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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 ‘Pet emergencies’ Category

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.

Choosing a Pet Sitter

Monday, June 29th, 2015


Pet sitters do a lot more than just provide your dog with food and water while you’re away from home. A good pet sitter will spend time with your dog, exercise it, and know when it needs veterinary attention.

Some pet sitters will offer to do additional things for you like bring in your mail and newspaper, water your plants, and turn lights on and off so your house looks occupied.

But just because someone says they are a pet sitter doesn’t mean they are qualified to do the job

When you have to be away from home for travel, or if an unexpected emergency arises and you don’t want to board your dog in a kennel, who can you depend on to take care of your dog?

Many pet owners will ask a friend or neighbor to stop in every day to feed their dog and give it fresh water. But will this limited amount of attention be enough?

Unfortunately, unless your friends and neighbors are dedicated dog lovers, they may not understand proper pet care and could leave your dog susceptible to injury or stress from separation anxiety. Many friends and family members won’t tell you, but they often resent having to look after your pet and make frequent visits to your house – especially if they are young or have busy schedules in their lives.

To satisfy your own fears, you may want to consider hiring a professional pet sitter to care for your dog while you’re away.

A pet sitter can offer both you and your pet many benefits. Your pet will be able to stay in the environment it is most familiar with; will have its same diet and routine; and won’t have to stay in a boarding kennel with other unfamiliar dogs.

The benefits for you are numerous also. Keeping your family, friends and neighbors happy because they won’t be burdened with caring for your dog; the peace of mind that comes from knowing that your pet is being cared for by a professional; having someone to bring in your newspaper and mail so burglars don’t know that no one is home; plus other errands or chores a sitter can do for you while you’re away.

The best way to choose a pet sitter is to ask for a recommendation from your family and friends, or you can check your Yellow Pages under “Pet Sitting Services.”

It is very important that you learn all you can about any potential pet sitters. Interviewing prospects on the phone or at your home can reveal a lot about a the qualifications of a pet sitter.

Whether on the phone or in person, you should ask the prospective pet sitter if he or she has any medical conditions that might interfere with taking care of your dog; whether he or she has a backup person to care for your dog in the event of a personal or family emergency; will your dog be taken on regular walks to get its exercise, and are there other services that can be handled like picking up your mail and newspaper.

If you find a pet sitter that provides live-in services in your home, find out the specific times that person will be home with your pet; for example, do they work, or do they have appointments scheduled with a doctor or dentist during your absence? Will the pet sitter provide you phone numbers of other clients as references?

It is of vital importance to have any prospective pet sitter come to your home to meet your dog before deciding on who to hire as a pet-sitter. During this in-person interview, observe how the person interacts with your dog and whether your dog is comfortable with that person.

You have responsibilities to the pet sitter also. You should make reservations with your pet sitter early enough for them to plan their life around your departure and return. Be sure your dog has current identification tags and is up-to-date with its vaccinations. Leave clear instructions for the pet sitter detailing specific pet-care responsibilities and emergency contact information, including how to reach you and your veterinarian.

Be sure your dog has sufficient pet food and any necessary medications. Leave an extra key with a neighbor as a backup.

A pet sitter will be spending a lot of time alone in your home, so you want to choose a pet sitter who is the most reliable and trustworthy person. Ask them about their past work history and be sure to check references with their former clients.

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