7 Rare Dog Diseases

As a dog parent, you might have heard of common dog diseases like Kennel cough, hip dysplasia among others. It is also important to equip yourself with information about rare dog diseases as it can save you and your pooch one day.

Rare dog diseases include heartworms, Lyme disease, rabies, Addison’s disease, Leptospirosis, mad itch, and Canine parvovirus.

Read on to understand better these rare diseases and their symptoms.

Rare Dog Diseases


Symptoms- Coughing, respiratory issues, heart illness, weight loss, and lethargy.

Heartworms are parasitic worms that dwell in your dog’s heart and can cause serious damage to his heart, blood vessels, and lungs if he becomes infected. Heartworm is transmitted by mosquitos. Purchasing preventative medication (such as heartworm or flea and tick medicine) is similar to purchasing insurance: while you may not want to spend money now, it is preferable to not being able to afford a catastrophe later.

If your dog has heartworm, you should expect a strict treatment plan that includes steroids, antibiotics, and an organic arsenic injection. Preventative methods, such as annual blood tests and regular tablets, topicals, or shots, are the easiest (and cheapest) approach to keep him from contracting it.

Lyme Disease

Symptoms- discomfort, nausea, vomiting, fever, and limping.

This condition is caused by bacteria that are transferred via the bloodstream by tick bites (most often deer ticks) and causes pain in your dog’s joints. Lyme disease can be lethal if left untreated. Antibiotics can be used to treat Lyme disease, and it can be avoided by getting him vaccinated and examining his body for ticks after being outside.

If you’re concerned about your ability to handle the cost of protecting your pet, you might want to look into pet life insurance.


Symptoms- Fever, muscle pain, tiredness, dehydration, vomiting, and jaundice.

This disease is spread by direct or indirect contact with the Leptospira bacteria, which can be found in soil and natural water sources such as streams, lakes, and rivers.

Dogs can also contract the germs from infected urine, urine-contaminated food or bedding, or a bite from a sick animal, according to the American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMA).

Although veterinarians can treat leptospirosis with medications and supportive care, it is far easier to prevent by having your dog vaccinated. You should think about it before your dog comes into contact with the outside world.


Symptoms – Fever, discomfort, tingling or burning near the wound, and hyperactivity.

Rabies is a disease caused by the rabies virus that is communicated via a bite or saliva from an infected animal. Once an animal contracts it and begins to display symptoms, it is fatal. Many cities, states, parks, and groomers mandate dogs to get the vaccine because of its severity and ease of transmission to people.

Mad Itch

Symptoms –fever, vomiting, labored breathing, and drooling.

The more scientific word for this highly deadly herpes virus is pseudorabies. Pseudorabies can be contracted by dogs once they come into touch with infected pigs. As a result, your farm dogs are the most vulnerable. The pseudorabies virus targets the neurological system, causing abrupt death in more than half of cases with no other symptoms. If a dog lives long enough, it may become uncontrollably itchy, drool, develop a fever, and lose coordination. These canines may live for a few days, but they will eventually die. People can get a moderate form of the disease, therefore exercise caution while working with affected animals.

Addison’s Disease

Symptoms- body weakness, digestive problems, vomiting, weight loss, and lethargy.

Hyperadrenocorticism, commonly known as Cushing’s disease, is a disorder in which a dog’s body produces too much cortisol and aldosterone. The polar opposite of Addison’s illness is Cushing’s disease. Harm to the adrenal glands, which are situated near the kidney, is the most common cause of Addison’s disease. Damage to the adrenal glands, which are located near the kidney, is the most common cause of Addison’s disease. An autoimmune condition, trauma, cancer, or even an overdose of Cushing’s drugs might induce this.

Addison’s disease in dogs can have a wide range of symptoms, making it difficult to pinpoint exactly what’s wrong with them. They may feel a little off one day, feel better the next, and then feel worse the next. Due to decreased hormone production, some dogs experience an Addisonian crisis, in which they become exceedingly weak, have severe digestive problems, and may even collapse.

Canine parvovirus (parvo)

Symptoms- Fever, lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, and weight loss  

Parvo is a highly infectious virus that infects dogs who come into touch with a sick dog’s feces. Unfortunately, once parvo hits a dog’s internal organs, it’s easy to spread but difficult to kill.

Parvo is treated with plenty of fluids, electrolytes, and secondary infection prevention by veterinarians, but it’s typically fatal. Getting your dog vaccinated and keeping him away from any excrement, especially diseased feces, is the best method to keep him safe.


If your puppy gets sick, it’s likely to be anything else than the diseases listed above. That isn’t to suggest that these illnesses don’t still occur. In fact, unusual dog diseases can be more bothersome than other common diseases since they are rare and unexpected. Knowing a little bit about some of these uncommon dog diseases will help you detect them and seek veterinarian treatment if your puppy develops one.

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