LUV My dogs: symptoms

LUV My dogs

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Showing posts with label symptoms. Show all posts
Showing posts with label symptoms. Show all posts

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Why Is My Dog Deaf?

Why Is My Dog Deaf?
  Depending on the breed, a dog’s sense of smell is 1,000 to 10,000 times more sensitive than a human’s. A human has 5 million scent glands, as compared to a dog that has 125 million to 300 million. When a dog smells something, it can tell a lot about it; it's almost like reading a book—where the object has been, what it has eaten, what it has touched, etc. Deaf dogs rely on their nose and eyes, and those senses become even more sensitive. It is important when grooming a deaf dog not to cut off its whiskers, as dogs use these to sense the distance of things around them.
  When a dog gets old, it may begin to lose its eyesight and ability to hear. While this may be traumatic for you to witness, it is much more stressful on the dog. Imagine suddenly not being able to hear familiar noises, find things around the house, or see who is approaching you.
  Deafness refers to the lack/ loss of an animal's ability to hear, this can either be complete or partial loss. If the dog is deaf at birth, it will be very apparent to you at a young age. 
  More than 30 breeds of dogs have a known susceptibility for deafness, including the Australian shepherd, Boston terrier, cocker spaniel, Dalmatian, German shepherd, Jack Russell terrier, Maltese, toy and miniature poodle, and West Highland white terrier. Typically, it is more common in senior dogs.

Symptoms
  Dogs that are undergoing hearing loss may appear disobedient and ignorant of commands. A dog with extreme hearing loss will not typically respond if you snap your fingers next to its ears or make an unfamiliar noise that typically warrants a reaction. A dog’s ears tend to move around and twitch as they take in sounds around them. If a dog has ears that remain still, this could be a sign that they are going deaf.
  Dogs typically show more obvious symptoms of hearing loss than do cats. Of course, it is easier to identify deafness in a dog born without hearing than in one who develops deafness gradually. In either case, signs of deafness include:

  • Overly aggressive behavior with littermates (young puppy with congenital deafness)
  • Sleeping more than typical for a dog of its age and breed
  • Lack of response to squeaky toys
  • Tendency to startle and/or snap when physically roused from sleep or rest
  • Lack of response to auditory stimuli, especially when the dog is not looking (voice commands, shouting, clapping hands, whistling, barking, doorbells, etc.)
  • Exaggerated response to physical stimuli (touch, floor or ground vibration, wind)
  • Tendency to startle and/or snap when touched from behind or outside of its field of vision
  • Disorientation, confusion, agitation in otherwise familiar circumstances
  • Decreased activity level
  • Difficulty arousing from sleep
  • Unusual vocal sound
  • Not awakening from sleep in response to auditory stimuli (voice commands, clapping, whistling, other sounds)
  • Gradual decline in response to own name and known voice commands
  • Excessive barking for a dog of its age and breed.

Diagnosis
  Early age onset usually suggests birth defects  in predisposed breeds. On the other hand, brain disease is a slow progressive disease of the cerebral cortex, usually caused by senility or cancer,  making the brain not able to register what the ear can hear. Bacterial cultures and hearing tests, as well as sensitivity testing of the ear canal, may also used to diagnose the underlying condition.


Treatment
  There really is no way to “treat” deafness in dogs. The therapeutic goals are basically to prevent deafness from developing in the first place and to improve an affected dog’s hearing ability if at all possible. The best way to deal with canine deafness is with kind, careful and consistent training, management and care of affected animals.
  There is no realistic treatment for congenital deafness in dogs, whether it is hereditary or otherwise. Puppies born with a limited or absent sense of hearing almost always will be unable to hear sounds for the rest of their lives. There also is no practical way to treat dogs with acquired nerve-related deafness or hearing loss. Some veterinary teaching hospitals and other highly specialized veterinary facilities offer customized hearing aids for dogs with limited hearing disabilities, but these are extremely expensive and largely useless for most causes of canine deafness. Certainly, dogs with temporary hearing loss caused by ear infections, tumors or build-up of wax and other debris can be treated by removing the causative agent either medically or surgically. Otherwise, deafness is usually irreversible and permanent.

  Dogs with partial or complete deafness can live normal, happy, productive lives. They can do therapy work, scent and sight tracking, obedience, agility and pretty much anything else that hearing dogs can do. Deafness is a disability that requires special attention by owners but does not prevent most affected dogs from living every bit as full a life as any dog with normal hearing capabilities. If your dog is deaf or seems to be losing its hearing, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. Hearing loss is not a life-threatening condition. However, it is worthwhile to determine whether there are any correctible conditions that are contributing to a dog’s loss of hearing.


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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Are Human Pain Meds Safe for Dogs?

Are Human Pain Meds Safe for Dogs?
  As dog owners, naturally, when our pets appear to be suffering, we want to do anything and everything in our power to help. In the case of aspirin and ibuprofen, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (or NSAIDs) for humans may be easily attainable and ready to hand, but they are almost universally toxic to dogs. There are veterinarian-approved and prescribed NSAIDs specifically formulated for dogs - always consult with a veterinary health care professional before attempting to treat your dog at home. 
  
Analgesics are drugs used to relieve pain. There are many classes of painkillers. Demerol, morphine, codeine, and other narcotics are subject to federal regulation and cannot be purchased without a prescription.
  Buffered or enteric-coated aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) is an over-the-counter analgesic that is reasonably safe for a short time for home veterinary care in the recommended dosage for dogs. Buffered or enteric-coated aspirin is much safer than regular aspirin because it is less likely to cause stomach and duodenal ulcers.
  
Is Aspirin Effective?
Aspirin is one of the most common medicines used for relieving pain in dogs. However, enteric coated aspirin is safer than the usual aspirin. Aspirin can be given to dogs in case of a musculoskeletal injury, bleeding or clotting. Dosage of aspirin clearly depends on the body weight of the dog. 5 to 10 mg of aspirin per pound is sufficient. Repeat the dose after every 12 hours. However, it should not be used if the dog is pregnant.


Can you give a dog ibuprofen?
  When it comes to ibuprofen for dogs, all of the same terms and conditions for over-the-counter NSAIDs like aspirin apply. While buffered aspirin and buffered baby aspirin may be given to dogs - only with great care, and preferably after a veterinary consultation - ibuprofen has an even narrower margin of safety. In point of fact, ibuprofen for dogs is even worse and more dangerous than aspirin, and should be avoided at all costs. The same issues caused by aspirin can be caused by ibuprofen, including stomach ulcers and kidney failure. If a possible side effect of a medication is death, it's probably not worth the risk when there are canine-specific NSAIDs that your vet can prescribe.

Symptoms of accidental aspirin or ibuprofen ingestion
  What if the circumstances are different? What if you didn't give aspirin or ibuprofen to your dog, but have come home to find your bottle of Motrin or Advil open on the floor? How do you spot accidental ingestion of these NSAIDs? Since the primary ill-effects dogs suffer from these medications are related to digestion and filtration, the symptoms of poisoning are reliably related to those systems. Things to look out for if you suspect your dog has gotten hold of human pain meds include vomiting. If the dog has enough aspirin or ibuprofen in its system, that vomit may contain blood, as may the dog's feces, which may express itself as bloody diarrhea.
  Seemingly innocuous symptoms include lack or loss of appetite, which can lead to fatigue and lethargy. In large enough amounts or given enough time, the dog may experience abdominal pain, which can lead the dog to hunch over or struggle to find a comfortable resting position. The dog may also seem confused or disoriented. In more advanced cases, a dog who has ingested aspirin or ibuprofen not meant for them can have seizures and even lapse into a coma. Basically, it's bad news all the way around.

What is Glucosamine?
  Glucosamine is a herbal medication that gives immediate relief from pain to dogs. It is also effective in humans. These can be easily found in drug stores. You can also get it from your veterinarian. Taking it from a veterinarian would be a better idea since he/she will know the safest brand to take.

Use of Acetaminophen as a Pain Reliever for Dogs
  Always consult with your veterinarian before giving your dog acetaminophen. The medication is easy to overuse if you don't know the exact safe dosage. Overuse of this pain killer can cause liver and kidney damage.
  If your veterinarian does advise you to use acetaminophen over drugs approved for use in dogs, the dosage should never be more than 10 milligrams per pound. In addition, you'll never give more than two or three doses per day or serious side effects could occur.

What is Tramadol?
  Tramadol is an analgesic. These can be given in place of NSAIDs or along with them. Tramadol do not have side effects to the extent of NSAIDs or aspirin. They are great for chronic pain in both dogs and humans. Tramadol are given to arthritis patients also. The dosage should be limited to what is prescribed by the veterinarian. Overdose can lead to damage to the liver, nervous system or kidney.
What is Adequan?
  Adequan is meant to heal the pain caused by joint injuries and arthritis. They are also known to repair the areas of problems. It does not have any side effects and can be given to dogs safely. However, you will need the assistance of a specialist, since this medicine can only be given through injections.

Are Narcotics Safe?
  Narcotics are considered as an unpleasant aspect. However, it is one of the best pain relievers known. If narcotics are given in a controlled manner and under expert supervision, they can be the best way you can help your dog escape the pain. Narcotics is usually used in serious health conditions, post-surgical conditions, to fight cancer, or to treat large amount of pain. Some of the examples of narcotics that veterinarian are allowed to use are Fentanyl Patches, Amantadine, and Neurontin etcetera.

Is your dog in pain? Consult a vet!
  Can you give a dog aspirin? Technically yes, but only under certain conditions and doses.   Can you give a dog ibuprofen? Best not. The rule of thumb to follow is that if it's human pain medication, think twice before offering it to your dog, even with the purest motives and the best of intentions. After you think twice, put the bottle of ibuprofen or aspirin back in the medicine cabinet. If you cannot get to a vet, then at least give one a call - in the long run, it's possible you'll spare your dog further and completely unnecessary pain.
  If you have dogs, especially if they have free reign of the house, make certain that all human medications are safely and securely bottled. Then see to it that your cache of aspirin, ibuprofen, and all your other medications for that matter, are stored in cabinets, boxes, cupboards, or other home-storage facilities well out of reach. As we all know, dogs can get into mischief around the house; knock the wrong thing over, or the wrong thing open, and trouble can follow.

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Thursday, May 1, 2014

How to Calm Your Hyper Dog

How to Calm Your Hyper Dog
  Got a crazy, hyper dog? These dogs can be quite a challenge – they never calm down, they never listen. They pull on leash, they destroy things. They have a hard time focusing on what you tell them, because everything else is so much more exciting! If you’re living with a crazy hyper psycho dog like this and you haven’t lost your mind yet, you’ve got my respect and admiration.
  Unfortunately, many hyper crazy psycho dogs end up in the shelter when their owners lose patience with them. I’m sure you don’t want to give your dog up, so check out the training videos and articles on this page. You’ll learn why your dog is out of control, and you’ll learn some effective ways to calm your crazy dog down.
  True hyperactivity, or hyperkinesis, is a rare condition in dogs. In order for a clinical diagnosis to be made, most or all of the following symptoms should be present:
  • Increased resting heart and respiratory rates;
  • Failure to adjust to common stimuli like everyday household noises and activities;
  • Agitation;
  • Reactivity;
  • Sustained emotional arousal and an inability to settle down;
  • Paradoxical calming response to amphetamines.
Ignore the hyper dog behavior.
  Dogs seek attention from you. By paying attention to the hyper dog during outbursts, you’re reinforcing the very dog problem behavior that you're trying to eliminate. The next time your dog is jumping or nipping at you in an overexcited way, give it a try - no touch, no talk, no eye contact - and see how you fare. You might be surprised how quickly the dog settles down.

Give your dog a job.

  Having a task to focus on can help tremendously. Hyperactivity in dogs can come from psychological needs as easily as it can from physical needs. By giving your dog a job to do, you are removing his hyperactive dog behavior and are redirecting his energy elsewhere. For instance, having your dog wear a backpack with extra weight will keep your dog focused on carrying instead of getting distracted by squirrels and other things.

Exercise
  If you want a well behaved dog, you need to exercise him. A long walk in the morning, 30-60 minutes, and then a shorter walk in the evening after work is ideal. You don’t need to regiment it quite as strictly like Millan does; you can let Fido stop and smell the roses. In addition to stretching his legs, all the fascinating smells will stretch his brain, too. Helps keep him from going stir crazy at home.
  During the day, play a vigorous game of fetch or frisbee to really wear Fido out. If no one is home during the day to play with him, consider hiring a dog walker or even a doggy daycare so that Fido doesn’t lose his marbles while you’re gone.

Build a routine
  Hyperactivity is often a result of insecurity on the dog’s part. This is especially true of adopted dogs who may have moved around a lot in their past and have had little if any structure in their lives. Dogs thrive on routine. Developing a daily routine gives your dog an idea of what to expect life to be like and can calm his nerves. A routine might go something like this:
  Early morning: walk, breakfast, a game of fetch, then inside for a few hours while everyone is at work or school.
  Afternoon: Someone, either owner or dog walker, comes to let Fido out and play a quick game with him.
  Evening: Family eats dinner, dog eats dinner, then a walk.

Smart toys
  Put your dog’s brain power to good use. Get a few toys that require your dog to think. Toys like Kongs and Buster Cubes allow you to load them up with your dog’s kibble or favorite treats, keeping him occupied for a while while he manipulates the toy to make it dispense his food. You can feed your dog his entire meal this way.

Obedience or trick training
  Obedience training builds a common language between you and your dog. It’s another way to calm his nerves, as it teaches him how the world expects him to behave. Learning new skills is also a great way to exercise Fido’s brain.

Learn a new sport or game
  Getting involved in a dog sport like agility, flyball, freestyle or disc dog is a great way to build the bond between you and Fido. It provides physical and mental exercise all at once. However, formal training for some sports can be expensive and time-consuming.
  If you want the benefits without getting seriously involved in a sport, you can set up home built agility obstacle courses in the backyard, play Frisbee just for fun, or teach your dog to play games like hide and go seek (especially fun to play with kids).

Try out aromatherapy.
  Don’t forget that dogs experience the world primarily by scent! Just as the smell of lavender is said to relax human beings, a soothing smell can also have a very calming effect on your pet. Talk to your veterinarian or consult a holistic professional to find out what smells may work for your dog and which dispersal methods are the safest for him.

Be Careful Not to Reinforce Unwanted Behavior
  Many parents of highly active dogs unintentionally reward their pets for excessive behavior.
  Some dogs - especially hyper what-about-me types – regard any attention, positive or negative, as better than no attention at all.
  Attention-seeking behaviors can run the gamut from non-stop barking every time you take a phone call, to games of “keep away” involving your cell phone or watch. There have even been reported cases of dogs feigning lameness or illness in a bid for attention.
  The way to put a stop to unwanted behavior in your dog is to ignore it. Depending on the behavior this can be a challenge, but if you remain consistent and determined, your dog will ultimately lose interest because his bid for attention is having the opposite effect.
  The first few times you ignore him when he’s performing an attention-seeking activity, understand that your dog will most likely escalate the behavior temporarily.
  But if you continue to ignore him, and only pay attention to him when he’s not engaged in unwanted behavior, eventually his attention-seeking antics will grind to a halt. His goal is to get your attention, which is the opposite of being ignored, so he’ll soon learn which behaviors are getting him the opposite of what he wants.
  Meantime, be sure to lavish attention on him with petting, praise, food treats and shared activities when he’s behaving as you want him to. Remember - attention to good behavior begets good behavior, and ignoring unwanted behavior extinguishes it.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
  If you’re at the end of your rope with your energetic pooch and your efforts to properly socialize, train and exercise him don’t seem to be helping, it’s time to visit your veterinarian for a consultation and workup.
  Certain drugs, especially bronchodilator medicines and thyroid hormone supplements, can contribute to symptoms of hyperactivity. Aging can also be a factor, as can diseases of the central nervous system.
  And of course it’s possible your dog really is clinically hyperactive, in which case all your best efforts to modify his behavior may not have much effect without simultaneous drug therapy or treatment with natural remedies.
  If your vet determines there’s no physiologic basis for your pup’s hyperactivity, the next step is to consult a dog trainer or other animal behaviorist.
  What you don’t want to do is become overwhelmed or completely exhausted trying to modify your dog’s behavior on your own.
  Commit to finding answers for your dog’s behavior, and seek the help you need from knowledgeable sources. This will strengthen the bond and long-term relationship between you and your best furry friend.


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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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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Common Dog Poisons

Common Dog Poisons
  Your dog's world is full of new scents, sights and adventure. Along with these new experiences come plenty of dangers, too. These potential hazards are enough to make a dog owner completely paranoid. Fortunately, there are things you can do to help keep your dog healthy and safe.
   Exist  more  cases of pet poisoning in the U.S. Many of these were caused by household substances that may seem perfectly harmless to you. But just because something is safe for people doesn't mean it won’t hurt beloved pets. Some of the most dangerous dog poisons are foods and medications we take on a daily basis.
  Depending on how a particular substance affects your dog’s body and how much was ingested or inhaled, pet poisoning symptoms can include gastrointestinal and neurological problems, cardiac and respiratory distress, coma, and even death.

Dog poison No. 1: Prescription medications for people.
   Drugs that might be beneficial or even lifesaving for people can have the opposite effect in pets. And it doesn’t always take a large dose to do major damage. Ingestion of any medication not specified for that individual pet is reason to go see a veterinarian. The drugs listed below are some of the more dangerous substances for pets, but any ingestion of human medications should be investigated.
  • Antidepressants such as Effexor, Cymbalta, Prozac and Lexapro
  • ADD/ADHD medications such as Concerta, Adderall and Ritalin Benzodiazepines and sleep aids such as Xanax, Klonopin, Ambien and Lunestra
  • Birth control such as estrogen, estradiol and progesterone
  • ACE (angiotensin-converting enzyme) inhibitors such as zestril and altace
  • Beta-blockers such as Tenormin, Troprol and Coreg Thyroid hormones such as Amour dessicated thyroid and Synthroid
  • Cholesterol lowering agents such as Lipitor, Zocor and Crestor
  • Human supplements, nutraceuticals or herbal remedies that haven’t been recommended.
Dog poison No. 2: Insecticides. 
  These usually contain organophosphates and carbamates which are highly toxic to dogs. Signs of ingestion include vomiting, diarrhoea, hypersalivation, muscle tremors and seizures.
  Ingestion of insecticides and pesticides, especially those that contain organophosphates (e.g., disulfoton, often found in rose-care products), can be life-threatening to dogs, even when ingested in small amounts.

Dog poison No. 3: Over-the-counter medications.
   Common drugs including NSAIDs (e.g. Advil®, Aleve® and Motrin) can cause serious harm to dogs when ingested, causes stomach and intestinal ulcers as well as potential kidney failure. The use of human NSAIDs in dogs is dangerous and should never be given without consulting Pet Poison Helpline or a veterinarian.

Dog poison No. 4: Pet medications.
  Just as we can be sickened or killed by medications intended to help us, cases of pet poisoning by veterinary drugs are not uncommon. Some of the more commonly reported problem medications include painkillers and de-wormers.

Dog poison No. 5: Household products, from cleaners to fire logs.
   Strong acidic or alkaline cleaners pose the highest risk due to their corrosive nature, and include common household products like toilet bowel cleaners, lye, drain cleaners, rust removers, and calcium/lime removers. Remember that “natural” does not necessarily mean safe, as some natural products can cause severe reactions. While general cleaners like glass products, spot removers and most surface cleaners have a wide margin of safety, it is still wise to keep them out of reach.
  Antifreeze (ethylene glycol): Antifreeze is a common cause of poisoning in small animals. Dogs will seek out antifreeze as they find its smell and taste appealing. The signs of antifreeze poisoning has three phases:

  • Phase 1 includes a drunken appearance which occurs within 1 hour of ingestion.
  • Phase 2 is heart failure which occurs within 12-24 hours of ingestion.
  • Phase 3 is renal failure, vomiting, depression, renal pain, hypothermia, coma and death.
Dog poison No. 6: People food. 
  Your canine companion may look so cute as he sits there begging for a bite of your chocolate cake or a chip covered in guacamole, but not giving him what he wants could save his life. Animals have different metabolisms than people. Some foods and beverages that are perfectly safe for people can be dangerous, and sometimes fatal, for dogs.
  • Chocolate. Though not harmful to people, chocolate products contain substances called methylxanthines that can cause vomiting in small doses, and death if ingested in larger quantities. Darker chocolate contains more of these dangerous substances than do white or milk chocolate. The amount of chocolate that could result in death depends on the type of chocolate and the size of the dog. For smaller breeds, just half an ounce of baking chocolate can be fatal, while a larger dog might survive eating 4 ounces to 8 ounces. Coffee and caffeine have similarly dangerous chemicals.
  • Alcohol. Symptoms of alcohol poisoning in animals are similar to those in people, and may include vomiting, breathing problems, coma and, in severe cases, death.
  • Avocado. You might think of them as healthy, but avocadoes have a substance called persin that can act as a dog poison, causing vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Macadamia nuts. Dogs may suffer from a series of symptoms, including weakness, overheating, and vomiting, after consumption of macadamia nuts.
  • Grapes and raisins. Experts aren’t sure why, but these fruits can induce kidney failure in dogs. Even a small number may cause problems in some dogs.
  • Xylitol. This sweetener is found in many products, including sugar-free gum and candy. It causes a rapid drop in blood sugar, resulting in weakness and seizures. Liver failure also has been reported in some dogs.
Dog poison No. 7: E-cigarettes
  Following reports that a puppy in Cornwall has died after biting into an e-cigarette refill, vets are warning pet owners to ensure they are kept out of reach of animals.
  Nicotine poisoning acts very quickly and can be fatal, especially when large doses are involved. E-cigarettes and refills can easily contain sufficient quantities of nicotine to kill a small animal very quickly.
  If you use e-cigarettes, we recommend storing all equipment safely out of reach of your pet. If you suspect your pet has chewed or eaten an e-cigarette or any toxic substance then it is vital that you contact a vet for treatment as quickly as possible.

Dog poison No. 8: Plants.
  They may be pretty, but plants aren’t necessarily pet friendly. Some of the more toxic plants to dogs include:
  • Azaleas and rhododendrons. These pretty flowering plants contain toxins that may cause vomiting, diarrhea, coma, and potentially even death.
  • Tulips and daffodils. The bulbs of these plants may cause serious stomach problems, convulsions, and increased heart rate.
  • Sago palms. Eating just a few seeds may be enough to cause vomiting, seizures, and liver failure.
  • Other plants:  Autumn Crocus, Cyclamen, Dieffenbachia, Hyacinth, Kalanchoe, Lily, Oleander, Foxglove, Compost, Mushrooms.
Dog poison No. 9: Mouse and rat poison – rodenticides.
  There are many types of chemicals in mouse and rat poisons, all with different active ingredients and types of action, making all of them potentially poisonous to dogs. Depending on what type was ingested, poisoning can result in internal bleeding, brain swelling, kidney failure, or even severe vomiting and bloat. Mouse and rat poisons also pose the potential for relay toxicity, meaning pets – and even wildlife – can be poisoned by eating dead rodents poisoned by rodenticides.

Dog poison No. 10: Lawn and garden products.
  Fertiliser products generally contain varying amounts of nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P) and potassium (K) compounds. They may be in liquid, granular or solid form and contain additives such as herbicides, insecticides and fungicides. Since fertilisers are usually a combination of ingredients, the effects of ingestion may vary. In general, they cause mild to moderate gastrointestinal irritation which may present signs such as vomiting, diarrhoea, hypersalivation and abdominal pain. Symptoms can be more severe if a larger amount is ingested and they may also be caustic, causing irritation of the lining of the gastrointestinal tract.

What to do if your dog is poisoned?
  • Don't panic. Rapid response is important, but panicking can interfere with the process of helping your pet.
  • Take the time to safely collect and have at hand any material involved. This may be of great help to your vet, as they determine what poison or poisons are involved. Also, collect in a sealable plastic bag any material your pet may have vomited or chewed.
  • If you witness your pet consuming material that you suspect might be toxic, do not hesitate to seek emergency assistance, even if you do not notice any adverse effects. Sometimes, even if poisoned, an animal may appear normal for several hours or days after the incident.
  • Do not try to make your dog vomit unless instructed to do so by your veterinarian.
Poison Protection: Pet-Proofing Your House

  The best way to reduce the chances that your dog will be the victim of pet poisoning is by preventing exposure to dangerous substances. Here are a few suggestions:
  • Keep all medications, even those in child-proof bottles, in cabinets that are inaccessible to your dog. If you inadvertently drop a pill on the floor, be sure to look for it immediately. Supervise anyone, such as the elderly, who may need help taking medications.
  • Always follow guidelines on flea or tick products.
  • Although you can safely give some ''people foods'' to your pet as a treat, others are toxic. If you have any questions about what is safe, ask your veterinarian. Or, err on the safe side and give treats made specifically for animals.
  • Be sure any rodenticides you use are kept in metal cabinets or high on shelves where your pets can't find them. Remember that dogs can be fatally poisoned by eating an exposed rodent, so always be very cautious about using these products. Tell your neighbors if you put out rat bait, so they can protect their pets from exposure, and ask them to do the same for you.
  • When buying plants for your home, opt for those that won’t cause problems if your dog happens to nibble on them. The ASPCA has an online list of toxic and nontoxic plants by species. If you choose to have toxic plants, be sure they are kept in a place where your animals can't reach them.
  • Store all chemicals and cleaners in pet-inaccessible areas of your home.
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Everything about Canine Bloat

Everything about Canine Bloat
   Many well seasoned dog owners warn against the dangers of canine bloat and vets even give recommendations on how to prevent your dog from suffering from canine bloat but some dog owners have no idea what this illness is, how it occurs or how to prevent it. Read on to learn everything you ever wanted to know about canine bloat.

Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus
  Canine bloat is the regularly used term for the illness but often times it is referred to by the scientific term Gastric Dilitation-Volvulus (GDV) of simply Gastric Dilation. Canine bloat as it will be referred to from here on out, is a particularly serious and often life threatening illness that strikes a good many dogs every year and the outcome of each dogs affliction depends on a variety of factors. The biggest factor in helping a dog to survive canine bloat is the speed with which treatment is administered to a dog suffering from bloat.

What Is Bloat?
  When bloat occurs, the dog’s stomach fills with air, fluid and/or food. The enlarged stomach puts pressure on other organs, can cause difficulty breathing, and eventually may decrease blood supply to a dog’s vital organs.
  People often use the word "bloat" to refer to a life-threatening condition that requires immediate veterinary care known as gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV), gastric torsion and twisted stomach. This condition can cause rapid clinical signs and death in several hours. Even with immediate treatment, approximately 25% to 40% of dogs die from this medical emergency.

Causes of bloat
  Veterinarians have no definitive data as to why canine bloat occurs and despite attempts to intentionally recreate canine bloat in laboratories they have been unsuccessful in doing so as of yet. There are, however, a variety of theories relating to factors that are believed to contribute to bloating.
  Theories about what causes GDV abound, including issues related to anatomy, environment, and care. There are certain factors and practices that appear to increase the risk of GDV, some of which fly in the face of conventional wisdom.
  The most widely recognized and accepted risk factor is anatomical – being a larger, deep-chested dog. When viewed from the side, these dogs have chest cavities that are significantly longer from spine to sternum, when compared to the width of the chest cavity viewed from the front.
   This body shape may increase the risk of bloat because of a change in the relationship between the esophagus and the stomach. In dogs with deeper abdomens, the stretching of the gastric ligaments over time may allow the stomach to descend relative to the esophagus, thus increasing the gastroesophageal angle, and this may promote bloat.
  All dog guardians should be familiar with the signs of bloat, and be ready to rush their dog to the vet if any of the symptoms are present.
  Likelihood of an incident of bloat seems to increase with age. Purdue reports that there is a 20 percent increase in risk for each year increase in age. This may be related to increased weakness, over time, in the ligaments holding the stomach in place.
  Another key risk factor is having a close relative that has experienced GDV. According to one of the Purdue studies that focused on nondietary risk factors for GDV, there is a 63 percent increase in risk associated with having a first degree relative (sibling, parent, or offspring) who experienced bloat.
Personality and stress also seem to play a role. Risk of GDV was increased by 257 percent in fearful dogs versus nonfearful dogs. Dogs described as having a happy personality bloated less frequently than other dogs.
Dogs who eat rapidly and are given just one large meal per day have an increased susceptibility to GDV than other dogs. The Purdue research found that for both large- and giant-breed dogs, the risk of GDV was highest for dogs fed a larger volume of food once daily.
  Dogs fed a dry food that included a fat source in the first four ingredients were 170 percent more likely to bloat than dogs who were fed food without fat in the first four ingredients. In addition, the risk of GDV increased 320 percent in dogs fed dry foods that contained citric acid and were moistened before feeding. On the other hand, a rendered meat meal that included bone among the first four ingredients lowered risk by 53 percent.
  It is often recommended that limiting exercise and water before and after eating will decrease the risk of bloat. 

Other Factors which Increase Risk of Bloat 
  Dog’s Breed—Large-breed dogs are most susceptible, although on occasion, small dogs may bloat too.
 Dogs that are “deep-chested.” This means the length of the chest from backbone to sternum is long and the width of the chest is narrower.
 Dogs that have ancestor-history of bloating. It’s thought to be hereditary.
 Underweight, or thin, dogs.
 Anxious or fearful temperament. These dogs should always eat in an environment made as peaceful as possible for them.
 Aggressive dogs. Numbers five and six indicate that “nerves” or emotions can play a role in triggering a bloat episode.
 Male dogs get it more than females.
 Dogs older than seven years of age are more at risk than those that are younger.

Breeds Most At-Risk for Bloat
  1. Afghan
  2. Akita
  3. Alaskan Malamute
  4. Bernese Mountain Dog
  5. Bloodhound
  6. Boxer
  7. Doberman
  8. Great Dane
  9. Great Pyrenees
  10. German Shepherd
  11. Golden Retriever
  12. Irish Setter
  13. Irish Wolfhound
  14. King Shepherd
  15. Kuvasz
  16. Labrador Retriever
  17. Newfoundland
  18. Rottweiler
  19. Shiloh Shepherd
  20. Standard Poodle
  21. St. Bernard
  22. Weimaraner
What Are the General Symptoms of Bloat/GDV in Dogs?
  • Distended abdomen
  • Unsuccessful attempts to belch or vomit
  • Retching without producing anything
  • Weakness
  • Excessive salivation
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cold body temperature
  • Pale gums
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Collapse
How do They Treat Bloat
  There are only two basic things that are done to the dog in the case of bloat. The first thing a vet may try is to insert a tube down the throat making a passage for the gas to escape. But if the stomach has twisted volvulus, surgery is the only solution. The vet will have to make an incision into the stomach and relieve the gas that way. While in there, he may decide to perform what is called gastropexy. This is where the stomach is actually stapled into its normal position, or anchored into place, so that it cannot blow up should there be another episode of bloat.
  Even if the dog has been relieved of the bloat with just a tube and not surgery, he should be surgically examined regardless, so that the vet may assess the damage done by the episode. Damaged parts of the stomach may need to be removed, or the patient’s owner may decide to allow gastroplexy since many dogs that experience bloat often go through it again at a later date. Sometimes only a day or two later, they may bloat again.
   It is a good idea to have on hand at home an over the counter drug such as Phazyme, Mylanta Gas (not regular Mylanta) or Gas-X. They contain simethicone which helps reduce gas. This may buy you a little more time to get to a vet.

How Can I Prevent Bloat/GDV?
   Because the theories and research on what causes bloat aren’t always in agreement, the ways to prevent GDV can conflict as well. One thing that everyone can agree on, though, is that feeding smaller meals several times a day is the best option for reducing the risk.
   Dogs who respond to nonsurgical treatment have a 70 percent chance of having another episode of bloat. Some of these episodes can be prevented by following these practices:
  • Divide the day’s ration into three equal meals, spaced well apart.
  • Do not feed your dog from a raised food bowl.
  • Avoid feeding dry dog food that has fat among the first four ingredients listed on the label.
  • Avoid foods that contain citric acid.
  • Restrict access to water for one hour before and after meals.
  • Never let your dog drink a large amount of water all at once.
  • Avoid strenuous exercise on a full stomach.



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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Allergies in Dogs

Allergies in Dogs
  Just like people, dogs can show allergic symptoms when their immune systems begin to recognize certain everyday substances—or allergens— as dangerous. Even though these allergens are common in most environments and harmless to most animals, a dog with allergies will have an extreme reaction to them. Allergens can be problematic when inhaled, ingested or contact a dog’s skin. As his body tries to rid itself of these substances, a variety of skin, digestive and respiratory symptoms may appear.
   If your dog seems to have an allergic condition, it's important to get an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as you can.

 What Are the General Symptoms of Allergies in Dogs?
The symptoms of allergies are usually like those of any other nasal allergy. They include:
  • coughing and wheezing
  • red, itchy eyes
  • runny, itchy, stuffy nose
  • sneezing.

Allergic dogs may also suffer from secondary bacterial or yeast skin infections, which may cause hair loss, scabs or crusts on the skin.


Less common, but more severe allergic reactions include:
  • Urticaria (hives)
  • Angioedema (facial swelling)
  • Anaphylaxis is a rare, life-threatening, immediate allergic reaction to something ingested or injected. If untreated, it can in some cases, result in shock, respiratory and cardiac failure, and death.
  These symptoms usually appear within 20 minutes of being exposed to the allergen, which can include drugs, chemicals, insect bites, or something eaten.
  If your pet has a history of a severe allergic reaction, you may want to discuss various options with your veterinarian. Your veterinarian may give you a prescription for an epi-pen which is a special syringe and needle filled with a single dose of epinephrine. If your pet has an anaphylactic reaction or severe angioedema, inject the epinephrine using the epi-pen and seek emergency veterinary assistance immediately. Be sure to take the epi-pen with you on any trips or hikes.

  What Substances Can Dogs Be Allergic To?
  • Tree, grass and weed pollens
  • Mold spores
  • Dust and house dust mites
  • Dander
  • Feathers
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Food ingredients (e.g. beef, chicken, pork, corn, wheat or soy)
  • Prescription drugs
  • Fleas and flea-control products (The bite of a single flea can trigger intense itchiness for two to three weeks!)
  • Perfumes
  • Cleaning products
  • Fabrics
  • Insecticidal shampoo
  • Rubber and plastic materials
 General allergies
Flea Allergy Dermatitis
Photo by Lisa Fotios from Pexels
  Flea allergy dermatitis, which is actually sensitivity to flea saliva, is a very common condition in dogs. It's not the bite of the flea that causes most of the itching in dogs with FAD, it's the saliva.
  The saliva causes irritation way out of proportion to the actual number of fleas on the pup.
  If you suspect or know fleas are a problem for your dog, I recommend you comb her at least once daily, every day during pest season with a flea comb. Do this on a white towel or other light colored cloth so you can see what's coming off your dog as you comb. Flea 'dirt' (actually flea feces) looks like real dirt, but when suspended in a little rubbing alcohol or water will dissolve and release a red color (blood) allowing you to discern real dirt from flea dirt.
  Bathe your dog often. A soothing bath will kill any fleas on your dog, help heal skin irritation, and make her feel more comfortable and less itchy. Also, clean animals aren't as attractive to fleas. Pick a non-grain (no oatmeal) herbal shampoo.
 Make liberal use of an all-natural pest repellent like Natural Flea and Tick Defense during flea season.
  For some dogs with a serious case of flea allergy dermatitis, I prescribe an oral drug called Comfortis. It is a chemical, but it's considered the least hazardous of all similar drugs. All drugs can have side effects, but Comfortis has reportedly fewer than topical insecticides.

Food Allergies
  Dogs with a food allergy will commonly have itchy skin, breathing difficulties or gastrointestinal problems like diarrhea and vomiting, and an elimination diet will most probably be used to determine what food he is allergic to. If your dog is specifically allergic to chicken, for example, you should avoid feeding him any products containing chicken protein or fat.
  Please note that food allergies may show up in dogs at any age. It often takes some detective work to find out what substance is causing the allergic reaction.

Environmental Allergies
  In addition to flea saliva and certain foods/ingredients, your dog can also be allergic to an infinite variety of irritants in the environment. These can be outdoor allergens like ragweed, grasses and pollens, as well as indoor irritants like mold, dust mites, cleaning chemicals and even fabrics like wool or cotton.
  As a general rule, if your dog is allergic to something inside your home, he'll have year-round symptoms. If he's reacting is to something outdoors, it could very well be a seasonal problem.

How Can Dog Allergies Be Treated?
The best way to treat allergies is to remove the offending allergens from the environment.
  • Prevention is the best treatment for allergies caused by fleas. Start a flea control program for all of your pets before the season starts. Remember, outdoor pets can carry fleas inside to indoor pets. See your veterinarian for advice about the best flea control products for your dog and the environment.
  • If dust is the problem, clean your pet's bedding once a week and vacuum at least twice weekly—this includes rugs, curtains and any other materials that gather dust.
  • Weekly bathing may help relieve itching and remove environmental allergens and pollens from your dog’s skin. Discuss with your vet what prescription shampoos are best, as frequent bathing with the wrong product can dry out skin.
  • If you suspect your dog has a food allergy, she’ll need to be put on an exclusive prescription or hydrolyzed protein diet. Once the allergy is determined, your vet will recommend specific foods or a home-cooked diet.
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