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  • Change in appetite
  • Change in behavior
  • Muscle atrophy
  • Lagging behind
  • Yelping when touched
  • Limping
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Posts Tagged ‘Liver Disease in Dogs’

Obese Dog Health Problems

Monday, January 25th, 2016


When a dog is obese it’s more susceptible to developing serious medical conditions because of an elevated glucose level and the extra amount of fat that puts additional pressure on its joints and also on its heart. If you have an overweight or obese dog, you should consider placing it on a slimming diet to prevent possible health problems from occurring.

Obese and overweight dogs are predisposed to getting diabetes because their blood glucose level will continue to increase. The dog’s body will naturally secrete insulin in higher amounts but at some point its body will not be able to cope with the increased amounts of insulin and diabetes will result.

A dog with extra weight is much more likely to develop arthritis at a younger age. Typically a dog will develop arthritis after the age of eight but an obese dog may have joint problems much earlier in life because the extra weight adds stress on the joints which in turn cause pain and swelling.

Extra weight can add pressure on the dog’s ligaments and tendons causing further soreness. The ligaments in the dog’s knees and feet may become injured, causing incapacitation. Weight loss is essential to reduce stress on the dog’s joints, tendons and ligaments. In severe cases the dog will require surgery.

Arthritis is not a treatable condition, but may be managed with supplements like Winston’s Joint System, a combination of three, totally-natural whole food supplements developed by a Naturopathic Doctor for his own dog. There are no side-effects with Winston’s because it’s just good whole food and there are no dosage problems because the body uses only what it needs.

An overweight dog is also susceptible to heart problems and cardiovascular disease. Obesity and excess weight causes the heart to pump more blood to the fat tissues, creating an additional workload on the heart. Over a period of time the heart will become weakened and the walls of the heart chambers may be damaged or the blood vessels may dilate and cause heart problems.

Obese and overweight dogs will usually develop breathing problems also. The lungs may be pressured by fatty tissues surrounding the lungs, preventing the dog from breathing normally. The lungs then become overworked because they are having to provide more oxygen to the fatty tissues.

Obese and overweight dogs can also develop liver disease, because the liver is the first place the body deposits the fat. Excess fat in a dog’s liver causes hepatic lipidosis leading to liver failure.

The health problems of obese and overweight dogs are not limited only to these diseases and ailments. There are many other serious medical conditions that can be avoided if a dog maintains a normal weight through a reduction of calorie intake and daily exercise. A healthy and fit dog will live a longer and happier life.

Why Do Dogs Shake When Sleeping?

Monday, August 3rd, 2015


Does your dog shake when sleeping? Does it worry you? There can be several reasons for this shaking but they’re usually not indicative of something seriously wrong with your dog just because it shakes when asleep.

When a dog shakes while it’s sleeping it can be alarming because you can’t be sure what’s causing the shaking and whether it’s a natural occurrence, or if the dog may be in pain. When your dog is deep in REM sleep you may notice it shaking, crying, kicking, or moving its legs like it’s running.

Rapid eye movement (REM) is the sleep stage in which dreams happen. During REM a dog’s mind is fully active and aware, even though its body is in a completely calm state. The dog’s mind will replay images from events that happened that day or even past events, and its body will react to those images, causing involuntary movement during sleep. There have been many studies proving that dogs do experience REM sleep stage.

It is interesting that larger dog breeds don’t have dreams as frequently as do smaller dog breeds. If dreams are the reason for your dog’s actions, then you have nothing to be worried about.

If you notice these same movements occurring frequently when your dog is simply resting, it’s possible that your dog is having an epileptic seizure. Epileptic seizures stem from a disorder of the nerve cells in the dog’s brain and generally occur during consciousness but result in the dog losing consciousness. Nerve structures in the brain produce electrochemical signals and carry them to the brain where instructions to perform the various functions of the body are regulated. When these signals become scrambled, the result is an epileptic seizure.

During an epileptic seizure a dog may bite, snap or jerk, hurting its owner or itself. Since epileptic seizures cause unconsciousness, the dog will have no recollection of this behavior. Epileptic seizures do not seem to be controllable and tend to recur over the life of a dog.

There are other causes for seizures in dogs such as tumors, kidney and liver disorders, infections, brain damage and toxins. A low oxygen level in the blood or blood glucose levels that are too high can also cause seizures. A dog might have a partial seizure affecting only parts of its body or a generalized seizure called a grand mal that affects the entire body. Grand mal is the most severe type of seizure.

Although not very common, tremors in dogs can also be caused by abnormal cardiac contractions and restricted blood flow within the heart. This results in erratic involuntary movements. If this occurs while the dog is sleeping or awake, you should ask your veterinarian to give your dog a complete medical examination.

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.

Liver Disease in Dogs

Monday, June 24th, 2013

There are some man-made chemicals that are toxic and can cause liver disease in dogs as well as humans. The list of these chemicals includes phosphorus, selenium, carbon tetrachloride, insecticides, and toxic amounts of arsenic, lead and iron.

Most people are not aware that liver disease in dogs can also be caused by some over-the-counter medicines and also prescription medications. Antibiotics, antifungals, anticonvulsants, corticosteroids, dewormers and diuretics can all cause adverse reactions in a dog and possibly lead to liver disease if an excessive dosage is given or there is prolonged use of the medication.

Another cause of liver disease in dogs can be traced to a dog consuming certain plants and herbs. These include some mushrooms, blue-green algae, and the mold aflatoxin that grows on corn. If aflatoxin accidentally manages to enter the dog food manufacturing process it can contaminate any canned or dry dog food it comes into contact with and can result in severe liver damage. The damage comes from gallstones, tumors, and liver flukes that form and block the dog’s bile ducts.

To determine the best method of treating liver disease, a veterinarian will first order blood tests followed by ultrasound or CT scans. The scans can reveal damage to the liver but the only conclusive test is a biopsy of the dog’s liver. Whether or not a dog will recover from liver disease is dependent on how long the dog has been sick, the full extent of the liver damage, and whether surgery is necessary or if the disease can be controlled with medications. Surgical procedures are usually recommended to correct bile duct obstructions and some primary tumors of the liver.

Liver disease in dogs is a very serious condition and after treatment by a vet you will need to control and prevent any further complications such as bleeding. Your dog may also require a special diet low in protein to complete its recovery.

Liver disease in dogs is something that must be treated as quickly as possible to protect your pet and give it the ability to live a long and disease-free life.

Diseases in Older Dogs

Monday, December 19th, 2011


Diseases that affect older dogs can be more serious simply because the dog is older.

Our pet dogs are susceptible to many of the same diseases that we as humans have to deal with. Here is a list of the most common diseases that can affect your pet and the symptoms or warning signs to guide you in knowing when to contact your vet. Some are serious and require immediate attention while others may have slow onsets and can be more difficult to diagnose. Many of these diseases affect older dogs more than younger ones, but a dog’s age does not render it immune to any of these debilitating diseases. When deciding whether any of these symptoms affecting your dog are serious enough to warrant a visit to the vet, you should always err on the side of caution and contact your vet when any of these symptoms persist in your pet.

    Cancer – Signs and Symptoms

Abnormal swellings that persist or continue to grow
Sores that do not heal
Weight loss
Loss of appetite
Bleeding or discharge from any opening in the body
Unusually strong stinky odor
Difficulty eating or swallowing
Hesitant to exercise or suffers from a loss of stamina
Difficulty breathing, urinating, or defecating

    Dental disease – Signs and Symptoms

Bad breath
Difficulty eating or swallowing
Weight loss

    Arthritis – Signs and Symptoms

Difficulty getting up from prone position
Difficulty climbing steps and/or jumping
Behavior changes – irritable, reclusive
Urinating or defecating inside the house
Loss of muscle

    Kidney disease/failure – Signs and Symptoms

Increased urination and thirst
Weight loss
Vomiting
Loss of appetite
Weakness
Pale gums
Diarrhea
Blood in vomit or black, tarry stool
Bad breath and oral ulcers
Behavior change

    Prostate disease – Signs and Symptoms

Urinating or defecating inside the house
Dribbling urine
Blood in urine

    Cataracts – Signs and Symptoms

Cloudy appearance to the eyes
Bumping into objects large enough to be avoided
Not retrieving objects when thrown

    Hypothyroidism – Signs and Symptoms

Weight gain
Dry, thin coat
Lethargy and/or depression

    Cushing’s disease – Signs and Symptoms

Thin coat and thin skin
Increased thirst and urination
Pot-bellied appearance
Abnormally increased appetite

    Urinary incontinence – Signs and Symptoms

Urinating in the bed or the area where the dog was sleeping

    Gastrointestinal disease – Signs and Symptoms

Vomiting
Diarrhea
Loss of appetite
Loss of weight
Blood in stool
Black and/or tarry stool

    Inflammatory bowel disease – Signs and Symptoms

Diarrhea
Vomiting
Mucous or blood in stool
Increased frequency of defecation

    Diabetes mellitus – Signs and Symptoms

Increased thirst and urination
Weight loss

    Anemia – Signs and Symptoms

Exercise intolerance
Very light-colored gums

    Liver disease – Signs and Symptoms

Vomiting
Loss of appetite
Behavior changes
Yellow or pale gums

As you can see from this list of symptoms, it would be nearly impossible to self-diagnose your pet with any of these diseases that can affect older dogs. If you notice that one or more of the above symptoms persist for any length of time, make an appointment with your vet and have your dog thoroughly checked for these serious diseases. You owe your faithful companion the best care you can afford.

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