Lyme Disease and Your Dog

What is it?

Lyme disease is caused by the spirochete bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi. The disease is transmitted to humans and dogs from the bite of a black-legged tick, also known as the “deer tick” or “bear tick.”

Once in the bloodstream, the bacteria may travel to different areas of the body and cause problems in specific organs or areas, like joints, in addition to overall illness.

The ticks that carry Lyme disease are particularly likely to be seen in tall grasses, thick brush, marshes, and forests — waiting to latch on your dog when he moves.

First named when several cases occurred in Lyme, Conn., in 1975, the disorder can be difficult to detect and can lead to severe, ongoing health problems in both dogs and people.

Although Lyme disease can occur almost anywhere in the U.S., disease risk is low in some areas and high in others. The areas of greatest occurrence will be the Northeast, the Upper Midwest, and the Pacific coast.

Symptoms
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Generalized stiffness, discomfort, or pain
  • Joint swelling
  • Kidney failure
  • Cardiac and/or neurological effects
  • Death
Preventions
  • Thoroughly inspect your dog after going on walks through the woods or grassy areas. Pay close attention to the paws, between their toes, around their mouths, ears, eyes, under the tail and near the anus.
  • If you find a tick, remove it as soon as possible; the quicker you remove a tick, the less likely your dog will contract a secondary illness related to tick bites.
  • Ask your veterinarian to conduct a tick check at each exam. They’ll be able to find any you may have missed.
  • Give your dog veterinary-approved flea and tick preventions.
  • Keep grass mowed as short as possible. Refrain from walking into grassy patches in endemic tick areas if you can.
  • Vaccination. There are vaccines available that can help prevent your dog from getting Lyme disease. Talk with your vet if you have questions about the vaccine.
Testing for Lyme Disease

Blood tests performed by your veterinarian can confirm if your dog for Lyme Disease. One blood test is an antibody test that detects the presence of certain antibodies that form in your dog’s body as a reaction to the bacterium.

Unfortunately, dogs that have been bitten recently may not have a high enough level of antibodies present to show up on the test. And dogs that have carried the disease for a long period of time may no longer have enough antibodies in their bloodstream to show a positive test result, causing a “false negative.”

The second type of blood test is a specific DNA test that confirms the presence of the disease-causing bacterium.

Treatment

Lyme Disease can be treated through the administration of antibiotics, typically for several weeks.

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Expressing Your Dog’s Anal Glands

Has your dog ever scooted his butt across the floor? Or excessively licked his rear or tail after he excreted a foul smell? If so, it may be time to express (empty) his anal glands.

Anal glands, or anal sacs, are found around your dog’s anus and hold an unpleasant smelly fluid. Anal glands can be expressed every time your dog poops, but occasionally these sacs fill with fluid that your dog is not able to release, which is where you come in.

How to Express Anal Glands

– Grab some gloves, paper towels, and possibly nose plugs if you’re sensitive to smells – this can get stinky.

-Fold the paper towels in a wad and place some more under your dog’s butt just in case it drips.

-Lift the tail and put the paper towels over his backside; using your thumb and forefinger gently squeeze at the 4 o’clock and 8 o’clock positions using the anus as the clock face.

-Dispose of the paper towels and thoroughly wash and rinse your dogs rear.

If your have never expressed your dog’s anal glands, ask your vet to show you. If you don’t do it correctly his anal glands may become impacted, or in rare instances, rupture. If you know you can’t handle to smell, your vet will happily do this job for you!

 

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What You Should Know About Rabies

Rabies – What is it?

Rabies is a disease caused by the rabies virus that can be transmitted from animals to humans. It can affect the brain and spinal cord of everything and everyone that becomes infected. The rabies virus is responsible for the deaths of more than 500,000 humans and millions of  animals each year; when symptoms appear, death soon follows. The disease has been found everywhere except Hawaii, Antartica, and Alaska. Bats, raccoons, skunks, foxes, cats and dogs are the most common carriers of the virus.

Transmission

The virus is transmitted through the saliva of infected animals and generally enters the body through a wound, however it can not penetrate through intact skin.

Symptoms

The typical incubation period for rabies is 1-3 months but can vary from 1 week to 1 year. The initial symptoms of rabies are fever with pain and unusual or unexplained tingling, pricking, or burning sensation at the wound site. As the virus continues to spread through the central nervous system, progressive and fatal inflammation of the brain and spinal cord develops.

There are two forms of the disease: furious and paralytic.
  • Symptoms of furious rabies: hyperactivity, excitable behavior, hydrophobia, and aerophobia, or fear of drafts or fresh air. Death occurs due to cardio-respiratory arrest.
  • Symptoms of paralytic rabies: gradual paralyzation in the muscles starting at the site of the scratch or bite. A coma will occur and death will follow. Paralytic rabies is often misdiagnosed.
Prevention

Rabies is 100% preventable with a rabies vaccination. By vaccinating your dog you are preventing the spread of rabies to humans and other mammals. These vaccinations are extremely cost effective and reduce the deaths attributable to rabies. Talk to your veterinarian about getting your dog vaccinated today!

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Why Do Dogs Have Wet Noses?

What Makes a Dog’s Nose Wet?

The wetness of a dog’s nose comes from a mixture of saliva and mucus. Their noses secrete a thin layer of mucus but dogs add even more mucus and saliva by licking their noses frequently.

Having a wet nose serves a few vital functions for dogs. First, a moist nose helps dogs to regulate their body temperature. Because dogs don’t have sweat glands all over their bodies, they rely on sweat glands in their noses and the pads of their feet to help maintain their temperatures.

A moist nose also aids to their amazing sense of smell. When a dog licks their nose, they are also helping themselves to smelly even more deeply. When doing this, the dog’s tongue picks up some of the scent particles trapped in his nose’s mucus. When he touches his tongue to an olfactory gland on the roof of his mouth, it allows him an even more distinct reading of the chemical compounds that make up odors.

My Dog’s Nose Is Dry, Should I Be Worried?

It is not abnormal for your dog to have a dry nose at times. A dog’s nose my be dry after waking up from a long sleep simply because they haven’t been awake to lick it. Sleeping in a warm room with low humidity levels may also contribute to a dry nose. Before worrying, see if his nose becomes more moist throughout the day.

Some dog breeds may also just have drier noses; flat faced breeds can’t always reach their nose to lick it. Also, older dogs may produce less mucus causing their nose to be more dry.

When to Worry About a Dog’s Dry Nose

Contact your veterinarian if you notice changes in the color of the nose, bleeding, cracking, scaling, if there are any lumps or bumps round the nose, or if your dog is acting unusual.

 

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Caring for an Abandoned Puppy

Raising an orphaned puppy can be extremely time consuming but very rewarding. Mother’s may abandon their pups for many reasons, including failure to produce milk, an illness in the puppy, or an illness or problem with the mother herself.

What Problems Might I Encounter When Raising an Abandoned Pup?
Hypothermia

Puppies lose heat far more quickly than an adult dog, as such, they rely on their mother for radiant heat to sustain a normal body temperature.

If the mother has abandoned the puppy, that puppy will need an alternate heat source such as an incubator, heat lamp, heating pads, or a warm water bottle. However, heating the pup too rapidly may cause stress on him, so it’s important to heat gradually.

Dehydration

Dehydration occurs when the puppy is not getting an adequate source of fluids or when he is in an environment with low humidity. In order to maintain a humid environment for the puppy, place a damp towel near it’s basket.

Two signs that a puppy is dehydrated is the loss of elasticity in the skin as well as dry and sticky gums in the mouth. Hypothermia can also lead to dehydration.

Hypoglycemia or low blood sugar

Symptoms of hypoglycemia include severe depression (a “floppy” puppy), muscle twitching, or seizures. Hypoglycemia can be easily treated with a few drops of a sugar solution or honey on the tongue.

How Should I Feed an Abandoned Puppy?

Formula specifically made for puppies will provide all of the puppy’s nutritional requirements until they are 3-4 weeks old. Around this time the puppy will be ready to start eating moistened solid food. Follow the directions listed on the formula for how it should be prepared, the temperature, and how much the puppy should get. It is important not to feed the puppy regular milk because it can cause diarrhea, which can then lead to dehydration.

Bottle feeding will be the easiest way to feed the puppy most of the time, however, if you are having issues, contact your veterinarian. Bottles need to be marked so you know if the puppy is getting enough formula. They should also be sanitized in boiling water between each feeding.

The hole in the nipple of the bottle should allow formula to drip out slowly when you turn the bottle upside down and puppies should be eating every 2-3 hours, even through the night.

How to Get the Puppy to Urinate and Defecate

Puppies will need help to urinate and defecate for the first 2-3 weeks of their lives. To do this, rub a cotton ball or tissue moistened with warm water over the genitals and anus of the puppy after each feeding. This is important or else the puppy could become constipated.

When Does the Puppy Eat From a Bowl?

Around 14 to 16 days, the puppy will open it’s eyes and this is when the weaning process should take place. Place the formula in a flat dish and encourage the puppy to drink by either smearing some around its mouth, or by gently dipping their nose into a small amount. By 4 to 5 weeks, the puppy should be able to eat enough moistened solid food to meet its needs. If your puppy does not want to eat, consult your veterinarian.

When Should I Vaccinate?

It’s recommend that puppies be vaccinated at 8 weeks. However, your vet may recommend a different timeframe if your puppy missed out on colostrum, the first milk feed from the mother that is rich in antibiotics.

 

As always, consult your veterinarian if you find an abandoned puppy or have questions about caring for one.

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How Does Heartworm Preventative Work?

You’ve been giving your beloved furry best friend heartworm preventative for quite some time, right? But have you ever wondered how it actually works?

Contrary to what you may think, heartworm preventatives do not actually stop the infection from occurring. Heartworm medications kill the larval heartworms that have made it into your dog’s body during the past month. This is why it is crucial that heartworm preventatives be administered strictly on schedule according to its instructions. Unfortunately, these medications will NOT kill adult heartworms that are already present in your dog’s body.

Heartworm preventative can be administered topically, orally, or through an injection. The active ingredients in monthly heartworm medications kill any larvae that may have been in the system for the past 30 days, they do not actually stay in the bloodstream for thirty days. It takes longer than 30 days for the larvae to develop, therefor medication is only needed once a month.

In order to buy heartworm preventative, you must have a prescription from your veterinarian. Your vet will also require that your dog be tested for heartworms prior to taking the medication. If your dog has heartworms, taking the preventative can actually be life-threatening.

For more information, talk to your veterinarian.

 

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Heartworms and Your Dog

What are Heartworms?

Heartworms are foot-long worms that live in your dog’s heart, lungs, and associated blood vessels. They can cause heart failure, lung disease, and severe damage to other organs in the body.

How are they transmitted?

Heartworms are transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. In order to better understand how heartworms are transmitted, let’s take a look into their lifecycle. A heartworm goes through four stages – the first two occur in the mosquito and the last two occur inside the final host.

Mosquitos that bite an infected source suck up baby worms called microfilaria that circulate in the bloodstream of the source. Once inside the mosquito, the baby worms then develop and mature into the “infected stage” larvae over a period of 10-14 days. The mosquito then transfers the infected larvae to a new host, like your dog, when it is bitten.

Once inside the new host, the larvae mature into adult heartworms. This process can take around 6 months and once matured, heartworms can live for 5 to 7 years in dogs.

Signs of heartworms in dogs

-mild persistant cough

-reluctance to exercise

-fatigue after moderate activity

-appetite loss

-weightloss

Dogs with a large number of heartworms may develop a blockage which can lead to cardiovascular collapse called caval syndrome. Caval syndrome is marked as a sudden onset of labored breathing, pale gums, and dark bloody or coffee colored urine. Without emergency surgery to remove the blockage, most dogs do not survive.

Even if your dog isn’t showing any of these signs, it doesn’t necessarily mean your dog does not have heartworms. Most dogs don’t show any symptoms in the early stages of the disease, however, the longer the infection persists, the more likely symptoms will appear.

Testing and prevention

All dogs should be tested annually for heartworms and should be on heartworm medication as soon as possible. Because heartworms can live up to 7 years, each mosquito season can lead to an increasing number of worms in an infected pet, so it’s important that your dog be on heartworm prevention.Talk to your veterinarian if you have future questions prevention.

Treatment

If your dog tests positive for heartworms it can be treated. Your veterinarian will first want to stabilize your dog if he is showing signs of disease. They may also recommend that your dog be on antibiotics before treating the heartworms. Once your dog is stable, your vet will follow the guidelines set by the American Heartworm Society to attack the heartworms. Around 6 months after treatment is completed, your dog should be tested again to confirm that all heartworms have been eliminated.

Recovery

Recovery can take months and it is very important that your dog take it easy until completely healed. Your dog may be lethargic from the treatment but if he is not, that doesn’t mean its okay to resume normal activities. Restrict their exercise, physical exertion increases the rate at which the heartworms cause damage in the heart and lungs. If your dog doesn’t want to eat his kibbles, try making a dog-friendly soup for them, if they still won’t eat contact your veterinarian.

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Interesting Facts About Dogs

-Almost all dogs, except the Chow Chow and the Sharpei, have pink tongues.

-Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever, Beagle, Dachshund, and German Shepherd are the top five favorite dog breeds in the United States.

-The most popular name for a dog is Max.

-There are more than 150 dog breeds which are divided into 8 different classes: sporting, non-sporting, terrier, toy, herding, and miscellaneous.

-Dogs sweat through the pads on their feet.

-The most successful mountain rescue dog was a Saint Bernard named Barry, who saved 40 lives during the 1800s.

-Greyhounds can reach a top speed of 45 miles per hour.

-All dogs are descendants of wolves.

-A dogs whiskers are touch-sensitive hairs that can sense minute changes in airflow.

-Puppies are blind, deaf, and toothless when born.

-Dogs can learn more than 1000 words.

-Puppies grow half their body weight within the first five months!

-Puppies can sleep 18 to 20 hours a day.

-Dogs with perky ears hear sounds better than dogs with floppy ears.

-Smaller dog breeds typically live longer than larger dog breeds.

-The Saluki is the world’s oldest breed, originating in Egypt around 329 B.C.

-The Mastiff is the heaviest breed weighting around 200 pounds.

-No two dogs’ nose prints are alike, just like a humans fingerprints.

-Irish Wolfhounds are the tallest breed at 30-35 inches tall.

-A Russian dog named Laika was the first animal in space, traveling around Earth in 1957.

-Dogs see best at dusk and dawn.

-Dogs aren’t actually colorblind, they see shades of black and white as well as blues and yellows.

-A dog’s sense of smell is reduced by up to 40 percent when he’s overheated and panting.

 

 

 

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Large Dog Breeds with Minimal Shedding

Giant Schnauzer

Picture and Info via AKC.org

  • Temperament: Loyal, Alert, Trainable
  • Height: 25.5-27.5 inches (male), 23.5-25.5 inches (female)
  • Weight: 60-85 pounds (male), 55-75 pounds (female)
  • Life Expectancy: 12-15 years
  • Grooming: No Shedding/Frequent Baths

Komondor

Picture and Info via AKC.org

  • Temperament: Loyal, Dignified, Brave
  • Height: 27.5 minimum inches (male), 25.5 minimum inches (female)
  • Weight: 100 pounds or more (male), 80 pounds or more (female)
  • Life Expectancy: 10-12 years
  • Grooming: No Shedding/Frequent Baths

Portuguese Water Dog

Picture and Info via AKC.org

  • Temperament: Affectionate, Adventurous, Athletic
  • Height: 20-23 inches (male), 17-21 inches (female)
  • Weight: 42-60 pounds (male), 35-50 pounds (female)
  • Life Expectancy: 11-13 years
  • Grooming: Seasonal Shedding/Daily Brushing

Airedale

Picture and Info via AKC.org

  • Temperament: Friendly, Clever, Courageous
  • Height: 23 inches
  • Weight: 50-70 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 11-14 years
  • Grooming: 2-3 Times Weekly Brushing Prevents Shedding

Irish Water Spaniel

Picture and Info via AKC.org

  • Temperament: Playful, Hardworking, Brave
  • Height: 22-24 inches (male), 21-23 inches (female)
  • Weight: 55-68 pounds (male), 45-58 pounds (female)
  • Life Expectancy: 12-13 years
  • Grooming: Weekly Brushing

Standard Poodle

Picture and Info via AKC.org

  • Temperament: Active, Proud, Very Smart
  • Height:  over 15 inches (standard)
  • Weight: 60-70 pounds (male standard), 40-50 pounds (female standard)
  • Life Expectancy: 10-18 years
  • Grooming: Frequent Baths/Minimal Shedding

Saluki Dog

Picture and Info via AKC.org

  • Temperament: Gentle, Dignified, Independent-Minded
  • Height: 23-28 inches (male), considerably smaller (female)
  • Weight: 40-65 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 10-17 years
  • Grooming: Occasional Bathing and Brushing; Occasional Shedding

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Canine Parvovirus – What You Should Know

What is Canine Parvovirus?

Canine Parvovirus, or simply Parvo, is a highly contagious viral infection that can be life-threatening to dogs, particularly puppies. The virus manifests itself in two different forms: intestinal, the most common, and cardiac.

Intestinal Parvo

Intestinal Parvo affects the body’s ability to absorb nutrients causing an affect animal to become dehydrated and weak. The mouth and eyes may become noticeably red and the heart may beat too quickly. Vomiting, bloody diarrhea, weight loss, fever, low body temperature, lethargy and lack of appetite are all symptoms of intestinal Parvo.

Cardiac Parvo

Cardiac Parvo attacks the heart muscles of fetuses and young puppies, which often leads to death.

How is Parvovirus Spread?

Parvo is transmitted by direct contact with an infected dog, as well as indirected contact through feces and vomit. Feces contain heavy concentrations of the virus, so when a dog sniffs the infected stool, the healthy dog can become infected.

Parvo can also live in soil for up to a year and is resistant to most cleaning products. If you have an infected area, wash it with a concentrated bleach solution. Bleach is one of the few disinfectants that can kill the virus. If you have had a dog or puppy with Parvo in your house, it’s best not to have a puppy in that home for several years

Kennels and dog shelters can be a breeding ground for Parvo due to the number of unvaccinated puppies.

How is Parvo Diagnosed?

Your veterinarian can diagnose your pup with a physical exam and testing specifically for the disease. Other testing may be done to see if the virus has affected certain areas of your dog or puppy.

Treatment

Parvo is a viral infection so there is no cure for it, however the disease is treatable. The treatment focuses on curing the symptoms and preventing secondary bacterial infections. Intravenous fluids and nutrition therapy combat the dehydration and electrolyte loss your dog has experienced from diarrhea and appetite loss. Medication to help with vomiting may also be given, as well as medicine to fight parasites.

Prognosis

The survival rate for a dog is about 70% when treated in a hospital, however death can still occur. Puppies have a much lower survival rate because they do not have a fully developed immune system.

How can Parvo be Prevented?

VACCINATIONS! Parvo vaccinations are available. Puppies should get their first vaccines at 6-8 weeks of age, while boosters should be administered in 3-week intervals until the puppy is 4 months old, and then again at 1 year and every year after that.

AVOID EXPOSURE.Limit the time your puppy is around unvaccinated dogs. Public areas should be avoided until your puppy is fully vaccinated.

CARRY YOUR PUPPY. Walking where other dogs have walked, urinated, and/or defecated can increase your puppy’s chance of contracting Parvo.

CLEAN PROPERLY. As mentioned above Parvo can live in soil and can survive on food bowls, shoes, clothing, carpets, and floors. Regular household disinfectants WILL NOT kill the disease. Clean contaminated areas with a concentrated bleach solution, 1/2 cup of bleach to one gallon of water. Areas that are not able to be cleaned with bleach ay remain contaminated.

Parvo treatments can be very costly, so it’s important that your get your puppy his vaccinations as soon as possible. If you suspect your puppy or dog has Parvo, call your vet immediately.
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