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Joint Issues

  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Arthritis
  • Osteochondritis (OCD)
  • Stiffness/Inflammation
  • Ligament Tears
  • Growing Pains
  • Mobility Problems
  • Joint Pain
  • Back/Spinal Problems
  • Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy (HOD)

Symptoms

Is your pet becoming less active, less playful, or desiring shorter walks? The following symptoms could be early signs of OCD, Arthritis or Hip Dysplasia.

  • Moving more slowly
  • Difficulty getting up
  • Weight shift to another leg
  • Personality change
  • Reluctant to walk, jump or play
  • Refuses using stairs or the car
  • Change in appetite
  • Change in behavior
  • Muscle atrophy
  • Lagging behind
  • Yelping when touched
  • Limping
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Archive for the ‘Pet emergencies’ Category

When A Dog Is Ready To Whelp

Saturday, January 26th, 2019

Is your dog about to give birth? Read this blog for some answers to common questions about whelping.

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.

Skunks and Dogs

Monday, December 14th, 2015


Skunks and dogs make a combination about as appealing to me as catching a whiff of a baby’s dirty diaper.

Summertime brings freely roaming skunks in some parts of the country. And it isn’t limited to the countryside either. My own dog has been sprayed twice in the last three years by skunks roaming around residential areas where we walk, and these neighborhoods haven’t seen rural countryside in years.

If your dog is unfortunate enough to be sprayed by a skunk you need to know what steps to take immediately. If your dog is lucky enough not to have been the unfortunate recipient of a skunk’s natural defense system, you’ll know what to do should it happen.

You may have heard of home-made skunk odor remedies using tomato juice or vinegar to wash off a dog who has been sprayed, but all these treatments do is cover up the odor. There is a way to remove the odor from your dog using common household items, and for this you can thank chemist Paul Krebaum who developed the recipe in 1993. Skunk spray is very oily and contains sulfur (the source of the stench), and this recipe causes a chemical reaction that breaks up those oils and neutralizes the odor.

Here’s what to do after a skunk sprays your dog:

1. If you weren’t present when your dog was attacked by the skunk, first check for bites or scratches and check the eyes for redness or discharge. If you find that your dog has been injured, you should contact your veterinarian before undertaking any de-skunking procedure.

2. Time is of the essence here – the longer you wait to begin the procedure, the harder it will be to remove the stench. You’ll want to bathe your dog outdoors or in an easy to clean area of your home like a laundry room or bathroom. If the bathing is to take place indoors, open a window to save your nose!

3. Apply 1-2 drops of mineral oil to your dog’s eyes. This will help protect your dog in case any of the de-skunking solution splashes or drips in its eyes.

4. In a large plastic container or bucket, combine 1 quart of hydrogen peroxide, 1/4 cup of baking soda and 1 to 2 teaspoons of liquid soap. Add lukewarm water if more solution is needed for larger dogs. Mix all the ingredients, being sure to stir long enough so everything is mixed together well. The solution will fizz, due to the chemical reaction of the ingredients. Use the solution immediately as it cannot be stored and saved for later use.

5. Don’t soak your dog with water prior to the de-skunking. As soon as the solution is ready, start bathing the affected areas thoroughly, massaging the solution deep into your dog’s coat. Use a sponge or washcloth for easier application. Avoid getting the solution in your dog’s eyes, ears or mouth.

6. Allow the solution to soak into your dog’s hair for at least five minutes, keeping it on longer if a strong odor is still noticeable.

7. Next rinse your dog well with lukewarm water. Repeat steps 3-5 as necessary until the odor is completely gone.

8. Dry your dog well.

NEVER place the solution in a closed container or spray bottle, as the pressure will build up and the container could burst causing serious injury to you and your dog.

Don’t use higher concentrations of hydrogen peroxide or substitute the baking soda with a similar product. The altered chemical reaction could cause severe injury to you and your dog.

Skunks and dogs just don’t make a pleasant smelling combination so you might want to print this post and save it in a place where you can easily find it if your dog ever becomes the unfortunate victim of a skunk attack.

Dog Sinus Infections

Monday, September 28th, 2015


A dog’s sinus cavities are located between its nasal cavities and skull. When a dog develops an upper respiratory tract infection it is also at risk of contracting a sinus infection.

When a dog has a sinus infection, the sinuses become inflamed and congested with fluid. This condition is often caused by fungal, viral or bacterial infection. A dog who is suffering from an upper respiratory tract infection is at the highest risk for falling victim to a sinus infection.

Insect bites or stings can also develop into a sinus infection. If a dog is overly exposed to smoke, dust, pollen or mold, its sinuses can become inflamed and lead to infection. In older dogs, health problems like abscessed teeth can often result in sinus infection.

When a dog develops a sinus infection it will sneeze often and may gag or cough. Its eyes and nose may begin to water and if the infection becomes severe, it could lead to bleeding from the nose.

A clear discharge from the eyes and nose usually is indicative of an allergy that may be due to inhaled dust or other irritants.

Dog sinus infections are often symptoms of a lesser upper respiratory tract infection or the common cold. But if the sinus symptoms last longer than two days it would be wise to make an appointment with a veterinarian.

Immediate emergency vet care is absolutely necessary if a dog develops a nosebleed. A dog with sinus infections can suffer from nosebleeds, but if they are severe, they usually are an indicator of a more serious condition.

The vet will do a complete physical exam and detailed medical history before being able to positively diagnose a dog’s sinus infection. The vet will closely examine the dog’s eyes and nose and take X-rays or an ultrasound to determine the degree of congestion.

Medication is usually prescribed to treat a dog’s sinus infection. If the vet determines that bacteria is responsible for the infection, the dog will be prescribed an antibiotic. If a fungus is responsible for the infection, anti-fungal medications will be prescribed rather than an antibiotic. If the dog’s sinus infection is viral, no medications will cure it and the infection is left to run its course.

If a dog comes down with a sinus infection it’s recommended that it stay inside the house and not go outside if it’s raining or cold. The dog should be kept as warm and dry as possible.

Why Dogs Vomit Blood

Monday, September 21st, 2015


When a dog vomits blood it is suffering from a condition known as hematemesis. Hematemesis could be a temporary condition or a sign of chronic gastrointestinal illness.

The most common reasons why dogs vomit blood are: (1) a small amount of bright red blood indicating an injury in the mouth or throat, (2) a significant amount of dark, clotted blood indicating a serious gastrointestinal condition.

Some symptoms that may accompany a dog’s vomiting of blood include: rapid weight loss, bloating, excessive thirst (this can also be a symptom of diabetes in a dog), or darkened stools.

There are some acute illnesses a vet will need to test for and exclude before the possibility of a chronic condition can be diagnosed. These include poisoning of the animal, swallowing of a foreign object, parasites in the gastrointestinal tract, or bad reactions to prescribed medications.

There are some serious chronic gastrointestinal illnesses and diseases than can also cause a dog to vomit blood, including kidney disease, tumors, bowel obstructions, or liver disease.

When a dog vomits blood, it should be considered just as serious as if it were a human vomiting blood. A responsible pet owner will call their vet for an emergency visit should their dog begin vomiting blood.

Don’t take a chance that it’s nothing serious or that the problem will go away on its own. Your pet deserves better treatment than that.

How To Clean Your Dog’s Ears

Monday, August 17th, 2015


You should clean your dog’s ears regularly to prevent bacteria buildup and possible ear infections. It’s not a difficult job when you use an ear cleaning product from your local pet store or simple household products found in your home.

If your dog has floppy ears, wax and oil will build up inside the ears. If the ears are not cleaned regularly, bacteria and yeast also accumulate, leading to ear infections. An ear infection can be painful for your dog. You’ll know when your dog’s ears are in need of cleaning because it will start rubbing its head on your rug or floor to relieve the itch or pain. A dog’s ears should be cleaned at least once a month or more frequently if your dog is prone to heavy ear secretions.

Never use peroxide or any household product meant for cleaning surfaces in your home as they can cause pain or damage to your dog’s ear.

The best way to clean your dog’s ears is to use cotton balls or Q-Tip swabs soaked in an ear cleaner purchased from the pet store. Wipe away the oil and waxy buildup in your pet’s ear, taking care not to clean in any area you can’t easily see so you don’t damage your dog’s ear drum. Let your dog shake off any excess moisture after cleaning. This helps prevent bacteria from growing in the damp areas of the ear canal.

Some dogs suffer from chronic ear infections and require a more thorough cleaning. To do this, pour a small amount of the ear cleaner in your dog’s ears, doing one ear at a time, then rub the base of each ear for 30 to 60 seconds. Your dog will then shake out the excess moisture and you can use a cotton ball or swab to clean the parts of the ear you can see.

If your dog doesn’t like to have its ears cleaned you should use treats as a reward for allowing you to clean its ears.

Ear cleaners purchased from a pet store are designed to be safe and gentle on your pet’s ears. If you want to save money or would feel more comfortable knowing exactly what you were putting in your dog’s ears, you can make your own ear cleaner. Use a mild soap and water or rubbing alcohol to clean the visible parts of your dog’s ears, being careful not to go deep into the ear canal.

Some dog owners use a homemade ear cleaner made by mixing equal parts of white vinegar and rubbing alcohol in a squirt bottle. Another homemade cleaner can be made by combining 4 ounces of rubbing alcohol, 2 tablespoons of boric acid and 1 tablespoon of glycerin. Regardless of which mixture you choose to make, be sure you shake the squirt bottle well to mix the ingredients.

Be very careful when pouring any fluid in the dog’s ears because you could damage its ear canals, leading to hearing problems or complete deafness if you are careless. To prevent the solution from getting into the ear canal, cup the dog’s ear at the base and rub well.

Cleaning your dog’s ears is an important part of a regular grooming routine. Doing this routinely will help keep your dog from developing any ear infections and you won’t have to put up with the unpleasant odor from smelly ears.

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