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Like humans, dogs are susceptible to a whole slew of unique and rare illnesses! In fact, there are thousands that lie in the realm of possibility. Many illnesses dogs get can be avoided by good exercise and healthy weight management, although, some diseases are just downright nasty. Below are a few strange diseases to look out for in your dog.

Alopecia X

A medical term meaning abnormal absence of hair, the veterinary community doesn’t completely understand Alopecia X. Dogs with Alopecia X undergo a gradual process of hair loss over the sides of their bodies.

Don’t worry; Alopecia X is a strictly cosmetic concern (unless you live someplace very cold), and needs no treatment.

Aujeszky Disease

Dog not associated with symptoms

Aujeszky Disease, or Pseudorabies, is both an extremely rare and just as fatal disease, usually seen in dogs on farms due to exposure to infected tissue and caused by the a form of the herpes virus. SuHV1 is a herpesvirus, and not related to the rabies.

Signs & Symptoms

  • Sudden change in behavior
  • Excessive salivation
  • Difficult or rapid breathing
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Depression
  • Lethargy
  • Convulsions
  • Reluctance to move
  • Intense pruritis (itching)
  • Self mutilation
  • Coma
  • Sudden death

This disease progresses rapidly, death usually occurring within 48 hours.

Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus

Not exactly a rare disorder, but without a doubt a unique and potentially life threatening one, GSO (or Bloat) occurs when the stomach twists, cutting off the intestines, and fills with gas. Unfortunately, the exact causes are not clearly known, but rapid eating, growth and breed size seem to all play a role.

The stomach fills with gas and distends, eventually putting pressure on the diaphragm as well as cutting off return blood flow to the heart. The extreme pressure eventually causes tissues to die, leading to stomach rupture and possible spleen damage.

At that point, if prior measures aren’t taken to alleviate pressure, death is likely to result.

Malignant Hyperthermia

Dog not associated with symptoms

Normal, everyday things like regular activities, excitement, or stress can give dogs with this rare disorder dangerously high body temperatures. Unlike most dogs, their muscles will contract and then fail to relax normally, causing muscle twitches and spasms.

Such high body temperatures can lead to dangerous metabolic shifts, such as:

  • Rapid and uneven heart rhythm
  • Organ failure
  • Death

Ectopic Ureter

Dog not associated with symptoms

Does it seem like housetraining just isn’t possible? Your pup may be one of the unique few to have an Ectopic Ureter.

Ureters are the tubs carrying urine from the kidneys to the bladder. A rare birth defect sometimes causes one or both of these tubes to empty away from their normal bladder location, often requiring surgery.

Myasthenia Gravis

An especially unique disorder affecting the connection between nerves and muscles, Myasthenia Gravis normally derives from the dog’s own immune system attacking his neuromuscular junctions, but thyroid disorders, cancer, or birth defects (among others) could be the culprit to blame.

This, of course, usually results in muscle weakness, sometimes even affecting the entire body!

Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada Syndrome

Dog not associated with symptoms

Try saying Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada Syndrome five times fast! This odd disorder results in eye problems and abnormal whitening of body tissues. Results of the eyes can include:

  • Red eyes
  • Tearing
  • Poor vision
  • Blindness
  • Squinting
  • Discomfort in bright light

A combination of medications is normally administered in order to reduce inflammation and suppress the immune system at infected areas.


If you notice something seems to be off about your own dog or his behavior, call your veterinarian for advice! The culprit may not be one of the above, but it is just as important to catch disorders early, before they have a chance to become bigger problems, causing more harm!

Incredible Planet Staff

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