

Common Dog Illnesses

If you have a dog, it's important to keep an eye on their health and take them to the vet if needed. In this article, we'll go over three common illnesses in dogs, their symptoms, and what vets typically do to treat them.


Dogs are living longer due to better medical care and treatments, which is great! However, because they are living longer, they are more likely to get sick with things like cancer at some point in their lives.

Causes & Symptoms

As dogs age, they may be affected by various types of cancer such as skin, bone, breast, lymphoma, and soft tissue sarcomas. Certain breeds are more prone to developing cancer due to their genetic makeup, while environmental factors can also play a role. Detecting cancer in its early stages can be challenging when symptoms are not present.

However, some classic signs of cancer in dogs include:

  • Lumps or bumps
  • Abnormal bleeding
  • Enlarged lymph nodes
  • Wounds that don't heal
  • Lameness or swelling in bones or other parts of body


If your dog has cancer, they may need surgery to remove the tumor. Some treatments can help cure the disease or extend your dog's life, and your dog may need additional care to manage pain and discomfort. This can include things like hot and cold packs, acupuncture, or medications that are applied to the skin. It's important to catch cancer early, so taking your dog to the vet for regular check-ups can help identify any issues before they become serious and potentially life-threatening.

Ear Infections

If you notice your dog scratching their ear or shaking their head frequently, whining or behaving strangely, it could mean they have an ear infection. A vet can examine your dog to determine the cause of the infection which could be due to moisture in the ears, allergies, autoimmune disorders, wax buildup, or other reasons.

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


If your dog's ear is infected, the vet will clean it with special medicine and give you antibiotics or anti-inflammatory medication to cure the infection. They might also prescribe a cream to apply at home. If caught early, the infection will clear up in a week or two. But, if it's serious or due to a health condition, it might take longer to heal. In some cases, chronic or repeated ear infections may occur. 


Dogs can catch a very contagious virus from the poop or virus particles of an infected dog. This virus can survive in the environment for a long time. Dogs and people who haven't gotten all their vaccines are most at risk. However, if a dog gets treatment quickly, they can often be saved.

Causes & Symptoms

Symptoms include:

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


To avoid Parvovirus in dogs, it is best to prevent it by giving them puppy vaccines and booster shots. Parvovirus can cause serious health problems such as bone marrow damage, bacterial pneumonia, chronic heart disease, and even sudden death. If your dog does get Parvovirus, there is no cure, but your vet can provide supportive treatments to alleviate symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea. It is crucial to ensure your dog stays hydrated and well-nourished during recovery. Since Parvo weakens the immune system, your vet will monitor your dog's condition and may prescribe antibiotics to prevent secondary infections.

What to Do if Your Dog is Ill

If you notice any signs of the three illnesses mentioned in your dog, it's extremely important to take them to a vet immediately. At Broad Street Veterinary Hospital, we provide comprehensive services and advanced diagnostic capabilities to treat your dog's most difficult health problems effectively.

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

Looking for a new vet? We are accepting new patients! 

Book Online (804) 353-4491