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Archive for the ‘Vaccinations’ 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.

Dog Vaccination Costs

Monday, February 1st, 2016


Whether you have a new puppy to care for or an older dog that needs regular shots, dog vaccination costs are an important consideration in today’s economy. Vaccinations are essential to preventing a wide array of health problems, diseases and other harmful or fatal conditions that can affect a dog.

Veterinarians usually recommend beginning vaccinations for a puppy when it’s just a few weeks old, and some vaccinations have to be renewed every so often in order for them to be effective.

Vaccinations are commonly given against several different diseases, including distemper, parvovirus, and rabies. Your dog’s vaccination schedule will depend on factors such as where you live and your dog’s exposure to other dogs or animals.

Parvovirus is contagious and often fatal for most puppies. But if your puppy or dog doesn’t come into contact with other dogs, this vaccine may not be needed.

The best way to determine a dog’s vaccination costs long-term is to research the types of vaccinations that are vital to your dog’s health based on its age, breed, gender and where you live.

Most dog vaccinations cost around $20 each; additional booster shots add to the total costs. You also have to figure in the cost of a visit for the vet to administer the vaccines. You’ll probably be charged an additional $40 to $50 for the vet’s office visit.

Dog vaccination costs often vary considerably depending on what part of the country you live in and whether you live in an urban or suburban area rather than rural.

If you do not already have a regular veterinarian it would be wise to call different veterinarian’s offices and ask what the charges will be for an office visit and the dog vaccinations your pet requires.

Does Dust Cause Allergies in Dogs

Monday, December 21st, 2015


Dust can cause allergies in dogs, and people as well. Humans are more likely to suffer nasal or respiratory symptoms from a dust allergy, while dogs are more likely to develop skin problems.

Dust allergies and other allergies caused by inhaled particles cause skin reactions in dogs and they are the second most common type of dog allergy, affecting approximately 15 percent of all dogs.

Dust allergies are most likely to develop when a dog is between the ages of one and three years old. Dust allergies often start as a seasonal problem but become a year-round problem as a dog gets older. Unfortunately, dust allergies are also a year-round problem for some dogs who are exposed to pollens and grasses all year long, rather than only seasonally.

Dust allergy symptoms include constant chewing and scratching of the feet and legs, irritated skin and incessant scratching. Frequent rubbing of the head and muzzle against the floor or furniture and forceful head shaking are the result of a dog’s ears becoming irritated or infected because the glands in its ears overproduce wax in reaction to the allergen.

To treat dust allergies in dogs a vet will prescribe a combination of antihistamines or other medications, and possibly a cream or spray to relieve the dog’s irritated skin.

Dust mites are small creatures related to spiders and they are the main particles comprising dust. These miniscule dust mites thrive in hot, humid conditions. To help reduce dust in your house, try lowering the indoor temperature to 75 degrees or less and keep the humidity below 70 percent.

To help a dog who suffers from dust allergies you can add a HEPA air cleaner to the room where your dog spends most of its time or have a HEPA filter installed in your home’s air conditioning and heating system. You may also want to have the air ducts in your house checked to see if they need to be cleaned.

Another important way you can help alleviate allergies in your dog is to wash its bedding in hot water each week and dry it thoroughly before letting your dog sleep on it again.

Dust can cause allergies that are very unpleasant for a dog and the more you can do to reduce the causes of these allergies, the happier and healthier your dog will be.

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 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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