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  • Change in appetite
  • Change in behavior
  • Muscle atrophy
  • Lagging behind
  • Yelping when touched
  • Limping
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Archive for the ‘Dog Allergies’ Category

Human Health Irritations Due to Pets

Monday, July 4th, 2016


Some people are unfortunate because they have allergies to dogs and will never be able to enjoy the love, devotion, and companionship a human receives from a pet dog.

The symptoms of dog allergies are very similar to the symptoms of other types of allergies or the symptoms of a cold. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, approximately 15 to 30 percent of allergy sufferers are allergic to dogs and cats. Dog allergies are not as commonplace as cat allergies, but the dander that causes the allergy tends to be more widespread. A human with a dog allergy may be allergic only to specific breeds or may be affected by all breeds.

The most common allergic reaction to dogs experienced by humans is caused by dog dander and not dog hair. A dog’s dander consists of dead skin cells that contain allergens. When a dog sheds hair, it often sheds dander along with it. Since a dog’s fur has nothing to do with allergies, adopting a dog with short hair doesn’t help prevent dog dander allergy.

Some of the most common symptoms of dog allergies include coughing, sneezing itchy eyes and skin, skin rashes, runny eyes, stuffed up nose, and difficulty in breathing.

If your allergic reactions are caused by dogs, you probably will want to avoid being around dogs, but if you already have a pet you can get allergy shots for immunization. Allergens will be injected in your system once each month with the goal of making you less allergic to dogs The injections take place over a period of 6 to 9 months. Your allergic reactions won’t disappear, but they will be noticeably reduced.

Antihistamines and corticosteroids are short-term solutions and may also have side effects. If the allergy makes you itchy you can try applying topical ointments that contain steroids.

Symptoms of dog allergies can be reduced by bathing your dog regularly to reduce the amount of dander shed in your house. You can also clean your dog’s skin with a moist sponge each day.

Some hints on lowering the incidence of allergies to dogs include grooming your dog daily, using air cleaners or filters, not allowing your dog to sit on your bed or sofa, clean your home and vacuum all the corners where dander can collect, and using allergy reducing sprays on your pet.

Some people believe there are hypoallergenic dogs they could adopt without suffering from dog allergies. The truth is that hypoallergenic dogs don’t exist; all dogs shed dander. It is true that some breeds don’t shed as much dander as others, but a dog that cannot cause allergies has never existed.

Why Dogs Vomit Undigested Food

Monday, June 20th, 2016


Dogs vomit undigested food occasionally and if this happens to your pet it shouldn’t be cause for alarm. It’s normal for dogs to vomit sometimes, but if the vomiting is accompanied by diarrhea or bloody stools, the dog should be examined by a vet and treated as soon as possible.

When a dog eats inedible food it can develop gastrointestinal problems resulting in vomiting. This can also occur with a sudden change in diet that a dog’s stomach is unable to handle. Regardless of the cause, most dogs suffering from indigestion will experience a painful contraction of the stomach muscles while trying to force out the undigested matter resulting in vomiting.

Indigestion causes two types of vomiting, acute and chronic. If your dog suddenly throws up after eating something inedible, acute vomiting may ensue. Very seldom will a dog with acute vomiting require medication to stop the vomiting and prevent dehydration. If it is required, a prescription medication will ease the digestive tract and help restore it to normality.

Chronic vomiting can be recognized when a dog continues to throw up undigested food once or twice a week. If this happens, the dog could be suffering from a stomach infection. Dogs with a weak digestive system are predisposed to indigestion, gastrointestinal intolerance and other sicknesses like inflammatory bowel syndrome. A dog with chronic vomiting will often refuse to eat. Chronic vomiting is usually associated with an inflammation of the intestines.

In order to determine the cause of indigestion and understand why a dog vomits undigested food, a series of diagnostic tests will be performed by a veterinarian, including blood tests, abdominal X-rays and an examination of the dog’s feces.

Mild cases of vomiting can easily be treated by changing a dog’s diet. However, if the cause of the vomiting is intestinal inflammation, the vet will usually prescribe drugs after determining the cause of the inflammation.

If a dog returns to normal after vomiting undigested food, there is no need to worry. However, if it exhibits other symptoms along with the vomiting, or if the condition worsens, the dog will need a medical diagnosis.

Asthma Treatments for Dogs

Monday, May 30th, 2016


Pet asthma is a medical condition that’s easy to diagnose in dogs and there are several different asthma treatments for dogs that can control the symptoms of this disease.

Asthma in dogs is defined as the sudden narrowing of a dog’s airways that causes breathing difficulties. Asthma can be triggered when a pet inhales something it’s allergic to. When this happens, the lower parts of the lungs begin to tighten and the dog will begin to wheeze or cough. Its gums may turn blue, and heavy panting ensues.

In extreme cases a dog will collapse from a lack of oxygen. This is why it’s important to consider every asthma attack as a medical emergency. Too much exercise or exertion can also trigger an asthma attack.

Some pets with asthma may have only occasional mild attacks, while others can have repeated attacks ranging from moderate to severe.

Diagnosing Asthma in Your Dog
A veterinarian will use a combination of tests which include x-rays and blood assessments as a way to diagnose asthma. This will help rule out other ailments or illnesses like airway obstructions, infections or heartworms that can cause the same symptoms as asthma.

Your veterinarian may have you keep a record of your dog’s asthma attacks in order to establish what triggers are causing the attacks. If your dog has a problem breathing after an energetic exercise period or when pollen counts are high where you live, keeping track of the attacks can help your veterinarian formulate the best treatment plan for your dog.

Traditional asthma treatments for dogs include administering steroids and antihistamines to help reduce swelling and control the allergic reactions.

In more serious asthma cases, it may be necessary to inject epinephrine during an attack to allow the dog to breathe easier. Your veterinarian will teach you how to give your dog injections of epinephrine if it has a very serious case of asthma.

Asthma treatments for dogs may also include alternative medical treatments, such as dietary supplements, herbal remedies or acupuncture.

Regardless of the type of medical treatment you choose for your dog, perhaps the most important thing you can do is to control the circumstances that trigger the asthma attacks. For example, if dust triggers the asthma attacks, you’ll need to find a way to filter out dust from the air inside your house. If you’re a smoker and your dog’s asthma attacks are triggered by cigarette smoke, you may need to quit smoking or only smoke in areas well away from your dog.

Fungal Infections in Dogs

Monday, March 28th, 2016


Blastomyces dermatididis is a fungal organism that causes Blastomycosis, a fungal infection in dogs. The fungi is found in sandy, acidic soil in close proximity to water. It can cause severe respiratory problems and may lead to blindness. The first symptom of this disease is the appearance of crusty sores on the skin.

Blastomycosis is a serious systemic fungal disease that primarily infects dogs as well as people and can cause respiratory, eye, and skin lesions. It can be fatal if not diagnosed and treated quickly. Even with proper treatment many dogs do not recover from the infection.

The disease is usually found only in the area of the Mississippi, Missouri, and Ohio River valleys, the Mid-Atlantic States and parts of Quebec, Manitoba, and Ontario.

A blastomycosis fungal infection in dogs happens when the animal inhales the blastomycosis spores found in the soil. The spores then travel down into the airways of the lungs and an infection develops. Once it infects the dog’s lungs it spreads throughout the body to the skin, eyes, bones, lymph nodes, subcutaneous tissue, and brain.

The symptoms of blastomycosis include lack of appetite, fever, depression, weight loss, coughing, eye problems, lameness, or skin problems. These symptoms may be present for a few days or a few weeks.

Approximately 85% of dogs who have blastomycosis also have lung lesions and 40% have eye lesions. Skin lesions are found in 20% to 40% of infected dogs.

The most common treatment for this disease is oral administration of the antifungal drug Itraconazole. This drug needs to be given to a dog every day for 60 to 90 days. It is the safest and most effective way to treat the disease, but the drug was meant for humans and is very expensive. An injectable drug, Amphotericin B, is also prescribed by some vets, and must be given intravenously several times a week by the veterinarian.

There is currently no vaccine available to protect against blastomycosis.

Histoplasmosis is a fungus found in dust that causes infection in dogs under four years of age. The result is a swelling of the lymphatic nodes in the neck and armpits. The fungus is found in the soil and enters the body through a dog’s lungs, causing a range of respiratory and intestinal symptoms. Some animals are able to recover from the infection without any medication while others require treatment with an antifungal medication.

Infections are more common in dogs who live outside or spend a good amount of time wandering around forested areas. Dogs become infected by inhaling the spore-like particles of the fungus present in the soil. The symptoms are varied and depend on the severity of the infection. Many healthy dogs recover from minor respiratory infections on their own. Dogs with a weak immune system may develop a more severe infection that can spread to its intestinal system, lymph nodes, spleen, liver, or even the eyes.

The most common symptoms are weight loss, fever, and loss of appetite. A dog may also have a cough and experience difficulty in breathing. X-rays of the chest and abdomen are usually necessary to detect the organisms in infected tissue. A biopsy of infected tissue may be done because the tissues often contain some of the small fungal organisms.

In simple cases of the respiratory form of histoplasmosis, treatment may not be necessary because the dog will often clear the infection on its own. However, the risk of the infection spreading or becoming more severe is very real.

Low Carb Dog Food

Monday, March 21st, 2016


If your dog is substantially overweight or obese like one fourth of all dogs in the United States, you should begin feeding your pet a low carb dog food which can be beneficial to any overweight or obese pet.

Dogs are able to maintain an appropriate weight consuming almost any dog food on the market as long as they don’t over-indulge at mealtimes, are not fed too many treats and snacks at other times, and are getting enough exercise. But even for dogs who are not overweight or obese, a low-carb diet can help avoid health problems later in life.

Obese dogs are at risk for diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, hip dysplasia, and metabolic disorders. A low-carb diet is a necessity for dogs that are overweight and for dogs diagnosed with diabetes.

Dogs are omnivores which means they eat meat and vegetables, including fruits and grains. But considering the evolution of dogs who originated from the wolf, it makes sense that over-feeding your dog with grains like wheat and corn is not a good idea.

Dog’s bodies were designed for diets that are low in sugar and refined starches, and the high doses of carbohydrates a dog consumes when eating manufactured dog foods are not healthy. It may shock you to know that most commercial dog foods contain between 30% to 70% carbohydrates.

In addition to the high doses of carbs, many dog foods contain filler ingredients such as corn meal and starches. These ingredients, along with animal by-products which are the leftovers from other food processing, are unfit for human consumption. The reason they are added to dog food is to provide cheaper ingredients for the manufacturer and make a dog feel full faster without providing the nutrients a dog needs; something akin to fast food for humans.

Dog food ingredients you should try to avoid include wheat, corn, cornmeal, yellow corn and whole grain corn, brewer’s rice, cereals, and potatoes. All of these are filler ingredients that are very high in carbs.

There are many good brands of low-carb dog foods. Some come in the form of raw and dehydrated foods which are beneficial to a dog’s health because they are higher in nutrients. Several brands use entirely grain-free recipes as well as hormone-free turkey and meat.

Check for pet foods that are lower in carbs by examining the ingredients. Look for a low carbohydrate and high protein content in the food. Some of the ingredients to look for are beef, chicken, lamb, turkey or pork. Never give your dog any food containing “animal meal” or “animal fat.” This is a red flag for very poor-quality dog food.

Dog foods containing vegetables and fruits are also good for your dog and provide many of the nutrients missing in meat. Many low carb dog foods may also contain apples, bananas, cranberries, spinach, carrots, and celery.

Low carb dog foods with these ingredients are healthy for dogs in all stages of life, from puppies to senior dogs. Just remember to avoid all dog foods containing grains and buy those with real meat, fruits and vegetables.

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