LUV My dogs: treatment

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Showing posts with label treatment. Show all posts
Showing posts with label treatment. 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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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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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Is There Such Thing As Dog Life Insurance?

Is There Such Thing As Dog Life Insurance?
  Twenty years ago, if you suggested getting a pet health insurance policy, most pet owners would have taken it as a joke.
  Not anymore. As veterinary treatments have gotten more advanced and sophisticated -- and vet bills for serious conditions can quickly add up to thousands of dollars -- buying pet health insurance is something to consider.
   Just like people, canine companions suffer from unexpected illnesses, accidents and death.     For these unexpected occasions, you cover yourself with health and life insurance. Policies exist to cover the same for your pet. Not all insurances are the same and not every dog owner needs a life insurance policy.
  Dogs are considered a valuable member of the family and dog life insurance was created to answer for the needs of a bereaved family when the beloved dog dies.
  For one, it enables the family to immediately buy a replacement, especially when the children find it hard to deal with the loss of a pet.

What services does dog health insurance cover?
  Dog life insurance usually pays you the cost (based on the determined market value) of the dog when it dies. There are also dog life insurance products that pay for the original purchase price. In addition, dog life insurance also provide for end-of-life expenses, which includes:
  • burial or cremation expenses
  • euthanasia for your dog because of a major injury or a terminal illness
  • expenses for the funeral service
  • bereavement counseling
  • Dog life insurance may also cover for medical and veterinarian expenses needed to treat your dog because of an accident, an emergency or a terminal illness. Illnesses that are usually covered include digestive, respiratory and cardiovascular problems, as well as cancer.
  Some benefits of dog life insurance also involve co-payments and deductibles that you will have to shoulder. There are also hereditary and pre-existing conditions that may be excluded. The insurance company may also look into the dog's behavior and age to help them decide whether to provide life insurance coverage to your dog or not. Premiums are computed based on your dog's breed and health condition. It will also look at your dog's expected lifespan.
  Some dog life insurance policies are bundled with other dog insurance coverage, such as dog health insurance and dog bite insurance.


It's a Dog's Life (Insurance)
  It will take some digging and research, but it is possible to find life insurance for your dog. Traditional insurance companies, like the one your life or homeowner's policy is through, usually don't carry policies on dogs, even if they're purebred. There are companies that specialize in pet insurance, however, and they're the ones that can provide the coverage you're looking for.

Things to Consider
  Life insurance for dogs doesn't work exactly like life insurance for humans. You'll have to shop around and find out what different policies cover and how they determine the payout. Some policies are written for accidental death only, and some will pay for costs like final veterinary expenses, euthanasia, cremation or burial. One insurance company might calculate the payout based on the market value of the dog at the time of his death, while another will base it on the price you paid for your dog. Ask about age cut-offs, too. Some insurance companies won't insure dogs over a certain age and will even drop insurance once a dog reaches 10 or 11 years.

Other Dog Insurance
  If life insurance on your pooch isn't practical, consider getting help with healthcare to improve the quality of his life and possibly extend it. If you haven't looked into it before, you might be surprised at the number of companies that offer health insurance for pets. Like your own health insurance, there are usually different levels of coverage ranging from wellness plans to accident coverage. It may not insure the life of your dog, but it can help defray the costs of medical treatment -- which may end up literally being a life and death issue.

Do You Need Life Insurance?
  If you have health insurance for your dog, determine if the policy covers burial or cremation. If it does, you may not need a life insurance policy unless you are looking to recover a financial loss from the death of your dog. This is a common thought for breeders, owners of top show dogs and owners of service dogs. In these cases, the loss of your dog may cause a financial loss as well. For example, service dogs who provide assistance to those with disabilities undergo expensive training. When a service dog passes, the owner must replace this dog to continue to receive support. Having a life insurance policy will help cover this replacement cost.

How much does dog health insurance cost?
  Costs vary. Typically the fees are paid monthly and there may also be an annual fee.
  Online quotes are easily accessible. For instance, an ASPCA basic plan for a one-year-old mixed Beagle puppy living in Los Angeles would cost $8.99 a month with an annual issuance fee of $10.50. It's a level 1 plan, which is basic accident coverage. Boosting coverage to accident and illness would increase the premium to $26.64 a month. A plan that adds wellness care would be $43.23 a month. The premiere plan, with the most extensive coverage, is $72.01 per month.

How much does pet health insurance pay?
  Pet health insurance plans range from basic to deluxe, and the coverage varies from plan to plan. Typically, pet insurance plans are set up with a deductible that ranges from $100 to much higher. Then, Sullivan says, much like the human "fee-for-service" or indemnity model, the plans provide an 80% reimbursement for covered expenses.
  Plans are likely not to pay for "cosmetic" procedures. For instance, ear crops, often performed on show dogs, won't likely be covered unless they are medically necessary.


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Monday, March 31, 2014

Everything about Dog Worms

Everything about Dog Worms
  There are a wide variety of worms that can infect your dog. Although many of the symptoms are similar, each will require a specific type of medication for treatment. When an inappropriate medication is used to treat worms, infestations can return or worsen in severity, causing additional medical complications. Some of the worms that commonly affect dogs include: heartworms, roundworms, tapeworms, hookworms, and whipworms.

Symptoms
Dog Coughing - One of the advanced stage symptoms of heartworms in a dog is coughing. Dogs with hookworms and roundworms may also develop a cough.

Dog Vomiting - Dogs that have worms will often throw up. Roundworms can sometimes show up in a dog’s vomit.

Diarrhea in Dogs - Soft stools and canine diarrhea can be the result of worms. In addition to diarrhea, dogs with hookworms may have blood in their stools.

Low Energy Dogs - Dogs that are lethargic and less active than normal may be showing symptoms of having worms.

Pot Bellied Appearance - If your dog starts to appear pot bellied or bloated, it may have contracted worms. This is commonly seen in puppies that have picked up worms from their mother.

Dog’s Change in Appetite - If you notice a sudden change in your dog’s appetite, he may have come into contact with roundworms. Dogs that are infected often lose their appetite. As worms steal a dog’s nutrients, a dog with worms may also show a sudden increase in hunger.

Dog Losing Weight - If your dog shows signs of rapid weight loss, he may have a tapeworm or a whipworm.

Dull Coat - A healthy dog should have a shiny thick coat. If your dog’s coat begins to dull and dry out, he may have picked up a form of worms. Loss of hair or the appearance of rashes can also denote worms.

Dog Itching and Signs of Skin Irritations - Dogs that show signs of skin irritation may have a severe infestation of worms.

Dog Rubbing Its Bottom on the Ground “Scooting” - While this can often be caused by problems with the anal glands, dogs with worms will occasionally rub their rear ends on the floor in order to relieve themselves of the itch due to worms in the area.

Visible Worms in Fur or Fecal Matter - Some worms, such as tapeworms may appear as small moving segments in the fur or area around dog’s anus. Roundworms can often be seen in a dog’s stools.

Non-Intestinal Worms
  The biggest problem for dog owners in terms of non-intestinal worms in dogs is heartworms. In recent years awareness of heartworms has risen and resulted in increased preventative efforts by pet owners throughout the United States.

Heartworms
  Heartworms are a parasite that is contracted through bites from infected mosquitoes. As these mosquitoes bite dogs they transmit heartworm larvae in to the dog’s bloodstream. The heartworm eggs travel to the dog’s heart where they settle in the right heart ventricle and begin to duplicate. As these worms increase in number and grow larger they soon begin to cause severe damage to the dog’s heart, lungs and other major organs. Heartworms can live as long as five years within a dog but the infestation usually becomes fatal before that point. Heartworm infection is most commonly diagnosed by taking blood samples and testing them for the presence of heartworm offspring.

Spotting and Treating Heartworms
  Early signs of heartworm infection can be easy to miss and as a result it is often not until the infection becomes severe that it is caught. Some of the most common signs of dogs suffering heartworms include: hair loss, jaundice, diarrhea, respiratory trouble, wheezing, loss of appetite, blindness, increased heartbeat, vomiting, poor coat, coughing, lethargy and weight loss. Treatment for heartworm infestation is dangerous and since most cases are not caught until dogs exhibit symptoms due to organ damage, treatment can often be fatal. Treatment involves injecting toxins in to the bloodstream that will kill the heartworms; however, they can also prove fatal to weakened dogs. The sooner heartworm infestations are caught, the better the chance that a dog will survive treatment because there will be less damage to major organs. Heartworm treatment is expensive and time consuming. Numerous treatments are required to eliminate infestations and throughout the numerous treatments the dog must be kept confined and inactive. In some cases where heartworm infestations are severe and dogs are too disabled from their condition, veterinarians may suggest forgoing treatment and opting for euthanization. Choosing euthanization may be a difficult decision to make, but the amount of discomfort a dog experiences during advanced stages of heartworm infection is significant.

Preventing Heartworms
  Preventing heartworms is easy with the large number of heartworm tablets available for monthly dosage. The different heartworm preventative medications vary in price and all are more affordable than a single heart worm treatment. Some of the most commonly used heartworm preventative medications include: Heartgard Plus, Iverhart Plus and Panacur–C.

Important Things to Keep in Mind about Heartworms:
  • It is estimated that 100% of dogs exposed to infective heartworm larvae become infected with heartworms.
  • According to the American Heartworm Society, only 55% of dogs in the United States are on heartworm preventative.
  • “Indoor only” animals can also become infected with heartworms.
  • More than thirty different animal species can contract heartworms including: wild canids, wild felids, sea lions and humans.
  • Heart worm disease could be completely eliminated in domesticated animals if every pet owner administered heartworm preventative to their pet.
Intestinal Worms
  When referring to worms in general, most commonly people are referring to intestinal worms. These types of worms are found in the gastrointestinal tract of dogs where they thrive and reproduce, causing a slew of medical side effects. Intestinal worms are referred to as parasites because they attach to your dog’s intestinal wall and feed by leaching your dog’s nutrients. If left untreated, infestations of intestinal worms can become deadly by causing intestinal blockage. Dogs should be tested for intestinal parasites through the taking of a fecal sample once a year. All puppies should be issued de-wormers to ensure that they are not carrying worms or worm larvae. Most of the large name heartworm medications sold these days also provide protection against a number of the most common intestinal worm varieties to ensure that fully grown dogs are protected.

Roundworms

  Roundworms are a particularly common type of parasitic worm found in young puppies. The majority of puppies have traces of roundworms or roundworm eggs in their tissue at birth as a result of migrating parasites from the mother’s tissue. Puppies can also contract roundworms from their mother’s milk. This is one of the reasons why puppies are de-wormed as soon as they are seen by a vet and given their initial “puppy shots.” Many breeders also take the precaution of administering de-wormer to ensure that their puppies remain healthy. Once within the dog’s body, the roundworms will travel to the intestinal tract where they will attach themselves to the intestinal wall and continue to grow. Some roundworms can grow as large as five inches long. Once roundworms reach sexual maturity they will begin shedding eggs within the dog’s small intestine. Infected dogs will pass roundworm eggs in their feces and the eggs can then go on to re-infect other dogs that are exposed to the infected feces. Once dogs become infected by ingesting the roundworm eggs (these eggs can survive in soil for years,) the eggs will hatch and young roundworms will travel to the lungs. Eventually these small larvae are coughed out of the lungs and swallowed where they will make their way to the small intestine to grow to full sized worms. It is easy to see how an untreated infection of roundworms can continue a cycle of infection among a neighborhood or kennel of dogs.

Spotting and Treating Roundworms
  Dogs with an active case of roundworms can appear to have a bloated stomach and exhibit poor growth despite eating regularly. Infected dogs may also vomit or have diarrhea, cough, develop pneumonia or show signs of anemia. Owners may spot worms in their dogs vomit or feces. These worms can infect both young and old dogs and can become fatal by causing intestinal blockage if they are not treated as soon as possible. Roundworms are treated with a de-wormer, but it should be noted that this treatment is only effective for fully grown worms living in a dog’s intestinal tract, not for eggs. It is important to administer a full course of de-wormer prescribed for roundworms by a vet in order to ensure that the infestation is completely eradicated. The most commonly prescribed medications for roundworm infestations include: Sentinel, Drontal Plus, Panacur – C, Heartguard Plus, Worm X, Iverhart Plus and Interceptor.

Preventing Roundworms
  Preventing roundworms in most dogs is as easy as keeping dogs away from other dog feces and administering a heartworm preventative that also protects against roundworms.

Tapeworms
  Tapeworms can be contracted through eating animals that are already infected with tapeworms or through eating fleas that feed on tapeworm eggs. Tapeworms appear as segmented and can be composed of as many as ninety different attached segments reaching as long as six inches in total length. Tapeworms live within the dogs intestines and absorb nutrients from the digestive tract through its skin. Like most other intestinal worms, tapeworms attach to the intestinal wall with their heads, though these worms utilize “suckers” to attach to the tissue. Amazingly, each section of the tapeworm has the ability to reproduce and contains eggs, which means that each section that breaks off the end of the worm releases eggs. As these eggs are released, they are passed in the dogs feces. This is often where the tapeworm eggs are ingested by fleas and the cycle begins again when that flea is ingested by another (or the same) dog. As the tapeworm grows, the end segments of the worm’s body will detach and the containing eggs and sections are excreted. Most pet owners are able to identify the presence of tapeworms by spotting these small rice like segments (which are often still moving) in their dog’s fur near their anus. Tapeworms can be spread from dogs to humans.

Spotting and Treating Tapeworms
  Dogs with a tapeworm infestation may appear with no symptoms at all, or they may appear with a number of general intestinal type symptoms. Some of the more general symptoms include: itching around the anus, vomiting, an upset stomach, diarrhea and abdominal discomfort. Tapeworm infestations may also present with convulsions in extreme cases. Tapeworms in dogs are most commonly treated with Drontal Plus, Panacur – C and Tapeworm tabs. Tapeworm infestations in humans are most commonly treated with Praziquantel.

Preventing Tapeworms
  Unlike many other worms, tapeworms are not treated with heartworm medications that also cover parasitic worms. Tapeworms can be prevented by applying flea preventative regularly. Rodent populations should also be controlled since they can lead to an increase in fleas which feed on tapeworm eggs.

Hookworms
  Hookworms are very small worms that are named because of their hook-like teeth that they use to attach to the intestinal lining. These worms feed upon their host animal’s blood and are the most common parasitic worm found in dogs. Hookworms can be contracted in the same methods as roundworms, particularly during the puppy life stage. Veterinarians believe that 20% of the pets in the United States are infected with hookworms. It is possible for humans to contract hookworms from their dogs. Hookworms are much like other parasitic worms in that they lay eggs in the intestinal tract of dogs and those eggs are then expelled in feces or through a mother dog’s tissues during pregnancy. Hookworm infestations are particularly devastating to young and elderly dogs and should be treated as soon as a vet identifies hookworm eggs in a fecal sample.

Spotting and Treating Hookworms
   Dogs that have severe hookworm infections can often succumb to the parasite if not treated promptly. Signs of a hookworm infestation include: poor stamina, poor weight maintenance, progressive overall weakness, anemia, bloody diarrhea and an unwillingness to feed. In humans hookworm infestations can present with muscle pain, skin rashes and potentially lung disease. Commonly used hookworm medications for dogs include: Sentinel, Drontal Plus, Panacur – C, Heartguard Plus, Worm X, Iverhart plus and Interceptor. In humans the most commonly used medications for treatment are benzimidazoles.

Preventing Hookworms
  Hookworms can be prevented with a number of heartworm preventative medications that also treat parasites. These worms can also be prevented by ensuring that your dog’s environment is kept clean.

Whipworms
  Whipworms are so named because they have the appearance of a whip with one end thicker than the other, the thinner end having the appearance of a piece of thread. This type of parasitic worm lives in the first section of the dog’s large intestines – the cecum. Where roundworm females are capable of producing 200,000 eggs in a single day, whipworms produce much fewer eggs making detection of an infection much more difficult. Even with the administration of a fecal sample, a veterinarian may miss an infection. In cases where dogs exhibit clear symptoms of whipworm infestation, but a fecal test comes up negative, additional fecal samples may be required. Unlike roundworms, whipworms rarely cause fatal infections in dogs but they can lead to complications in infected dogs. Whipworms bury their heads in to the wall of the dog’s large intestine and feed on the dog’s blood. Once established in the dog’s intestines whipworms will lay their eggs that will be excreted in the dogs feces. Whipworm eggs are extremely difficult to eradicate from soil and can only effectively be destroyed by replacing soil. Even picking up feces can leave traces of whipworm eggs behind leaving other dogs susceptible for infection. Whipworms are one of the few parasitic worms that cannot be transmitted to humans from dogs.

Spotting and Treating Whipworms
  Dogs with whipworms can show with a variety of symptoms including signs of anemia, diarrhea, hemorrhaging, weight loss and general upset stomach. If a case of whipworms is confirmed, all feces should be picked up and disposed of properly and soil should be replaced in order to avoid re-infection. Commonly used medications for whipworm infections include: Sentinel, Drontal Plus, Panacur – C and Interceptor.

Preventing Whipworms
  Preventing whipworms should be done with a preventative oral medication. Interceptor is currently one of the few heartworm preventative medications that treats for whipworms as well as heartworms.

Other Intestinal Parasites to Consider
Coccidia
  Coccidiosis is a parasitic infection that is caused by coccidium bacteria. This bacterium is spread through feces of infected dogs and is most commonly found in puppies that have developed the disease after exposure to infected adult dog’s feces. Like many intestinal parasites, coccidiosis can be particularly dangerous to young puppies with under-developed immune systems. Adult dogs can also be affected by this infection particularly when undergoing periods of stress such as traveling, moving and even weather changes.

Spotting and Treating Coccidia
  Dogs infected with the Coccidia bacteria will present with watery and mucous like diarrhea. If the infection becomes severe diarrhea may be bloody and the dog may also present with symptoms of severe dehydration and overall weakness and lethargy.
Whenever any of these symptoms are noted it is crucial to get your dog to the vet regardless of their age because symptoms can escalate particularly quickly. The most common test performed by veterinarians that suspect coccidiosis is a fecal examination. In cases of coccidiosis the coccidium parasite is easily visible under the microscope. The parasite has an appearance somewhat like an eye with a pupil.
After confirming that coccidiosis is the cause of infection, your veterinarian will assess your dogs overall health. If your dog is experiencing significant distress due to dehydration and weakness they will keep your dog for inpatient treatment to administer fluids as well as medications to kill the parasite. If your dog is in overall good health your vet will send you home with medication to treat the parasite and suggest administering unflavored Pedialyte and plenty of water to keep your dog hydrated. Two weeks following completion of medication your vet will request a follow up fecal test to ensure that the parasite is no longer present.

Preventing Coccidiosis
  The best way to prevent the spread of coccidiosis is to keep infected animals apart from other animals in the home and to ensure infected animals are treated completely. It is also important to test feces of pregnant bitches to ensure that they newborn puppies are protected from infection. Many people will also test young puppies to ensure they are not infected with coccidiosis after their birth.
Coccidiosis is yet another reason why it is important to always pick up after your dog since leaving your dogs infected feces can pass the disease on to other dogs!

Giardia
  Giardia Worms in DogsInfection with the guardian parasite is referred to as giardiasis. Giardia is a protozoan parasite that is ingested by dogs when infectious cysts are shed in infected dog’s feces. Dogs can ingest these cysts through both direct and indirect contact with them and once ingested they travel down to the dogs intestinal tract. Many dogs ingest giardia cysts through water contamination which is why new puppy owners are advised against letting their dogs near local lakes and water bodies that could house the parasite.
It is important to note that giardia is the most common intestinal parasite found in the human digestive tract. It is possible for giardia to be passed on from dogs to humans so proper handling of infected dogs and infected feces is crucial.

Spotting and Treating Giardia
  Spotting giardia in adult dogs can be trickier than with younger dogs since the disease tends to accelerate rather rapidly in younger dogs with less developed immune systems. The most significant symptom of giardia is diarrhea that may be greasy or frothy in appearance and have mucous in it. Feces from dogs with giardia also tend to have a particularly strong odor. If your dog exhibits any of these symptoms it is crucial to get them veterinary care in order to avoid dehydration, particularly in the case of very young puppies.
If your veterinarian suspects that your dog is suffering from giardiasis they will take a fecal sample. A fecal sample is taken not only to confirm the presence of the giardia parasite but also to rule out any other potential cause for symptoms such as maldigestion and malabsorption. The giardia parasite is a teardrop shaped parasite that can be seen in a fecal smear under a microscope.
After confirming that giardia parasites are present, your veterinarian will decide whether or not your dog needs to be kept in for observation or whether they can be released for treatment. You vet may also opt to administer fluids and then send you home to administer medication at home. In addition to prescription medication, veterinarians recommend bathing infected dogs to prevent any recontamination from remaining parasites on the dog. Once medication has been completed veterinarians will request a second fecal exam to ensure that the parasite has been eradicated completely. This step is particularly crucial since an ongoing giardia infection can have devastating effects on a dog and can even result in the death of young puppies in a relatively short time period.
The most commonly prescribed medications for giardia infections include: Flagyl also known as Metronidazole, Panacur and Valbazen. The favored of these is Flagyl however it is contraindicated in pregnancy.

Preventing Giardia
  Giardia is a particularly common parasite and it can be difficult to avoid; however, there are some tips to reduce the risk of your dog contracting it. Make sure not to take young dogs to water bodies where the parasite could be present and ensure that no dog drinks from the water or licks their paws after stepping in the water. Also ensure that whenever boarding your dog, you pick a kennel that offers individual spaces for dogs rather than communal kennel areas where the parasite can quickly spread.

If left untreated, worms can damage your dog’s internal organs and lead to loss of consciousness and death. If you suspect that your dog has worms, take it to your nearest veterinary office. Most worms are easy to treat and your veterinarian will prescribe a medication based on the diagnosis.
The best way to keep your dogs safe is to make sure they use a monthly heartworm disease preventive year round.



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