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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 ‘Hearing Loss in Dogs’ Category

How To Clean Your Dog’s Ears

Monday, August 17th, 2015


You should clean your dog’s ears regularly to prevent bacteria buildup and possible ear infections. It’s not a difficult job when you use an ear cleaning product from your local pet store or simple household products found in your home.

If your dog has floppy ears, wax and oil will build up inside the ears. If the ears are not cleaned regularly, bacteria and yeast also accumulate, leading to ear infections. An ear infection can be painful for your dog. You’ll know when your dog’s ears are in need of cleaning because it will start rubbing its head on your rug or floor to relieve the itch or pain. A dog’s ears should be cleaned at least once a month or more frequently if your dog is prone to heavy ear secretions.

Never use peroxide or any household product meant for cleaning surfaces in your home as they can cause pain or damage to your dog’s ear.

The best way to clean your dog’s ears is to use cotton balls or Q-Tip swabs soaked in an ear cleaner purchased from the pet store. Wipe away the oil and waxy buildup in your pet’s ear, taking care not to clean in any area you can’t easily see so you don’t damage your dog’s ear drum. Let your dog shake off any excess moisture after cleaning. This helps prevent bacteria from growing in the damp areas of the ear canal.

Some dogs suffer from chronic ear infections and require a more thorough cleaning. To do this, pour a small amount of the ear cleaner in your dog’s ears, doing one ear at a time, then rub the base of each ear for 30 to 60 seconds. Your dog will then shake out the excess moisture and you can use a cotton ball or swab to clean the parts of the ear you can see.

If your dog doesn’t like to have its ears cleaned you should use treats as a reward for allowing you to clean its ears.

Ear cleaners purchased from a pet store are designed to be safe and gentle on your pet’s ears. If you want to save money or would feel more comfortable knowing exactly what you were putting in your dog’s ears, you can make your own ear cleaner. Use a mild soap and water or rubbing alcohol to clean the visible parts of your dog’s ears, being careful not to go deep into the ear canal.

Some dog owners use a homemade ear cleaner made by mixing equal parts of white vinegar and rubbing alcohol in a squirt bottle. Another homemade cleaner can be made by combining 4 ounces of rubbing alcohol, 2 tablespoons of boric acid and 1 tablespoon of glycerin. Regardless of which mixture you choose to make, be sure you shake the squirt bottle well to mix the ingredients.

Be very careful when pouring any fluid in the dog’s ears because you could damage its ear canals, leading to hearing problems or complete deafness if you are careless. To prevent the solution from getting into the ear canal, cup the dog’s ear at the base and rub well.

Cleaning your dog’s ears is an important part of a regular grooming routine. Doing this routinely will help keep your dog from developing any ear infections and you won’t have to put up with the unpleasant odor from smelly ears.

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.

Ear Infections in Dogs

Monday, August 11th, 2014

Chronic ear infections in dogs should be treated as soon as they are detected, because left untreated, they can result in permanent damage and hearing loss. Minor ear infections can often be treated with medication, while severe ear infections will require medical intervention by a veterinarian.

A dog’s middle and inner ear are equally susceptible to infections. The inner ear controls a dog’s sense of balance and hearing and a dog with an inner ear infection will lose its sense of balance and all or most of its hearing. If left untreated, the infection can progress to the dog’s brain and cause serious damage.

An inner ear infection in a dog is usually caused by the spread of an existing outer ear infection into the inner ear. The dark, moist environment of the inner ear can cause bacteria to multiply in the ear canal. When foreign objects or ear mites enter into a dog’s ear and the dog scratches that ear, you can almost be sure an infection will develop. Hormonal imbalances, allergies, and tumors are also known to cause ear infections. It is also possible for ear infections to be inherited from a dog’s parents and passed from generation to generation.

Dogs with droopy ears are more prone to developing ear infections than are dogs with perky, upright ears.

Symptoms of inner ear infections in dogs include:
* Odor from the ear canal
* Inflammation in the ear canal
* Violent shaking of the head
* Scratching the head and ear
* Bloody discharge from the ear
* Pain in the ear
* Drooping eyelids
* Loss of balance and coordination including circling

A veterinarian can diagnose an inner ear infection in a dog using x-rays of the head and an examination with an otoscope, an instrument incorporating a light and a magnifying lens used to examine the eardrum and the external canal of the ear.

The dog will have to be anesthetized to allow the vet to flush out the wax and other buildup within the ear before using the otoscope. If the ear drum is then found to be infected, discolored and full of fluid, a definite diagnoses of an inner ear infection is assured. The dog may not have an infection of the outer ear but if it has an inner ear infection, it will have an outer ear infection as well.

If the inner ear infection is mild it can be treated with antibiotics administered orally or by injection. Many vets will also prescribe a topical anti-fungal cream along with antibiotic ointments. For chronic or more severe infections, the middle ear has to be flushed out and then treated. It may also be necessary to cut open the ear drum to drain it of fluids.

Preventing inner ear infections requires that you feed your pet a healthy diet and see that it gets regular grooming to ward off ear infections. Early diagnosis and treatment of outer ear infections will also help prevent any inner ear infections.

Older Dogs Health Problems

Monday, February 24th, 2014

Older dogs health problems can start occurring as soon as a dog is eight to ten years old, depending upon the breed of the animal. The most common health issues in older dogs include arthritis, heart disease, dental problems, and diabetes.

Arthritis is one of the most common medical conditions that affects older dogs. About one in every five pet dogs will develop some form of arthritis during its lifetime. And like arthritis in humans, arthritis in dogs cannot be cured. The good news is that arthritis in dogs is not inevitably hopeless. There are effective treatments on the market today that can help ease your dog’s symptoms, allowing your pet to live a longer, active life.

There are several causes for arthritis in dogs. The condition can be genetic, as is the case with hip dysplasia, and it can also develop as the result of an infection or an immune disorder that affects the dog’s joints.

Symptoms of arthritis in dogs include: weight gain not caused by excessive overeating, sleeping much more than usual, a decreased interest in playing or going on walks, favoring one leg more than the others, hesitancy climbing or going down stairs, acting less alert, having a lot of difficulty standing, and appearing to suffer from pain in the joints.

If the arthritis is not severe and advanced to the point that your dog cannot walk at all without the aid of braces or a wheelchair, the best thing you can do for your pet is to put it on a daily regimen of Winston’s Joint System, an all-natural formula developed by a Naturopathic Doctor to heal his own dog. For over 20 years this proven formula has been bringing relief from pain and stiffness to all breeds and ages of dogs.

Older dogs are very susceptible to the development of heart disease, including heart attacks, strokes, and congestive heart failure. Serious heart problems occur more frequently in overweight dogs. An older dog’s diet needs to be low in carbohydrates and fats, and it needs a moderate exercise program so it will be less likely to develop a heart condition.

After a dog reaches the age of 3 or 4 it will often develop dental problems. This happens when a dog doesn’t receive proper dental hygiene during its younger years. Adding kibble to a dog’s canned food diet will help keep its teeth and gums healthy. The slight tooth abrasion offered by dry dog food cannot be achieved when a dog eats a diet consisting solely of soft or wet food.

Plaque deposits on a dog’s teeth can easily turn into tartar which can’t be removed by simple brushing. Tartar buildup is the beginning of gum and periodontal disease. A dog with periodontal disease is susceptible to other internal health problems because bacteria can easily enter the dog’s system through its receding gums. Some dog chew treats have abrasive surfaces that help remove plaque deposits and keep a dog’s teeth healthy.

Some older dogs’ health problems include a lack of control over their bladder and they will urinate in the house. In addition to being caused by aging, urinating (or defecating) in the house may also be an indication of a urinary infection or some other medical condition like colitis, hormonal imbalance, kidney problems or diabetes.

Older dogs are more susceptible to developing diabetes, especially a dog that is obese. Diabetes is caused by an increased level of glucose in the blood that the body is unable to properly assimilate. A dog may need insulin shots or other prescription medicine to manage the diabetes.

Older dogs can also have hearing or vision problems just as older humans often do. If you are responsible for an older dog you need to be aware of the serious problems that can affect a dog’s health simply because it has grown old.

Ear Problems in Dogs

Monday, December 3rd, 2012


Ear problems in dogs range from allergies to infections. Ear Infections are the most common problem that dogs have with their ears.

If your dog has floppy ears that hang down, ear infections are often a continuing problem. The warm, moist environment created by the fold in the ear flap is ideal for the growth of bacteria. When yeast and bacteria accumulate they cause an unpleasant odor in the ears.

Dogs with ears that point straight up or those with short “perky” ears don’t have as many problems with ear infections. If you notice your dog vigorously rubbing one or both ears on the floor or carpet, it can be an indication of either an ear problem or simply the need to have its ears cleaned. If it’s an infection and confined to only one ear, your dog will tilt its head in an attempt to equalize pressure between the ears.

Some of the most common ear problems in dogs and the causes are:

(1) Debris in the ears.
Bristles that project from the tip of plants or even the grass from your lawn can easily become lodged in a dog’s ear. This debris can wedge itself quite deeply inside the ear so you’ll need to look inside the dog’s ear with a flashlight.

(2) Allergies.
A common cause of problems with a dog’s ears is an allergic reaction which can be caused by ingredients in your dog’s food or environmental irritants such as pollen or dust. If you notice your dog’s ears or paws are itchy or inflamed, these are typical symptoms of an allergy. Your dog may be allergic to manufactured pet foods containing wheat, soy or corn. You can try switching to a better quality dog food and if that doesn’t help, you should ask your vet for a recommendation on which dog food to buy for your pet. If you suspect the problem is environmental, try to keep your pet away from grassy areas or lawns that may have recently been reseeded or fertilized. If your dog is an indoor pet and spends most of its time inside, check your air conditioning or furnace filters to see if they need replacing.

(3) Parasites.
Ticks, mites and fleas can cause crusty skin, hair loss and swelling. Ear pain and itching due to parasites can cause serious ear problems in your dog.

(4) Trauma.
Injury to your dog’s ear can cause a semi-solid mass of blood to collect in the tissues of the ear (called a hematoma) and fluid to accumulate between the cartilage and the skin of the ear flap. Vigorous scratching or shaking of the head can also cause trauma to the ears. Hematomas of the ear should be drained and surgically corrected by your vet because your dog’s ear will be permanently disfigured if not treated surgically.

(5) Hormone Disorders.
Certain hormonal conditions such as hypothyroidism and adrenal malfunctions can also cause ear problems. Symptoms include excessive loss of hair, poor coat condition, changes in behavior and itchy, reddened skin around the ears.

In rare cases, some ear problems in dogs are hereditary such as connective tissue disorder affecting Collies and Shelties, or seborrhea which causes hair loss and scaly skin. Cancers such as squamous cell or malignant melanoma may also affect the ears.

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