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Joint Issues

  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Arthritis
  • Osteochondritis (OCD)
  • Stiffness/Inflammation
  • Ligament Tears
  • Growing Pains
  • Mobility Problems
  • Joint Pain
  • Back/Spinal Problems
  • Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy (HOD)


Is your pet becoming less active, less playful, or desiring shorter walks? The following symptoms could be early signs of OCD, Arthritis or Hip Dysplasia.

  • Moving more slowly
  • Difficulty getting up
  • Weight shift to another leg
  • Personality change
  • Reluctant to walk, jump or play
  • Refuses using stairs or the car
  • Change in appetite
  • Change in behavior
  • Muscle atrophy
  • Lagging behind
  • Yelping when touched
  • Limping
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Archive for the ‘Asthma in Dogs’ Category

Diseases in Older Dogs

Monday, December 19th, 2011

Diseases that affect older dogs can be more serious simply because the dog is older.

Our pet dogs are susceptible to many of the same diseases that we as humans have to deal with. Here is a list of the most common diseases that can affect your pet and the symptoms or warning signs to guide you in knowing when to contact your vet. Some are serious and require immediate attention while others may have slow onsets and can be more difficult to diagnose. Many of these diseases affect older dogs more than younger ones, but a dog’s age does not render it immune to any of these debilitating diseases. When deciding whether any of these symptoms affecting your dog are serious enough to warrant a visit to the vet, you should always err on the side of caution and contact your vet when any of these symptoms persist in your pet.

    Cancer – Signs and Symptoms

Abnormal swellings that persist or continue to grow
Sores that do not heal
Weight loss
Loss of appetite
Bleeding or discharge from any opening in the body
Unusually strong stinky odor
Difficulty eating or swallowing
Hesitant to exercise or suffers from a loss of stamina
Difficulty breathing, urinating, or defecating

    Dental disease – Signs and Symptoms

Bad breath
Difficulty eating or swallowing
Weight loss

    Arthritis – Signs and Symptoms

Difficulty getting up from prone position
Difficulty climbing steps and/or jumping
Behavior changes – irritable, reclusive
Urinating or defecating inside the house
Loss of muscle

    Kidney disease/failure – Signs and Symptoms

Increased urination and thirst
Weight loss
Loss of appetite
Pale gums
Blood in vomit or black, tarry stool
Bad breath and oral ulcers
Behavior change

    Prostate disease – Signs and Symptoms

Urinating or defecating inside the house
Dribbling urine
Blood in urine

    Cataracts – Signs and Symptoms

Cloudy appearance to the eyes
Bumping into objects large enough to be avoided
Not retrieving objects when thrown

    Hypothyroidism – Signs and Symptoms

Weight gain
Dry, thin coat
Lethargy and/or depression

    Cushing’s disease – Signs and Symptoms

Thin coat and thin skin
Increased thirst and urination
Pot-bellied appearance
Abnormally increased appetite

    Urinary incontinence – Signs and Symptoms

Urinating in the bed or the area where the dog was sleeping

    Gastrointestinal disease – Signs and Symptoms

Loss of appetite
Loss of weight
Blood in stool
Black and/or tarry stool

    Inflammatory bowel disease – Signs and Symptoms

Mucous or blood in stool
Increased frequency of defecation

    Diabetes mellitus – Signs and Symptoms

Increased thirst and urination
Weight loss

    Anemia – Signs and Symptoms

Exercise intolerance
Very light-colored gums

    Liver disease – Signs and Symptoms

Loss of appetite
Behavior changes
Yellow or pale gums

As you can see from this list of symptoms, it would be nearly impossible to self-diagnose your pet with any of these diseases that can affect older dogs. If you notice that one or more of the above symptoms persist for any length of time, make an appointment with your vet and have your dog thoroughly checked for these serious diseases. You owe your faithful companion the best care you can afford.

Laryngeal Paralysis in Dogs

Monday, July 25th, 2011

Laryngeal paralysis is a debilitating disease that prevents a dog from being able to breathe deeply, resulting in the dog constantly trying to get enough oxygen with each breath.

My loving dog was diagnosed by the vet two and a half years ago as having severe arthritis accompanied by hip dysplasia. With the help of Winston’s Joint System he has been able to remain mobile during this time. He has, however, succumbed to a different major problem that is threatening to take his life. He has laryngeal paralysis, a debilitating disease that prevents him from breathing deeply which sometimes results in his gasping for breath, creating a vicious cycle of anxiety and struggles to breathe.

Laryngeal paralysis results when the abductor muscles of the larynx no longer work properly. The larynx doesn’t expand and open wide enough for the dog to take a deep breath; the laryngeal folds just flop weakly and flaccidly. When my dog tries to take a deep breath, he doesn’t get one. This creates tremendous anxiety for him. Imagine yourself attempting to take a deep breath and finding that you can’t; then the anxiety leads to more rapid breathing and more distress. A respiratory crisis from the partial obstruction can develop into an emergency resulting in death.

Laryngeal paralysis doesn’t develop suddenly. For most dogs it is preceded by a fairly long history of excess panting, easily tiring on walks, or loud breathing. If you notice your dog beginning to breathe loudly, gasp for air, or seem in distress when trying to breathe, you should schedule an appointment with your vet as soon as possible.

Surgery is the only hope for a dog who develops this disease & dog pain, but that is not the answer for many. The Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association published a survey of complications in a group of 140 dogs receiving surgical treatment for laryngeal paralysis.

Here is a summary of the results:
(1) Of the 140 dogs, 34% were Labrador retrievers and 80% were classified as large breed weighing over 48 pounds.
(2) 82% were over 6 years of age.
(3) Overall 34% of dogs had some kind of complication from their surgery. The most common complication was aspiration pneumonia which occurred in 23.6% of dogs at some point.

My own vet advised against laryngeal surgery for my dog because he is 13 years old and complications from the surgery would probably cause his death; if not the surgery itself.

I hope that one day he dies a natural death, not from suffocation because of his breathing problems or anything that causes pain in his last moments. I still cannot face the thought of having to make the decision to “put him to sleep”. If the day comes that he suffers a lot and his quality of life has deteriorated to the point where it is no longer humane to keep him alive, then I will make that decision.

So I have no choice but to tend lovingly to my companion of many years and do all that is within my power to make his last days as pleasant as possible. Every morning I wake him and prepare his food as if I were making it for myself. I hug and pet him at every opportunity. I talk to him even though he has gone deaf. I want him to know in his dying days that I loved and cared for him as much as he has for me through these years. If there is a heaven for dogs, I would want to be there with him.

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