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  • Moving more slowly
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  • 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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Posts Tagged ‘Parasites in Dogs’

Help With Vet Bills

Monday, September 15th, 2014


In these difficult economic times many dog owners are finding that they sometimes need help paying vet bills. Fortunately, there are programs and organizations willing to help with vet bills when money is tight.

If you need spay and neuter services for your dog, most ASPCA branches often sponsor low cost spay and neuter clinics.

Many vaccination clinics set up special events during the year and offer free or inexpensive vaccines for your dog. Vaccines usually dispensed at these events include Rabies, Corona, Distemper, Hepatitis, Parvovirus, and Leptospirosis. Heartworm and parasite testing is sometimes offered free of charge also.

If your dog needs medical treatment or emergency care and you’re unable to afford such care, there are charitable organizations across the country who work with caring veterinarians to provide medical care for dogs who would otherwise go untreated.

These organizations include the following:
The American Animal Hospital Association is a companion animal veterinary association. They have a foundation called Helping Pets Fund that gives aid to sick and injured pets.

United Animal Nations which provides assistance to animal rescue organizations and helps victims of disasters, domestic violence and foreclosures to care for their pets.

Help-A-Pet assists physically and mentally challenged individuals, senior citizens and children of the working poor to provide their pets with lifesaving veterinary care.

Labrador Life Line helps individuals and rescuers care for Labrador Retrievers by providing medical assistance, supplies and transportation to foster homes and permanent homes.

The Pet Fund provides financial assistance to pet owners to help pay for medical and preventive care of a dog. The Fund also works to decrease the number of animals that end up being euthanized or surrendered to animal shelters due to preventable or treatable illnesses.

Another source of help is one of the many community food banks that accept and distribute pet food to help owners feed their pets. Local humane societies sometimes are able to provide a list of sources for low-cost or no-cost pet food.

Getting help with vet bills when you truly need it should never, and I mean never, cause you to be embarrassed. Think first of your loving companion and not your pride. Your dog needs you. You are its reason for living.

Common dog Illnesses

Monday, January 14th, 2013


Unfortunately there are many common dog illnesses and diseases that can be life-threatening to your pet. Many of these illnesses are viral and the easiest way to prevent them is by vaccination.

If you think that your pet is very ill, you’ll need to monitor your dog’s behavior and make notes on what you observe. Then call your vet as soon as possible and report your observations.

Some of the most common illnesses in pet dogs include heartworm, bloat, canine distemper, parvovirus, tapeworm, and rabies.

Heartworm is a parasitic disease that is spread by mosquito bites. Once a dog is infected, the parasitic worms grow and live inside the dog’s heart chambers. The most common symptoms of this disease are coughing, difficulty in breathing, an aversion to exercise, and congestive heart failure. Heartworm is very difficult to treat and the sad news is that many dogs don’t survive heartworm treatment. The good news is that heartworm is easily preventable by giving your dog a monthly dose of a heartworm medication available at most pet stores.

Bloat is a life threatening condition commonly found in large dog breeds like Great Danes and Mastiffs. Bloat occurs when a dog overeats or eats its meals too quickly on a regular basis. This causes gas or fluid to build-up in the dog’s stomach. The stomach can then become twisted and will cut off circulation to the internal organs. If this serious condition is not treated immediately it can kill your pet.

Symptoms of bloat include:
• Dry heaves that occur every 5 to 30 minutes
• Weakness or collapsing
• Swollen, bloated abdomen
• Restlessness or anxiety
• Lack of normal digestive sounds in the abdomen
• Tapeworms in the dog’s feces

Another common dog illness is canine distemper, a dangerous and incurable disease that can seriously affect your dog’s health and longevity. Treatment for distemper can be expensive. If your dog survives canine distemper it may suffer neurological damage for the rest of its life.

Symptoms in the early stages of canine distemper are coughing, diarrhea, and mucus discharge from the eyes and nose. As the disease progressively worsens and enters the final stage, the dog will have seizures.

Adult dogs have a fifty percent chance of surviving canine distemper but unfortunately, puppies have only about a twenty percent chance of survival. It is vital that your dog receive a distemper vaccine shot to prevent catching this deadly disease.

Parvovirus is another viral illness that is especially dangerous for puppies. The symptoms of parvovirus include vomiting, decreased appetite, bloody diarrhea and lethargy. Treatment requires lots of fluids and antibiotics. Parvovirus kills about eighty percent of the dogs that become infected with this disease, but it is preventable through vaccination.

Tapeworm is a common dog illness caused by parasites and affects many dogs. Tapeworm parasites live inside a dog’s intestines and can grow as long as eight inches. When a dog gets fleas and swallows one that contains tapeworm eggs, the condition will spread.

It’s easy to tell if your dog has tapeworms because you’ll see small white segments of the worm moving around in your dog’s feces. Tapeworms can easily be treated with medication taken orally.

Rabies is a very serious viral disease that spreads from one animal to another through saliva. Rabies will cause an animal to become aggressive, and it can easily spread the disease through bite wounds. Rabies is deadly and contagious to humans also. In all U.S. cities dogs are required to have rabies vaccinations.

The symptoms of rabies in the beginning stages include fevers, behavioral changes, and slow eye reflexes. As the disease gets progressively worse, a dog will become increasingly aggressive, bark excessively and without reason, and is bad-tempered and restless. In its advanced stage rabies leads to coma and death. Dogs who contract rabies are required to be euthanized.

No ailment in your dog should be considered just a common dog illness and left untreated. The consequences can be the loss of a dearly beloved pet.

How to Control a Dog’s Shedding Hair

Monday, November 26th, 2012


Dogs shed their hair as a natural process, but for some owners with allergies, this can become problematic. All dogs shed their hair, some breeds more than others. If you have a problem with dog hair, there are several ways to control a dog’s shedding hair.

Brushing your dog on a regular basis is the best way to manage shedding. Careful brushing daily will remove all the loose fur and prevent hair from ending up on your clothes or furniture.

You’ll need to buy a brush or comb that is suitable for your dog’s coat type and length. Petco and PetSmart sell a variety of brushes for any type of dog’s hair. If you’re unsure of which brush or comb is best for your dog’s coat, be sure to ask because using the wrong type of brush could pull out your dog’s hair and cause injuries.

Short haired dogs will need less brushing, while long or wiry-coated dogs need brushing daily.

Bathing your dog also helps to control shedding. A clean coat and skin results in less shedding. While bathing your dog, it becomes much easier to remove loose hair.

Most dogs should be bathed once a week or every two weeks. Some breeds require less frequent baths and can be bathed once a month. The frequency will depend upon several factors including whether your dog is strictly an indoor one or whether it spends most of its waking hours playing or resting outside.

During the summer a dog needs more frequent baths due to the heat and humidity. If you give your dog a bath once a week it will moisten your dog’s skin and prevent dryness. Dry skin leads to more shedding, which is what you’re trying to avoid. Using a gentle shampoo will nourish the dog’s skin and reduce shedding.

Many people don’t realize that their dog’s diet can also contribute to the amount of hair shed. A dog with a poor diet sheds more hair so it’s best to feed your dog a balanced diet rich in protein, fat, and fibers, but fewer carbohydrates.

Dogs benefit from a diet rich in Essential Fatty Acids, yet most dog’s diets lack these necessary nutrients. Their systems lack the ability to produce needed Essential Fatty Acids on their own. An excellent high quality EFA supplement like Omega Glo-Coat 3/6/9 helps produce a healthy coat and also reduces shedding. Fatty oils are important for a healthy coat and a hydrated skin.

Ticks and fleas and other parasites will cause a dog to scratch excessively and this may lead to more shedding than normal and result in bald patches on the skin. Fleas and ticks will need to be removed with special formula shampoos.

It surprises many people to learn that a stressed-out dog will lose more hair than usual. Stress in dogs can caused by simple things like a change in the dog’s environment or the loss of a fellow pet or family member.

If you notice that your dog is shedding hair a lot more than usual, schedule a visit to the vet to check for any medical condition that could be causing the excess shedding. Common diseases that cause shedding, besides skin problems, are ringworm, mange or even worse, cancer.

How To Treat Diarrhea in Dogs

Monday, January 30th, 2012


Diarrhea in dogs is actually more common than most people imagine. How to treat diarrhea in dogs will depend on what is causing the illness. Diarrhea can be either acute or chronic and in order to stop your dog’s diarrhea you first have to figure out the cause before applying a suitable treatment.


Photo courtesy of T. J. Dunn, Jr., DVM

Your dog’s diarrhea could be triggered by parasites, infections, ingredients in its food, or even the portions of food you serve. Diarrhea in dogs is seldom a serious condition and usually can be treated at home.

The easiest way to treat diarrhea in dogs is through the use of medication. However, before treating your dog with any medication you need to identify the cause of the diarrhea. You should never give your pet an over-the-counter medication without getting a diagnosis first.

The three most common medications used to treat canine diarrhea are:
1) Kaolin;
2) Pepto Bismol;
3) Metronidazole.

Kaolin is a medication that can be administered if your dog has eaten garbage or swallowed any toxic materials. If the toxic material or liquid is poisonous, immediately contact your vet or an animal hospital. For non-poisonous materials, Kaolin will absorb the toxins and relieve your dog’s diarrhea, but too much kaolin can constipate your dog.

Pepto Bismol is a medication that is readily available at any drugstore and can be used to treat diarrhea cases caused by the ingestion of foods that don’t agree with your dog’s stomach.

Metronidazole, which is an antibiotic, is often used if the diarrhea is caused by an infection such as Giardia, Entamoeba, Trichomonas or Balantidium. It kills bacterial microorganisms by disrupting their DNA. It is absorbed rapidly by the GI tract, metabolized by the liver, and excreted in the urine and feces. It can also be used to treat colitis caused by other antibiotics like penicillin.

You may want to try feeding your dog some homemade food in place of its regular diet if you believe the diarrhea could be caused by the dog food or ingredients in the food. Homemade food gives you complete control over what ingredients your pet eats. Commercial dog food contains many ingredients that could cause further gastrointestinal distress and will not help stop the diarrhea.

Ask your vet for a list of ingredients that can be safely used in preparing food for dogs with an upset stomach. Avoid red meat and other fatty foods that can cause stomach irritation or diarrhea. Your dog’s portions should be smaller than usual, so the stomach can handle the food and allow the body to heal.

Fiber supplements are available at pet food outlets and can regulate your dog’s bowel movements and eliminate constipation. Fiber supplements absorb water from the dog’s intestines which causes the feces to return to their normal consistency.

Probiotic powder or digestive enzymes can also be added to your dog’s food to relieve its diarrhea.

During the time your are treating your dog for diarrhea, lots of fresh water is necessary in order to keep your dog hydrated, because diarrhea causes dehydration which can then lead to further complications.

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