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Posts Tagged ‘Spay’

Urinary Incontinence in Older Dogs

Monday, July 6th, 2015


It is not uncommon for older dogs to have incontinence problems; even younger dogs can have this disorder if they have a congenital deformity or have experienced an injury to the nerves that control the bladder muscles. However, urinary incontinence in older dogs is a far more common problem for anyone who owns an aging dog.

Understanding how a dog’s bladder works will shed some light on the problem. Dogs store urine in their bladder and when they need to urinate, the urine passes out of the body through the urethra. Normally, a dog is able to control the passage of urine, but if it loses control over the bladder the result is incontinence.

A band of muscles at the base of a dog’s bladder creates a valve that keeps urine from leaking out of the bladder. Dogs produce hormones that help them control these muscles consciously. Estrogen helps strengthen the bladder muscles in female dogs, and testosterone strengthens the same muscles in male dogs.

But as dogs age their bodies produce fewer of the hormones estrogen and testosterone. A dog that has been spayed or neutered is more likely to suffer hormone deficiencies. When this happens, urinary incontinence causes small amounts of urine to leak out of the dog’s bladder while it’s resting or sleeping.

Older dogs are most prone to urinary incontinence though younger animals can develop the condition due to congenital abnormalities or injury. Urinary incontinence in an older dog will usually begin to manifest itself when a dog is about eight or nine years old. Spayed females can develop urinary incontinence as early as three to five years of age.

Treatment for urinary incontinence in older dogs usually includes an oral medication prescribed by your vet. Phenylpropanolamine is the most common, non-hormonal drug used for both male and female dogs. Sometimes a vet will recommend hormone replacement therapy to treat urinary incontinence in an older dog. In these cases, daily doses of hormone substitutes need to be administered when treatment is begun, and once the dog begins to respond to treatment, the dosage schedule is reduced to once a week.

Side effects from hormone replacement drugs are rare in dogs. In some cases the medication doesn’t completely clear up the incontinence symptoms. If that happens, your dog will probably need to wear a dog diaper during the day and night.

Older dogs with urinary incontinence are also more susceptible to bladder infections because the muscles at the base of the bladder become looser, making it easier for bacteria to enter the dog’s organ. If this happens to your dog, antibiotics prescribed by your veterinarian can be helpful in treating any bladder infections.

When to Spay or Neuter a Dog

Monday, March 9th, 2015


If you’re like most new dog owners who adopt a puppy or a very young dog, you’re probably not sure when is the best time to spay or neuter the new dog in the house. For male dogs the best time for neutering is between 6 and 8 months of age.

This is a fairly common time frame to have your dog neutered, but it’s not a mandatory time frame that works for every dog. The most important thing to consider before scheduling an appointment with the vet to neuter or spay the new addition to your family is the dog’s overall health condition.

The vet will examine your new male puppy to determine if it’s a safe time to neuter the dog. He or she will need to examine it closely to determine if the puppy’s testicles have descended. It usually takes about seven weeks for a puppy’s testicles to drop into the scrotum, after which time the surgery can be safely performed. This examination by your vet is critical to assure that the puppy’s testicles have dropped by that period of time. If the exam takes place within the time frame of 6 to 8 months and the testicles have not yet dropped, the puppy may have a condition called cryptorchidism, which simply means that one or both of the dog’s testicles haven’t descended from the abdomen.

When adopting your new dog from a local animal shelter, early neutering has usually been completed before a dog is ready to be adopted. It’s pretty standard procedure for a puppy to be neutered or spayed before reaching puberty between 8 and 16 weeks old. It has become important for shelters to neuter or spay pets to help in controlling the dog population in a city. One of the reasons so many dogs end up in shelters, or worse, abandoned, is because the owners never had the new dog neutered or spayed. One would expect, that with all the information on neutering and spaying dogs readily available on the internet these days, every dog would be neutered or spayed. But what sometimes happens when a female dog gives birth to several puppies in its owners home, it will depend on what the owner intends to do with the new arrivals. If the new pups are put up for sale most buyers would not want the puppy spayed or neutered in case they wanted to have offspring from the pup in the future. Puppy mills do not neuter or spay for the same reason.

Some male dogs will need to be neutered before they are six months of age due to testosterone level concerns and they will then grow to be a little larger than a dog that is neutered after puberty.

The timing for neutering or spaying is not the same for all breeds. For small breed dogs, puberty usually occurs around 6 months of age. Larger breed dogs take longer to mature, which means you should delay neutering or spaying until the dog is one year old at the minimum.

    Spaying

Spaying a female dog is not important only to prevent the female from becoming pregnant during heat and getting connected with a different breed dog that an owner would not appreciate, but spaying at the proper time is also beneficial for the female dog to help its long term health. One common misconception that still manages to be portrayed as true about spaying is that it will change the dog’s personality and make it less likely to exhibit unwanted behavior during heat cycles such as the urge to mate. Contrary to this kind of misinformation that dog owner’s often receive, spaying will not cause a female dog to gain weight or result in the dog becoming lazy or lethargic its entire life.

It’s important that a female dog be spayed around the age of 6 months before having its first heat cycle. This helps eliminate the risk of mammary tumors developing as the dog ages. Most veterinarians agree that a female dog can also be spayed as early as 8 weeks of age if desired. The surgery is painless and is performed under anesthesia. The vet will remove the dog’s uterus and ovaries. After surgery a female dog will not go into heat or experience the problems of cystic ovaries, false pregnancy, or uterine cancer.

Neutering and spaying your new pet dog is a responsibility you should take seriously. The Humane Society of America estimates that there are between 6 to 8 million dogs and cats euthanized in shelters every year. Please consider neutering or spaying your pet and don’t contribute to the unintentional deaths of our beloved companion animals.

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.

Female Dogs In Heat

Monday, September 8th, 2014


Female dogs in heat go through different cycles or phases that vary in length. A dog will usually go into heat when she reaches puberty, but the onset of puberty and the length of the heat cycle depends on the breed and size of the dog.

A female dog’s heat cycle generally occurs twice a year, between January and March and again between August and October.

There are four phases a female dog in heat goes through, and the length of these phases can vary between dogs.

The cycles or phases a female dog in heat goes through are:

Proestrus, a 10-day period where she has spotting or bleeding from her vaginal area;

Estrus which lasts for five to nine days. At this stage the dog is ovulating and will accept a male dog as a mate;

Diestrus lasts for six to ten weeks. During this time many hormonal changes take place and her uterine walls will thicken;

The last stage, Anestrus usually lasts for 15 weeks. The female dog won’t have any hormonal activity, produce milk or possess any interest in mating with male dogs.

To determine if your female dog is in heat, watch for these signs: a swelling and enlargement of the vulva and vagina; any vaginal discharge that begins as a pink liquid and progresses to a bloodier fluid; the marking of her scent by leaving small amounts of urine; a preponderance of male dogs trying to get near her.

If you don’t want your female dog to be in heat you need to have her spayed. A spayed dog will not show signs of estrus.

If you want your dog to mate, she can become pregnant during the estrus stage. An owner may have trouble distinguishing between the proestrus and estrus cycles and it can be challenging to determine which stage of the cycle the dog is at just by watching her behavior.

Female dogs don’t experience menopause and will go through heat during their entire lifetime; however, the length of time between heat episodes will increase as she ages.

Why Do Dogs Dig Holes?

Monday, August 26th, 2013

Certain breeds of dogs like Terriers and Dachshunds were bred specifically for their ability to dig out wild animals such as badgers, foxes, and otters. Their digging instinct gives these breeds a strong desire to dig holes, no matter whether it’s your yard or the neighbors flower bed.

Dogs dig for a variety of reasons other than instinct. Some dogs will dig holes simply because they’re bored. If a dog is left out alone in the yard for any length of time, it may decide to dig holes just for something to do. If you’re going to leave your dog unattended in the yard for a lengthy time, be sure there are chew toys or other playthings to keep it busy and take its mind off digging holes.

Some dogs dig holes under fences because it’s a means of escape. Your dog may want to get out of a fenced yard because it knows there are more interesting things to do on the other side of the fence.

If a female dog has not been spayed, or a male dog not neutered, the urge to mate with another dog can be so strong that a dog will dig as many holes under a fence as needed until it can escape the yard and achieve its goal.

One shouldn’t forget that dogs are inveterate savers. They will bury bones or treats to save for what we would refer to as “a rainy day”, figuring that if no food is available they’ll always have the bones they’ve buried when they need them.

The secret to stopping a dog from digging holes where it’s not supposed to, is to first understand the cause for the behavior, then manipulate the dog into a more acceptable behavior.

There are some things you can do to prevent your dog from digging holes:

Give your dog a place where it’s allowed to dig, and then using praise and treats, train it to dig only in the spot you’ve chosen and nowhere else. If there’s a place with loose dirt around your yard it will make it easier for the dog to dig without exerting a huge amount of energy.

Stop your dog from digging in any place you feel is inappropriate. If verbal commands or dog treats do not stop the dog from digging holes in unacceptable places, try putting a small amount of pepper or diluted ammonia on the inappropriate area you want to be “off-limits.” There are also commercial products you can use that have cute names like “Keep Off”, “No-Dig”, or “Get Off My Garden”. These products create a scent that is disgusting to a dog and interferes with its sense of smell.

If you suspect that boredom is triggering the digging, give your dog more enjoyable forms of exercise to do like playing fetch or going on a long walk. This will help release some of the dog’s excess energy and make it forget that there are holes to dig.

When a dog is digging holes, remember it’s just a natural part of its inbred instincts and you can change the unwanted behavior at any time by being consistent and firm in your training.

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