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Common Dog Diseases & Their Treatments

Our loyal furry friends are there for us through thick and thin, through good health and bad. That’s why it can be quite distressing when they themselves fall prey to ill health – especially when it happens well before their time.

Keeping in mind the average life expectancy of a healthy dog ranges between 6-12 years depending on breed, The Pets Hotel team have put together this handy overview of common dog diseases and practical advice on how they can be treated. Whilst we are avid animal lovers, we’re not experts in canine health!

So, if your dog is unwell, your first port of call should be a fully-qualified vet who has both the knowledge and equipment to make a professional diagnosis. On that note, the RSPCA is an excellent place to start, as is the AVA (Australian Veterinary Association) directory.

Vet with Dog


Canine arthritis

An especially common condition amongst older dogs, canine arthritis (also known as osteoarthritis) will affect up to 1 in 5 Aussie dogs during their lifetime. Just like the human version, canine arthritis is caused by wear and tear of the joints, which leads to inflammation and pain. Thankfully it can be treated with anti-arthritic medication, gentle exercise, weight loss and even surgery in severe cases.


  • Limping
  • Reluctance to move


  • Anti-arthritic medication
  • Gentle exercise
  • Weight loss
  • Surgery


Canine cancer

Unfortunately, dogs can also get cancer, just like their human parents - due to complex environmental and hereditary causes. Canine cancer tends to become more obvious in older dogs (as with the other conditions covered here) and ranges from breast cancer, lymphomas, melanomas and even prostate cancer to name a few variants. Treatments generally include chemotherapy and radiation treatment. As with humans, catching canine cancer early is key to maximising the chances of a successful recovery for your furry friend.


  • Abnormal discharge
  • Listlessness/lethargy
  • Lumps
  • Persistent sores
  • Rapid weight loss


  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation treatment


Canine cataracts

Canine cataracts are malignant growth on the surface of a dog’s eyes, which can obscure their vision and if left untreated, lead to blindness. More common in older dogs, this condition can also affect their much younger counterparts, including in some cases puppies. Thankfully they can be easily removed under general anesthesia by a veterinary surgeon.


  • Clouded vision/bumping into things
  • Inflammation of the eyes
  • Rubbing or scratching of the eyes
  • Watery eyes


  • Cataract removal surgery


Canine cough

Sometimes referred to incorrectly as “kennel cough”, canine cough is an irritating condition caused by airborne viruses that affects a dog’s upper respiratory system. It’s also highly contagious and therefore should be treated sooner rather than later by a qualified vet. However, just like the common cold in humans, canine cough isn’t “cured”, instead powerful antibiotics and cough suppressants can make your furry friend comfortable once again. On a broader note – ensuring your dog receives the parainfluenza and adenovirus type 2 vaccine as part of their annual check up is a solid way to deal with this and other viral-based conditions.


  • Gagging cough
  • Nasal discharge
  • Sneezing


  • Antibiotic
  • Cough suppressant medication
  • Vaccination (Parainfluenza and adenovirus type 2)


Canine diabetes

Dogs can also develop diabetes, which like the human version is caused by a lack of the hormone insulin or an inadequate response to insulin. The result of canine diabetes, if left untreated is hyperglycemia which can lead to more complicated health problems and in the worst cases, premature death. On the upside, the treatment for canine diabetes is quite straightforward – dietary changes and daily insulin injections immediately after eating (your vet can teach you techniques for making these injections relatively painless).


  • Dehydration
  • Listlessness/lethargy
  • Skin irritation
  • Weight loss
  • Vomiting


  • Daily insulin injections


Canine influenza

Also known as “canine flu” or “dog flu”, canine influenza is a relatively new viral disease in dogs that affects their respiratory system. Symptoms include coughing, sneezing and general fever, whilst treatments include anti-viral medications, ample hydration and rest. A canine flu vaccine is now available; however, this isn’t suitable for all breeds – something your vet can give you proper advice on.


  • Coughing
  • Fever
  • Sneezing


  • Anti-viral medication
  • Hydration
  • Rest


Keen to find out more about The Pets Hotel and our friendly team of professional animal lovers? Contact us at The Pets Hotel (Port Melbourne) on (03) 9646 3696 or The Pets Hotel Country Club (Lara) on (03) 5282 1286. 

About Us

After years of research in Australia and the USA, The Pets Hotel is custom designed for your pet’s health, safety and comfort, all in a fun-filled environment - which exceeds the industry Code of Practice.
The owners of The Pets Hotel have 35 years experience in the Pet industry.

The Pets Hotel is the culmination of this experience.

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Contact Information
Phone: (03) 9646 3696
Fax: (03) 9646 3695

Monday - Friday
7am-12pm & 3.00pm-6.30pm
Public Holidays

Address: 7 Phillip Court
Port Melbourne. Vic 3207