Dog diseases - fleas and other parasites (how to get rid of fleas on dogs)
Dog health issues - hip dysplasia
Dog health issues - arthritis
Dog health issues - periodontal disease
Dog disease - dementia
Dog diseases - infections
Dog health issues - obese dog
Dog health issues - heart disease
Dog health problems - eye diseases
Dog health issues - allergies
Dog health issues - skin problems
Dog diseases - bladder and kidney stones
Dog health issues - epilepsy (dog seizures)
Dog health problems - ear infection
Dog health issues - knee problems (luxating patella)
Dog health problems - bloat (GDV)
Dog disease - canine cancer
Dog health problems - kidney disease
Dog health issues - respiratory distress
Dog health issues - kennel cough (canine bordetellosis)
External dog parasites include fleas, ticks and ear mites that can infest your dog's skin and ears. Fleas can be very harmful to dogs. Some dogs experience allergic reactions to flea saliva and thus have rashes or lose their fur. Fleas on dogs commonly cause Flea Allergic Dermatitis. As a result, the dog will persistently scratch and may appear restless. In cases of high infestation, the animals lose enough blood to become anemic. When you are using flea treatments, be sure to treat all the dogs and cats in the household in order to get rid of the flea infestation.
How to get rid of fleas on dogs:
If your dog has a heavy flea infestation, start with a bath using a flea-fighting shampoo before trying the topical medications.
For your home, you should consider hiring an extermination company that specializes in fleas. Daily vacuuming works effectively in keeping the flea population down in the house. Also, change the vacuum bag frequently (when the bag is half full) to prevent a flea colony from growing in the bag. Combing your dog with a flea comb helps as well.
Wash all bedding, as that is where the fleas lay their eggs. If you decide to use a topical flea preventive, your vet can help you choose the one for your dog.
Ear mites are small parasites that are highly contagious and can transfer themselves between dogs. Ear mites feed on tissue debris and fluids in the ear canals of an affected animal. Some of the signs that a dogs has ear mites include the dog shaking its head and rubbing the head along the floor. The dog will also be persistently scratching the affected ears. Take the dog to the veterinarian if you suspect that it may have ear mites. The veterinarian will then prescribe the appropriate medication to help the dog get better. Be sure to complete the course of medication in order to completely get rid of these parasites.
Worms in dogs
Roundworms, like hookworms, can contaminate the soil, and the eggs are highly resistant to adverse conditions. Roundworms live in soil for years. Most puppies are born with these worms because the larvae live in the mother but don't infect her. Even if your female dog tests negative for roundworms, her puppies can still have them. Roundworms in puppies can cause death from intestinal blockage, and if worms migrate to the lungs, they may cause pneumonia. Adult dogs may have diarrhea and abdominal pain, and may suffer from dehydration.
You can't see an internal dog parasite by rubbing your dog's fur the wrong way. Your vet will need to do a fecal check once or twice a year to check for whipworms, hookworms, tapeworms, and roundworms. Heartworms require a blood test, and tapeworm segments can be seen with the naked eye in the dog's feces.
Tapeworms are the least harmful, but the most common of all types of worms that may infest your dog. One of the ways your dog can get tapeworms is by swallowing a flea, so controlling the flea population prevents tapeworms in your dog. Tapeworm segments look like tiny grains of rice in your dog's stool, so check periodically for evidence of tapeworms. White worms in dog poop mean your dog is likely infected with tapeworms. If you never treated for tapeworm, your dog would survive, but any parasite takes nourishment away from its host, so your dog would want more and more food.
Dog worms include hookworms, roundworms, heartworms, and whipworms and can get into the dog's system in a number of ways: drinking unclean water, walking on contaminated soil, or being bitten by an infected mosquito. Some of these parasites can be transmitted to you or a family member and are a serious concern for everyone. Parasites can cause pain, discomfort, and even death. Hookworms feed on the blood of their host and can cause fatal anemia in puppies. Untreated adult dogs will become anemic, and the constant irritation from the worms can cause gastroenteritis, or inflammation of the bowel, which may cause diarrhea and lessens the amount of nourishment the dog can get from food.
Whipworms can cause a deep inflammation of the colon. If your dog has periodic bouts of diarrhea, with blood and mucus present, whipworms may be the culprit. Left untreated, your dog will become dehydrated, and inflammation of the colon will become worse. Symptoms of these worms in dogs include abdominal pain, becoming anemic, and losing weight. Once again, contaminated soil is to blame, and the bad news is that after you have whipworms in your soil, paving the entire yard is about the only way to solve the problem. There are tests available to check if your pet is suffering from any parasites. Your veterinarian can also recommend preventive medication to keep your four-legged friend healthy.
Heartworm is a serious health problem for dogs especially in warm and moist climates where there are large populations of mosquitoes. Mosquitoes carry heartworm. When a dog is infected with heartworm, a microscopic immature stage of the heartworms circulates through the dog's bloodstream. At this stage the heartworm is called microfilaria. If a mosquito bites the infected dog, some mocrofilaria will be injected into the next dog that the mosquito bites, thus transmitting the parasite. The heartworm will continue their life cycle and in about three months migrate into the heart of the dog and develop into adult worms. Within six to eight months, these adults will start reproducing, adding more heartworms into the dog's system. Each adult worm can reach length of 12 inches (30.5 cm) or more. If a tangle of these worms clogs a dog's heart, it cannot pump efficiently and the dog becomes weak and sick. A heavy load of heartworms left untreated will lead to the dog's death. Before your dog is given heartworm preventive, he must be tested to make sure he is not already infected. It can be fatal to administer preventive heartworm medication to a dog with adult heartworms. A different regimen is needed to clear up a heartworm infection. Preventing heartworm is better than having to cure it. If your dog does contract heartworm, the first step in the cure is to get rid of the adult worms, which involves arsenamide injected intravenously twice a day for 2 or 3 days. Your vet can do this for you or show you what you need to do. The worms in the heart die slowly and travel to the lungs through the bloodstream. The worms gradually disintegrate in the lungs. The worms must be poisoned slowly, because if all of the worms are killed immediately, simultaneous embolism can prove fatal to your dog. Even killing the worms slowly stresses your dog's lungs and may cause permanent damage. Enforced rest for 4 to 6 weeks following treatment is usual to help your dog recover.
Hip and Elbow Dysplasia in dogs
Hip dysplasia, an inherited disease that causes the hip joints to form improperly and leads to arthritis. Hip dysplasia is common in most dog breeds with many large breeds predisposed to this condition. Large breed puppies who grow up too quickly (often due to overnutrition in puppyhood) and/or who stressed their bones too much during growth can develop a severe, crippling case of hip dysplasia, while other large dogs never progress beyond a mild case. Large dog breed puppies can begin to show signs of hip dysplasia as young as four months of age, or they may not show any signs until old age. Signs of hip dysplasia in dogs include lameness in hind legs, difficulty getting up from lying down. Other symptoms include the dog's unwillingness to run, jump, or climb stairs. Causes of hip dysplasia include both genetic and environmental: genetic susceptibility for hip looseness, rapid weight gain, obesity and nutritional factors. There is no cure for hip dysplasia, but in many cases, owners can manage hip dysplasia with lifestyle modification. Losing weight, or maintaining slim weight will help to alleviate pain. Moderate exercise, therapeutic massage, and hydrotherapy (swimming) can also all make a difference in relieving pain and increasing mobility in dysplastic dogs. Surgery is sometimes considered in severe and life-limiting cases. Hip dysplasia surgery costs can vary and on average cost from $1,500 to $4,000 depending on many factors such as the type of the surgery (there are several types of surgeries for this condition), severity of hip dysplasia (how advanced the condition is), the dog's age and other factors. This amount does not include follow-up care and cost of medications.
You can also help to lessen the severity of hip dysplasia in your dog by doing a few key things in puppyhood:
Talk to the breeder about hip dysplasia. Responsible breeders only breed dogs with sound hips, as certified by a veterinarian via X-ray.
After the first 12 months of life, avoid puppy food, or feed a puppy food for large breed dogs. These special foods contain lower protein and calcium levels than standard puppy foods, so your large breed puppy grows more slowly. This will allow bones and joints to grow at a rate that will keep them denser and more sound. A premium adult food should be fine for large breed puppies over three months old.
Don't involve your large breed puppy in high-impact activities for the first year of life. Agility, running on hard pavement, and any activity that involves vigorous jumping can all compromise joint integrity during this crucial growth stage. Walks and runs on grass are just fine, though. Obviously, your puppy needs exercise, and lots of it.
Keep your large breed dog slim. Obesity is the most common affliction in pets, and too much body weight can put additional stress on bones and joints, both during the growth period and as your dog ages.
Treat the problem early, to reduce damage from arthritis.
Similar to hip dysplasia but afflicting the front legs, elbow dysplasia is a degenerative joint disease of the elbow joints. Elbow dysplasia in dogs results when a small bone in the elbow fails to fuse properly while the puppy is growing. Both hip and elbow dysplasia can be crippling and painful or just uncomfortable, depending on how much bone is deformed and if bone rubs against bone when the dog is moving.
Hip and elbow dysplasia is hereditary, but can be made better or worse, depending on the care given to the growing puppy. Excessive exercise and overfeeding can worsen the condition. It is very important to keep the growing puppy in healthy weight and be sensible about exercise.
Responsible breeders always x-ray their dogs' hips and elbows before deciding to breed them. Selective breeding is crucial in preventing hip dysplasia.
Canine arthritis, also known as osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease is a painful condition that is characterized by pain and inflammation in a dog's joints. While up to 20 percent of pet dogs have arthritis, some breeds are more at risk than others. Often, joint abnormalities in dogs like hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia are likely to lead to arthritis. Working dogs and canine athletes tend to get arthritis from repetitive stress on joints. Overweight dogs may develop arthritis years earlier than those of normal weight, causing undue pain and suffering. Keep your dog in healthy weight by feeding your dog high quality age appropriate dog food. Select the dog food that is formulated for your dog's size. Moderate, low impact exercise and keeping your dog in a healthy weight can help to avoid or delay the onset of arthritis.
Excessive exercise while the dog is still a puppy is one of the mistakes that owners make and can lead to joint issues later in life. Puppies and dogs of any age need to be active but too much jumping and running can put stress on the growing joints especially when the puppy belongs to large dog breed. Most large dog breeds are not physically mature until two years of age and can easily damage their joints with vigorous jumping or other high-impact exercises such as playing Frisbee can contribute to developing a number of joint conditions including arthritis or permanent limping. While the puppy is still growing it is best to take the puppy for shorter but more frequent walks and be reasonable with exercising the growing puppy. Low-impact exercises such as swimming and walking can help the dog to maintain a healthy amount of muscle tissue that supports the joints. Also exercise should not be sporadic (for example only on the weekends) because this may result in more harm than good. Instead, exercise should be on a daily basis and regularly. The amount of exercise depends on your dog's breed, age, general health and other factors. It is a good idea to check with your veterinarian about the best exercise program for your pet.
Many older dogs have arthritis, and bigger dogs tend to have more pain and disability than smaller dogs. Some of the symptoms of arthritis in your dog include limping, reluctant to moving (for example the dog is reluctant to jumping in the car or going up or down the stairs), abnormal posture with the back hunching, tiredness, irritability especially when touching the spot affected by arthritis, licking, chewing and biting the painful areas, swollen joints and crackling sound from the joints, with movement. The sooner the arthritis is treated — the better. Early treatment helps to avoid discomfort and pain. Check with your veterinarian if you believe that your pet may be suffering from arthritis.
Osteoarthritis in dogs is similar to the condition in people. The cartilage joints get worn down over the years and bones rub together, becoming stiff and painful. Veterinarians diagnose arthritis by performing a physical exam and sometimes doing X-rays to get a closer look at the condition of the joints. They may even take joint fluid to rule out rheumatoid arthritis or a bacterial or fungal infection, because some dog diseases like Lyme disease can cause arthritis when bacteria gets inside the joint.
If your dog has arthritis, keep the dog's bed away from cold and dump areas and away from drafts. There are orthopedic dog beds available that can be helpful for dogs with arthritis.
Dogs that suffer from arthritis or any joint issues may find a memory foam orthopedic dog bed the most comfortable as these types of beds provide thick padding.
Arthritis can make going up and down the stairs painful for the dog. Some owners decide to buy or build ramps for the stairs so that the dog can easily come outside using the ramp rather than stairs. Also there are ramps available for getting the dog in the car without jumping and this is a good way to help your pet get in the car without the painful jumping.
Dental Disease in dogs
Periodontal disease in dogs is a problem that affects eighty percent of all dogs by age two. Dental diseases in dogs start with tartar build-up on the teeth and progresses to infection of the gums and roots of the teeth. If we don't prevent or treat dental disease, your buddy will start loosing teeth and be in danger of damaging kidneys, liver, heart, and joints. In fact, your dog's life span may be cut short by up to three years! Clean your dog's teeth regularly and be sure to provide your dog with dental toys and dental treats that help to maintain healthy and clean teeth.
Another common dental issue for some dogs is called "retained teeth". Dogs normally begin to lose their primary ("puppy") teeth at around 4 months of age. When the primary teeth don't fall out as the adult teeth come in, infection or damage to the adult teeth may develop. The retained puppy teeth trap food and hair between the normal adult tooth and the primary tooth. Painful gums, bad breath and adult tooth loss can result if untreated. Veterinarians usually recommend removal of the puppy teeth if they are present alongside dog's adult teeth.
Dog health problems include dementia. An older dog may show signs of senility or cognitive dysfunction. Cognitive dysfunction is a degeneration of the brain and nervous system. Dog dementia is the equivalent of Alzheimer's in people. Symptoms include wanting less petting and attention, not recognizing family members, sleeping more during the day and less at night, staring at walls or into space, difficulty learning new commands and ignoring known commands, pacing or wandering aimlessly, becoming lost in familiar places, standing at the hinge side of the door. Talk to your veterinarian about drugs that can help your senile dog be more aware and able to enjoy life more.
Infections in dogs
Bacterial and viral infections include parvo, rabies, and distemper. Many of these infections are preventable through vaccination, which veterinarians recommend based on the diseases common in the area where the dog lives, the dog's age, and other factors.
Overfeeding a dog may result in health problems associated with being overweight.Feeding your dog people food, overfeeding the animal and not providing enough exercise can result in obesity. Obesity is a serious disease that may cause or worsen joint problems, metabolic and digestive disorders, back pain and heart disease. Extra weight on a dog steals years from his life span. If your dog is asking for extra food in between meals - do not give in. Dogs gain weight if they consume more food than they use for exercise and body maintenance. Dogs lose weight if they burn more calories than they get from the food they are eating. Take the dog for a walk or play a game to keep your dog happy and healthy. A dog of the proper weight will have a defined waistline that's easily noticeable when looking down at his back from above. Between meals let your dog chew on a rawhide bone of the appropriate size for your dog.
Heart Disease in dogs
Heart failure is a leading cause of death among dogs of many breeds in their golden years. Often heart disease in dogs is caused by weakening of a valve. As the dog ages, the heart valve slowly becomes deformed so that it no longer closes completely. Blood then leaks back around this valve and strains the heart. Pets with heart valve disease (sometimes called mitral valve disease) have a heart murmur. Some of the signs of heart disease in dogs include rapid breathing, labored breathing, coughing, the dog may be getting tired much faster and fainting. If you are noticing any of these signs of heart disease in your dog, take it to the veterinarian for a checkup. The veterinarian will perform testing to determine the severity of the disease. If heart valve disease is diagnosed early, your veterinarian may be able to prescribe medications that could prolong your dog's life for many years. Proper dental care can help prevent heart disease and weight control can help diminish symptoms.
Dog eye problems
Glaucoma, an eye condition that affects dogs and people too, is an extremely painful disease that rapidly leads to blindness if left untreated. Symptoms include squinting, watery eyes, bluing of the cornea (the clear front part of the eye), and redness in the whites of the eyes. Pain is rarely noticed by pet owners though it is frequently there and can be severe. In advanced cases, the eye may look enlarged or swollen like it's bulging. Glaucoma is a medical emergency. If you see symptoms of glaucoma, have it checked by your veterinarian.
Dog eye problems include cataracts. Cataracts in dogs can cause of blindness in older pets. Cataracts occur when the lenses of the dog's eyes become more opaque and start appearing cloudy instead of clear. Many dogs adjust well to losing their vision and get along just fine. Surgery to remove cataracts and restore sight may also be an option.
Distichiasis is a condition caused by extra hairs that grow inside of the eyelid and rub on the surface of the eye. This is one of the most commonly inherited diseases in dogs, and some breeds are more likely than others to develop this painful condition. If untreated, these abnormal hairs can cause corneal ulcers and chronic eye pain. Several treatment options are available, and the prognosis is good once the hairs have been permanently removed.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) is an inherited disease in which the eyes are genetically programmed to go blind. PRA is not painful, but also not curable. In dogs with the bad gene, early symptoms such as night blindness or dilated pupils generally begin around three to five years of age. A genetic test is available for this condition.
There are many ways to help your blind dog. Try not to move furniture in your home to make it easier for your dog to get around. If there are any sharp corners or objects in your home, you can use some vinegar to rub the sharp corners so that the dog can avoid bumping into the sharp object because it will be able to smell the vinegar that will warn the dog.
Blind dog products that can make a difference. Tracerz for blind dogs, for example, serve as scented paths that you can make for your pet to follow to prevent him from bumping into things as the blind dog is moving.
Corneal dystrophy is an inherited condition in Basenjis that causes small white crystal deposits to form in one of the layers of the cornea. There is no known effective medical treatment to remove the deposits. Usually the disease progresses slowly and without pain, causing minor vision obstruction, but partial or complete blindness is possible. In severe cases surgery may be considered, but unfortunately, the crystals may return.
Entropion is a condition where the eyelid rolls inward, causing the eyelashes to rub against the cornea (surface of the eyeball). This is an extremely irritating and painful condition that can ultimately lead to blindness. Surgical correction is usually successful if performed early.
Pannus is an inflammation of the corneas in both eyes, which can sometimes lead to blindness. Pannus appears mainly in German shepherds and German shepherd mixes over two years old. Treatments include steroids and/or surgery.
Lens Luxation in dogs occurs when the lens moves from its normal position behind the cornea. This disease appears in two forms: Secondary lens luxation results from injury to the eye and is not hereditary, while primary lens luxation is inherited, and affected dogs should not be used for breeding. Initially, only one eye will appear to be affected, but sooner or later symptoms will also appear in the other eye. The first signs of a problem may be behavioral changes due to the changes in vision. The dog may bump into things or have trouble catching balls and biscuits. Untreated, lens luxation may cause glaucoma or corneal edema, diseases in which the normal flow of fluids through the cornea are restricted, causing pressure and pain in the eye. Eye drops and oral medications help in some cases, but in severe cases, it may be necessary to remove the lens or the entire eye.
Allergy symptoms in people often include sneeze and their eyes itch. In dogs, rather than sneeze, allergies make their skin itchy. This skin allergy is called "atopy". The feet, belly, folds of the skin, and ears are most affected. Symptoms of dog allergies typically start between the ages of one and three and can get worse every year. Licking the paws, rubbing the face, and frequent ear infections are the most common signs of allergy in dogs. The good news is that there are many treatment options available for this condition. Allergies can be grouped into four categories:
Flea Allergy is the most common type of dog allergy. The allergy is not to the flea itself, but rather to protein in flea's saliva left in the skin after a flea bite. Severe allergic reactions can make dogs miserable.
Inhalant Allergies are the second most common type of dog allergy. Dogs experience inhalant allergies when they breathe in an offending allergen, whether it is pollen, tobacco smoke, or mold spores. Even if an allergic dog stays indoors all the time, outside allergens will find their way into your home and your dog's nose. Check with your vet about treatment options.
Food Allergies in dogs are often caused by the same foods that humans are allergic to: soy, milk, eggs, wheat, corn, and even chicken. The most likely reaction is itchy, irritated skin, although vomiting and diarrhea may occur. Food allergies must be isolated by trial and error, but once the culprit is found, it is not hard to customize the dog's diet to exclude the ingredients that cause allergic reactions in your pet.
Contact Allergies in dogs occur when physically touching a substance containing an allergen. Contact allergens include plastic, grass, and wool. Allergy shots are often used to cope with the uncomfortable symptoms, and lifestyle changes may be necessary. A dog who is allergic to his plastic food dish, for example, should switch to a steel or ceramic bowl.
Shots and medications such as antihistamines and steroids are good for occasional allergy flare-ups, but for ongoing allergy problems, dog owners should investigate other options, like immunotherapy. Immunotherapy is designed to desensitize the dog to the allergen by building up immunity to it through injections containing small amounts of the allergen itself or extracts of the allergen. Many dogs respond well to this treatment alone, although some may need medication in addition to the shots.
Dog skin problems
Sebaceous adenitis is one of dog skin conditions, characterized by dry, scaly skin with patches of hair loss along the top of the dog's head, back of the neck, and back (appears when your dog is between one and five years of age). Treatment is generally long term. The response to treatment is highly variable, but you'll almost always need to give fatty acid supplements and use special shampoos to remove dead skin and hair. The earlier the skin is checked out, the better the results.
Ichthyosis is another skin disease in dogs. Signs of this dog skin problem include large dry flakes that resemble fish scales, this problem usually arises very early in life, with most affected puppies born with abnormal skin. Several palliative treatment options like special shampoos and fish oils give variable levels of relief, but there is no definitive cure for this inherited disease.
Bladder Stones in dogs
Kidney and bladder stones in dogs can be extremely painful. There are a few different types of stones that can form in the kidney or in the bladder of your pet. If you are noticing blood in your dog's urine or your dog is straining to urinate, call your veterinarian immediately. Your dog's urine will need to be tested for presence of kidney or bladder stones.
There are three types of seizures in dogs: reactive, secondary, and primary. Reactive seizures are caused by the brain's reaction to a metabolic problem like low blood sugar, organ failure, or a toxin. Secondary seizures are the result of a brain tumor, stroke, or trauma. If no other cause can be found, the disease is called primary, or idiopathic epilepsy. This problem is often an inherited condition. If your friend is prone to seizures, they will usually begin between six months and three years of age. An initial diagnostic workup may help find the cause. Lifelong medication is usually necessary to help keep seizures under control, with periodic blood testing required to monitor side effects and effectiveness. If your dog has a seizure: Carefully prevent the dog from injuring itself, but don't try to control its mouth or tongue. It won't help your pet, and your dog may bite you accidentally!
Dog ear infection
Allergies, swimming, overgrowth of hair in the ear canals, or an accumulation of earwax can all predispose your dog to ear infections, which are painful and annoying. Be sure to call your veterinarian if you notice your dog scratching or shaking its head, a foul odor from the ears, or if the ears seem painful to the touch. If left untreated, dog ear infections may cause eardrum damage that can lead to deafness. Most ear infections tend to recur until the underlying cause is resolved. Some dog breeds are more predisposed to ear infections than others due to the ear shape. For example, breeds with long, hanging ears are more prone to ear infections as there's less air circulation in the ear area and this causes favorable environment for bacterial growth. If your dog enjoys swimming, be sure to carefully wipe the dog's ears after the dog is done swimming. Use clean, soft towel to minimize the chances of developing ear infections.
See video below for more information about how to treat and identify ear infections or otitis in dogs.
Knee Problems in dogs (luxating patella)
Patellar luxation is a condition that occurs when dog's kneecap (patella) slips out of place. When the dog has this condition, it may run along fine and suddenly pick up a back leg and skip or hop for a few strides. Then the dog kicks his leg out sideways to pop the kneecap back in place, and it's fine again. If the condition is mild and involves only one leg, your friend may not require much treatment. When symptoms of luxating patella are severe, surgery may be needed to realign the kneecap to keep it from popping out of place.
Bloat in dogs (GDV)
Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus, also known as GDV or Bloat, usually occurs in large dogs over 40 pounds (18 kg) with deep, narrow chests. When a dog bloats, the stomach twists on itself and fills with gas and foamy mucus. The twisting cuts off blood supply to the stomach, and sometimes the spleen. Bloat has a sudden and unpredictable onset and progresses rapidly. Left untreated, the disease is quickly fatal, often under an hour. The pressure of the gas causes the dog's stomach to expand inside the abdominal cavity and press against the heart, lungs, and abdominal blood vessels. The bloated stomach restricts the function of the internal organs. Your dog may retch or heave (but little or nothing comes out), act restless, have an enlarged abdomen, or lie in a prayer position (front feet down, rear end up). The dog may salivate more and the stomach area appears painful to touch. Bloat can quickly become life-threatening particularly if it is accompanied by torsion. Torsion is a rotation of the stomach that pinches off its entrance from the esophagus and its exit through the duodenum. Food, water, gas and foam get trapped inside the stomach causing the stomach to swell even more. The blood builds up carbon dioxide because the inner abdominal pressure prevents the heart and lungs from doing their jobs of cleansing and oxygenating the blood. The dog's blood pressure drops, his body becomes toxic, and the stomach continues to become painfully distended. If you see symptoms of bloat, take your pet to an emergency hospital immediately! Call the veterinarian before leaving home and let the vet know that you are on your way with a dog suffering from bloat. Every minute counts and the sooner you take the dog to the veterinarian, the better are the dog's chances of survival.
When a dog comes in with bloat, the vet will attempt to relieve the pressure by passing a large tube into the stomach by way of the mouth. If there's torsion, the tube will not get past that blockage and the only way to save the dog is to make an incision through the abdomen and into the stomach, so the gas can escape. Once the pressure is relieved, the vet can reposition the stomach. Dogs that bloat once usually bloat again. To prevent torsion, the vet will "tack" the stomach to the muscles around the ribs, using surgical sutures, so the stomach cannot twist out of position if the dog bloats again.
To minimize the possibility of bloat, do not overfeed your dog. Feeding your dog twice a day with reasonable portions is better than once a day with a large meal. The dog may be very hungry when offered only one meal a day and as a result, it will gulp the food along with air thus increasing the possibility of bloat. Let your dog eat when the dog is in calm state because when the dog is excited, it may swallow more air along with the food. If your dog is a fast eater, slow the dog down. If you're feeding your dog dry food, add a tennis ball to the food bowl so that the dog will eat slower as he will need to work around the tennis ball to get food. The following large and giant dog breeds are more likely to get bloat: Akitas, Boxers, German Shepherds, Great Danes, Great Pyrenees, Irish Setters, Irish Wolfhounds, Labrador Retrievers, Old English Sheepdogs, St. Bernards, and Weimaraners. See video below where a veterinarian is explaining what happens when a dog gets a Gastric Dilation or Bloat.
Use slow feeding bowls that can slow down the dog during eating. The idea behind using slow feeing bowls is that the dog will eat slower and will not gulp as much air along with dog food.
Cancer is a leading cause of death in older dogs. There are many types of cancer. Cancer is a disease that occurs when cells multiply uncontrollably, destroying healthy tissue. Many cancers are cured by surgically removing them, and some types are treatable with chemotherapy. Early detection is critical! Have your dog checked by the veterinarian if you notice any lumps or bumps on the animal. Slow-to-heal sores on a dog sometimes signal cancer. If a sore doesn't heal within a week, take the dog to the veterinarian. Other signs of dog cancer include unexplained weight loss or weight gain, swelling in any body part, pale gums, reluctance to move, rashes or any skin or coat changes, weakness or collapse, acting depressed, or any change in normal behavior.
Lymphoma or lymphosarcoma is a type of cancer. This disease makes the body form abnormal lymphocytes, which are a type of white blood cell that stimulates the body's immune response. Because white blood cells can be found throughout the body, this cancer can show up almost anywhere. Lymphoma is a very treatable form of cancer, with an excellent success rate in dogs receiving chemotherapy. Treatment can be costly, however, and is a lifelong commitment. Luckily, lymphoma is one of the few types of cancer that can often be found with a blood test, so we may recommend a complete blood count twice yearly. Watch for swollen glands, weight loss, or labored breathing at home and be sure to call your veterinarian if you notice any unusual symptoms such as lumps or swellings. If this cancer is found early enough, chemotherapy may add months or even years to the dog's life.
Osteosarcoma is the most common bone tumor in dogs. It typically afflicts middle-aged large and giant breeds. Early symptoms include lameness and leg pain. Early detection is critical! Call your veterinarian if you notice that your dog is limping. This is a painful and aggressive tumor, and the sooner it is removed, the better the prognosis.
Mammary tumors may be small, benign growths in the breast tissue of a large, aggressively metastatic dancers. This is the most common type of tumor in unspayed female dogs. It usually appears when the dog is 5 to 10 years of age. This cancer is easily prevented - a female dog who is spayed before coming into her first heat has very little chance of developing mammary cancer. The risk is a bit higher if she's spayed after her first heat but before she's 2.5 years old and higher yet for female dogs spayed later in life or never spayed. Male dogs occasionally develop mammary tumors, and when they do, the tumors are usually aggressive and the prognosis is poor.
Testicular tumors are among the most common tumors in older intact (unneutered) male dogs, and they are completely preventable by neutering. Testicular tumors are reasonably easy to diagnose, and surgical castration is usually all the treatment required, although more aggressive therapy may be needed in some cases. The risk of testicular cancer is much higher in dogs who have one or both testicles undescended into the scrotum, so the neutering of any dog with retained testicles is essential.
Treatment for cancer in dogs involves chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery to remove the tumor or afflicted area (often a limb, in the case of osteosarcoma), or combination of these treatments. Even if your dog's cancer is incurable, there are many ways you can improve your dog's remaining time with you by managing pain, increasing comfort, altering diet, and just spending quiet time together. Talk to your veterinarian about the best ways to make your dog more comfortable.
Kidney Disease in dogs
Renal dysplasia, a genetic form of kidney disease can affect a dog as early as puppyhood. Signs include excessive drinking of water and urine production; poor appetite or weight loss; and eventually vomiting and diarrhea. If your dog shows signs of this disease, take the animal to the veterinarian. Treatment may include medication, fluid therapy, and a special diet.
Fanconi syndrome is a disorder of the kidneys that allows vital blood nutrients to be washed out along with the urine. Because these nutrients are so important, affected dogs can experience excessive urination and thirst, weight loss and weakness from abnormal electrolyte levels. Symptoms of Fanconi syndrome are often noticed between two and six years of age. The severity and course of the disease varies from dog to dog, with some remaining stable for years and others falling into fatal kidney failure. Routine urine screening can help to diagnose Fanconi syndrome in its early stages. Prompt treatment can greatly extend both your pet's lifespan and his quality of life.
Kidneys have several important functions in the dog's body, such as regulating levels of toxins in the dog's body, maintaining blood pressure and aid in calcium metabolism. There are different forms of kidney issues. In some cases a dog may ingest a toxic matter, for example antifreeze liquid and as a result the kidneys may be affected almost immediately. There can also be various infections that may cause kidney issues in dogs. One of the most prominent causes of kidney issues in dogs is dental disease. Bacteria associated with advanced dental disease enter the blood stream and invades multiple organs, causing irreversible damage to the heart, liver and kidneys. It is very important to get your dog accustomed to having the teeth brushed early on and be sure to regularly brush the dog's teeth. Also provide the dog with chewable dental treats that help to keep the teeth clean and healthy.
Respiratory Distress Syndrome in dogs
Respiratory distress syndrome, also known as brachycephalic syndrome, affects dogs with a short nose. Dogs with a short nose have the same amount of tissue in their nose and throat as the longer-nosed dogs, but there's no place for it to go. As a consequence, the soft palate (the soft part at the back of the roof of the mouth), is too long and hangs down into the airway. The nostrils are often too small, and sometimes the trachea, or windpipe, is narrow and undersized. All of these things lead to a narrow and obstructed airway. Many of these dogs can barely breathe! Watch for exercise intolerance, loud breathing, coughing, bluish gums, or fainting. Brachycephallic dog breeds are also more likely to develop other problems, such as flatulence from excessive air intake, pneumonia from aspirating food, or heat stroke. In severe cases, surgical correction may be recommended. Short muzzled dog breeds are especially susceptible to heat stroke and owners need to provide the dog with fresh water and keep the dog in air conditioned areas during hot summer weather. Do not leave your dog in a hot car in the hot weather as only a few minutes in overheated car is enough for the dog to get a heat stroke or even die from overheating. Overheating is especially common for brachycephalic breeds. If your dog is a brachycephalic breed, do not exercise the dog during the hot part of the day in the summer to avoid overheating. Instead, use the early morning or evening hours when the sun is weaker. Obesity may also be an issue for brachycephalic breeds since short nosed breeds are less likely to be very active especially if the dog has the respiratory distress syndrom. Troubles with breathing make it difficult for dogs to exercise.
What is kennel cough? Kennel cough is also known as Bordetella or Canine Bordetellosis can affect dogs of all breeds and it is very contageous. Another name for kennel cough is infectious bronchitis. The disease can infect the dog for up to one month. The dog is contagious for a further three months. Dogs that are the most susceptible are those who are kept in boarding kennels and come into regular contact with many other dogs. Kennel cough symptoms include regular, harsh and dry cough sometimes accompanied by sneezing and wheezing, loss of appetite, a high temperature, nasal and eye discharge. Most treatment plans suggest resting the animal and giving double acting antibiotics to prevent pneumonia. Vaccination is the best method of prevention. The vaccine usually consists of a quick nasal spray, but it is also available via injection. If your dog has contact with other dogs on a regular basis or is going to be boarded, consult with iyour vet to establish a vaccination schedule and method that is best for your dog.
Kennel cough is caused by a bacterium present in the repsiratory tracts of many animals. Kennel cough symptoms resemble a bad cold and include a runny nose and a hacking cough. In otherwise healthy adult dogs, the illness usually runs its course in a few days, but it can be life-threatening to a puppy or senior dog. Kennel cough treatment includes isolating the dog to prevent the pread of infection and resting in a humid environment. Run a vaporizer or humidifier in his sleeping area, and encourage him to nap there. Check with the veterinarian about best treatment methods. The kennel cough should run its course in two weeks.
Bordetella (kennel cough) awareness first arose when dogs began returning home from boarding kennels with terrible coughs. Because transmission occurs through contact with the nasal secretions of infected dogs, kennels were the perfect breeding ground. Boarding facilities now require their canine guests to be vaccinated against Bordetella.
If you are wondering "why is my dog coughing?" - the answer may be that he has a kennel cough, especially if the dog never had a vaccine against Bordetella and recently spent time playing with other affected dogs. Check with your veterinarian to confirm that Bordetella is indeed the cause and get best the treatment for your pet.