Common conditions




Top 5 Common Conditions in Dogs

1Sore ears

If your dog is rubbing his/her ears along the floor, scratching at the ears or no longer enjoys a head rub, this may be a sign of sore ears or otitis externa. The ears might be sore due to a simple ear infection. A swab of the ear can help to distinguish whether bacteria and/or yeast are present. Sometimes a culture of the material is required for more complicated infections. There are other possible causes of sore ears, for example ear mites, a foreign body within the ear canal, such as a grass seed. Some dogs can have recurrent ear infections due to a variety of reasons, for example conformation of the ear (especially large heavy eared breeds), excessive wax production, polyps or a tumour within the ear and allergies. As you can see ear disease can be complex so it is important to see a vet if you notice your dog has sore ears.


Limping or lameness is a common problem in dogs. Sometimes the lameness is obvious, but sometimes it is very subtle or occurs intermittently, or only doing a certain activity or at a specific time of day. It is always important to take your dog to the vet for lameness because the cause can range from a simple muscle pull in the majority of cases, to torn ligaments, fractures and even cancer of the bone. The age and breed of dog, when the lameness occurs and how severe it is will help the vet to ascertain the diagnosis along with an exam of the spine and limbs. In some cases examination under sedation and x-rays will be required to obtain a diagnosis.

3Upset stomach

Vomiting and diarrhoea alone or in combination has a very long list of possible causes in dogs. Often the cause is eating something unsavoury whilst out walking or in the garden, requiring only supportive treatment. However some causes of vomiting and diarrhoea can be serious, such as pancreatitis or a foreign body obstructing the intestines. If the vet is concerned after asking questions and performing a clinical exam then bloods tests and imaging (x rays and abdominal ultrasound) might be recommended. If your dog has become dehydrated due to the vomiting/diarrhoea, if they are vomiting too much to give medications by mouth, or if they will not eat, then they will be admitted to hospital for intravenous fluids and medications.

4Lumps and bumps

Masses within or just under a dog’s skin are very common. The appearance of a mass is rarely sufficient for a diagnosis as many different masses have a similar appearance. Therefore sampling of the mass will often be recommended. Depending on the type of mass, different treatment will be recommended ranging from no action, to surgical removal and follow up treatment such as chemotherapy or radiotherapy. If you find a lump on your dog it is important to book a check up with a vet to discuss options.

5Smelly breath

Smelly breath, also known as halitosis, is an unpleasant problem. It is most commonly caused by tartar on teeth and inflammation of the gums, or periodontal disease. However there are many other possible causes ranging from foreign material stuck in the mouth and gases from the stomach, to kidney disease and uncontrolled diabetes. If your dog has smelly breath book an appointment with a vet for an examination and to talk through options.

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