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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 ‘Pet emergencies’ Category

Skunks and Dogs

Monday, December 14th, 2015


Skunks and dogs make a combination about as appealing to me as catching a whiff of a baby’s dirty diaper.

Summertime brings freely roaming skunks in some parts of the country. And it isn’t limited to the countryside either. My own dog has been sprayed twice in the last three years by skunks roaming around residential areas where we walk, and these neighborhoods haven’t seen rural countryside in years.

If your dog is unfortunate enough to be sprayed by a skunk you need to know what steps to take immediately. If your dog is lucky enough not to have been the unfortunate recipient of a skunk’s natural defense system, you’ll know what to do should it happen.

You may have heard of home-made skunk odor remedies using tomato juice or vinegar to wash off a dog who has been sprayed, but all these treatments do is cover up the odor. There is a way to remove the odor from your dog using common household items, and for this you can thank chemist Paul Krebaum who developed the recipe in 1993. Skunk spray is very oily and contains sulfur (the source of the stench), and this recipe causes a chemical reaction that breaks up those oils and neutralizes the odor.

Here’s what to do after a skunk sprays your dog:

1. If you weren’t present when your dog was attacked by the skunk, first check for bites or scratches and check the eyes for redness or discharge. If you find that your dog has been injured, you should contact your veterinarian before undertaking any de-skunking procedure.

2. Time is of the essence here – the longer you wait to begin the procedure, the harder it will be to remove the stench. You’ll want to bathe your dog outdoors or in an easy to clean area of your home like a laundry room or bathroom. If the bathing is to take place indoors, open a window to save your nose!

3. Apply 1-2 drops of mineral oil to your dog’s eyes. This will help protect your dog in case any of the de-skunking solution splashes or drips in its eyes.

4. In a large plastic container or bucket, combine 1 quart of hydrogen peroxide, 1/4 cup of baking soda and 1 to 2 teaspoons of liquid soap. Add lukewarm water if more solution is needed for larger dogs. Mix all the ingredients, being sure to stir long enough so everything is mixed together well. The solution will fizz, due to the chemical reaction of the ingredients. Use the solution immediately as it cannot be stored and saved for later use.

5. Don’t soak your dog with water prior to the de-skunking. As soon as the solution is ready, start bathing the affected areas thoroughly, massaging the solution deep into your dog’s coat. Use a sponge or washcloth for easier application. Avoid getting the solution in your dog’s eyes, ears or mouth.

6. Allow the solution to soak into your dog’s hair for at least five minutes, keeping it on longer if a strong odor is still noticeable.

7. Next rinse your dog well with lukewarm water. Repeat steps 3-5 as necessary until the odor is completely gone.

8. Dry your dog well.

NEVER place the solution in a closed container or spray bottle, as the pressure will build up and the container could burst causing serious injury to you and your dog.

Don’t use higher concentrations of hydrogen peroxide or substitute the baking soda with a similar product. The altered chemical reaction could cause severe injury to you and your dog.

Skunks and dogs just don’t make a pleasant smelling combination so you might want to print this post and save it in a place where you can easily find it if your dog ever becomes the unfortunate victim of a skunk attack.

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.

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.

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.

Why Do Dogs Shake When Sleeping?

Monday, August 3rd, 2015


Does your dog shake when sleeping? Does it worry you? There can be several reasons for this shaking but they’re usually not indicative of something seriously wrong with your dog just because it shakes when asleep.

When a dog shakes while it’s sleeping it can be alarming because you can’t be sure what’s causing the shaking and whether it’s a natural occurrence, or if the dog may be in pain. When your dog is deep in REM sleep you may notice it shaking, crying, kicking, or moving its legs like it’s running.

Rapid eye movement (REM) is the sleep stage in which dreams happen. During REM a dog’s mind is fully active and aware, even though its body is in a completely calm state. The dog’s mind will replay images from events that happened that day or even past events, and its body will react to those images, causing involuntary movement during sleep. There have been many studies proving that dogs do experience REM sleep stage.

It is interesting that larger dog breeds don’t have dreams as frequently as do smaller dog breeds. If dreams are the reason for your dog’s actions, then you have nothing to be worried about.

If you notice these same movements occurring frequently when your dog is simply resting, it’s possible that your dog is having an epileptic seizure. Epileptic seizures stem from a disorder of the nerve cells in the dog’s brain and generally occur during consciousness but result in the dog losing consciousness. Nerve structures in the brain produce electrochemical signals and carry them to the brain where instructions to perform the various functions of the body are regulated. When these signals become scrambled, the result is an epileptic seizure.

During an epileptic seizure a dog may bite, snap or jerk, hurting its owner or itself. Since epileptic seizures cause unconsciousness, the dog will have no recollection of this behavior. Epileptic seizures do not seem to be controllable and tend to recur over the life of a dog.

There are other causes for seizures in dogs such as tumors, kidney and liver disorders, infections, brain damage and toxins. A low oxygen level in the blood or blood glucose levels that are too high can also cause seizures. A dog might have a partial seizure affecting only parts of its body or a generalized seizure called a grand mal that affects the entire body. Grand mal is the most severe type of seizure.

Although not very common, tremors in dogs can also be caused by abnormal cardiac contractions and restricted blood flow within the heart. This results in erratic involuntary movements. If this occurs while the dog is sleeping or awake, you should ask your veterinarian to give your dog a complete medical examination.

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