If your dog becomes ill, you will need to take action quickly to manage their symptoms and treat their condition. Some of which may require veterinary care. This makes it important to know the signs and what steps to take. Our veterinarians in Madison share some of the most common dog illnesses and the symptoms your canine companion may experience.

Common Dog Illnesses

If you have a dog, it's important to keep an eye on their health and take them to the vet for an exam if needed. Here, we discuss three common dog illnesses, share the symptoms in the form of a checker/list, and talk about 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 diseases like cancer at some point in their lives.

Symptoms of Cancer

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 the body

Treatment for Cancer in Dogs

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.

Symptoms of Ear Infections

In addition to the signs mentioned above, symptoms include:

  • Swelling or redness in the ear canal
  • Dark discharge
  • Pain
  • Odor
  • Itchiness
  • "Crustiness" or scabs

Treatment For Ear Infections in Dogs

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 received all of their vaccines are most at risk. However, if a dog gets treatment quickly, they can often be saved.

Symptoms of Parvovirus

Some of the symptoms that a dog may experience with Parvovirus include:

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

Prevention & Treatment of Parvovirus in Dogs

To prevent Parvovirus in dogs, it is best to give 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 You Need to Do if Your Dog is Sick

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

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If your dog is showing any signs of illness, we recommend scheduling an appointment as soon as possible. Contact our vets in Madison today.