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Showing posts with label blood. Show all posts
Showing posts with label blood. Show all posts

Monday, July 28, 2014

Everything about Canine Diabetes

Everything about Canine Diabetes
    For years public health officials have reported a diabetes epidemic among America’s children and adults. At the same time, the rate of diabetes in America’s pets has more than tripled since 1970, so that today it affects about 1 in every 160 dogs. But while many human cases are caused and can be treated by diet, canine diabetes is a lifelong condition that requires careful blood sugar monitoring and daily insulin injections.

 What Is Diabetes?
   The medical term for the illness is diabetes mellitus (mellitus is a Latin term that means “honey sweet,” reflecting the elevated sugar levels the condition produces in urine and blood). The mechanism of diabetes is relatively simple to describe. Just as cars use gas for fuel, body cells run on a sugar called glucose. The body obtains glucose by breaking down carbohydrates in the diet. Cells then extract glucose from the blood with the help of insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas in specialized cells called beta cells. (The pancreas, an organ situated behind the stomach, produces several hormones.) In diabetes mellitus, cells don’t take in enough glucose, which then builds up in the blood. As a result, cells starve and organs bathed in sugary blood are damaged. Diabetes is not curable, but it is treatable; a dog with diabetes may live many happy years after diagnosis.

What Type of Diabetes Do Most Dogs Get?
  Diabetes can be classified as either Type 1 (lack of insulin production) or Type II (impaired insulin production along with an inadequate response to the hormone.)
  The most common form of the disease in dogs is Type 1, insulin-dependent diabetes, which occurs when the pancreas is incapable of producing or secreting adequate levels of insulin.   Dogs who have Type I require insulin therapy to survive. Type II diabetes is found in cats and is a lack of normal response to insulin.

Risk Factors
  Several factors raise a dog’s risk of developing diabetes. These include breed, age, gender, weight, diet, virus infections, an inflamed pancreas, chronic inflammation of the small bowel, Cushing’s disease (excess production of the hormone cortisol) and long-term use of progesterone-like drugs or steroid drugs.
  • Breed. A study published in the Veterinary Journal in 2003 examined diabetes rates in thousands of American dogs and found that overall, mixed-breed dogs were more prone to diabetes than purebreds. Among purebreds, breeds varied greatly in their susceptibility.
  • Age. Dogs most often develop diabetes during middle or old age.
  • Gender. Female dogs and neutered male dogs are more likely than intact males to get diabetes.
  • Weight. Obesity can make cells resistant to insulin, but it’s unclear whether it actually causes diabetes in dogs.
  • Diet. A diet high in fat may contribute to pancreatitis (inflamed pancreas), a risk factor for diabetes.
What Are the Symptoms of Diabetes in Dogs?
Diabetes can be a silent disease. Your veterinarian may discover your dog’s diabetes through routine bloodwork, but before that, you are likely to notice some of its symptoms: greater than normal hunger and/or thirst, weight loss, and frequent or copious urination . The following symptoms should be investigated as they could be indicators that your dog has diabetes:
  • Change in appetite
  • Excessive thirst/increase in water consumption
  • Weight loss
  • Increased urination
  • Unusually sweet-smelling or fruity breath
  • Lethargy
  • Dehydration
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Vomiting
  • Cataract formation, blindness
  • Chronic skin infections  
  A blood test that measures your dog’s blood glucose level is the most common diagnostic tool, but a high glucose level does not always mean diabetes. Because other diseases sometimes raise these levels, your vet may run additional tests to rule out such causes.
  Once your dog is diagnosed, her veterinarian will obtain a “serial blood glucose–concentration curve” by measuring her glucose level repeatedly over many hours. The results will help the vet choose an appropriate insulin, dose and dosing schedule.
  After treatment starts, your dog will need to be routinely tested to see how well the protocol is working. Most commonly, either a fructosamine test or a glycated hemoglobin test, which reveal average control over the previous one to three weeks (fructosamine) or two to four months (glycated hemoglobin) is used. In contrast, the daily blood glucose measurement is a snapshot, an indication of your dog’s glucose level at one specific moment.

How Is Diabetes Treated? 

  Diabetes treatment is based on how severe the symptoms and lab work are and whether there are any other health issues that could complicate therapy. Each dog will respond a little bit differently to treatment, and therapy must be tailored to the individual dog throughout his life.

Some dogs may be seriously ill when first diagnosed and will require intensive hospital care for several days to regulate their blood sugar.
  Dogs who are more stable when first diagnosed may respond to oral medication or a high-fiber diet that helps to normalize glucose levels in the blood.
  For most dogs, insulin injections are necessary for adequate regulation of blood glucose. Once your pet’s individual insulin treatment is established, typically based on weight, you’ll be shown how to give him insulin injections at home.
  Spaying your dog is recommended, as female sex hormones can have an effect on blood sugar levels.
  Your vet may also show you how to perform glucose tests at home.

Management
  You are not alone. You can manage diabetes just like thousands of other pet owners. Diabetes can usually be controlled by simply learning to give your dog daily insulin injections. Vetsulin® (porcine insulin zinc suspension) is the only veterinary insulin approved by the FDA for dogs and is a good insulin choice for your dog. If your dog has other problems as well, your veterinarian will suggest the appropriate management.
  Along with insulin therapy, your veterinarian will set up a management program that will include recommendations for feeding your dog (type of food, quantity, and timing of meals) and regular exercise.
  Daily insulin injections are essential to control the blood glucose level in your dog. Your veterinarian will work with you to determine the right dose of Vetsulin. This process may take a few weeks, but the end result is very manageable. Some diabetic dogs may require only one injection per day, while others may require twice-daily injections.
It is very important that injections be given at the same time every day. Once you and your dog have established a routine, things will be easier and your dog will be healthier. The key to success is patience with the learning process. The payoff will be a noticeable improvement of your dog’s condition and quality of life over time.

About insulin administration
  Because diabetes is caused by a lack or shortage of insulin, your dog will need management with insulin such as Vetsulin. Your veterinarian will help you find your dog's correct dose and tailor your dog's insulin dose accordingly. You may also have the chance to choose whether to administer Vetsulin to your dog using syringes or the VetPen® insulin pen. Once you have the correct insulin dose, it is extremely important that you administer your dog's therapy at the same time every day. Just like any routine, getting used to this will take a little time. Once you and your dog acclimate, however, you'll both find the process fairly simple, painless, and quick.

What Should I Know About Treating My Diabetic Dog at Home? 

  As your veterinarian will explain, it’s important to always give your dog insulin at the same time every day and feed him regular meals in conjunction with his medication. This allows increased nutrients in the blood to coincide with peak insulin levels, and will lessen the chance that his sugar levels will swing either too high or too low. You can work with your vet to create a feeding schedule around your pet’s medication time. It is also important to avoid feeding your diabetic dog treats that are high in glucose. Regular blood glucose checks are a critical part of monitoring and treating any diabetic patient, and your veterinarian will help you set up a schedule for checking your dog’s blood sugar.

  Please also consult your vet about a consistent, daily exercise program and proper nutrition for your dog to help keep his weight in check.
How Can Diabetes Be Prevented? 
 Although a certain form of diabetes, the type found in dogs less than a year of age, is inherited, proper diet and regular exercise can be very effective in helping to prevent onset of diabetes in older dogs. Aside from other negative health effects, obesity is known to contribute to an ability to respond normally to insulin.
Complications
  Concurrent disorders that can make diabetes more difficult to control include hyperadrenocorticism (Cushing’s disease), infections, hypothyroidism, renal insufficiency, liver insufficiency, cardiac insufficiency, chronic inflammation (especially pancreatitis), EPI, severe obesity, hyperlipidemia, and cancer.

Survival Statistics
  With proper treatment, dogs with diabetes have survival rates very similar to those of non-diabetic dogs of the same age and gender, though their risk is greatest during the first six months of treatment, when insulin therapy is introduced and glucose levels are being regulated. Diabetic dogs are more likely to die of kidney disease, infections, or liver/pancreatic disorders than of diabetes itself. But once their condition stabilizes, diabetic dogs can lead happy, healthy lives.

My dog is regulated—what's next?
  Regulation or stabilization of clinical signs of diabetes often goes very well for years. It is recommended to see your veterinarian on a regular basis (2–4 times a year). On these occasions, a general examination will be performed and rechecking the blood glucose level may be advised. Unfortunately, your dog may suffer occasionally from stress, infections, dental problems, or other situations that can alter his or her diabetes. At that time, your dog will again show typical signs of diabetes (drinking and urinating more, for example), indicating you should consult your veterinarian.

What Can Happen If Diabetes Goes Untreated? 
  If diabetes progresses without being treated, dogs can develop secondary health problems like cataracts and severe urinary tract problems. Ultimately, untreated diabetes can cause coma and death.

Day to Day With Your Diabetic Dog
  Keeping a logbook can help you monitor your diabetic dog’s progress. Every day, record blood glucose test results; any ketone test results; changes in your dog’s appetite, weight, appearance, water intake, urination frequency or mood; and any treatment changes your veterinarian makes. A simple notebook, calendar or computer spreadsheet works well.
  Among the things to watch for on a day-to-day basis are hyperglycemia, when blood glucose levels rise above the top end of the recommended normal level (ask your vet what this is for your dog; since perfect control isn’t always attainable with current methods, vets generally try to keep most dogs below 200 mg/dl), and hypoglycemia, when the level drops to 60 mg/dl or less.
  Hyperglycemia can lead to ketoacidosis (harmful levels of ketones in the blood), which qualifies as an emergency, and you should call your vet right away. Symptoms include drinking lots of water, urinating frequently or copiously, loss of appetite, weakness, vomiting, lethargy, ketones in the urine, or—in the most serious situation—coma. Test strips are available to detect ketones in your dog’s urine, and you should report the presence of ketones to your veterinarian immediately, even if your dog has no other symptoms.
  In hypoglycemia, a range of symptoms may be present, including restlessness, lethargy, confusion, weakness, wobbliness, lack of coordination, shivering, sweaty paws, seizures or coma. Test your dog’s blood glucose level if these symptoms appear. If it is below the recommended level, rub maple syrup, Karo syrup or tube cake frosting—high-sugar foods that are quickly absorbed into the bloodstream—on your dog’s gums and the inside of her cheek, then call your vet to report the episode and get further instructions.

  Modern medicine has made caring for a diabetic dog quite doable and certainly worthwhile. Although daily care can seem burdensome at first, once you get used to it, it becomes a routine part of the day, like feeding her or taking her for walks. Owners do not need to worry that shots and blood tests will take over their lives. Nor do they need to fear that their dog will not be happy. Almost all diabetic dogs can be treated at home and can enjoy a good life. A diagnosis of diabetes offers a challenge, but it’s a challenge that can be successfully met.


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Saturday, April 26, 2014

Spotting the signs of pregnancy

Spotting the signs of pregnancy
  Unlike humans, detecting pregnancy in a dog is not as practical as urinating on a stick or confirming a blood test. A veterinarian may be able to diagnose a pregnant dog within a month or so of conception by a physical examination or by x-ray or ultrasound around six weeks gestation, but since the gestation period of a dog is about nine weeks, this offers little to the anxious breeder.
  Gestation is the period from conception to birth. It averages 63 days from the day of ovulation (the normal range is 56 to 66 days). Note that the day of ovulation is not always the same as the day of breeding.
  There are some outward symptoms a pregnant dog may exhibit, but they generally do not surface until about four or five weeks. The most obvious symptom is weight gain, although a dog may not gain any significant weight until a week or two before birth if there are only one or two puppies. Another obvious sign is enlarged mammary glands, which most pregnant dogs will display between five and seven weeks.
  Other signs a dog may be pregnant are behavioral symptoms. Initially, you may notice a decrease in appetite. Dogs may become restless and interact less with their people and may prefer seclusion. They often make natural attempts at “nesting,” evidence by the shredding of paper or digging at blankets and bedding in the last week or so of the pregnancy. The dog can also become irritable, with minor personality changes in the last two to three weeks.
  It can be difficult to tell whether a dog is pregnant until the last few weeks of her nine-week gestation, when her belly's increase in size is hard to miss. The most surefire way to find out is by taking her to a vet, but being aware of physical and behavioral changes that may take place is also useful. 
  To understand dog pregnancy, you should first get a general comprehension of how her body works. Your dog will experience a heat cycle before she is able to get pregnant. Veterinarians suggest that you do not breed her during her first heat period unless it happens after she is 1 year old. Any earlier would stunt the growth of your young female.
  Most dogs go into heat 2 times a year, but it is common to skip one on occasion. While in heat she will be able to breed with more than the one male. She will be in heat for 3 weeks and her cycle will arrive every 6-9 months.
  The first thing you will recognize when your dog goes into heat is a swollen vulva and bloody discharge. Eggs are not released yet in this phase of her heat cycle. Male dogs will be chemically drawn to her more than ever before. She still will not show a major interest in them, until this 6-11 day stage comes to an end.
  In the second stage of heat she is actually fertile. Her posture will transform to a stance that invites procreation. Her bleeding will change from light pink to a golden sand color. Her vulva will remain swollen but is softer than before. The most common duration for this stage is 5-9 days but has been known to go on for nearly 20 days for different dogs. Once this stage is finished she will no longer be inviting male attention.


Signs of pregnancy
  • A slight mucoid vulval discharge may occur around one month after mating.
  • The teats will become more prominent, pinker and erect, due to an increase in the blood supply around the base of the nipples. This should appear between 25 and 30 days after mating.
  • Body weight will increase from around day 35 onwards and may increase to 50% over normal.
  • The abdomen will enlarge and this should be noticeable from around day 40, although first-time mums and bitches carrying few puppies may not show as much of a change.
  • Mammary gland enlargement is noticeable around day 40 and some bitches may express a serous fluid from the teats from this time.
  • Behaviour may also change, such as displaying slight depression as well as a drop in appetite, but as these signs can also indicate a problem, consult your vet if they occur.
  • Many dogs’ appetite will increase in the second half of pregnancy.
  • Closer to the delivery date, your bitch will probably start to express her nesting instincts, scratching at the floor or in her bed, and displaying signs of increasing restlessness.
On average, you should be able to tell whether or not your bitch is pregnant at around one month after mating.

Veterinary procedures
  If you do suspect that your dog is pregnant, you'll need to see your vet for confirmation.
  • The most commonly used method is ultrasound. This can be used after 20 days (no earlier), and foetal heartbeats can be identified at 22 days, but predicting the number of puppies can be challenging. Ultrasound examinations are comfortable because they are not invasive and very reliable in experienced hands.
  • Feeling the abdomen from about 30 days can be accurate if performed by an experienced vet, but this may be difficult if the dog is nervous or slightly overweight. If pregnant, the vet will feel a thickening of the uterus and ‘bumps’ within. The method isn't infallible, however, especially if there is just one pup in the womb or if the pregnancy is not as advanced as first thought.
  • From approximately 21-25 days endocrine tests detect relaxin, a hormone exclusively produced by pregnant dogs.
  • An x-ray will pick up the skeletons of the puppies from around 45 days. It should also be accurate in determining how many there are. However, most vets prefer not to use this method, as there is a possibility that early exposure of the foetus to x-rays can cause problems. This risk is minimal after 45 days, although sedating the bitch to obtain the image may be more of a problem.

Dog Pregnancy - Giving Birth
  Take her temperature periodically. It is normally 101-102 degrees Fahrenheit. Once you see it drop into the 97-99 degrees range, and notice it has been the same consistently for 2 readings taken 12 hours apart, this is when you can be sure the delivery will happen within the next 24 hours.
  Her labor will go through 3 clear stages. The third stage is repeated with the birth of each puppy:

Stage One: She will appear restless and have anxiety. She will often separate herself from any attention. No food will interest her, not even her favorite treats. Take her out to go to the bathroom because it may be her last chance before delivery.

Stage Two: Her contractions will have begun. A green sac of fluid will protrude from her vulva. The puppies will start to appear either headfirst or rear first. Both are normal positions for dogs to be born in. Do not be alarmed to see them quiet and listless directly after birth. Leave her alone to stand or pace, as she needs to. The mother's instincts will cause her to open the sac, and lick the pups to clean them. She will sever the umbilical cord herself, but sometime you may interject if the natural process takes too long. The sac should always be removed immediately if it remained unbroken during the delivery. You may clean the puppies by rubbing them gently with a fresh cloth. Keep rubbing to stimulate their circulation. The mother's tongue or your rubs are what gets them to start squirming and crying.
  If the mother struggles with a puppy that becomes lodged then you can try to assist the birth by grasping the puppy with a clean clothe. Firmly exert steady traction but do not jerk or pull suddenly. If you have any questions then call your vet right away.

Stage Three: Her resting period will last a few hours as her mild contractions fade away. If she delivered two pups closer together than her comfort level allowed, then her contractions will take longer to end.

When There Is An Emergency
  A vet should always be called:
  • If a puppy is lodged and unable to be removed.
  • If your dog's labor occurs for 2 hours with no delivery.
  • If there is a 4 hour window since the last pup was born and before more are delivered.
  • If the delivery of pups doesn't commence after she showed the normal greenish-black discharge in the beginning of the birthing process.
  • If her pregnancy has past 65 days.
  • If she experiences any uncontrollable tremors, vomiting, or panting.
After The Puppies Arrive - Post-Natal Care

  You can periodically examine the mother's nipples to make sure they are not infected, and even palpate them with a warm damp cloth to clean the area. Clip any puppies' nails that can irritate her skin.
  She will pass soft stool for a few days due to the natural change in her new eating habit and from the residue she consumed while cleaning her pups.
  Do not be alarmed if she eats her pup's feces in the beginning. That is a common thing for new mothers to do and will generally not hurt her. She will still have some remaining vaginal discharge with passing blood clots for a week. Any longer is not normal and should be addressed.
  The new mother will take care of the puppies after birth so there is very little you need to do to assist them. She may even act territorial or aggressive initially. This behavior will slow down over time. They will start nursing 2-4 hours after birth. Never place a heating pad down for the puppies, but do realize that the low floor can be 10 degrees cooler than the rest of the room. The puppies need a comfortable room temperature. Their eyes open at 10-14 days old. Their first visit to the vet is at 3 weeks for routine de-worming and a health exam. They need to be weaned at 3-4 weeks of age.
  During the weaning process, cut their milk intake down gradually by substituting the remainder of their diet with watered down puppy food and milk replacer. It is good if they start taking solid food, but if you are still having difficulty then never deprive the puppy of the mother's milk until he is able to eat solids for however long it takes.
  Make sure to keep the puppies' bed area clean daily. Watch their feeding habits and weight gain to know which puppies need extra nutrients. Never feed human milk. Milk replacer is the only nutritional boost you should feed a small puppy. One or two runts in a litter are common. You may give them a separate feeding time to have an equal chance of achieving a full diet. Always rid their area of fleas because a flea infestation could drain the little pups of blood at a dangerous rate.

  Once they reach 6-8 weeks old then they are at the age to be adopted out.

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