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6 Most Common Dog Health Problems

How to Help Hot Spots in Your Dog

They’re commonly known as hot spots, but the medical term for those bare, inflamed, red areas you often see on dogs is acute moist dermatitis -- a bacterial skin infection. Anything that irritates your dog's skin enough to make him scratch or chew can lead to the pain and itch of hot spots, which, if left untreated, can quickly grow larger.

A hot spot's location can help your vet diagnose its cause. Fleas, for example, may be the source of a hip hot spot, while a hot spot at the ear might point to ear problems.

Treating hot spots may involve cleaning and shaving the irritated area, antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), steroids, or topical medications, depending on how bad the hot spots are, and how much pain your pooch is in.

Read more about hot spots in dogs.

Common Dog Health Problem: Vomiting

Vomiting is a common dog health problem, with dozens of possible causes, from infection or intestinal parasites to pancreatitis, kidney failure, heatstroke, or poisoning.

Symptoms are basic: abdominal heaving and drooling caused by nausea. If your dog also has diarrhea, blood in the vomit, seems lethargic, continues vomiting, or can't hold down liquids, contact your vet right away to prevent life-threatening dehydration.

Treatment depends on what's causing a dog's distress, and may include fluid therapy, drugs to control vomiting, and homemade foods like well-cooked skinless chicken, boiled potatoes, and rice.

Read more about vomiting in dogs.

Doggy Diarrhea

Diarrhea in dogs, as with vomiting, can have lots of causes, including stress, infections like parvo virus, intestinal parasites, and food problems.

Diarrhea symptoms are pretty obvious -- look for loose, watery, or liquid stool.

Because diarrhea can easily lead to dehydration, be sure your dog has plenty of clean water available, then take your pooch to the vet if the diarrhea persists for more than a day, or immediately if there's also fever, lethargy, vomiting, dark or bloody stools, or loss of appetite.

Read more about diarrhea causes and treatments in dogs.

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WebMD Veterinary Reference

Reviewed by Audrey Cook, BVM&S on August 15, 2012

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