Dog Diseases & Symptoms

There are many different dog diseases and symptoms that you might come across while taking care of your best friend.

Some dog illnesses are extremely contagious, severe and potentially fatal, others can be fairly benign as long as they’re recognized and treated properly.

Knowing how to tell the difference, and when to get veterinary help, could mean the difference between life and death for your Rottie.

This is especially true if you’re a puppy owner, because puppies can get very sick, very fast, and they are especially vulnerable to a whole host of canine diseases due to their immature immune systems, and lack of vaccinations.

Our dogs are our ‘babies’ and we tend to do the ‘mommy or daddy thing’ of panicking and fearing the worst at the first symptoms of dog illness.

This is not necessarily a bad thing, and it’s most definitely better to be safe than sorry, but you can reduce the stress on your heart by learning more about the most common dog health problems, and how to recognize them.

Your dog is relying on you to take care of him, so take a few minutes to scroll through the information on dog diseases and symptoms below so that you can do just that!

The list covers many of the most common dog diseases and symptoms that you may come across.

Bear in mind though, that one particular symptom (such as diarrhea) can be an indicator of several different conditions, and that you need to take into account other signs of illness and changes in behavior or situation, in order to figure out what is going on……


Common Dog Illnesses & Diseases

There are far too dog diseases and symptoms for me to list them all here, but I’ve covered the ones that you’re most likely to see.

Bear in mind that any one symptom (and sometimes a combination of symptoms) can occur in different conditions.

Only a trained veterinarian can make an accurate diagnosis of course, but the list below will give you an idea of what your pup might be suffering from…..



Most Common Symptoms

Distemper Viral. Highly contagious. Transmitted by air, or through discharge.
Discharge from nose or eyes. Coughing. Fever. Vomiting. Diarrhea. Lethargy. Weight loss. Muscle Tremors or twitching. Paralysis or seizures. Thickened pads on feet and/or nose.
Parvovirus Viral. Highly contagious. Very aggressive. Transmitted through bodily fluids and stools.
Bloody and/or watery diarrhea. Vomiting. Lethargy. Fever. Dehydration. See Parvo Symptoms for detailed information.
Coronavirus Viral. Highly contagious. Transmitted through direct contact or feces of infected animal.
Diarrhea. Lethargy. Loss of appetite. Dehydration.
Kennel Cough Bacterial or Viral. Contagious. Transmitted by air.
Coughing. Sneezing. Wheezing, hacking or retching. Discharge from eyes/nose. Fever. Loss of appetite. Lethargy.
Rabies Viral. Contagious. Transmitted through saliva.
Behavioral changes – extreme aggression and/or fear are common. Loss of appetite. Fever. Breathing problems. Lameness progressing to paralysis. Seizures. Excessive drooling. Difficulty swallowing.
Lyme Disease Bacterial. Transmitted by infected ticks.
Swollen joints. Enlarged lymph nodes. Lameness and/or limping. Lethargy. Loss of appetite. Fever.
Coccidiosis Protozoa-based infection (parasitic). Contagious. Transmitted through feces of infected dog.
Diarrhea (often pale grey/white). Vomiting. Lethargy. Loss of appetite. Dehydration.
Giardiosis Protozoa-based infection (parasitic). Contagious. Transmitted by contact with infected water supply (usually streams, lakes etc.)
Watery diarrhea. Loss of appetite. Weight loss. Lethargy. Vomiting.
Leptospirosis Bacterial. Contagious. Transmitted through urine of infected animal, bite wounds or ingesting infected tissue.
Fever. Loss of appetite. Vomiting. Lethargy. Jaundice. Increased thirst and urination. Abdominal pain. Dehydration
Parainfluenza Viral. Highly contagious. Transmitted by air.
Runny nose. Cough. Fever. Sneezing.
Hepatitis Viral. Contagious. Transmitted through urine, feces or saliva.
Coughing. Discharge from nose/eyes. Fever. Diarrhea. Vomiting.
Heartworm Parasitic. Transmitted by mosquitoes.
Few symptoms in early stages. Later – Coughing. Breathing difficulties. Weight loss. Lethargy.
Mange Parasitic – skin mites. 2 types, Demodectic and Sarcoptic (contagious).
Intense itching, scratching or biting. Hair loss. Rash. Red/irritated areas.
Kidney Disease Failure of kidneys. Can be chronic or acute.
Increased or excessive thirst and urination. Fever. Weight loss. Lethargy. Diarrhea and/or vomiting.
Arthritis Caused by disease or injury or be genetic in nature. Chronic or acute.
Swollen joints. Inflammation. Pain. Lameness or stiffness.
Wobbler Syndrome Affects vertebrae in the neck. Progressive and degenerative. More common in large breeds, especially Great Danes and Dobermans.
Neck pain and/or stiffness. Weakness in legs (most often rear legs). Paralysis.
Addisons Disease Disease affecting the Adrenal Glands. Can be caused by tumors, infection or be genetic. Most common in Portuguese Water Dogs, Labradors and Standard Poodles.
Vomiting. Diarrhea. Muscle weakness. Shaking. Exhaustion. Loss of appetite.


What To Do Next

The above list isn’t exhaustive by any means, but it does cover some of the most common canine illnesses and conditions.

You’ll notice how often symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea and lethargy appear. These three can indicate anything from a minor tummy upset to a major (and possibly life-threatening) illness.

Although there are no firm ‘rules’ to help you figure out whether your pup is sick… or REALLY sick…. the severity and frequency of canine illness symptoms, plus the general behavior of your dog, gives you some big clues.

For example, if your puppy or dog has had two loose stools during a 12 hour period, but is eating, drinking and eliminating normally and is otherwise full of energy and seems happy… chances are that he’s not in any immediate danger.

The diarrhea could be due to him eating something he shouldn’t, ingesting too many treats, or a reaction to vaccinations or medication.

In this case you can probably wait and see for another 12 hours or so before contacting your veterinarian.

But if your pup/dog is having repeated episodes of diarrhea, which may be getting worse, doesn’t want to eat or drink much, and is just lying around looking depressed….. then he needs to be seen by a vet immediately.

These symptoms could mean that your pup has Parvo¬†or some other serious condition, so there’s no time to waste in getting help!

Rottweilers are very vulnerable to Parvo, and the only hope a young puppy has of survival is early diagnosis and supportive care.

If your regular vet is closed, go to the nearest 24 hour emergency pet hospital. It really is THAT important!.

None of us want to think about our precious pet getting hurt or sick, but no matter how careful you are it CAN happen.

Rottweilers are a breed that tends to be expensive when it comes to veterinary care, so ensuring that you can afford to get your dog the help he/she needs (no matter what happens) is vitally important.

Unless you have a VERY healthy savings account, I’d strongly recommend getting health insurance for your dog. It’s a lifesaver, in more ways than one.

Pet health insurance can protect you from the high cost of vet bills and protect your Rottie’s health at the same time.

If you want to find out more, you can get FREE quotes and compare plans from today’s most trusted pet insurance providers right now…. there’s no cost or obligation.


About The Rotty lover 2122 Articles
My name is Dr. Winnie. I earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Duke University, a Masters of Science in Biology from St Georges University, and graduated from the University of Pretoria Veterinary School in South Africa. I have been an animal lover and owners all my life having owned a Rottweiler named Duke, a Pekingese named Athena and now a Bull Mastiff named George, also known as big G! I'm also an amateur equestrian and love working with horses. I'm a full-time Veterinarian in South Africa specializing in internal medicine for large breed dogs. I enjoy spending time with my husband, 2 kids and Big G in my free time. Author and Contribturor at SeniorTailWaggers, A Love of Rottweilers, DogsCatsPets and TheDogsBone

1 Comment

  1. I am worried about my dog’s dog got an anti rabies shot las a week ago and after the shoy my dog had lost apperite and keeps on drooling? Is this just a side effect that will eventually fade or is this something serious that needs vets attention? Thanks

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