Stray pets are susceptible to illnesses caused by parasites and may suffer from malnutrition and other conditions caused by lack of proper care. Serious illnesses, such as infections, are also possible.
Many stray dogs are underweight, a condition that may be caused by parasites, such as hookworms, or malnutrition. Stray dogs are also often host to other types of parasites, such as ticks and fleas. Dogs should be examined thoroughly for signs of mange, a condition caused by mites. Hair loss and itchy, irritated skin are signs that a dog may have demodectic mange. The animal should be kept in a contained area and treated by a veterinarian if mange is suspected.
Heartworms are common in stray dogs. Heartworms affect the respiratory system and are characterized by coughing, lethargy and poor appetite. Heartworms can be life-threatening if the condition is left untreated. It is necessary to seek professional care for the management of heartworms in dogs.
Infections may be present in some stray dogs. For instance, leptospirosis is a bacterial infection that requires professional treatment with antibiotics, and the animal may be hospitalized for additional treatments if the condition is severe. Stray dogs that are adopted should be taken to a veterinarian as soon as possible for necessary treatments and to ensure the animal does not have a serious illness that may affect the people or other animals in the home.