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Posts Tagged ‘Canine Distemper’

Dog Medications During Pregnancy

Monday, October 12th, 2015


Giving your dog medications during pregnancy may not be a good idea for her unborn puppies. A few medications are considered safe during pregnancy, but any drug not recommended or prescribed by a veterinarian should be avoided as it could result in birth defects to the puppies or harm to the mother.

Your vet may also recommend vaccinations during your dog’s pregnancy to protect the unborn puppies from diseases like canine distemper, parvovirus, and rabies. A pregnant dog exposed to any of these diseases who hasn’t been vaccinated, is risking her life and the lives of her puppies.

The most common drugs considered safe for a female dog during pregnancy are Thryoxine which is used to treat hypothyroidism; Revolution which is a flea, tick and worm preventative; Psyllium; and insulin. Antibiotics and pain medications are sometimes given to a pregnant dog during a difficult delivery but giving a dog antibiotics during pregnancy can be unsafe.

Some antibiotics can be administered during pregnancy but carry the possibility of putting the puppies at risk by causing deformation or death of the puppies. However, allowing your pregnant dog to suffer from bacterial infection without any treatment may be just as dangerous to both puppies and the mother.

Newborn puppies are immunologically suppressed and should not be exposed to bacterial infections. Treating your pregnant dog with safe antibiotics before she delivers removes any risk that the puppies will contract a bacterial infection from her.

A dog’s pregnancy lasts approximately 63 days and for the duration of that time your dog’s diet has to be carefully monitored and so does any medication given her. Monitoring your dog’s diet and medication during pregnancy will ensure that the puppies get the nutrients they need. Being careful that your dog receives only the correct medications during pregnancy is just as important as her diet.

A high-quality, dog food is essential for the health of both the mother and her puppies. Vitamin and calcium supplements aren’t absolutely needed and should not be given without first consulting your vet.

Proper care of the mother during her pregnancy will increase the chances of her giving birth to a litter of healthy puppies.

Canine Distemper

Monday, October 20th, 2014


For many years canine distemper was one of the most deadly viral diseases affecting dogs. Since the introduction of a vaccine to combat the disease, the incidence of distemper infections has dropped considerably.

Good vaccination practices in the U.S. have played a major role in the reduction of distemper cases in this country, but unfortunately, canine distemper is still a huge problem in other parts of the world.

The canine distemper virus is an RNA virus. A variation of the canine distemper virus causes measles in humans.

Canine distemper can affect dogs of any age but is more likely to affect younger puppies rather than older dogs. This may be due to an acquired immunity resulting from a canine distemper vaccination, or to exposure to the virus, resulting in the dog developing an immunity to the virus.

The wide range of clinical signs accompanying an infection of distemper often makes it very difficult to diagnose a young dog with distemper. In some dogs, a temporary fever and a lack of appetite, sudden lethargy or mild depression, are often the only signs of the onset of distemper. Some dogs infected with the distemper virus may have discharges from the nose and eyes in addition to coughing, a fever, lack of an appetite, vomiting and diarrhea. It is not uncommon for an infected dog to display some but not all of the symptoms associated with canine distemper.

Distemper infections often go undiagnosed when an owner believes the dog just has a cold or some other non-life threatening illness. The unfortunate consequence of misdiagnosing a dog’s distemper symptoms could result in the death of the dog.

Some dogs are able to survive the initial viral infection but later develop neurologic signs in one to two weeks after becoming infected. These signs include seizures, sudden and strange changes in behavior, and constantly walking in circles. Many dogs who develop neurologic signs develop rhythmic motions or twitches. Sometimes an affected dog will act as if it’s chewing on something due to continuous contractions of the head muscles. If a dog is able to survive the initial viral infection and does not display any neurologic damage, it does not mean the dog is completely in the clear. A distemper infection can also lead to retinal damage and discoloration of the dog’s cornea. Sometimes, the dog’s skin, nose and foot pads will become very hard.

There is a period of time that the virus remains dormant after a dog is infected. The clinical signs of distemper will begin to show approximately 10 to 14 days after infection. If a puppy is vaccinated against distemper but has already been infected with the virus, the vaccination will not be effective in preventing the disease.

Currently there is no specialized treatment that can kill the distemper virus. Prevention of infection is the best way to guard your puppy or dog against canine distemper. Be sure your new puppy is vaccinated at approximately 6 weeks of age. The vaccinations will need to be continued until the puppy reaches 12 to 16 weeks of age. The distemper vaccinations are given in 3 to 4 week intervals. Injection of the vaccine has to be repeated due to interference with the vaccine from antibodies in the mother’s milk being passed on to the puppies. These antibodies prevent the vaccine from being effective in about 75% of all puppies vaccinated at six weeks of age, approximately 25% of puppies vaccinated at nine weeks of age, and only a small number of puppies vaccinated at twelve weeks of age.

The follow-up vaccinations provide protection to almost all puppies who receive the vaccine.

Canine distemper virus is found in all the body secretions from an infected animal. Raccoons and skunks are often carriers of this deadly disease, so it’s a good idea to watch your dog carefully when venturing into areas where these animals are often found. Living in the city does not automatically exclude the possibility of an infected raccoon or skunk because these animals love to raid neighborhood garbage cans when foraging for food.

Kennel Cough in Dogs

Monday, October 13th, 2014


Kennel cough in dogs is a fairly easy ailment to diagnose at home. If your dog suddenly develops a ‘hacking’ cough or constantly sounds like it’s choking on something, it could be kennel cough, known to your vet as canine infectious tracheobronchitis.

These coughing sounds can be frightening, leading you to believe something is seriously wrong with your dog; but most of the time kennel cough is not a serious condition and dogs usually recover from it without needing to undergo any treatment.

Dogs develop kennel cough if they inhale bacteria or virus particles into their respiratory tract. A dog’s respiratory tract is lined with a coating of mucus to trap infectious particles. However, there are some conditions that can weaken a dog’s natural protection mechanism and make it susceptible to kennel cough infection, and the result is an inflammation of the larynx (voice box) and trachea (windpipe).

Several conditions that can lead to kennel cough in dogs include exposure to poorly ventilated or overcrowded rooms and holding areas in kennels and animal shelters; overexposure to cold temperatures; and repeated exposure to dust or smoke from cigarettes.

Kennel cough can have multiple causes and is by no means limited specifically to the conditions listed above. One of the most common reasons for a dog to develop a case of kennel cough is a bacteria called Bordetella bronchiseptica. Most dogs that are infected with this bacteria will also become infected with a virus at the same time. Canine adenovirus, canine herpes virus, canine distemper virus, and parainfluenza virus are among these diseases, and they are more serious than kennel cough alone.

If your dog continues to have a persistent, forceful cough, listen carefully to determine if it sounds very different from the cough-like sound made by many dogs which is referred to as a “reverse sneeze.” Reverse sneezes are normal in certain dogs and breeds, and is usually caused by post-nasal drip or a slight irritation in the dog’s throat. If your dog displays other symptoms including sneezing, a runny nose, or eye discharge, you’ll probably want to have your vet check the dog to be sure the symptoms are not indicative of kennel cough or one of the viruses.

Kennel cough in dogs is a very contagious disease and a dog who has come down with it should not be allowed around other healthy dogs.

Most cases of kennel cough will resolve themselves without any kind of treatment, but medications can help speed the dog’s recovery and help minimize symptoms during the infection. Most dogs will recover completely within three weeks, but older dogs or dogs with certain medical conditions can take up to six weeks to fully recover.

A serious case of kennel cough in dogs can lead to pneumonia so it’s wise to follow up with your vet if your dog doesn’t improve within this short period of time. Also, if your dog begins breathing rapidly or acts listless it could be signs of a more serious condition

Help With Vet Bills

Monday, September 15th, 2014


In these difficult economic times many dog owners are finding that they sometimes need help paying vet bills. Fortunately, there are programs and organizations willing to help with vet bills when money is tight.

If you need spay and neuter services for your dog, most ASPCA branches often sponsor low cost spay and neuter clinics.

Many vaccination clinics set up special events during the year and offer free or inexpensive vaccines for your dog. Vaccines usually dispensed at these events include Rabies, Corona, Distemper, Hepatitis, Parvovirus, and Leptospirosis. Heartworm and parasite testing is sometimes offered free of charge also.

If your dog needs medical treatment or emergency care and you’re unable to afford such care, there are charitable organizations across the country who work with caring veterinarians to provide medical care for dogs who would otherwise go untreated.

These organizations include the following:
The American Animal Hospital Association is a companion animal veterinary association. They have a foundation called Helping Pets Fund that gives aid to sick and injured pets.

United Animal Nations which provides assistance to animal rescue organizations and helps victims of disasters, domestic violence and foreclosures to care for their pets.

Help-A-Pet assists physically and mentally challenged individuals, senior citizens and children of the working poor to provide their pets with lifesaving veterinary care.

Labrador Life Line helps individuals and rescuers care for Labrador Retrievers by providing medical assistance, supplies and transportation to foster homes and permanent homes.

The Pet Fund provides financial assistance to pet owners to help pay for medical and preventive care of a dog. The Fund also works to decrease the number of animals that end up being euthanized or surrendered to animal shelters due to preventable or treatable illnesses.

Another source of help is one of the many community food banks that accept and distribute pet food to help owners feed their pets. Local humane societies sometimes are able to provide a list of sources for low-cost or no-cost pet food.

Getting help with vet bills when you truly need it should never, and I mean never, cause you to be embarrassed. Think first of your loving companion and not your pride. Your dog needs you. You are its reason for living.

Common Infections in Dogs

Monday, April 21st, 2014

Some common infections in dogs can result in minimal problems for the health of the animal, but infections can also cause major illnesses that can be fatal. As a responsible pet owner you should be aware of these common infections and their symptoms in order to determine whether your dog is having a bout with an illness that will cure itself, or whether the symptoms are indicative of a serious disease. Early recognition and treatment of infections are your best protection against a severe illness or the death of your pet.

Rabies is one of the most common infections in dogs. The symptoms of rabies may not become noticeable for days or even months after a dog has been infected with the disease. The symptoms include refusing to eat or drink water, a high fever, seizures, and foaming at the mouth. Some dogs will exhibit what is called “mad dog syndrome.” A dog with this syndrome can become extremely aggressive and will attack humans or other dogs. Vaccination is not only your safest protection against a dog contracting rabies, but also is mandatory in almost every city and town in the U.S.

Parvovirus is another extremely contagious disease commonly found in dogs, and also requires vaccination with a follow-up shot every year. It is usually contracted through exposure to the infected feces of a dog or other animal. The symptoms of parvovirus include lethargy, vomiting blood, or diarrhea and loss of appetite.

Ear infections in dogs are more common in floppy eared dogs and dogs who spend most of their time outdoors. The symptoms include excess wax build up in the ear canals, a foul smelling odor from the dog’s ears, and pawing or scratching the ears. Ear infections can be treated with a drying cream from a pet store. Insert the cream into the dog’s ear and rub it in well. The cream will act as a drying agent and soak up the excess moisture in the dog’s ears. Serious ear infections require treatment by a veterinarian.

Distemper is a highly contagious infection that affects the respiratory, nervous and gastrointestinal systems in a dog. Like parvovirus, the infection is transmitted when an animal is exposed to feces that contain the virus. All dogs are at risk of contracting distemper, but puppies under four months of age are especially at risk. There is no cure for distemper but there are medications to help control the disease and keep it from worsening. Distemper vaccinations are also required annually for puppies and dogs.

The common cold in dogs is most commonly caused by kennel cough when an upper respiratory infection affects a dog’s lungs and sinuses. The symptoms include nasal discharge and sneezing, continual coughing spells, and great difficulty in breathing. Dogs who have strong immune systems are usually able fight off the infection before it becomes serious. Kennel cough is extremely infectious but can be treated and eradicated if caught in the early stage.

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