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Archive for the ‘Dog Vaccines’ Category

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.

Animal Shelter Adoptions

Monday, November 16th, 2015


There are some important questions you need to ask about the health of any dog you’re considering adopting from an animal shelter. Most dogs available for people to adopt from city or county operated animal shelters are mentally stable and physically healthy.

Unfortunately, some dogs being offered for animal shelter adoptions have been abused or neglected by their former owners. Sometimes they have suffered from an illness or disease that might create problems for someone who wants to adopt a dog that will be with them for as long as possible and also won’t require a lot of expensive medical treatments.

To be fair to both yourself and the dog you’re considering for adoption, the questions you should ask the animal shelter staff are:

(1) Has the dog been spayed or neutered? It’s important to know the answer if you don’t want to breed the dog or bear the expense of having the procedure done;

(2) Are all the dog’s vaccinations up to date? Most dogs offered by shelters have had their vaccinations brought up to date, but ask if the dog has just arrived and whether the shelter has had time to give the dog any needed vaccinations;

(3) Has the dog needed any medical treatments since it arrived at the shelter? If it has, what treatments were given and what were they for? This will help you determine whether the dog may acquire certain illnesses in the future;

(4) Does the dog currently require any medications?

(5) Is the dog’s breed or breeds known to the staff? This will help you in understanding what types of health conditions the dog is predisposed to due to its breed, or mixture of breeds;

(6) Does the dog have any behavioral issues? Was the dog given up because it was dangerous or had serious behavior issues? This could definitely become a problem for anyone with small children or who has other dogs or cats in the home;

(7) How long has the dog been at the shelter? If the dog has been there for more than six months there’s a good chance that it may be suffering from mental distress after being cooped up and abandoned for such a long length of time;

(8) What kind of personality does the dog have? If it’s boisterous or overly active, it may not be appropriate for a family or even for a single person who has many time commitments in their life;

(9) Does the dog play well with the other dogs in the shelter or is it aggressive towards them?

If you’re considering an animal shelter adoption, you need to find out the answers to these questions before committing yourself to adopting your first, or next “best friend.”

Dog Medications During Pregnancy

Monday, October 12th, 2015


Giving your dog medications during pregnancy may not be a good idea for her unborn puppies. A few medications are considered safe during pregnancy, but any drug not recommended or prescribed by a veterinarian should be avoided as it could result in birth defects to the puppies or harm to the mother.

Your vet may also recommend vaccinations during your dog’s pregnancy to protect the unborn puppies from diseases like canine distemper, parvovirus, and rabies. A pregnant dog exposed to any of these diseases who hasn’t been vaccinated, is risking her life and the lives of her puppies.

The most common drugs considered safe for a female dog during pregnancy are Thryoxine which is used to treat hypothyroidism; Revolution which is a flea, tick and worm preventative; Psyllium; and insulin. Antibiotics and pain medications are sometimes given to a pregnant dog during a difficult delivery but giving a dog antibiotics during pregnancy can be unsafe.

Some antibiotics can be administered during pregnancy but carry the possibility of putting the puppies at risk by causing deformation or death of the puppies. However, allowing your pregnant dog to suffer from bacterial infection without any treatment may be just as dangerous to both puppies and the mother.

Newborn puppies are immunologically suppressed and should not be exposed to bacterial infections. Treating your pregnant dog with safe antibiotics before she delivers removes any risk that the puppies will contract a bacterial infection from her.

A dog’s pregnancy lasts approximately 63 days and for the duration of that time your dog’s diet has to be carefully monitored and so does any medication given her. Monitoring your dog’s diet and medication during pregnancy will ensure that the puppies get the nutrients they need. Being careful that your dog receives only the correct medications during pregnancy is just as important as her diet.

A high-quality, dog food is essential for the health of both the mother and her puppies. Vitamin and calcium supplements aren’t absolutely needed and should not be given without first consulting your vet.

Proper care of the mother during her pregnancy will increase the chances of her giving birth to a litter of healthy puppies.

Dog Allergies: Symptoms and Treatments

Monday, October 5th, 2015


It’s fairly easy to determine whether your dog is suffering from allergies. Dog allergies can affect any breed of dog, no matter where you live. The symptoms of dog allergies are the same for all breeds and the treatments for those allergies are usually the same.

Some of the symptoms of dog allergies are: excessive scratching, pawing at the face or eyes; excessive sneezing, continual runny nose, watery eyes, acute coughing, skin rashes or dry, crusty skin, continually rubbing its face on the floor or furniture , and chronic ear infections.

Seasonal allergies affect many dogs and are caused by spores or pollen grains in the air. These allergens are inhaled and sometimes are able to penetrate a dog’s skin.

Seasonal dog allergies usually occur when a dog is between the ages of 1 and 3. However, some dogs don’t develop seasonal allergies until they are 6 to 8 years old.

If you notice allergy symptoms in your dog you’ll need to schedule a vet visit to have blood tests performed. This is the only way to confirm if the dog really does have seasonal allergies or if the symptoms could be related to a disease that has infected the dog.

Two methods veterinarians use to determine if a dog is suffering from allergies are an ELISA test, the most commonly used test to diagnose allergies; and intradermal testing.

To effectively treat seasonal dog allergies, the vet first has to determine the cause of the allergy, and then you’ll need to limit or eliminate exposure to that allergen. Most dog owners whose pets suffer from seasonal allergies will keep the dog out of grassy or flowered fields during pollen seasons and will also keep the grass on their lawn cut short.

The vet may recommend topical ointments to relive the dog’s itchiness and the other symptoms of seasonal allergies. In addition, regular bathing of the dog’s skin will help reduce allergic reactions.

Some dog owners have reported that a change in their dog’s diet reduced the allergies by strengthening the dog’s immune system. Omega 3 fatty acids are known to help in boosting a dog’s immune system.

The vet may also prescribe antihistamines and steroids if the dog’s allergies continue to worsen.

Some vets also use immunization therapy to reduce a dog’s allergic reactions. This is accomplished by injecting the allergen in small amounts in the dog’s system and after a few shots, the dog will begin to build an immunity to the allergens.

The symptoms of dog allergies should not be ignored and treatment should begin as soon as you know for sure that your dog is suffering from seasonal allergies.

Dog Sinus Infections

Monday, September 28th, 2015


A dog’s sinus cavities are located between its nasal cavities and skull. When a dog develops an upper respiratory tract infection it is also at risk of contracting a sinus infection.

When a dog has a sinus infection, the sinuses become inflamed and congested with fluid. This condition is often caused by fungal, viral or bacterial infection. A dog who is suffering from an upper respiratory tract infection is at the highest risk for falling victim to a sinus infection.

Insect bites or stings can also develop into a sinus infection. If a dog is overly exposed to smoke, dust, pollen or mold, its sinuses can become inflamed and lead to infection. In older dogs, health problems like abscessed teeth can often result in sinus infection.

When a dog develops a sinus infection it will sneeze often and may gag or cough. Its eyes and nose may begin to water and if the infection becomes severe, it could lead to bleeding from the nose.

A clear discharge from the eyes and nose usually is indicative of an allergy that may be due to inhaled dust or other irritants.

Dog sinus infections are often symptoms of a lesser upper respiratory tract infection or the common cold. But if the sinus symptoms last longer than two days it would be wise to make an appointment with a veterinarian.

Immediate emergency vet care is absolutely necessary if a dog develops a nosebleed. A dog with sinus infections can suffer from nosebleeds, but if they are severe, they usually are an indicator of a more serious condition.

The vet will do a complete physical exam and detailed medical history before being able to positively diagnose a dog’s sinus infection. The vet will closely examine the dog’s eyes and nose and take X-rays or an ultrasound to determine the degree of congestion.

Medication is usually prescribed to treat a dog’s sinus infection. If the vet determines that bacteria is responsible for the infection, the dog will be prescribed an antibiotic. If a fungus is responsible for the infection, anti-fungal medications will be prescribed rather than an antibiotic. If the dog’s sinus infection is viral, no medications will cure it and the infection is left to run its course.

If a dog comes down with a sinus infection it’s recommended that it stay inside the house and not go outside if it’s raining or cold. The dog should be kept as warm and dry as possible.

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