Animal Shelters: The Different Types

Not all animal shelters are alike. Some shelters are operated by cities or counties and are supported by resident’s tax dollars. Animal Control Officers are usually the ones responsible for bringing abandoned or stray animals to these shelters. Some shelters are independently run and rely on charitable contributions to pay expenses. There are even shelters associated with national groups such as the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) which provides guidelines on operating the shelter.

Shelters also differ in the kinds of services they provide, which are usually dependent on their operating budgets. Unfortunately, many shelters supported by local taxes have small budgets. Other shelters supported by animal rights groups and ones that receive private donations, have bigger budgets and are able to provide more services to a larger number of dogs.

But no matter where the financial support for a shelter is coming from or the size of its budget, there are dedicated staff members and volunteers in every shelter who truly care about the welfare of the animals in their care.

There are many reasons animals end up in a shelter. Some pets are there simply because their owners can no longer care for them. Owners will bring their dog to a shelter for a variety of reasons. They may be moving and can’t take their dog with them; the dog may have serious health problems and an owner cannot afford to pay the costs; a family no longer has time for the dog because they have a new baby; or the family member who was the pet’s owner has gone away to college, or perhaps has died.

Some unfortunate dogs are brought to animal shelters because they are homeless or they were rescued from an abusive owner.

The extent of care an animal receives after being surrendered to a shelter depends on the shelter staff and the financial status of the shelter. Some shelters will do an in-depth evaluation which includes obtaining a history of the dogs health and its behavior in its former home, if it had a home. Most shelters have a part-time veterinarian on staff, or if they cannot afford it, will have vets who volunteer their time to help these defenseless animals. Dogs will be screened for different diseases and an assessment will be made of the animal’s temperament and behavior in the shelter. Shelters with budget constraints are able to provide only a minimal evaluation.

If you want to adopt a dog from a shelter, there are several steps you must take. These usually include filling out an application, choosing the right dog for you, signing a contract for adoption, and paying a fee. Some shelters have a waiting period of 24 hours before a dog can be picked up by its new parent or parents. The purpose of this “waiting period” is to give the adoptive parent or parents time to think about their decision and voice any concerns they may have about the dog they chose. During the waiting period, the shelter will put a ‘hold’ on the dog you have selected so no one else can adopt it while you are waiting for the 24 hour time frame to end.

If you do adopt from a shelter, it can be overwhelming to see the number of dogs you have to choose from. A dog’s size, temperament, age and sex are important traits to be considered when deciding on the “right” dog. Be aware that a caged dog does not always display the same behavior it would if in a home. Don’t do yourself a disfavor by overlooking the dogs that are quiet, scared, or very excited. Once a dog is in the loving environment of your home, the chances are excellent that you will have adopted the best friend you’ve ever had. The shelter staff should be able to tell you about each dog’s temperament and personality.

Many shelters will neuter and spay all dogs before they can be adopted. Smaller, less well-financed shelters may only be able to provide you with a certificate that will pay for a portion of the surgery. Most of the dogs will have been wormed and vaccinated before being put up for adoption.

In most cases there will be an adoption fee that has to be paid to the shelter and you will be required to spay or neuter the dog if it has not already been done. If the dog has had any health problems while at the shelter, you may be asked to help pay some of those costs. This will be different at every shelter.

Some shelters will offer a trial period or “trying out” period to let you take your chosen dog home and see how it behaves in the new environment. It’s very rare that you’ll take home a dog with serious behavioral or medical problems. These things are usually discovered while the dog is still in the shelter.

Adopting a dog from an animal shelter can be incredibly rewarding. Most adoptive dog parents say they are happy that they were able to save the life of a wonderful animal by giving it a new and loving home. The sad fact is that between 4 and 6 million dogs and cats are euthanized in animal shelters every year. Every shelter is filled with dogs who were wonderful, loving pets and will continue to be great pets once they become a beloved member of its new family.

Animal shelters provide an invaluable service by providing safe havens for pets and matching them up with new, loving owners. Adopting an animal from a shelter can be a wonderful experience. If you’re looking for a new “best friend”, a shelter is a great place to find the right dog for you.

Since 1990, Winston’s Joint System and Winston’s Pain Formula have helped heal over twenty thousand dogs from all over the world. Our staff specializes in hip dysplasia, arthritis and all joint, pain and mobility issues.

There is an excellent chance we can help your dog, so please contact us at: www.dogshealth.com or call our toll free number at 888-901-5557.

Does Your Dog Have Trouble:

  • Walking?
  • Standing?
  • Getting up?

 

Animal Shelter Adoptions

There are some important questions you need to ask about the health of any dog you’re considering adopting from an animal shelter. Most dogs available for people to adopt from city or county operated animal shelters are mentally stable and physically healthy.

Unfortunately, some dogs being offered for animal shelter adoptions have been abused or neglected by their former owners. Sometimes they have suffered from an illness or disease that might create problems for someone who wants to adopt a dog that will be with them for as long as possible and also won’t require a lot of expensive medical treatments.

To be fair to both yourself and the dog you’re considering for adoption, the questions you should ask the animal shelter staff are:

(1) Has the dog been spayed or neutered? It’s important to know the answer if you don’t want to breed the dog or bear the expense of having the procedure done;

(2) Are all the dog’s vaccinations up to date? Most dogs offered by shelters have had their vaccinations brought up to date, but ask if the dog has just arrived and whether the shelter has had time to give the dog any needed vaccinations;

(3) Has the dog needed any medical treatments since it arrived at the shelter? If it has, what treatments were given and what were they for? This will help you determine whether the dog may acquire certain illnesses in the future;

(4) Does the dog currently require any medications?

(5) Is the dog’s breed or breeds known to the staff? This will help you in understanding what types of health conditions the dog is predisposed to due to its breed, or mixture of breeds;

(6) Does the dog have any behavioral issues? Was the dog given up because it was dangerous or had serious behavior issues? This could definitely become a problem for anyone with small children or who has other dogs or cats in the home;

(7) How long has the dog been at the shelter? If the dog has been there for more than six months there’s a good chance that it may be suffering from mental distress after being cooped up and abandoned for such a long length of time;

(8) What kind of personality does the dog have? If it’s boisterous or overly active, it may not be appropriate for a family or even for a single person who has many time commitments in their life;

(9) Does the dog play well with the other dogs in the shelter or is it aggressive towards them?

If you’re considering an animal shelter adoption, you need to find out the answers to these questions before committing yourself to adopting your first, or next “best friend.”

Since 1990, Winston’s Joint System and Winston’s Pain Formula have helped heal over twenty thousand dogs from all over the world. Our staff specializes in hip dysplasia, arthritis and all joint, pain and mobility issues.

There is an excellent chance we can help your dog, so please contact us at: www.dogshealth.com or call our toll free number at 888-901-5557.

Does Your Dog Have Trouble:

  • Walking?
  • Standing?
  • Getting up?

 

Should a Dog be Walked in the Rain?

Your dog needs to be walked every day but you can’t always depend upon the weather being cooperative. Rain is one of the most common problems a dog owner encounters when the weather turns bad.


Should your dog be walked in the rain or should you try skipping the dog’s regular walk and just let it outside for a few moments to take care of its biological functions?

Almost every veterinarian will agree that there’s nothing wrong with walking your dog in the rain if you take certain precautions. Sometimes your dog has to go potty and there is no other option.

Most dogs do not appreciate taking a stroll in the rain, particularly if the downpour is heavy. Most humans won’t appreciate it either.

Some dogs do love the rain, especially if they are retrievers or other dog breeds used to water, but most dogs want to avoid the rain and skip the walk. If you really want or need to walk your dog in the rain (if you live in an apartment or home where there is no yard to let the dog out into), you’ll need to make the experience as comfortable as possible for your dog.

If it’s raining and the weather is cold, you’ll need to be sure your dog is protected from the rain as much as possible and remain warm. Excessive exposure to a cold rain can result in hypothermia.

Always ensure your dog stays warm enough if the temperature outside drops to a really cold level.

One of the easiest ways to make it painless for both you and your dog when you have to walk in the rain is to look for areas with shelters that will block the rain. If you can find a covered area or one that has trees that block out some of the rain, it will limit the amount of rain that your dog – and you -have to endure.

If you live where it rains a lot, you might consider purchasing some rain protection for your dog that can make walking in the rain more tolerable for your pet.

Dog rain coats help your dog stay dry in the rain. These coats are usually made from vinyl and are wind-resistant and waterproof, and come with Velcro straps to help keep the coat in place.

Dog rain boots will help keep your dog’s legs and paws from getting wet, although many dogs will refuse to wear them.

Pet umbrellas are not as common but they attach to your dog’s collar and will keep your dog protected from the rain.

After walking your dog in the rain, be sure to dry it off thoroughly using a towel. If you have a long-haired dog you may need to use a hair blower to dry both the top coat and undercoat of your dog.

Deciding whether to walk your dog in the rain is a personal decision, but if done properly and with the right apparel, it can be painless and easy for both of you, and your dog may even learn to enjoy an outing in the rain as much as it does on a dry day.

Since 1990, Winston’s Joint System and Winston’s Pain Formula have helped heal over twenty thousand dogs from all over the world. Our staff specializes in hip dysplasia, arthritis and all joint, pain and mobility issues.

There is an excellent chance we can help your dog, so please contact us at: www.dogshealth.com or call our toll free number at 888-901-5557.

Does Your Dog Have Trouble:

  • Walking?
  • Standing?
  • Getting up?

Sudden Aggression in Dogs

Aggressive dog behavior may take the form of growling, snarling, snapping, biting or lunging at people. It’s very important to determine what is causing the sudden aggression in a dog.

Aggression in dogs can be caused by behavioral issues, medical conditions or both. If a dog suddenly begins to display signs of aggression or hostility, you’ll need to know the cause, or causes, before attempting to help your dog.

Hypothyroidism can sometimes cause a dog to behave aggressively. Hypothyroidism is a medical condition in dogs that causes the thyroid gland to produce less than the normal amount of thyroid hormone. The symptoms of hypothyroidism in dogs can include weight gain, loss of energy, hair loss and sudden aggressive behavior.

When a dog is suffering from congenital or neurological problems, it may display aggressive behavior. A neurological problem caused by illness or injury can affect a dog’s judgment and behavior.

Trauma to a dog’s head, epilepsy and brain tumors can also cause sudden aggression and abnormal behavior in dogs.

Seizures that occur in the region of the brain that contributes to aggression can cause sudden behavioral problems in a dog. Certain breeds of dogs are more prone to this condition. The breeds include Cocker Spaniels, Golden Retrievers, Bull Terriers, Poodles, and Springer Spaniels.

The symptoms of this type of aggression include a sudden change of mood before a seizure, the sudden onset of violent or hostile behavior, dilated pupils, heavy salivating, and aggressive posture. After an aggressive seizure a dog may appear lethargic, sleepy, or depressed.

Obviously, aggressive behavior in a dog must be diagnosed as soon as possible because it usually will continue to get worse and it could also be a sign of something more serious. Contact your veterinarian as soon as you begin noticing any sudden changes in your dog’s behavior or the signs of aggression.

The underlying cause of the problem will have to be diagnosed before any treatment can be planned. The vet will determine what type of treatment is necessary depending on the exact cause of the aggression.

If you have children or other pets, their well-being, or even their lives, could be in danger if the aggressive dog is not diagnosed and treated.

Does Your Dog Have Trouble:

  • Walking?
  • Standing?
  • Getting up?

 

When A Dog Is Ready To Whelp

 

Is your dog about to give birth? 

The first thing to do is talk to your vet. It is important to understand the potential risks and be able to identify signs of complications. Ideally, your vet has been checking on your dog throughout the pregnancy. The vet will talk to you about preparation and may also be able to help you find the right supplies.

Knowing When Your Dog Is Ready to Give Birth

Within about 48 hours of delivery, a pregnant dog typically shows signs of nesting. These signs may include scratching at her bed and looking for a safe place to have the puppies. You should begin to take your dog’s rectal temperature once or twice a day as her due date approaches. When the rectal temperature drops below 100°F (normal body temperature is 100-102°F) this is a good sign that labor will begin within about 24 hours.

During the first stage of labor, your dog will begin to experience uterine contractions. She may also start pacing or digging. Many dogs will pant or shake. Some dogs even vomit. All of this is considered normal behavior and typically lasts for six to 12 hours until the cervix dilates and she is ready to deliver her pups.

What You Can Do to Help

In the beginning, the best thing you can do is keep your distance while quietly observing your dog whelp. It may surprise you to learn that dogs don’t usually need much help giving birth. In fact, it is fascinating to watch a dog’s instincts take over as they whelp and nurse.

When the dog is ready to deliver a puppy, she will typically strain, or push, for about 10-30 minutes before the puppy emerges. Each newborn puppy is covered with a membrane that must be removed in order for the puppy to breathe. Most mothers instinctively do this by biting at the membrane and licking the puppy clean. If the mother does not do this within about two minutes, you will need to assist. Remove the membrane and rub the puppy clean with a towel. Clamp the umbilical cord with a hemostat and tie it with the umbilical tape or string (or, you can tie the actual cord in a knot). Cut the cord with surgical scissors on the side away from the puppy. Note: Never pull on the umbilical cord as it could cause injury.

The puppies are generally born about 45-60 minutes apart. In between pups, the mother may or may not pass the placenta from the previous pup. You might want to prevent your dog from eating the placenta because it often causes vomiting later.

About halfway through delivering the pups, the mother may need to take a break. Up to four hours may pass before she begins straining again. There is no cause for concern unless she goes longer than four hours before beginning to deliver the next pup. Hopefully, you have an idea of the number of pups and their sizes. Your vet may take x-rays around day 45 to determine the number of puppies.

Some puppies may be born tail first. This is not abnormal and is not usually a problem unless the pup seems stuck.

Signs of Complications

Call your veterinarian right away if any of the following occurs:

She does not go into labor within 24 hours of her temperature dropping below 100°F

Your dog is straining/having contractions for more than 30-60 minutes and no puppy is born

A puppy appears to be stuck in the birth canal, or the puppy is halfway out, and the mother cannot push the puppy anymore.

It has been more than four hours since the last pup, and you know there are more inside

She appears to be in extreme pain

The gestation period has reached 70 days

You have other concerns about the mother or her puppies

When in doubt, contact a veterinarian with questions. Ideally, you will already have a relationship with a vet experienced in canine reproduction.

Since 1990, Winston’s Joint System and Winston’s Pain Formula have helped heal over twenty thousand dogs from all over the world. Our staff specializes in hip dysplasia, arthritis and all joint, pain and mobility issues.

There is an excellent chance we can help your dog, so please contact us at: www.dogshealth.com or call our toll free number at 888-901-5557.

Does Your Dog Have Trouble:

  • Walking?
  • Standing?
  • Getting up?

 

Hip Dysplasia in Border Collies

Border Collies are a breed of dog known for their very active lifestyle. Sadly, hip dysplasia in Border Collies is not a rare occurrence, and the more you know about this disease, the better you will be prepared to watch your pet for any signs of this debilitating disease.

HIP DYSPLASIA IN BORDER COLLIES – WHAT IS IT?

Hip dysplasia is a degenerative condition, which can affect any dog. Although the causes may vary, the effects are always the same: loss of mobility, increasing pain, impaired gait, even behavioral and mood-changes in your dog, including snappishness and depression.

WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF HIP DYSPLASIA?

Hip dysplasia robs your dog of its most fundamental drive as an animal: to run. Our domestic pets share common roots as hunting pack-animals, like wolves. While many breeds of dogs have developed specialties, such as the ability to burrow, dig, and swim in the pursuit of prey, all dogs are literally born to run. However, hip dysplasia makes running and even walking painful, sometimes to the point where the animal has difficulty rising from a sleep-position, and resists movement. Playtime with other dogs and humans becomes too excruciating to bear. This lack of activity may result in weight gain, which compounds the discomfort of hip dysplasia. The condition may even make the dog’s hips and lower back too sensitive to touch, during brushing, grooming, bathing—even hugging! So, your dog becomes less active, isolated, disconnected, and often low-energy.

SIGNS THAT YOUR DOG MAY HAVE HIP DYSPLASIA:

  • Hobbles, or walks/trots with an irregular gait
  • Tries to keep weight off one of the rear legs
  • Starts to slow down or limp on a favorite walk or run
  • Stays in bed instead of playing outdoors
  • Whimpers or yelps when climbing stairs
  • Flinches when hip area or lower back are touched

In short, hip dysplasia can reduce your feisty, sparkling companion and playmate to a diminished creature, which barely leaves its bed.

 WHAT HAPPENS IN HIP DYSPLASIA – WHY DOES IT HURT?

Dysplasia is simply the dislocation of a bone from its proper place. “Plasia” is the Greek word for molding, so it’s easy to visualize an architectural form, like a beam or column, separating from its stabilizing molding.  Hip dysplasia or displacement is one of the best-known types of dysplasia in dogs.

The degenerative process of hip dysplasia is gradual, and so the onset of symptoms—the pain, specifically—also is somewhat gradual, taking place over the course of years. In simple terms, the two bones of the hip joint shift out of alignment. The structure of a dog’s hip bones is similar to our human hip formation, consisting of a precisely fitted ball-and-socket joint. This is called a “spheroidal” joint, referring to the spherical head of the distal or articulating bone, which fits into the cup-like cavity of the accompanying bone.

The purpose of joints is to provide movement to the body. A healthy canine spheroidal joint controls this movement with the support of muscles, ligaments and tendons. The ends of the bones are covered in tough cartilage, and lined with synovial membrane, with contains a small amount of synovial fluid as lubricant. In fact, the ball and socket joint is the most mobile in the body – in both dogs and humans.  The design allows the articulating or distal bone to rotate around three main axes with a common center, allowing the leg (or, in the case of the elbow ball and socket, the arm) an extremely versatile range of movement. The ability to swivel, pivot and rotate with speed and agility is what makes dogs great hunters.

In the case of the hip, the articulating or distal bone is called the femur. The cup-shaped socket bone is called the acetabulum, located on the pelvis.

Perhaps because they are such hand-working structures, the ball and socket joints are prone to disease, and to simple mechanical wear and damage over time. Winston’s Joint System and Winston’s Pain Formula, two products for dogs developed by a naturopathic doctor, offer support and relief for many conditions affecting the joints, including hip dysplasia and osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory diseases which also are common in dogs, attacking the cartilage, muscles and membrane linings of cartilage and joints.


 

HERE’S THE BREAKDOWN:

  • Hip dysplasia results in several symptoms which reduce mobility and cause pain:
  • The muscles and joints become lax, and the joint capsule, a strong band of connective tissue which circled the bones for added stability, loses its elastic strength.
  • As this happens, the articular (working) surfaces of the two bones lose contact with each other. The bones slowly separate as the soft tissues around the joint degenerate. The disease may affect both hips, or only the right or left.

With the loss of protective scaffolding between the bone surfaces, the nerves in the bone-endings themselves are exposed. When bone touches bone, there is acute pain. In addition, the loss of tensile strength of the supporting tendons, muscle and cartilage mean that other structures in the hip and leg must compensate in terms of weight-bearing and movement. This unnatural compensation may cause fatigue, pain, and may even cause the dog to injure itself—running to catch a Frisbee, or climbing stairs, for instance.

WHAT CAUSES HIP DYSPLASIA?

Experts disagree as to the source of hip dysplasia in dogs.

  • TOO MUCH FOOD? One theory is that feeding a young, growing dog too many calories early in its development contributes to the disorder.
  • TOO MUCH EXERCISE? Another theory is that too much exercise, or the wrong kind of exercise, or simply too much high-impact exercise, such as fetching, jumping and catching a ball or Frisbee on concrete, contributes to hip dysplasia.

These theories are not conclusive, though of course appropriate nutrition and training are essential to the health and well-being of any pet.

A factual observation about this condition is that hip dysplasia tends to affect large breeds more so than smaller dogs. This, too, is relative—it is possible for small dogs to become affected by hip dysplasia, too.  However, we correctly associate the condition most frequently with big breeds.

These breeds do carry a genetic predisposition toward the condition. It is also true that purebreds, especially in these large dogs, are most likely to become vulnerable to hip dysplasia, therefore calling upon informed and responsible breeding practices.

But here’s the thing: many of us fall in love at the animal shelter. We may generously rescue a dog whose history is entirely unknown. A darling “Shepherd mix” from the pound may represent a complex genetic history, a history to which we have no access. Medical problems may indeed manifest down the line, and hip dysplasia could be one of these. This condition is common, and is not a death-sentence. Winston’s Joint System and Winston’s Pain Formula offer a holistic, gentle and effective way to manage your dog’s hip dysplasia, from the first signs of stiffness, discomfort or loss of mobility.

 WHAT YOU CAN DO:

Our first instinct as dog-lovers is to stop the pain. Sometimes our decision-making process is clouded by emotion—guilt, fear, even panic when we see our beloved canine companion suffering. Many conventional treatments for hip dysplasia in dogs have side-effects, or simply don’t work.

  • If your dog is clearly in pain, schedule a visit with your veterinarian. An X-ray examination will be recommended as a first step.
  • Monitor your dog’s weight. Obesity makes hip dysplasia worse. If your dog becomes less active, weight-gain may become a challenge. Eliminate treats, and if possible, offer your dog low-impact exercise like stretching and swimming.
  • Remove unnecessary physical stressors from your dog’s life.
  • Replace stairs with a ramp while your dog is recovering, to prevent further damage to the damaged hip.
  • Provide a padded dog-bed—sleeping on hard surface may increase the inflammation associated with hip dysplasia. A gel-bed, which actually contains a soft jelly that conforms to your dog’s body, relieves pressure from sore joints.
  • Experiment with low-heat heating pads or fleece-covered hot water bottle, as well as gentle massage, as ways to relax your dog and provide comfort during the healing process.

Bringing a dog into your life requires a leap of faith, and a demands commitment to that dog’s health and well-being. It is virtually impossible verify the genetic “blueprint” of any animal, even if the animal is pedigreed and purchased through a breeder. Recessive genetic tendencies are difficult to identify, and may take us by surprise. Because we are unable to identify the sources of this condition, realistically it is not possible to truly prevent it. Avoiding large breeds and purebreds may be one precaution, but many dogs who are not in either of these categories do experience  hip dysplasia as well.  With this in mind, advanced formulas and ongoing research continue to offer non-invasive, non-intrusive, gently effective treatments for the common canine condition known as hip dysplasia.

Since 1990, Winston’s Joint System and Winston’s Pain Formula have helped heal over twenty thousand dogs from all over the world. Our staff specializes in hip dysplasia, arthritis and all joint, pain and mobility issues.

There is an excellent chance we can help your dog, so please contact us at: www.dogshealth.com or call our toll free number at 888-901-5557.

Does Your Dog Have Trouble:

  • Walking?
  • Standing?
  • Getting up?

Hip Dysplasia in Basset Hounds

People usually never think about the problem of hip dysplasia in Basset Hounds because a common misconception is that smaller dogs never suffer from hip dysplasia. Unfortunately, this is not true.

HIP DYSPLASIA IN BASSET HOUNDS – WHAT IS IT?

Hip dysplasia is a degenerative condition, which can affect any dog. Although the causes may vary, the effects are always the same: loss of mobility, increasing pain, impaired gait, even behavioral and mood-changes in your dog, including snappishness and depression.

WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF HIP DYSPLASIA?

Hip dysplasia robs your dog of its most fundamental drive as an animal: to run. Our domestic pets share common roots as hunting pack-animals, like wolves. While many breeds of dogs have developed specialties, such as the ability to burrow, dig, and swim in the pursuit of prey, all dogs are literally born to run. However, hip dysplasia makes running and even walking painful, sometimes to the point where the animal has difficulty rising from a sleep-position, and resists movement. Playtime with other dogs and humans becomes too excruciating to bear. This lack of activity may result in weight gain, which compounds the discomfort of hip dysplasia. The condition may even make the dog’s hips and lower back too sensitive to touch, during brushing, grooming, bathing—even hugging! So, your dog becomes less active, isolated, disconnected, and often low-energy.

SIGNS THAT YOUR DOG MAY HAVE HIP DYSPLASIA:

  • Hobbles, or walks/trots with an irregular gait
  • Tries to keep weight off one of the rear legs
  • Starts to slow down or limp on a favorite walk or run
  • Stays in bed instead of playing outdoors
  • Whimpers or yelps when climbing stairs
  • Flinches when hip area or lower back are touched

In short, hip dysplasia can reduce your feisty, sparkling companion and playmate to a diminished creature, which barely leaves its bed.

 WHAT HAPPENS IN HIP DYSPLASIA – WHY DOES IT HURT?

Dysplasia is simply the dislocation of a bone from its proper place. “Plasia” is the Greek word for molding, so it’s easy to visualize an architectural form, like a beam or column, separating from its stabilizing molding.  Hip dysplasia or displacement is one of the best-known types of dysplasia in dogs.

The degenerative process of hip dysplasia is gradual, and so the onset of symptoms—the pain, specifically—also is somewhat gradual, taking place over the course of years. In simple terms, the two bones of the hip joint shift out of alignment. The structure of a dog’s hip bones is similar to our human hip formation, consisting of a precisely fitted ball-and-socket joint. This is called a “spheroidal” joint, referring to the spherical head of the distal or articulating bone, which fits into the cup-like cavity of the accompanying bone.

The purpose of joints is to provide movement to the body. A healthy canine spheroidal joint controls this movement with the support of muscles, ligaments and tendons. The ends of the bones are covered in tough cartilage, and lined with synovial membrane, with contains a small amount of synovial fluid as lubricant. In fact, the ball and socket joint is the most mobile in the body – in both dogs and humans.  The design allows the articulating or distal bone to rotate around three main axes with a common center, allowing the leg (or, in the case of the elbow ball and socket, the arm) an extremely versatile range of movement. The ability to swivel, pivot and rotate with speed and agility is what makes dogs great hunters.

In the case of the hip, the articulating or distal bone is called the femur. The cup-shaped socket bone is called the acetabulum, located on the pelvis.

Perhaps because they are such hand-working structures, the ball and socket joints are prone to disease, and to simple mechanical wear and damage over time. Winston’s Joint System and Winston’s Pain Formula, two products for dogs developed by a naturopathic doctor, offer support and relief for many conditions affecting the joints, including hip dysplasia and osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory diseases which also are common in dogs, attacking the cartilage, muscles and membrane linings of cartilage and joints.


 

HERE’S THE BREAKDOWN:

  • Hip dysplasia results in several symptoms which reduce mobility and cause pain:
  • The muscles and joints become lax, and the joint capsule, a strong band of connective tissue which circled the bones for added stability, loses its elastic strength.
  • As this happens, the articular (working) surfaces of the two bones lose contact with each other. The bones slowly separate as the soft tissues around the joint degenerate. The disease may affect both hips, or only the right or left.

With the loss of protective scaffolding between the bone surfaces, the nerves in the bone-endings themselves are exposed. When bone touches bone, there is acute pain. In addition, the loss of tensile strength of the supporting tendons, muscle and cartilage mean that other structures in the hip and leg must compensate in terms of weight-bearing and movement. This unnatural compensation may cause fatigue, pain, and may even cause the dog to injure itself—running to catch a Frisbee, or climbing stairs, for instance.

WHAT CAUSES HIP DYSPLASIA?

Experts disagree as to the source of hip dysplasia in dogs.

  • TOO MUCH FOOD? One theory is that feeding a young, growing dog too many calories early in its development contributes to the disorder.
  • TOO MUCH EXERCISE? Another theory is that too much exercise, or the wrong kind of exercise, or simply too much high-impact exercise, such as fetching, jumping and catching a ball or Frisbee on concrete, contributes to hip dysplasia.

These theories are not conclusive, though of course appropriate nutrition and training are essential to the health and well-being of any pet.

A factual observation about this condition is that hip dysplasia tends to affect large breeds more so than smaller dogs. This, too, is relative—it is possible for small dogs to become affected by hip dysplasia, too.  However, we correctly associate the condition most frequently with big breeds.

These breeds do carry a genetic predisposition toward the condition. It is also true that purebreds, especially in these large dogs, are most likely to become vulnerable to hip dysplasia, therefore calling upon informed and responsible breeding practices.

But here’s the thing: many of us fall in love at the animal shelter. We may generously rescue a dog whose history is entirely unknown. A darling “Shepherd mix” from the pound may represent a complex genetic history, a history to which we have no access. Medical problems may indeed manifest down the line, and hip dysplasia could be one of these. This condition is common, and is not a death-sentence. Winston’s Joint System and Winston’s Pain Formula (www.dogshealth.com) offer a holistic, gentle and effective way to manage your dog’s hip dysplasia, from the first signs of stiffness, discomfort or loss of mobility.

 WHAT YOU CAN DO:

Our first instinct as dog-lovers is to stop the pain. Sometimes our decision-making process is clouded by emotion—guilt, fear, even panic when we see our beloved canine companion suffering. Many conventional treatments for hip dysplasia in dogs have side-effects, or simply don’t work.

  • If your dog is clearly in pain, schedule a visit with your veterinarian. An X-ray examination will be recommended as a first step.
  • Monitor your dog’s weight. Obesity makes hip dysplasia worse. If your dog becomes less active, weight-gain may become a challenge. Eliminate treats, and if possible, offer your dog low-impact exercise like stretching and swimming.
  • Remove unnecessary physical stressors from your dog’s life.
  • Replace stairs with a ramp while your dog is recovering, to prevent further damage to the damaged hip.
  • Provide a padded dog-bed—sleeping on hard surface may increase the inflammation associated with hip dysplasia. A gel-bed, which actually contains a soft jelly that conforms to your dog’s body, relieves pressure from sore joints.
  • Experiment with low-heat heating pads or fleece-covered hot water bottle, as well as gentle massage, as ways to relax your dog and provide comfort during the healing process.

Bringing a dog into your life requires a leap of faith, and a demands commitment to that dog’s health and well-being. It is virtually impossible verify the genetic “blueprint” of any animal, even if the animal is pedigreed and purchased through a breeder. Recessive genetic tendencies are difficult to identify, and may take us by surprise. Because we are unable to identify the sources of this condition, realistically it is not possible to truly prevent it. Avoiding large breeds and purebreds may be one precaution, but many dogs who are not in either of these categories do experience hip dysplasia as well.  With this in mind, advanced formulas and ongoing research continue to offer non-invasive, non-intrusive, gently effective treatments for this disease.

Since 1990, Winston’s Joint System and Winston’s Pain Formula have helped heal over twenty thousand dogs from all over the world. Our staff specializes in hip dysplasia, arthritis and all joint, pain and mobility issues.

There is an excellent chance we can help your dog, so please contact us at: www.dogshealth.com or call our toll free number at 888-901-5557.

Does Your Dog Have Trouble:

  • Walking?
  • Standing?
  • Getting up?

 

How to Tell If Your Dog Has Arthritis

You can tell if your dog has arthritis by watching for a number of symptoms. Arthritis in dogs is a condition affecting the skeletal system causing the joints in the legs to swell up and become painful. The disease can severely limit the ability of the dog to perform certain movements.

The most noticeable symptoms of arthritis in a dog include limping; a lack of flexibility in the legs; sustained inactivity where a dog may not move from one spot all day long; fatigue to the point of not wanting to go on its usual walks; irritability if you touch its affected limbs or joints; a recognizable change in appetite; sleep patterns that have changed significantly (the dog sleeps more during the day and may be awake at night due to pain); and an intolerance to cold, causing the dog to seek out warmer areas of the house to lie down or sleep.

Arthritis occurs in dogs normally after the age of 7 or 8 and can affect dogs of any breed. Larger dog breeds have a tendency to develop arthritis at an earlier age. Arthritis is considered a disease of old age and affects approximately one in every five dogs. However, younger dogs can also develop arthritis.

If your dog has arthritis, it may experience either mild or severe pain due to swelling of the joints.

The only way to truly know if your dog has arthritis is to consult a veterinarian who will determine if the problem is arthritis or whether the pain is due to some other cause. The vet will probably take X-rays and may perform a bone density test before making a diagnosis.

Arthritis is not a reversible condition and there is no cure for it, but the pain can be controlled by placing your dog on a daily regimen of Winston’s Joint System, a combination of three, totally-natural whole food supplements developed by a Naturopathic Doctor for his own dog. This supplement system also includes an anti-inflammatory agent to help reduce pain.

Daily exercise of some sort is recommended for any dog that has arthritis. If your dog loves water, swimming is an excellent form of exercise for dogs with arthritis because the buoyancy of the water can help by making the dog’s joints feel pain free.

Since 1990, Winston’s Joint System and Winston’s Pain Formula have helped heal over twenty thousand dogs from all over the world. Our staff specializes in hip dysplasia, arthritis and all joint, pain and mobility issues.

There is an excellent chance we can help your dog, so please contact us at: www.dogshealth.com or call our toll free number at 888-901-5557.

Does Your Dog Have Trouble:

  • Walking?
  • Standing?
  • Getting up?

 

Peanut Allergies in Dogs

Peanut allergies in dogs? Who ever heard of such a thing? This is definitely something most pet owners would probably never think about, but if a dog is allergic to peanuts it can make an animal truly miserable when it contracts the allergy.

Like other canine food allergies, peanut allergy in a dog demonstrates itself by causing itching, redness and bald spots. Some dogs will also chew on their feet and legs attempting to stop the itching.

Food allergies may seem to develop without warning but actually take a long time to develop. A food that has caused no problems in the past for a pet, can suddenly cause an allergic reaction the next time it is consumed, and the dog’s body will create histamine to fight the offending allergen.

Histamine is the chemical that causes the physical signs or symptoms of an allergic reaction in dogs, and also in people.

Histamine reactions when left untreated can cause anaphylactic shock, which can affect an animal’s breathing, heart rate or ability to maintain consciousness. In extreme cases, an animal or person in anaphylactic shock can die.

All food products consumed by humans must be labeled with a warning if the food contains peanuts or has been processed in a facility where peanuts or other nuts are also processed. Unfortunately, this warning requirement does not apply to manufactured dog food.

If you suspect your dog may have a peanut allergy, first try to eliminate any other possible substance that could cause the same reactions as peanut allergies, including environmental causes like mold and dust. Also check the labels of your dog’s food for any ingredients that don’t sound familiar, especially if you’ve started feeding your pet a new brand or type of dog food.

To help determine whether a diagnosis of peanut allergies in a dog is a viable one, a vet will do skin tests on a dog to rule out any environmental causes. In these tests, small amounts of an allergen are injected under a dog’s skin to see if it produces an allergic response from its body. If there are any positive results to the skin test, the dog may be allergic to something else in addition to peanuts.

Blood tests can also help eliminate environmental causes by combining small amounts of different allergens with samples of a dog’s blood. If an allergic reaction occurs during the test, an environmental allergy is probably the cause.

Once a veterinarian has examined and rejected any environmental probabilities, food allergies are the next tests to be conducted. To diagnose a food allergy, a veterinarian usually recommends a diet that contains only protein and carbohydrates for your dog, minus the numerous (and sometimes unhealthy) added ingredients found in manufactured dog foods. Both the protein and the carbohydrate will be derived from foods the dog has never eaten before to help determine what the dog may be allergic to. This diet will probably need to be fed to a dog for about 12 weeks.

During the special diet trial period, the veterinarian will evaluate the dog’s clinical signs. If they improve, a food allergy is likely the cause. The veterinarian will then begin to re-introduce certain ingredients of the dog’s former diet in an effort to recreate the allergic response. When an allergic response is produced, the natural assumption is that the last ingredient re-introduced to the diet is the cause of the allergic response.

Peanut allergy in dogs is not a trivial matter to a dog who develops allergic reactions that include itching, redness and bald spots on its skin. Avoiding peanuts is the best way to prevent reocurrences of this allergy which means you’ll need to read all the ingredient labels on manufactured dog foods you buy, including treats and medications, to prevent accidental consumption of peanuts.

Since 1990, Winston’s Joint System and Winston’s Pain Formula have helped heal over twenty thousand dogs from all over the world. Our staff specializes in hip dysplasia, arthritis and all joint, pain and mobility issues.

There is an excellent chance we can help your dog, so please contact us at: www.dogshealth.com or call our toll free number at 888-901-5557.

Does Your Dog Have Trouble:

  • Walking?
  • Standing?
  • Getting up?

 

History of Rimadyl

The history of Rimadyl dates back to January of 1997 when Pfizer Pharmaceuticals first introduced the drug to veterinarians. The generic for Rimadyl, Carprofen, was marketed much later. Many dog owners whose pets suffer from arthritis or hip dysplasia believe that Rimadyl has improved the quality of their dogs’ lives. However, as a responsible dog owner, you need to be aware that there is sufficient evidence proving that Rimadyl can have very serious side effects for an animal.

Some dogs have died after being prescribed Rimadyl. Most of these cases have been attributed to the unexpected and swift onset of the well-known side effects of Rimadyl.

Labrador Retrievers, as well as their cousins, the Golden Retrievers, are more prone than most breeds to developing hip dysplasia, arthritis and other debilitating joint diseases. Pfizer first reported that Labradors were particularly at risk from Rimadyl’s toxicity. Pfizer’s report on side effects that occurred during the drug’s initial post-approval phase states, “. . . approximately one fourth of all hepatic reports were in Labrador Retrievers.”

This is an alarmingly high rate of incidence and if you are the owner of a Labrador who suffers from a debilitating joint disease and your vet has prescribed Rimadyl, you need to exercise extreme caution so you are not putting your dog’s health or its life at risk. Besides Labrador Retrievers, many breeds who have been prescribed Rimadyl have experienced side effects or death from Rimadyl.

Your veterinarian should pre-screen your dog before prescribing Rimadyl. Follow-up testing and close monitoring of the dog for possible toxic reactions is equally important.

Rimadyl or its generic Carprofen are not recommended for dogs who have bleeding disorders, liver disease, inflammatory bowel disease, or are inclined to suffer from gastrointestinal ulceration.

Rimadyl should never be given along with any other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) such as aspirin, or any corticosteroids such as prednisone, prednisolone, or dexamethasone. It is also not advisable to give the drug to pregnant or nursing female dogs because it has not been tested as being safe for the mother or the unborn puppies.

Before agreeing with your vet that Rimadyl is the best solution for your dog’s joint problems, discuss the benefits of the drug against the risks. It has been widely reported that many veterinarians are not completely informed about the serious side-effects of Rimadyl.

If you decide your dog might benefit from Rimadyl and you believe that it’s worth the risks involved, ask your veterinarian to start by prescribing the lowest possible dosage that can be used to obtain relief, and then increase the dosage if necessary. The recommended dosage is one mg per pound of a dog’s weight, given twice a day. It’s possible that your dog may obtain relief at a lower dosage which might possibly help in avoiding toxicity. Some vets recommend that Rimadyl be used only for a period of several weeks, followed by several weeks off the drug to give the dog’s liver time to recover from the toxic effects of the drug.

As soon as your dog begins taking Rimadyl you need to carefully watch for the following symptoms which are signs of potential life-threatening reactions to the drug:

• loss of appetite
• refusal to drink water or an increased thirst
• vomiting – occasionally with flecks of blood in the vomit
• diarrhea
• black, tarry stools
• lethargy or unusual drowsiness
• hyperactivity or constant restlessness
• sudden aggressiveness when none was evident before
• weakness or partial paralysis
• seizures or loss of balance

If any of these symptoms occur, IMMEDIATELY STOP giving your pet the drug and take it to the vet. The earlier you discover the problem, the better the chances your dog will have a complete recovery.

Is Rimadyl a “miracle drug” for dogs or are the potential side effects too dangerous? The history of Rimadyl has been plagued with several serious problems; (1) a lack of adequate warnings about the potential serious and deadly side effects of the drug, (2) the large and unacceptable number of veterinarians who are unaware of Rimadyl’s serious side effects, and (3) the severity and sometimes sudden onset of the side effects which can result in the death of the dog being given Rimadyl.

A safer and more effective treatment for arthritis and hip dysplasia is Winston’s Joint System, an all-natural formula developed by a Naturopathic Doctor to heal his own beloved dog. For over 20 years, this long-proven formula has been providing relief from the pain and stiffness of arthritis and hip dysplasia to all breeds and ages of dogs.

If your pet suffers from any of the following joint problems, you should place it on a daily regimen of Winston’s Joint System to give welcome relief from its pain:

* Hip Dysplasia
* Arthritis
* Osteochondritis (OCD)
* Stiffness/Inflammation
* Ligament Tears
* Growing Pains
* Mobility Problems
* Joint Pains

With the information presented here, and a consultation with your vet, you should be able to decide whether the risks of administering Rimadyl are worth the possible benefits. For myself, I’d rather be safe using Winston’s Joint System than be sorry and endanger my loving dog’s health or even worse, contribute to its death.

Does Your Dog Have Trouble:

  • Walking?
  • Standing?
  • Getting up?