Top 5 Most Common Diseases Of Small Animals

Animals cannot communicate their pain or discomfort as humans can. Usually, pet owners are worried as they are unaware of their pet’s illness, which is not solely due to a lack of communication. In fact, animals can be exceptionally good at masking their discomfort. One might notice the obvious symptoms of illness that appear after an extreme condition like bloody stool, seizures, or extreme weight loss, but subtle ones go unnoticed by their human companions.

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Regular veterinary visits help doctors identify physical anomalies or possible health risks. However, veterinarians rely heavily on animal owners to identify behavioral changes that may indicate a problem with your pet. Therefore, as a pet owner, it is imperative to keep your knowledge about common animal diseases updated.

If you observe anything out of the ordinary in your pet’s behavior, time is of the essence. This is especially true for small animals like dogs, cats, and birds because their illnesses can spread very quickly in these species. If you are unaware of the risks and subtle symptoms, your pet’s health might deteriorate by the time it becomes apparent.

We’ll provide you with information on the most prevalent illnesses affecting small animals in this blog. However, a veterinarian must be consulted for a better diagnosis of the disease. After a complete examination, get the prescribed medicines from a reliable Vet Tech marketplace.

Most Common Diseases Of Small Animals

Small Animal Diseases You Need To Know

Small animals are vulnerable to many diseases as they do not practice the same hygiene and care as humans. This unaware behavior makes them both strong and susceptible to many diseases.

Let’s have an overview of the five most common diseases of small animals.

1.   Rabies

Rabies is the most common disease in small animals, especially canines and felines. Most of the time, this disease proves fatal for pets like dogs and cats. However, it is preventable by taking optimum preventive measures.

Causes Of Rabies

This deadly disease in pets is caused by the rabies virus that is transmitted through

  • Direct contact ( Eyes, Nose, Mouth)
  • Sliva (when an animal bites another)
  • tissue from an infected animal’s nervous system
  • The rabies virus can also infect humans through the bite of a rabid animal.


Aggressive behavior is the most common symptom of a rabid pet. Besides, other noticeable signs include

  • Paralysis
  • Fearfulness
  • Excessive drooling
  • Staggering
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Seizures

2.   Lyme disease

In pets, especially dogs, Lyme Disease is very common in almost every state. The other term for this disease is “Lyme borreliosis”


A spiral-shaped bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi is the cause of Lyme Disease. It is carried inside ticks that transmit it to pets. Usually, these ticks enter the fur of your pet when it passes through grass or woods.


You must learn that your pet has fallen victim to Lyme Disease if it exhibits the following symptoms.

  • Swelling of joints
  • Fever
  • Lameness (can be shifting, intermittent, and recurring)
  • Reduced energy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Generalized stiffness, discomfort, or pain

As a responsible pet owner, do not wait to contact your vet or take it to the nearby animal health care center when you notice the above-mentioned symptoms.

3. Diabetes

Diabetes is a complex disease in small animals such as cats and dogs and needs immediate attention to ensure a healthy life. 


The two main causes of diabetes in pets are:

  • Lack of the hormone insulin
  • Inadequate response to insulin


Your pet will show the following symptoms when it’s not producing enough insulin.

  • Excessive water drinking
  • Cloudy eyes (especially in dogs)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Increased urination
  • Chronic or recurring infections
  • Weight loss

In some cases, increased appetite can also be one of the symptoms in pets with diabetes.

4. Distemper

Distemper is one of the worst ailments your dog might contract. It is also one of the easiest to avoid and prevent. Every dog owner has to be aware of facts, signs, available treatments, and preventative strategies for this highly contagious and potentially lethal disease.


Distemper in pets is caused by a paramyxovirus that is closely related to the rinderpest and measles viruses. It spreads through:

  • Direct contact with an infected animal or object
  • Through the placenta
  • Airborne exposure

It infects pets and causes severe sickness by targeting their body systems, resulting in infections that are difficult to treat.


The common symptoms of stage one distemper include fever, lethargy, coughing, pustular dermatitis, clear nasal discharge, diarrhea, and anorexia.

However, the distemper’s second stage symptoms are more complicated. They include

  • Convulsions
  • Muscle twitching
  • Partial or full paralysis
  • Head tilt
  • Nystagmus
  • Seizures

If these symptoms are apparent, it means the disease has progressed and targeted the central nervous system of your pet.

5. Proventricular Dilatation Disease (PDD)

PDD is one of the most perplexing avian diseases. The illness affects the nerves that supply the bird’s digestive system. Additionally, it may target the nerves that feed different organs.

Due to its prevalence among macaws, Amazon parrots, African grey parrots, cockatoos, and conures, PDD is also known as Macaw Wasting Syndrome or Parrot Wasting Syndrome.


PDD and the Avian Bornavirus are connected. The precise etiology of the onset of the disease has been the subject of decades of research. Despite this, the cause is not entirely apparent. However, under a microscope, the damaged nerves seem filled with certain sorts of white blood cells.


The common symptoms in the birds suffering from PDD are as follows:

  • Weight loss
  • Vomiting
  • Changes in the bird’s droppings
  • Swollen crop

Rarely, some birds might not exhibit any symptoms of sickness until they are quite ill with the disease.

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Wrapping up!

Although the above-discussed small animal common diseases are lethal yet they are potentially preventable. They are also curable with proper diagnosis and treatment.

To keep your pets healthy and prevent them from deadly diseases, visit your vet regularly. Never get late to get your small animal vaccinated against these common diseases to keep it in good health.

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