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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)


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 ‘Dog Diseases’ Category

Does a Lump Mean a Dog Has Cancer

Monday, September 1st, 2014

A lump under a dog’s skin doesn’t mean a dog has cancer and you shouldn’t be alarmed if you find your pet has developed one. However, lumps under the skin aren’t always benign, so it’s important to regularly check your dog, and if you find a lump have it tested.

According to the National Canine Cancer Foundation, 3 out of every 10 dogs will develop cancer at some point in their lifetimes. It may surprise you to know that approximately 50 percent of all dogs that die after they’re 10 years old will pass away as a result of some form of dog cancer.

If a dog is lucky enough to have an owner who is vigilant about its health, a dog receiving early cancer treatment can be cured or have years added to its life.

As a responsible dog owner, you should check your dog’s skin every few weeks for any growths. If you find one, keep close watch on it for the next week or two and see if it increases in size. It could be something as simple as an insect bite which will go away in a few days. If the lump persists or grows larger, make an appointment with your veterinarian. Any lump that seems to have suddenly appeared overnight and grown rapidly should be checked to be safe.

The vet will examine your dog, checking the size of the lump and testing to see if it causes your dog any pain. The vet will remove some of the cells in the lump using a small needle so as not to hurt the dog. The purpose of this procedure is to see if any cancerous cells are visible. However, the needle aspiration is not always accurate so most vets will want to perform a biopsy on the lump to check for cancerous cells.

The vet will surgically remove a portion of the lump and the tissue surrounding it. It’s then sent to a lab for testing. The results will tell the vet whether the lump is just a fat deposit or whether it’s malignant. If it is malignant the vet will have to remove it.

If a dog has cancer, the surgical procedure it will undergo is not complicated. First, the dog is sedated, then the area around the lump is shaved and disinfected. The dog will be given anesthesia to keep it asleep and pain free while the surgery is performed.

The doctor will use a scalpel to remove the lump and all surrounding tissue. Blood vessels feeding the lump will be cauterized or tied off, and the lump is then removed. The incision is stitched up and covered with a bandage. Most dogs will have a cone placed around their neck to prevent them from licking and scratching the wound as it heals.

Cancer is more easily treated in dogs than it is in humans. Caring and loving your pet requires you to always be on the lookout for any lumps or masses under its skin that could indicate a serious problem. Never ignore a lump that is increasing in size and hope that it will go away with the passage of time.

Constipation in Dogs: Causes and Treatments

Monday, August 25th, 2014

Even dogs can get constipated occasionally. If you find that your dog has dry, hard stools, or seems to have a lot of difficulty with its bowel movements, the reason could be that your dog is constipated. Check with your vet to make sure your dog is suffering from ordinary constipation, and not some sort of infection.

Constipation in dogs can cause other health problems for your pet. Deadly toxins caused by the retention of feces in the intestinal system can accumulate in your dog’s body causing bloating, abdominal pain, and loss of appetite.

A lack of exercise and unsuitable diets often cause a dog to become constipated. Dogs need to be walked at least twice a day and always be fed a diet of nutritious dog food. One mistake many dog owners make is to feed their dog table scraps which can easily lead to a bout of constipation. Dogs aren’t the pickiest eaters so you need to watch your pet to make sure it doesn’t eat anything you have not given it.

Certain medications can also cause constipation in dogs. If your dog becomes constipated after being placed on a new medication you should bring it to the attention of your vet. But it’s not only prescription drugs that can cause constipation. It surprises many people to learn that over-the-counter flea remedies can also cause constipation in some dogs.

Psychological stress can also cause a dog to be constipated. If you believe stress is adversely affecting your dog, try giving it some extra attention every day.

Dehydration can also cause a dog to become constipated. Always be sure your dog has a steady supply of cool, clean water. Some vets will recommend feeding your dog 2 teaspoons of mineral oil in its water twice a day for a week to help ease the constipation. See the vet if your dog’s constipation does not go away and leads to lethargy and decreased appetite. If your dog begins to pass small amounts of blood in its stools you need to bring this to the attention of your vet as soon as possible.

For some dog owners the question is always “How do I know if my dog is really constipated?” Technically, your dog is constipated when its bowel movements are infrequent, difficult to pass, or when the stools are hard and dry.

There are various causes of constipation in dogs so it helps a dog owner to be aware when a pet begins exhibiting signs of this problem. This will aid in determining the probable cause of the ailment.

Symptoms of constipation in dogs can be recognized by the following signs:

Dry, hard feces;
Infrequent bowel movements;
Discharging only a small amount of liquid feces after straining hard to go;
Sudden loss of appetite;
Occasional vomiting;

You can also try adding bran to your dog’s food to see if it helps promote normal bowel movements. And make sure your dog is getting its regular exercise as this stimulates good digestion and bowel movements.

If your dog becomes constipated it will be in discomfort or pain. A visit to the vet is a good idea so your pet can be examined and undergo tests like a complete blood count and urinalysis. Sometimes abdominal x-rays or an abdominal ultrasound are necessary for correct diagnosis.

If you suspect a new medication may be causing your dog’s constipation, stop giving it those medications or supplements until you can consult with your vet.

It is very important that you do not give your dog any medications made for humans or any over-the-counter medication for constipation without first talking to your veterinarian. Some medications can be very harmful to a dog’s overall health and may even result in death.

Ear Infections in Dogs

Monday, August 11th, 2014

Chronic ear infections in dogs should be treated as soon as they are detected, because left untreated, they can result in permanent damage and hearing loss. Minor ear infections can often be treated with medication, while severe ear infections will require medical intervention by a veterinarian.

A dog’s middle and inner ear are equally susceptible to infections. The inner ear controls a dog’s sense of balance and hearing and a dog with an inner ear infection will lose its sense of balance and all or most of its hearing. If left untreated, the infection can progress to the dog’s brain and cause serious damage.

An inner ear infection in a dog is usually caused by the spread of an existing outer ear infection into the inner ear. The dark, moist environment of the inner ear can cause bacteria to multiply in the ear canal. When foreign objects or ear mites enter into a dog’s ear and the dog scratches that ear, you can almost be sure an infection will develop. Hormonal imbalances, allergies, and tumors are also known to cause ear infections. It is also possible for ear infections to be inherited from a dog’s parents and passed from generation to generation.

Dogs with droopy ears are more prone to developing ear infections than are dogs with perky, upright ears.

Symptoms of inner ear infections in dogs include:
* Odor from the ear canal
* Inflammation in the ear canal
* Violent shaking of the head
* Scratching the head and ear
* Bloody discharge from the ear
* Pain in the ear
* Drooping eyelids
* Loss of balance and coordination including circling

A veterinarian can diagnose an inner ear infection in a dog using x-rays of the head and an examination with an otoscope, an instrument incorporating a light and a magnifying lens used to examine the eardrum and the external canal of the ear.

The dog will have to be anesthetized to allow the vet to flush out the wax and other buildup within the ear before using the otoscope. If the ear drum is then found to be infected, discolored and full of fluid, a definite diagnoses of an inner ear infection is assured. The dog may not have an infection of the outer ear but if it has an inner ear infection, it will have an outer ear infection as well.

If the inner ear infection is mild it can be treated with antibiotics administered orally or by injection. Many vets will also prescribe a topical anti-fungal cream along with antibiotic ointments. For chronic or more severe infections, the middle ear has to be flushed out and then treated. It may also be necessary to cut open the ear drum to drain it of fluids.

Preventing inner ear infections requires that you feed your pet a healthy diet and see that it gets regular grooming to ward off ear infections. Early diagnosis and treatment of outer ear infections will also help prevent any inner ear infections.

Can I Give My Dog Aspirin?

Monday, May 12th, 2014

I used to wonder if I could give my dog aspirin or if it would be too dangerous, or at least would sicken him. As humans, we know that regular aspirin is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) which helps relieve our aches and pains. But did you know that it also works well for dogs to relieve their pain.

Aspirin works by blocking a dog’s body from producing prostaglandins which are the source of pain and inflammation.

Be careful and use aspirin only as a short-term solution for pain and inflammation relief due to possible health problems it can cause. If you need to keep giving your pet aspirin to relieve its pain and inflammation, ask your vet for suggestions of long term solutions that cause fewer side effects.

A word of caution: there are other pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen that humans can safely take, but both of these are very toxic for a dog. Only aspirin should be given dogs, and always in low doses. Most veterinarians recommend no more than 5mg to 10mg per pound of a dog’s weight, given once every 12 hours. If your dog weighs 20 pounds it should have no more than 200 milligrams once every 12 hours. A large dog weighing 75 pounds can safely take 750 milligrams once every 12 hours. Two of the regular 325 mg aspirins available in most stores would equal 650 milligrams and should be sufficient for dogs 75 pounds and up.

To avoid stomach problems or ulcers don’t give your dog aspirin until after it has eaten. Dogs often reject aspirin because of its unusual taste, so you may have to put the aspirin tablet in chunks of food or inside a favorite treat. Additionally, when aspirin is given without food, ulcers could form in the stomach. A common sign of a dog developing stomach ulcers is blood-tinged vomiting.

Vets recommend that aspirin not be administered in conjunction with steroids. If your dog has allergies and is taking corticosteroids, it should not be given aspirin nor should aspirin be given to dogs with ulcers or stomach lining problems.

The answer to the question “Can I Give My Dog Aspirin?” is not the same for puppies. Aspirin should never be given to puppies, as they lack the necessary enzymes to break down the aspirin which can result in severe organ damage. Aspirin is also not recommended for dogs that are pregnant as it could cause birth defects.

While aspirin is an effective pain reliever, it does not slow down the advancement of arthritis in a dog due to its negative effects on proteoglycan synthesis, needed for other normal bodily functions, and the long-term use of aspirin for arthritis can lead to premature degeneration of the dog’s joints.

Don’t give your dog aspirin as a long-term aid for hip dysplasia or arthritis pain. Its destructive side effects on joint cartilage and possible irritation of the stomach can result in stomach, liver and kidney damage.

A more effective and safer way to treat arthritis and hip dysplasia is with 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 giving relief from pain and stiffness to all breeds and ages of dogs.

Best Organic Dog Foods

Monday, May 5th, 2014

Increasingly more pet owners are searching for the best organic dog foods to feed their pets; foods that will provide their dog with quality nutrients without chemical additives. Some pet food companies are now meeting those needs by including high quality ingredients in their dog foods.

Buying organic dog food isn’t as easy as buying commercial dog food on the store shelves. Organic dog food (as well as organic foods for humans) cannot contain the synthetic chemicals that most commercially prepared dog foods use to preserve the food and lengthen shelf life.

If you choose to feed your pet organic food, it’s important to distinguish exactly what the labeling on the organic dog food means. To be labeled “organic,” a dog food must contain 95 percent organic ingredients. If the label reads, “Made with organic ingredients,” it must contain 70 percent organic ingredients. If every ingredient in the food is completely organic, the label will say, “100 percent organic ingredients.”

If you are as careful reading the labels on dog food as you are when reading the labels on your own food, you may notice the claim “made with human-grade ingredients.” However, there is no standard for what “human grade” means, which is an indication that the pet food can contain almost anything that could be construed as “human ingredients,” including chemicals. Any company can use this claim no matter what is in the food.

Organic standards are enforced by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), but these standards are not as strictly regulated as human organic labels are, so companies can break the rules without getting in trouble.

A good source for checking on which dog foods are truly organic, log on to Consumerreports.org and search on “organic pet foods” to find out which organic pet food products contain the best ingredients.

Several commercially available dog food brands do provide organic options. These brands are more expensive but they provide higher quality nutrients so your dog won’t be lacking in the necessary vitamins and minerals, and you can be sure you’re feeding your pet the best organic dry food available in the marketplace. Some of the best organic dog foods are listed below.

* Natural Balance provides an organic option consisting of natural chicken, oats, millet, barley, carrots, cranberry, potatoes, peas, spinach, tomato and parsley, all from organic sources. There are several varieties of this brand and my own dog’s favorite is the Synergy mix that contains salmon.

* Natura brand produces Innova, which also provides Karma organic dog food. This quality pet food is made from free-range organic chicken, organic grains such as rice, oats, barley and rye, and organic fruits and vegetables like beets, carrots, broccoli and cranberries. The food is packaged compostable and biodegradable material.

* Newman’s Own manufactures several varieties of organic wet dog food, dry dog food and treats for both dogs and cats. These contain natural chicken, brown rice, peas, kelp, barley, soy meal, oats, carrots and parsley. They do not contain fertilizers, steroids or artificial flavoring.

* Castor and Pollux manufactures an organic dog food made from organic chicken, brown rice, barley, peas, carrots and apples. Their Organix pet food is made with organic turkey, chicken liver, potatoes, carrots and garlic. They also have a puppy formula for owners who want to start their new pets on organic foods from the beginning of their lives.

Like human organic foods, organic foods for pets are more expensive but there are some significant benefits to feeding a dog organic dry food. Dog’s bodies weren’t designed to remove the toxins that are used in producing most commercial dog foods, and these toxins can put a pet at an increased risk of developing certain types of cancer and may also lead to liver and kidney damage.

Feeding your pet a diet of the best organic dog foods you can afford can help in reducing the risk of your pet developing one of these serious diseases.

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