Archive for Dog Health Care
Swimmer puppies are easy to spot. They crawl around like seals, legs out to their sides, making clumsy, futile attempts to get up. Though the disorder normally self-corrects, another more serious condition can accompany it and lead to complications.
What it is
Swimmer puppy syndrome (SPS) has been described in small breeds like the Dachshund, Yorkshire Terrier, West Highland White Terrier and English Cocker Spaniel. It’s also seen in breeds with large chests and short legs – the Pekingese, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Basset Hound, and French and English Bulldogs. It seems that no breed is immune to the condition.
SPS isn’t detectable until a litter is two to three weeks old – when puppies start to walk. It can afflict just the forelegs, just the hind legs, or all four legs. At one time, slippery floors were thought to be a cause for SPS. We now know that shiny floors aggravate the problem and prevent weak, unsteady pups from getting up, but it is not a trigger for the condition.
There is no specific test for SPS. Bones and joints are formed correctly. The neurological examination is also normal – the pup has proper reflexes and he feels pain as he should. The pup simply has an inability to get his legs underneath and stand up. It looks like lack of coordination.
A complication common to swimmer puppies is dorsoventral (top to bottom) flattening of the chest. This pectus excavatum (PE) narrows the chest cavity, so much so that these puppies may have trouble filling their lungs. The consequence is that they breathe with their mouths open, and if breathing difficulty is severe, have bluish mucous membranes.
PE is detected by feeling the sternum between the forelegs. The bones ‘cave in’ rather than forming a smooth line. To understand this condition, imagine your breastbone being pushed inward toward your spine (through your chest). PE is confirmed by taking a chest radiograph.
The link between SPS and PE is heavily debated. Some veterinarians and breeders believe that having PE makes the pup prone to SPS because the legs don’t have the leverage to get the pup up. On the other hand, some believe that a pup with SPS, having constant pressure on its chest, falls victim to PE.
If a pup has PE and is asymptomatic (shows no signs), no treatment is required. In this case, the defect is cosmetic only. If breathing is compromised, the condition needs attention. Regular compression of the chest from side to side, and encouraging the puppy to lie on its side, can induce the chest to deepen, correcting the abnormal shape.
If the PE is severe, surgery is needed. The veterinarian applies an external splint that is used to anchor sutures passed around the ribs. These sutures pull the chest out to a normal position. This works because the bottom of each rib is made of cartilage and very pliable at this age.
What you can do
Swimmer puppies that don’t have PE usually self-correct. Some veterinarians suggest hobbling the legs together to prevent a splay-leg stance. Rubbing the paw pads with a toothbrush can increase tactile sensation, supposedly stimulating the nerves and getting the pup to use its legs more forcibly.
Food should be restricted in SPS puppies to prevent excessive weight gain (if the pups are on solid food). Fat puppies always have a harder time getting up. Physiotherapy can also be attempted to boost muscle strength. Move the limbs for 10 minutes four to five times a day.
Dogs and cats can stop eating for a lot of reasons, including fever, pain, or stress. If your notice your pet’s appetite has decreased or been absent for more than 24 hours, you should take it to see a vet. While a decreased appetite and lack of activity are very vague symptoms, should they persist, it would be paramount to visit the veterinarian.
Cats typically suffer more dire consequences when they stop eating, and can quickly develop fatty liver, which is a potentially fatal disease. This is especially applicable to overweight cats as excessive accumulation of fat in the liver can cause liver failure. A cat that stops eating should see a vet promptly because fatty liver can be treated.
If your dog stops eating, he could be being fussy about his food, but if this behaviour persists, something could be wrong and action should be taken.
Many things can cause lethargy in pets, including major problems, such as heart disease. A pet whose lethargy cannot be pinned on an obvious reason, such as from a good workout in the park, may need to visit the vet, especially of other symptoms arise, such as change in exercise tolerance, weakness, collapse, or loss of consciousness.
However, a pet that vomits, especially several times a day, is lethargic, and lacks appetite needs immediate veterinary attention. It is especially imperative you take your pet to see a vet if you find blood in its vomit or if it is throwing up digested blood. Possible causes include gastric ulcers and swallowing foreign objects. Many veterinarians have reported treating dogs and cats that have swallowed sharp bones, knives, socks, fish hooks, and children’s toys just to name a few.
Vomiting or diarrhea can stem from many other causes such as gastrointestinal illnesses or parasitic infections that include hookworms, roundworms, whipworms, or giardia. Note that blood in your pet’s stool also indicates something very wrong and your pet should be taken to the vet.
To prevent human exposure to parasites, owners should regularly deworm their pets. This is especially important if anyone in the household has a weakened immune system, such as AIDS, or if small children play in areas where pets defecate.
There are many different types of toys available for dogs today, but because pet products may not be specifically regulated or rigorously tested, it’s up to owners to ensure that the products they buy for their dogs are safe. Fortunately, selecting a safe toy usually just involves common sense.
Whether or not a toy is safe often depends on the particular dog it’s intended for. Consider your dog’s size and behavioural tendencies when determining whether a toy is safe.
Sizing up toys
“When buying a dog toy, make sure that the size of the toy is appropriate for your dog,” says Danielle Redhill, D.V.M., a veterinarian at Don Mills Veterinary Practice in Toronto. “It’s more of a concern with small toys and big dogs because you don’t want the dog to be able to swallow the toy or choke on it.”
A dog shouldn’t be able to get its mouth around a toy. If it can, the toy can become stuck in the dog’s mouth or throat and cause choking or suffocation. (This also applies to children’s toys or other things around the house that some dogs, especially puppies, may be motivated to play with.)
Also, toys with small or multiple parts are generally not as safe as toys that include only one piece.
“The less destructible, the better,” advises Redhill. “Stuffed toys are good for some dogs who are more likely to carry them around and keep them intact, versus dogs that rip them to shreds and can possibly ingest portions.”
Many dogs can easily rip pieces such as plastic eyes and noses from stuffed toys. In addition to presenting a choking hazard, these parts can injure a dog internally if they have sharp edges, or can cause an intestinal obstruction.
“Anything that is swallowed in a large chunk can possibly obstruct a dog, even if it is technically digestible,” says Redhill. “I’ve had experience with my own dog that was eating an ‘edible/digestible’ [chew toy] and days later was vomiting large chunks of it.”
Toys that squeak can also cause problems for some dogs because the dogs become very motivated to tear the toy apart. The squeakers inside the toy are often a size that can choke a dog.
Fortunately, it is usually relatively easy to assess the safety of a toy for your dog. However, even with common sense considerations, some toys may be difficult to evaluate. For example, a hard rubber toy called a Pimple Ball, sold by Four Paws Products, an American company, apparently caused serious injury to a couple of dogs because it had a small hole that entrapped the dogs’ tongues. One dog had to have its tongue amputated because it was so severely injured. Information about this toy circulated on the Internet. According to the company web site, the toy was recalled and has been redesigned.
“My best piece of advice is this: No toy is 100-per-cent safe, especially in the paws of a dog that doesn’t understand that not everything is food,” says Red-hill. “Supervision is your best defence against toy-related mishaps.
Make sure you know what your dog has and keep a close eye on your dog. Remove any toys from play that look like they’re broken or destroyed to the point of potential danger, and switch things up so your dog is always stimulated. It seems that the more bored a dog is, the more trouble they tend to get into.
“Try not to use toys as a substitute for good old-fashioned one-on-one play,” she says. “Your dog will usually prefer this anyway.
Begin to really watch for signs of labour on day 57, and arrange for your bitch to have an ultrasound that day if your vet has the equipment necessary to do this. Ultrasounds are very useful to determine the size of the pups just prior to delivery day.
Temperature-taking at least twice a day, 12 hours apart, is necessary starting on the 57th day. If your vet is not on call evenings, weekends or holidays, take a dry run to the nearest emergency clinic. Make sure your car is full of gas and ready at all times. If an emergency visit is needed, take your puppy box, blankets and a hot water bottle, and your bitch can ride in her crate.
The whelping box
Be sure to have all your supplies ready before whelping. I prefer a cardboard box beside my bed, which the bitch is introduced to a few days before the due date. For Toy breeds I use a heavy box with handles (the kind used for transporting fruit is my favourite) and I use clothes pegs to clip a blanket around the box to simulate a cave. One side of the box is lower so the bitch can come out.
Have a board cut the exact size of the box so you can wrap a blanket around it and underneath. Test out a heating pad on low to put into one corner of the box, wrapped in a pillowcase and hemmed to the blanket in the box, so pups do not crawl underneath it. Leave the heat on low for first three weeks, depending on room temperature, then at night for the next week or two.
Some say that the bitch’s milk will come down faster if her stomach is massaged for three days prior to labour, but I have not tried this. An oxytocin shot from the vet is helpful for milk. If a Caesarian section is necessary, milk does not always come down right away. Have a supply of puppy formula on hand, as well as syringes or pet nursers.
My rule for feeding mother is one meal per pup plus one meal for herself per day. I like to give her warm diluted goat’s milk for about three weeks after whelping, then graduate to water. Canned organic pumpkin (available in grocery stores) is useful for cases of loose stools; add just about one-half teaspoon to the bitch’s food.
For bathroom duties, a potty pen works very well for me. A small pen set up in my sunroom with piddle pads is helpful for nighttime.
As they grow
Be prepared for lack of sleep for about the first week. You will learn to catnap afternoons when pups are sleeping. A helper to tend to your other dogs during this time is very useful. I start weaning my pups around 3-1/2 weeks.
Handle the puppies frequently and enjoy every minute of having them. When you are exhibiting your own homebred dog in the Bred By Exhibitor class, you’ll find it so rewarding that you’ll forget about the stress you encountered. Good luck, it is all worth it!
One of the biggest challenges faced by pet owners is how to stop dog from shedding hair all over the place. You must realize that in finding the answer to how to stop a dog from shedding, you can never actually stop the shedding as this is a natural process of every breed.
So the best technique on how to stop a dog from shedding is to minimize the amount of loose hair so it does not become an issue.
Dogs shed their extra hair to get rid of any damaged or old hairs, to be replaced with rejuvenated once.
In developing an effective routine on how to stop a dog from shedding, you would need to address the following factors.
Effective brushing of the dog is a great way how to stop a dog from shedding excessive hairs. Light daily brushing is the most effective way to keep the house hair free, and how to stop a dog from shedding more hairs than necessary. Daily brushing will have the added effect of a softer coat, be cleaner, and less likely to smell.
Another effective way how to stop a dog from shedding is feeding the appropriate dog food. A dog’s coat and hair quality is quite often a direct reflection of the quality of the food they are eating. In order to pinpoint a way of how to stop a dog from shedding, feeding high quality dog food, with high levels of digestible proteins, will naturally decrease the shedding rate.
Whilst on the subject of using diet as an effective means of how to stop a dog from shedding, incorporating a fatty acid supplement will keep your dog and its hair coat healthy, preventing damaged or broken hair which would increase shedding.
Using a throw over furniture, couches, and car seats, is a great way how to stop a dog from shedding where human clothing contact may become an issue. Allowing dogs to jump on beds and furniture is not a good way how to stop a dog from shedding hair. This physical activity in itself will create extra shedding.
Controlling fleas and allergies is another great way how to stop a dog shedding unnecessary hair. If the dog is scratching excessively due to allergies or fleas, hairs will naturally be removed during this process. You should take the dog to a veterinarian to have their skin condition checked, to eliminate poor health conditioning from fleas and allergies.
Finally, bathing the dog during summer months is a good way how to stop a dog from shedding due to heat related issues. The dog will have a much healthier coat, hair quality, and shine. Using a gentle oatmeal shampoo at least once a week will clean and rejuvenate lackluster hair.
There are an incredible number of dog owners who would like to learn how to stop dog scratching. Regardless of whether from fleas and other insects, food hypersensitivity, or obsessive tendencies, your dog that retains scratching may cause infections, hot spots, and with other skin issues that can cause serious long term issues if you are not really careful.
Allergic Reaction — Food allergic reactions, flea allergies, dust and plant allergic reactions, and other allergies can all cause pores and skin problems that result in severe itchiness.
Infection — Infections could be caused by germs, yeast, or even a fungus.
Environmental — If your pooch comes into contact with a lot of water from going swimming, digging, or even playing outdoors, it can cause itching as well.
Neurological — This is an anxiety issue that may be caused by extreme chewing and licking. Often, this route cause is an insufficient amount of exercise or even mental stimulation and challenges. It can also be brought on by canine separation anxiety.
Parasitic organisms – Just about all parasites have the potential to cause itching. They may include gnats, mites, ticks, fleas and other insects. The majority of flea and ticks medications help stop unwanted parasitic organisms.
Dietary — A dog who does not receive the essential nutrients in their diet could have dry skin, which can result in damaged fur, sores, and eczema, all of which can be itchy.
As you can see, before you stop dog scratching, you must first identify the reason why the itching started in the first place.
Visiting a Veterinarian
To fully figure out why the itching it happening, visit your veterinarian and have your pet thoroughly examined. If it is from an infection, your pet may require some form of antibiotics, or antifungal cream to get rid of the itching. Allergic reactions are generally treated with antihistamines or as alternation in diet. Parasites may be treatable with flea shampoo and medications.
Coping with Neurological Scratching
When it comes to neurological issues, it may be difficult to stop dog scratching. For persistent, neurogenic itching, the very first thing you really need to do is determine why your dog might feel the need to obsessively scratch.
Make certain your dog gets enough physical exercise. Most of the time, your dog has acquired a neurotic tick to continuously lick or scratch itself out of boredom. In order to stop dog scratching due to boredom, you need to give them something else to do. Often walking your dog or otherwise giving them the opportunity for exercise is sufficient. If not, (and especially if you have a highly intelligent breed), you may also try agility training or dog sports, (such as Frisbee).
In case your dog continues to scratch, be sure you visit your veterinarian again in order to eliminate any other medical conditions. Sometimes, bacterial infections can develop unnoticed.
Ultimately, your goal as a pet owner is to first identify why your pet is scratching and then address the issue. More often than not, you can stop dog scratching pretty easily with the above techniques.
When it comes to dog health problems, there are many potential conditions that can affect your pet’s health. The results could be both psychologically devastating as well as expensive when they are not handled quickly and effectively. Rather than responding to possible health problems once your pooch already has them, discover what you can do to prevent them to begin with in order to keep your pet happy, healthy, and safe.
Common Dog Health Problems
Dogs can are afflicted by any number of medical issues, the same as people. The difference is the fact that dogs can’t tell you when their tummy hurts or their hip seems out of whack. They will suffer silently until the problem becomes a much bigger issue. Therefore, it’s important to identify the signs and symptoms and the measures you can take to avoid these problems in the first place.
Joint disease and Dysplasia — Some dog are extremely susceptible to hip and joint problems. Many pure bred dogs are more susceptible to arthritic dog health problems and hip dysplasia as their joints are generally a bit longer and narrower than mixed breed dogs. Make sure your pet receives the required vitamins and minerals each day and that your vet checks out your dog’s joints for deterioration at least once a year if you have a pure bred pooch.
Allergies — Dogs may suffer from numerous forms of allergic reactions. By far the most typical is a flea allergic reaction that can cause hot spots on their skin and can even lead to bacterial infections. Make sure you get flea medicine for your pet every month. Also bring them to the vet for regular health check-ups. Skin issues may be due to a bacterial infection or a food hypersensitivity, both of which need to be discussed with your vet.
Infections — Dogs may suffer from numerous bacterial infections, not just on their skin but also in the mouth, eyes, or in their ears. Ear infections are the most typical and are frequently due to a foreign body or bacteria getting in there. Look at your dog’s ears often to check for dirt, excessive dampness, inflammation, or red-colored spots. Of all dog health problems, bacterial infections are the simplest to prevent. Thoroughly clean your dog’s eyes, ears, and teeth regularly, (with pet-safe products) and brush them frequently to help keep their coat and skin healthy.
Obesity – Obesity is among the most common as well as deadly dog health problems and it is directly brought on by eating too much and not exercising sufficient amounts. Obesity by itself doesn’t lead to death, but it does increase the rates of liver disease, skin problems, tumors, and heart conditions. Weight problems can be treated quite simply with a careful diet plan and by ensuring your pooch is getting enough exercise.
Diabetes — Dog health problems tend to reflection human problems in many ways as well as diabetes is one such possible disease. Food high in sugar and fat can lead to the pancreatic issues that trigger diabetes. To prevent diabetes, keep the dog on the strict diet plan of high quality dog food with little or no table scraps or other food not intended for dogs. If your canine is diagnosed with diabetic issues, you’ll need to see the vet frequently and may have to administer shots.
Thankfully, as long as your pet receives adequate amounts of physical exercise, has a healthy diet, and is well groomed, you can avoid the majority of major dog health problems.
If your dog is constantly scratching, it may be time to examine her diet. If her food is loaded with grains like wheat, corn, soy, or non-nutritional fillers, a change to a grain-free fish-based premium food can work wonders.
Try a food such as Eagle Pack Holistic Select, which contains antioxidants, digestive enzymes, omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, and yucca schidigera extract, a digestive aid effective in reducing odor from stool and urine.
Between baths, improve your buddy’s aroma with Juno’s Garden Daily Formula Freshen-Up Spray, a blend of lavender, rosemary, calendula, aloe, and oat extracts, or the Outdoor Formula Freshen-Up Spray with its woodsy fragrance. It contains oils of eucalyptus, lavender, cedar, and citronella, making it a natural alternative to topical chemicals used to repel pests and parasites. Developed to be used daily, it’s handy to tuck inside your backpack when you and your pal go camping or hiking.
Doggie halitosis is another cause for keeping your pet at arm’s length. Often caused by tooth decay or periodontal disease, or conditions that require veterinary treatment, it is preventable if you brush your baby’s teeth regularly from early puppyhood.
A recent boon is DentaTreat by Wysong, a natural supplement that changes the Ph balance in your dog’s mouth. Sprinkle on food or used as a tooth powder while brushing. Its blend of dental-active natural cheeses, minerals, apple polyphenols, and other ingredients helps prevent tooth decay and gum disease, strengthen teeth, and cut bacterial growth that causes plaque and bad breath, according to the manufacturer.
Mouth odor may also be caused by coprophagy, or stool eating. Some canines consider feces an ever-present snack. It’s believed that they may indulge in such nasty habits because of nutritional deficiencies. Products such as For-bid or Dis-Taste may be added to a dog’s food to make stools taste bad, while some owners sprinkle cayenne pepper or hot sauce on the feces to make them less palatable.
The obvious way to prevent this problem is to keep your yard stool-free, monitor your dog closely on walks, secure your cat’s litterbox, and train her to obey the command “Leave it!”