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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)

Symptoms

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 ‘Diabetes in Dogs’ Category

Why Dogs Vomit Blood

Monday, September 21st, 2015


When a dog vomits blood it is suffering from a condition known as hematemesis. Hematemesis could be a temporary condition or a sign of chronic gastrointestinal illness.

The most common reasons why dogs vomit blood are: (1) a small amount of bright red blood indicating an injury in the mouth or throat, (2) a significant amount of dark, clotted blood indicating a serious gastrointestinal condition.

Some symptoms that may accompany a dog’s vomiting of blood include: rapid weight loss, bloating, excessive thirst (this can also be a symptom of diabetes in a dog), or darkened stools.

There are some acute illnesses a vet will need to test for and exclude before the possibility of a chronic condition can be diagnosed. These include poisoning of the animal, swallowing of a foreign object, parasites in the gastrointestinal tract, or bad reactions to prescribed medications.

There are some serious chronic gastrointestinal illnesses and diseases than can also cause a dog to vomit blood, including kidney disease, tumors, bowel obstructions, or liver disease.

When a dog vomits blood, it should be considered just as serious as if it were a human vomiting blood. A responsible pet owner will call their vet for an emergency visit should their dog begin vomiting blood.

Don’t take a chance that it’s nothing serious or that the problem will go away on its own. Your pet deserves better treatment than that.

Veterinary Specialists

Monday, July 13th, 2015


There are several types of veterinary specialists that often assist regular veterinarians in their practices. A general veterinarian is effective at treating most of the ailments and diseases of a pet dog, but there may be a time when a specialist needs to be called in to handle more serious conditions.

Specialist veterinarians are trained to handle specific treatments dealing with animals. These include surgery, anesthesiology, emergency care, nutrition, and dentistry.

Surgical Specialists
Surgical veterinary professionals specialize in animal surgical operations. They receive specialized training for an extensive variety of different surgical techniques that many veterinarians are not trained to undertake nor are qualified to perform.

Because surgery can be very stressful and dangerous for an animal, you’ll want to be sure your pet is in the hands of a trained surgical veterinary specialist.

Anesthesiologists
Just like in humans, anesthesia is used during animal surgery and occasionally during some diagnostic testing procedures. Most vets will use anesthesia for certain diagnostic tests but many use the skills of an anesthesiologist when a dog needs to undergo a surgical procedure.

The anesthesiologist is trained to handle cases of allergic reactions and the treatment of life-threatening situations related to the administration of anesthesia.

Emergency Care Specialists
Emergency care specialists are trained to handle any type of animal emergency medical condition including traumas, strokes, heart attacks, and emergency injuries. These specialists are trained to react rapidly to a pet’s needs and diagnose the situation quickly so treatment or life-saving measures can be undertaken.

Nutrition Specialists
Nutritional specialists are beneficial in prescribing the healthiest and most appropriate diet for a pet. Some dogs suffer from obesity and its related ailments and diseases. A nutritional specialist can assist you in putting your dog back on track to controlling its weight and improving its health.

Nutritional specialists are also useful when certain medical conditions like diabetes require a change in diet. For diabetes, a specialist will recommend a strict low-sugar diet to help your dog control its diabetes.

Dentistry Specialists
Because dental care is vital to the overall general health of an animal, dental veterinary specialists are concerned only with animal dentistry. Examining an animal’s teeth and cleaning them properly can be a difficult task for both an owner and a veterinary assistant. If your dog’s teeth or gums are in bad condition, it’s a good idea to have a trained dental specialist examine and treat the dog’s teeth, and mouth, to restore your pet to optimum health.

Urinary Incontinence in Older Dogs

Monday, July 6th, 2015


It is not uncommon for older dogs to have incontinence problems; even younger dogs can have this disorder if they have a congenital deformity or have experienced an injury to the nerves that control the bladder muscles. However, urinary incontinence in older dogs is a far more common problem for anyone who owns an aging dog.

Understanding how a dog’s bladder works will shed some light on the problem. Dogs store urine in their bladder and when they need to urinate, the urine passes out of the body through the urethra. Normally, a dog is able to control the passage of urine, but if it loses control over the bladder the result is incontinence.

A band of muscles at the base of a dog’s bladder creates a valve that keeps urine from leaking out of the bladder. Dogs produce hormones that help them control these muscles consciously. Estrogen helps strengthen the bladder muscles in female dogs, and testosterone strengthens the same muscles in male dogs.

But as dogs age their bodies produce fewer of the hormones estrogen and testosterone. A dog that has been spayed or neutered is more likely to suffer hormone deficiencies. When this happens, urinary incontinence causes small amounts of urine to leak out of the dog’s bladder while it’s resting or sleeping.

Older dogs are most prone to urinary incontinence though younger animals can develop the condition due to congenital abnormalities or injury. Urinary incontinence in an older dog will usually begin to manifest itself when a dog is about eight or nine years old. Spayed females can develop urinary incontinence as early as three to five years of age.

Treatment for urinary incontinence in older dogs usually includes an oral medication prescribed by your vet. Phenylpropanolamine is the most common, non-hormonal drug used for both male and female dogs. Sometimes a vet will recommend hormone replacement therapy to treat urinary incontinence in an older dog. In these cases, daily doses of hormone substitutes need to be administered when treatment is begun, and once the dog begins to respond to treatment, the dosage schedule is reduced to once a week.

Side effects from hormone replacement drugs are rare in dogs. In some cases the medication doesn’t completely clear up the incontinence symptoms. If that happens, your dog will probably need to wear a dog diaper during the day and night.

Older dogs with urinary incontinence are also more susceptible to bladder infections because the muscles at the base of the bladder become looser, making it easier for bacteria to enter the dog’s organ. If this happens to your dog, antibiotics prescribed by your veterinarian can be helpful in treating any bladder infections.

Healthy Dog Food Ingredients

Monday, June 15th, 2015


It is an axiom (a generally accepted idea or proposition assumed to be true) that using healthy dog food ingredients will result in healthy dog foods. It is also true that feeding dogs healthy food enhances their quality of life by reducing illnesses, improving the coat and teeth, and providing healthy energy for their bodies.

But no matter how healthy the ingredients are in a specific dog food, if a dog’s health doesn’t improve with a particular type of food, then it is not the right diet for that dog. Many dogs are allergic to certain types of protein or other ingredients used in the manufacture of dog food, and if your dog seems to have more health issues after changing to what you believe to be a healthier dog food, you’ll need to experiment with a few other dog food brands or recipes.

Luckily, most quality dog foods also come in smaller packages, negating the need to buy large bags and waste money if your dog can’t or won’t eat the new food.

Some signs that your dog needs to change its diet are excessive flatulence, frequent ear infections, licking the top of its paws too much, and frequent vomiting or diarrhea. If this is happening to your dog, try changing the type of protein used in its food and see if the symptoms disappear or at least improve.

A dog’s stomach will often attack unfamiliar ingredients, so a new food may not be accepted right away and often can cause diarrhea. Don’t buy a new brand or type of dog food at the first sign of these problems. Continue feeding your dog the same food for a least a week or two before deciding to try something new.

Dogs can also develop allergies to foods they eat too often, so it’s a good idea to feed your pet several foods that contain different protein sources to help it maintain a balanced diet.

Dogs are omnivores, and like humans their bodies were designed to obtain nutrients from both meat and vegetables. The reality is that pet dogs receive most of their nutrients from protein sources, so when choosing a dog food, the quality of the protein is the most important ingredient. As a general rule. three of the first five ingredients listed on the label should be protein sources.

Don’t choose dog foods containing “meat byproducts” or any with labels listing “animal protein” as a principal ingredient. These two ingredients usually don’t include muscle meat from which dogs receive most of their protein. Look for dog foods with labels listing specific ingredients like chicken and turkey. If your dog has food allergies you can choose a food containing proteins like duck, venison or rabbit.

Dogs are not able to efficiently digest corn, wheat, white rice or soy. Instead choose dog foods with whole vegetable ingredients like carrots, green beans and sweet potatoes. There are some dog foods that also include fruits like apples, and grains like oats and barley. Grain-free foods are also available that substitute potatoes in place of the grains.

Other healthy dog food ingredients include pumpkin (which helps soothe a dog’s upset stomach), cottage cheese which provides healthy bacteria, and eggs which are a healthy protein source.

There is no one dog food that’s right for every single dog, but some foods are definitely higher in quality than others. Compare labels on the dog food you now feed your pet with other brands available wherever you shop for dog food.

Depending on where you live and where you shop, you may need to visit Petco or PetSmart, or your local pet store to find a healthy dog food.

Kidney Disease in Dogs

Monday, March 23rd, 2015


Kidney disease in dogs can be caused by several factors; it can be a causal effect of the dog’s age, severe dehydration, a new or past trauma to the kidneys, or even tick borne diseases.

There are a lot of valuable pieces of information your veterinarian will be able to obtain from analyzing your dog’s urine sample if he suspects kidney disease. The vet will interpret the results of the urine test by reviewing the history of your pet, completing a physical exam – sometimes including blood work, and depending on the severity of the kidney disease, further testing may necessitate x-rays or ultrasound.

If obtaining a urine sample from your dog is difficult, try one of these different ways to collect the sample: The most common way to collect a sample from a larger dog is to use a clean, dry container, (you can even use an aluminum pie pan or cake pan, or a deep plastic dish that will hold the urine). After your dog has urinated, pour the sample into a clean container and seal it. Be sure to save the urine sample in a clean, dry container you can easily transport to your vet. The sample should be delivered to your veterinarian’s office immediately. If you are unable to deliver the sample immediately, refrigerate it but never freeze a dogs urine sample.

If your vet requires a sterile sample of urine to test for kidney disease you will need to take your dog to the vet’s clinic to undergo a procedure called “cystocentesis,”. The vet will insert a small needle directly into the dog’s bladder through the body wall. This procedure will not take long and will provide a sample uncontaminated by bacteria from anything outside the dog’s bladder, including its fur.

In addition to checking for kidney disease, a urinalysis will also provide information about your dog’s bladder, liver, pancreas, and other organs.

A complete urinalysis of your dog’s urine involves three steps:
1. Checking and recording the color, cloudiness, and how concentrated the urine is.
2. Completing a chemical analysis of the urine.
3. Centrifuging a small quantity of the urine sample and examining the sediment under a microscope.

Normal urine is amber-yellow in color and clear to slightly cloudy. Concentrated urine will be a darker yellow. White blood cells can also make the urine cloudy. If there is blood in the urine it will have a reddish-brownish shade.

Many of the chemical tests for kidney disease can be done using only a small quantity of urine. A dipstick is used to transfer a small amount of urine to special medical pads containing chemical reagents that test for a particular material in the urine. When the urine comes in contact with one of the reagents a chemical reaction occurs and the color of the pad will change based on how much of the substance is in the urine. The vet will then compare the pad with a color chart to determine approximately how much of the substance is in the urine. Some medications may interfere with the chemical tests causing false results and your veterinarian will need to know about any medications or supplements your dog is taking.

The following substances are just a few of the chemicals that are tested when performing a routine urinalysis to test for kidney disease:
Urine pH – (a reading of how acidic or alkaline the urine is).
Protein – (healthy dogs usually don’t have any protein in their urine, although sometimes trace amounts may be present but that is normal.
Glucose – (sugar in the blood being significantly higher than normal.
Ketones – (substances formed in the body during the breakdown of fats).
Bilirubin – (a pigment made by the liver from dead or dying red blood cells).
Urobilinogen – (Big word for a compound formed from bilirubin by intestinal bacteria).

Blood cells in the urine are normal, but a larger than normal quantity indicates a problem.

An examination of the urine sample under a microscope tests for several problems and larger than normal numbers of white blood cells may indicate inflammation from a bladder or kidney infection.

Kidney disease is a very serious health problem for dogs, just as it is for humans. If you are concerned that something is just not right with your dog, you definitely should make an appointment with your vet as soon as possible.

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