Dale City (Woodbridge) Pet Disease Information

Important Diseases and Conditions to Watch for in Dale City and Woodbridge

Keeping your pet happy and healthy is not only about great medical care, but pet owner education as well. Knowing what diseases and conditions your pet is at risk for in the Woodbridge area is the first step in disease prevention. The good news is that these diseases and conditions are preventable with vaccines. To keep your pet up to date on vaccines, call Staples Mill Animal Hospital in Dale City (Woodbridge) at (703) 897-0100.

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Lyme disease

Lyme disease is a tick-transmitted disease that primarily causes lameness in pets due to inflamed joints. Other symptoms include fever, lack of appetite, sensitivity to touch, difficulty breathing and more. Infection typically happens after a tick has been attached to a dog for 2-3 days. The disease is commonly transmitted by the deer tick.


This bacterial infection is most prevalent in moist climates where dogs may encounter standing or slow-moving water. The disease can be spread from animals to humans, causing flu-like symptoms. Symptoms in dogs vary but may include fever, shivering, increased thirst and jaundice. If left untreated, leptospirosis may cause severe illness or death.


Ehrlichiosis is transmitted to dogs through an infected brown dog tick. The disease is particularly severe in German shepherds and Doberman pinchers. There are three stages of the disease: acute stage, subclinical stage, and in some dogs, the chronic phase. Infected dogs maybe have a fever, swollen lymph nodes, respiratory distress, weight loss and more. Chronic ehrlichiosis can be fatal.

Heartworm Disease

Heartworm disease is a serious, life-threatening disease transmitted by mosquitoes. It affects dogs and, to a lesser extent, cats. Clinical symptoms of heartworm disease develop very slowly. Early symptoms include lack of energy, exercise intolerance, coughing and difficulty breathing.


FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus) is a viral infection transmitted among cats through close contact, commonly through deep bite wounds or less commonly through an FIV-infected mother cat to her kitten. The virus can have a severe impact on the cat’s immune system, making them highly susceptible to secondary infections. Infected cats may have symptoms including swollen lymph nodes, fever, hair loss, wounds that won’t heel, sneezing discharge from eyes or nose and more. FIV is detected through blood tests and can be prevented by vaccine. If a cat is infected with the virus, there is no treatment except for the secondary symptoms.

Feline Leukemia

FeLV (Feline Leukemia Virus) is a retrovirus (cancer-causing virus) that impairs the cat’s immune system and can cause severe anemia. It is commonly transmitted from cat-to-cat through bites, grooming or sharing dishes or litter pans. Symptoms may include lethargy, abscesses, fever and enlarged lymph nodes. It can also be transmitted to a kitten at birth or through the mother’s milk. FeLV can be prevented with a vaccine.