Most Common Pet Maladies


(Photo above: Cascade Business News)

Pets can suffer from a variety of medical issues. We performed a computer search to determine the five most common maladies we see at Westside Pet Hospital.

Skin Issues. Since skin is the largest organ of the body it would make sense that it is also the most common medical issue we see. Several diseases manifest some of their symptoms on the skin which can make a “skin” problem indicative of an internal disease. Skin can also be affected by dryness, diet, parasites, and bacterial infections There are many diagnostic procedures that can be performed to help identify the problem. An effective treatment plan utilizes that information to treat the underlying issues.

Ear infections are also very common. In some ways the ear is just an extension of the skin so ear and skin problems may be related. This is common when dealing with food and pollen allergies. The ear canal can become inflamed for a variety of reasons. The ear responds by producing an excess amount of wax which can be seen as brown goo in the ear canal. Accurate diagnosis and treatment will help resolve the condition.

During the summer months in Bend, cheat grass from a common ornamental shrub may find its way into the ear canal, causing dogs to suddenly tilt their head and scratch at their ear. The treatment is to remove the offending particle before it causes more severe problems like an infection or an ear hematoma.

We see a lot of pets for gastrointestinal problems. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea and in appetence. Systemic disease can result in these symptoms. There are several infectious diseases that can cause G.I. problems such as parvovirus, intestinal parasites and Giardia. Other causes include sudden diet changes, too many treats, swallowing objects and stress.

Come the summer months when Bendites are out exploring, we see an increase in musculoskeletal problems. It could be something as simple as a muscle strain to the more severe ruptured knee ligaments. Arthritic problems become more pronounced as pets accompany their families for evening walks and long weekend hikes.

Oral disease occurs in seventy percent of pets older than three years. Dental plaque is a mixture of bacteria, proteins and food byproducts that form a sticky film. This gunk coats the teeth and gets under the gum line forming pockets. Plaque carries bacteria that can damage tooth enamel and lead to gum disease. Untreated, bacteria inflames the gums, enters the blood stream and travels throughout the body to invade vital organs. In many pets, this flow of bacteria continues for most of their lives and can cause serious damage to these organs if left untreated. Having your pet’s teeth cleaned on a regular basis and daily brushing or effective dental treats can keep this process under control.

Many common problems we see in pets can be treated or prevented. The earlier treatment is instituted, the better the outcome.

Scott Shaw,, Westside Pet Hospital, 133 Sw Century Dr., Ste. 102, Bend,


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