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Posts Tagged ‘Cancer in Dogs’

Animal Shelter Adoptions

Monday, November 16th, 2015


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.”

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.

Why Dogs Vomit

Monday, May 11th, 2015


There are many reasons why dogs vomit so if you find your dog vomiting, don’t automatically assume that your dog has an illness.

    The most common reasons why dogs vomit include the following:

(1) Eating foreign objects or plant material. If your dog has swallowed a solid object of some kind it will often vomit it back up. If the foreign object is small enough, it can pass through the intestinal system and you’ll see it in your dog’s stool. If it’s too large or has sharp edges, your dog will continue to suffer and an emergency visit to the vet for x-rays will become a necessary life-saving action.

If you believe your dog may have eaten leaves or berries from a bush, you need to be sure the plant is not poisonous. The easiest way to check is to go online to the ASPCA poison control website at http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/poison-control. There you’ll find a list of toxic and non-toxic plants, the 17 most common poisonous plants, and animal poison control FAQs.

(2) An allergy to certain foods.
If you have recently started your dog on a new diet and the vomiting began shortly thereafter, you might try mixing half of its old food with half of the new food and watch closely for changes in behavior or lingering illness. It’s possible that an intolerance or aversion to ingredients in the new food may be causing the vomiting. If you suspect this may be the cause, you can continue changing the ratio of old food to the new food to see if the vomiting goes away.

(3) Eating greasy foods or foods higher in fat content.
Table scraps or desserts can easily cause intestinal distress and vomiting in any dog. Their systems were not designed to digest rich, fatty foods that many humans eat on a daily basis. These types of food are often not healthy for us, let alone for our dogs. If your dog vomits soon after scarfing down something from your table, it’s a clear indication that you need to avoid giving it any types of food you normally eat.

Causes of vomiting that require a visit to the vet for diagnosis and treatment:
(4) Infection with parasites, viruses or bacteria can cause gastrointestinal infections also known as viral gastroenteritis. Diarrhea and vomiting are the most obvious symptoms. Many different types of bacteria and parasites can also cause GI infections and diarrhea but most of these are not serious and will go away on their own after a few days; however, others can be serious.

(5) Ulcers which can be caused by anti-inflammatory medications prescribed for skin conditions, arthritis, or other chronic health problems. Pain relief medications such as aspirin and ibuprofen inhibit a hormone-like substance that acts as a protection for a dog’s stomach lining. Prolonged use of these medications can cause severe stomach ulcers in dogs. Another less common cause of canine stomach ulcers is a mast cell cancer in the dog’s skin. Mast cell cancers release histamine which leads to stomach ulcers.

(6) Kidney Failure.
Early signs of kidney failure in dogs are increased water consumption and increased urine output. Signs of more advanced kidney failure include loss of appetite, depression, vomiting and diarrhea.

(7) Cancers.
Some possible signs of cancer that warrant a visit to your veterinarian include any new lump or bump; a change in size, shape, or consistency of an existing lump; a runny nose, especially if bloody; difficulty urinating or bloody urine; limping or a change in gait; foul breath and lethargy.

(8) Inflammatory bowel disease.
The cause of inflammatory bowel disease is unknown. Genetics, nutrition, infectious agents, and abnormalities of the immune system may all play a role. The most common signs of inflammatory bowel disease in dogs are vomiting, diarrhea, and weight loss. Vomiting is more common when the stomach or upper portion of the small intestine are affected and diarrhea is more common when the colon is involved. There is an increase in the frequency of defecation, but less stool is produced each time. There is often increased mucous or some blood in the stool. Sometimes stools become loose. Many times the diarrhea and vomiting may be irregular.

(9) Liver disease.
The early signs of liver disease include chronic intermittent vomiting and diarrhea. Vomiting is more common than diarrhea, loss of appetite, or weight loss. Drinking and urinating more often than normal may be the first signs, and a key reason for visiting the vet.

Whenever your dog continues to display any of these symptoms and the cause is not readily apparent, you should schedule an exam with your vet. Your pet’s health and life may depend upon it.

Stomach Ulcers in Dogs

Monday, April 6th, 2015


Stomach ulcers in dogs are not uncommon and can be caused by medications, an inadequate diet, or an underlying health condition. Luckily, stomach ulcers in dogs can be treated and also prevented by taking pro-active measures to help avoid the development of stomach ulcers.

Medications, especially anti-inflammatories, pain killers, and corticosteroids administered orally, will disrupt the normal balance of acids in a dog’s stomach and can destroy a dog’s stomach lining if the medications are administered over a long period of time. In addition, stress, an unbalanced diet containing excess fats, stomach injuries caused by a dog ingesting sharp objects, or poisoning can also cause stomach ulcers.

A dog who is suffering from stomach ulcers will exhibit symptoms such as:
* Chronic vomiting, even when the dog hasn’t eaten anything;
* A general lack of appetite and weight loss;
* General weakness in its actions and movements;
* Diarrhea or blood in the vomit.

Stomach ulcers in dogs are usually detected by a veterinarian when performing tests such as urinalysis, a complete blood count, ultrasound, or an endoscopic exam which will reveal any ulcers in the stomach.

To treat a dog with stomach ulcers, you will need to change your dog’s diet and regularly administer antacid drugs. The antacids will protect the dog’s stomach lining and allow the ulcers to heal. The new diet should focus on reducing fats and artificial ingredients that could cause the stomach ulcers to reoccur. Bland foods and wet foods are better than dry kibble and are easier to digest and less likely to cause harm to the stomach walls.

If your dog has persistent vomiting or diarrhea, the vet will prescribe medication. Should dehydration result from the vomiting or diarrhea, your vet may recommend a transfusion of IV fluids.

Many dog owners prefer natural remedies that can soothe the production of stomach acid and heal the stomach ulcers. Natural remedies include licorice root, aloe vera, echinacea or alfalfa.

Your vet may also recommend some supplements like L-glutamine or Quercetin which will help strengthen the dog’s immune system which is its best natural defense against the formation of stomach ulcers.

You should treat stomach ulcers in your dog as seriously as you would if you were the one who had the ulcer. If your dog continues to display one or several of the above symptoms, call and schedule an exam with your vet as soon as possible.

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.

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