National Canine Cancer Foundation to fund a new innovative Hemangiosarcoma (HSA) Research Project

June 19th, 2014

I have some new exciting news. As you all know we are always trying to find an new edge in the battle against canine cancer. And Hemangiosarcoma (HSA) is one of those cancers we would like to get a better handle on since it seems to end up being diagnosed too late to save the dog. In fact, we are so keen on finding out how to deal with HSA that we have actually initiated our own research project on HSA with G. Elizabeth Pluhar, D.V.M., Ph.D., and John Ohlfest, Ph.D. This is very exciting for the NCCF because this type of research on HSA has never been tried. Let me tell you how it all came about by first talking about a dog name Batman.

Batman was the first dog to undergo a breakthrough experimental treatment for brain cancer, led by doctors, G. Elizabeth Pluhar, D.V.M., Ph.D., and John Ohlfest, Ph.D. They developed a combination treatment plan for dogs with glioma, a very aggressive and relatively common form of brain cancer. First they removed the tumor surgically. Then, in some cases, they use local gene therapy to attract immune cells to destroy remaining tumor cells, and finally they created a personalized anti-cancer vaccine made from the dog’s own cancer cells to prevent tumor recurrence.

I personally love the thought of taking a cancer that was killing a dog and turning it into a personalized vaccine to kill the cancer!

Dr. Pluhar, a surgeon at the Veterinary Medical Center, and Dr. Ohlfest, head of the neurosurgery gene therapy program at the Masonic Cancer Center, gave Batman his initial treatment in August 2008. Batman led a normal life unaffected by his tumor until his death from cardiac failure in February 2010, there was no tumor recurrence. According to the Dean of the College, Trevor Ames, DVM, MS, “the far-reaching implications of this promising new treatment are almost difficult to fathom; not only could these treatments lead to a cure for brain and other systemic cancers in dogs, but because dogs and humans share many physiological traits, dogs could also be the missing link in the cure for brain cancer in humans.”

Then something interesting happened. Almost one year ago, Davis Hawn’s then 8-year-old yellow lab, Booster, was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma in his nasal sinus. Booster was given three weeks to live. Hawn did not want to accept the death sentence and began searching the country for a cure. His search led him to doctors in Florida who removed Booster’s tumor and gave him chemo. An online search then led him to Dr. Elizabeth Pluhar from the University of Minnesota’s canine brain tumor clinical program. Davis asked her to help his dog, but Dr. Pluhar had never made a vaccine for this type of cancer before. But Davis was not going to take no for an answer so she did agree to try. She shipped the vaccine off and ten months later Booster is cancer free.

Then after Davis contacted the NCCF to tell us about how well the vaccine works, we contacted Dr. Pluhar to ask if she would be willing to try the same research that was successful with brain cancer and skin cancer, and use the same protocol to try dealing with splenic HSA. The NCCF’s thinking is that with all these other cancers, the similarities were that the cancer had to be removed and a vaccine needed to be created from the cancer cells. With splenic HSA, one of the more common forms of HSA, the spleen is typically removed so we felt that Dr. Pluhar’s research could possibly work. With that in mind, we asked her if she could try and apply her protocol on splenic HSA. After doing some initial research she agreed to do the study based on reaching certain goals before going on to the next level.

First, she needs to insure that we can culture the cancer cells in the lab,

Second, she needs to insure that the tumor vaccines stimulate immune cells to attack tumor cells. If she can achieve these two steps she can go on to treat the HSA cancer. We could not be happier and are guardedly optimistic over this research project.

The cost for this project will be $55,500. I hope you are all as excited as we are about this research and will help fund the project. If you want to help with funding this new innovative NCCF’s initiated project please CLICK HERE or got to this link

Thank you

Gary D. Nice
President and Founder
National Canine Cancer Foundation

Good Samaritans band together to help cancer-stricken dog

October 30th, 2014

A small dog who was homeless and living his life alone on the streets in Long Beach, California, just a few weeks ago has recently undergone life-saving surgery thanks to the efforts of strangers.

The dog, named “Pico,” was discovered by a family who cared enough to not only take him in, but to make arrangements to have him fixed. With only limited funds for the procedure, Pico’s new family took their new companion to the non-profit organization, Fix Long Beach.

Pico came to the organization’s mobile clinic last weekend and it was there that volunteers noticed a huge mass on one of Pico’s testicles…he had testicular cancer, which is most common in dogs who have not been altered.

The family had come to the mobile clinic hoping for help – and it was life saving help that they received.

Just two days ago, the organization shared Pico’s story with their Facebook followers, along with a request for help with the expenses for surgery. The following recap of the situation was posted:

In short order, enough donations were generated for Pico’s mass to be removed and for him to be neutered.

Pico has a chance for a future today – thanks to compassionate strangers who chose not to turn a blind eye to his suffering.

Story reposted from:
Written by: Penny Eims

How to Calculate Your Dog's Age

October 29th, 2014

It’s common knowledge that dog’s age faster than people. But the conventional wisdom that one dog year equals seven human years is an oversimplified view of how old your dog is in human years. Although a dog’s age averages out this way, there is quite a bit of variation. For example, dogs mature more quickly than children in the first couple of years. So the first year of a dog’s life is equal to about 15 human years, rather than seven.

Size and breed also influence the rate at which a dog ages. Although smaller dogs tend to live longer than larger dogs, they may mature more quickly in the first few years of life. A large dog may mature more slowly at first but already be considered elderly at age five. Small and toy breeds don’t become “seniors” until around age 10. Medium-sized breeds are somewhere in the middle in terms of maturation and lifespan.

In the chart below, use these general ranges for dog size:

  • Small dog = 20 pounds or less
  • Medium dog = 21-50 pounds
  • Large dog = More than 50 pounds

Translating Dog Years into Human Years

How to Determine a Dog’s Age

If you’ve adopted a puppy or dog but don’t know the dog’s history, you may wonder how old he is. Even if you don’t know the birth date, it is still possible to estimate your dog’s age.

Teeth can give a rough indication of a dog’s age. The degree of growth helps determine how old a puppy is, and the degree of wear and tartar helps estimate the age of an adult dog. Of course, there are individual differences between dogs. And a dog’s previous dental care will have an impact on the health of teeth.

Here are some general guidelines:

  • By 8 weeks: All baby teeth are in.
  • By 7 months: All permanent teeth are in and are white and clean.
  • By 1-2 years: Teeth are duller and the back teeth may have some yellowing.
  • By 3-5 years: All teeth may have tartar build-up and some tooth wear.
  • By 5-10 years: Teeth show more wear and signs of disease.
  • By 10-15 years: Teeth are worn, and heavy tartar build-up is likely with the possibility of some teeth missing.

Your vet can also estimate a dog’s age based on a complete physical exam or tests looking at bones, joints, muscles, and internal organs. In older dogs, signs of aging may show up in a variety of ways, including:

  • A cloudy appearance in the eyes
  • Graying hair, especially around the muzzle at first, and spreading to other areas of the face, head, and body
  • Less skin elasticity
  • Stiffness

Article reposted from:
Article Sources:
AVMA: “Frequently Asked Questions about caring for an older pet.”
Purina: “Your Dog’s Age in Human Years” and “Caring For Your Older Dog.”
National Pet Wellness Month: “Pet Age Calculator” and “Pet Aging Chart.”
Humane Society: “How to Determine a Cat’s or Dog’s Age.”

Make Halloween a treat not trick for your dog

October 27th, 2014

Keep your dog safe this Halloween by following a few simple steps. Halloween poses a number of health and welfare risks to dogs, from eating foods that can be toxic to man’s best friend, such as chocolate and some sweets, to being scared by trick or treaters and children in costumes.

Dogs at Halloween

Chocolate and sweets may be found in abundance around your home at this time of year, and although these may be a treat for us humans, they can make our canine companions very unwell.


Chocolate contains a chemical called theobromine, which is poisonous to dogs, as well as other animals such as cats, rodents and rabbits. Generally speaking, the darker and more expensive the chocolate, the more theobromine it contains, and therefore the more poisonous it is.  White chocolate contains very little theobromine and so is unlikely to cause chocolate poisoning, but is still very fatty and can make your dog ill.

Chocolate can initially cause vomiting and diarrhea, but is a stimulant and so can cause your dog to become excitable, as well as develop muscle twitching, tremors, fitting and life threatening problems with their heart.


If available in large quantities some dogs may gorge themselves on sugary sweets kept aside for, or collected by, trick-or-treaters.  After eating lots of sugar, or even lots of fat, dogs can develop pancreatitis (an inflammation of the pancreas), which may cause them to be off their food, develop vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy and go into organ failure.

Some sugar-free sweets and chewing gums contain an artificial sweetener called xylitol, which can be very poisonous to dogs. Xylitol can cause an otherwise healthy dog’s blood sugar level to drop to dangerous levels and can also cause liver failure.

Obstruction risks

If eaten, sweet wrappers, lollipop sticks, food containers/ boxes, or even small parts from a Halloween costume can all cause an obstruction in your dog’s gut.  This can be very dangerous and may require surgical intervention.  Signs of an obstruction may include your dog being off their food, vomiting, lethargy and not defecating or finding it difficult to defecate.

What to do if your dog has eaten chocolate, lots of sweets or items which could cause an obstruction?

  • Consult your local veterinary practice immediately
  • It is important that your veterinary practice make an informed decision as to whether your dog needs to be clinically assessed or treated.  Where possible ensure that you tell them:
    • What your dog has eaten
    • How much has been eaten
    • When it was eaten
    • Do not try and make your dog sick- trying to do this can sometimes cause other complications, which can make your dog unwell.

Carved pumpkins

Keep candlelit carved pumpkins out of the way of waggy tails and nosey noses.  A knocked over candle may cause your dog to become burnt, or may in turn cause a house fire.  Keep all candles, and all candlelit pumpkins, out of the way of your dogs.  Place any lit items on surfaces that are not likely to reached or jolted by your dog.


Frequent calls at the door from costumed trick-or-treaters may make your dog anxious or stressed. Think about how your dog is when you usually have visitors at the door, and take extra precautions to keep your dog calm and in a quiet and safe place throughout the evening.  Masks and costumes can cause even the most familiar people to look and smell different to a dog, so if going out trick-or-treating you may wish to leave your dog at home.

Article reposted from:
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Story of Jackson a Black Lab dog with Cancer

October 26th, 2014

Recently I learned that my dog has cancer. When my dad told me, I didn’t really feel anything for about a minute. News like that never feels real until you hear your father’s voice crack.

Jack’s a 100lb black lab. He’s about 8 years old and blindly adores me and my family the way only dogs can. I visit my parents a few times a month and if Jack sees me from the top of the driveway, he just about plows me over. If I were to match his excitement, he’d squeal for an hour. He’s a happy dog. He has the same amount of energy now as when we picked him up from the shelter seven years ago.

He knows something’s awry. Just look at those eyes.

According to the vet, he has a really aggressive form of cancer. Realistically, he only has a few months left. I’m too scared to look at anything on Wikipedia about canine cancer, so I don’t know what his life would be like for the next few months. My family has decided that we’ll be putting him to sleep.

My little brother wrote and addressed this card to Jack from summer camp a few years ago. The bond between boy and dog doesn’t get any stronger.

Discussing when to schedule euthanasia makes you feel helpless, though you’re basically praying god for a few moments. It’s something that has to be done. We don’t want him to suffer through another bloody nose. They started in July and escalated to what my parents describe as a looking like a crime scene on the front porch, the living room, the back of the car, and the exam room.  But when he’s wagging his tail and excitedly chewing on a stick, it’s hard to accept that he’s dying. He’s too damn happy to be dying. It makes me sick to think about Jack no longer greeting me when I stop by, but I know it has to be done.

Typical Jack. Taken in July. Clearly this isn’t a dog who has cancer, right?

While my family discussed this, I kept thinking about how weird it is to say that we put our animals to sleep. That phrase is stupid. I know it’s supposed to soften euthanasia, but it kind of cheapens it. It’s not sleep. It’s death. The emotional blow isn’t any less harsh just because you use a pleasant euphemism. “Letting him go” seems more appropriate, but if we’re talking semantics, letting him go would mean more that we just let him die naturally. But that’s not what we want, because if we were to let him go that way, it could potentially be by a very traumatic bloody nose that never stops. Though it might be natural, it’s not humane. But what the hell does humane mean in this scenario? Horse doctor? White Fang-style disowning? Because I clearly have excellent coping mechanisms, this is basically what was going through my head while my brothers were sharing how they felt things should go: the language and cultural expectations surrounding dying pets.

He’s patient, but not coordinated. I think I’ve seen him catch four out of about fifty treats that rested on his nose.

We’ll be having the vet come into our home to do the procedure, then we’ll pick up the remains later. I wish I could shut my brain off sometimes, because then, as soon as the remains were mentioned, I recalled a This American Life episode in which they investigated whether or not families truly received their pets’ remains. It’s been a few years since I heard it, but I’m pretty sure they arrived at the conclusion that you’re probably not getting your pet’s ashes. I had to force myself to shut up about it because though that tidbit is probably factual, it wasn’t going to do anything but frustrate my family and remind them that I can be an insensitive ass.

I’m not sure when exactly he’ll be put down, but probably within the next month. As with all things, this sadness, too, shall pass. But right now, it’s kind of heartbreaking.

Story reposted from:

Written by: Ashley Otto

Supercharge your Dog's Health with these 10 Human Foods

October 23rd, 2014

People food bad for Pooches? No way! Contrary to what many people think when it comes to feeding your furkid there are 10 readily available, relatively cheap human foods that are especially good for their health that can be used in conjunction with any commercial or homemade food.

We’ve all seen the specially formulated pet diet ‘boosters’, supplements and vitamins, but these 10 natural foods will absolutely supercharge your dog’s diet and improve not only their skin and coat but their overall health – 100% Guaranteed! If you’re already doing it, keep up the good work! If not, try adding some of these readily available items from the Health Food Shop, Greengrocer or Supermarket to their diet on a regular basis.

1. Coconut

If you haven’t jumped on the Coconut Oil bandwagon yet, it’s high time. Coconut contains medium-chain saturated fats which have anti-inflammatory properties and can reduce bacterial growth. You can simply add coconut oil to your dog’s food or sprinkle organic and unsweetened coconut on the food. For more info on the benefits of Coconut Oil and how much to feed your dog, check out this post. Coconut Oil can also be used topically to heal skin abrasions, dry spots and sores.

2. Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are a rich source of antioxidants, B vitamins, and numerous minerals (e.g. calcium, copper, iron, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, and magnesium). They also contain loads of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is an essential Omega-3 fatty acid for dogs. Omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory and are effective in combating chronic skin problems such as inflammation and infection. To add chia seeds to your dog’s diet, simply sprinkle the seeds on top of your dog’s food every day.

Coconut Oil, Chia Seeds and Carob

3. Carob

We know dogs shouldn’t have sugar or chocolate, but they do ruv the taste of carob because it is sweet. Carob is also nutritious – it is jam-packed with vitamins (A, B1, B2, B3, E) and minerals (e.g. calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus). The vitamin E in carob supports the skin since vitamin E has anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. Use carob or carob chips when baking dog biscuits for your dog.

4. Sardines in Water

Sardines provide a rich source of Omega-3 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory properties and support the skin and coat. Once or twice a week, add some sardines in spring water to your dog’s meals. They absolutely love the taste!

5. Manuka Honey

Raw, unfiltered honey is packed with nutrition that can benefit you and your pooch. High in antioxidants, anti-microbials and natural enzymes, medical studies have identified raw honey’s ability to help heal gut problems, manage diarrhea and soothe sore throats. Known as “The King of honey”, Manuka is celebrated for its super health benefits and has been shown in clinical trials to kill more than 250 strains of bacteria. It can also be used topically to heal wounds and burns. Please note: If your pet is diabetic, consult with a vet before feeding honey, since its high sugar content can increase insulin levels. Also avoid feeding honey to overweight pets; at 64 calories per tablespoon, it can contribute to weight gain! (We don’t recommend giving honey to very young or immune compromised pets due to botulism risks).

6. Organic Alfalfa Powder

Alfalfa contains a broad spectrum of nutrients, including protein trace minerals, dietary fiber, and vitamins A, B1, B12, C, D, E, and K. It is also very high in chlorophyll, which is to serve as an antioxidant in the bloodstream. But in addition to being highly nutritive, alfalfa can bring long term relief from arthritis to dogs and cats who receive it as a daily food supplement. Alfalfa also possesses cancer preventative qualities. It is believed that alfalfa induces complex cellular activities that serve to inactivate chemical carcinogens in the liver and small intestine before they can cause damage; thus helping to reduce the risk of cancerous growth.

Sardines in Springwater, Manuka Honey and Organic Alfalfa Powder

7. Kefir

Kefir is a creamy, dairy based food made from the milk of cows or goats and is one of the oldest forms of cultured milk. Often labeled a “Probiotic Drink”, it is similar in taste and consistency to yoghurt, but kefir provides even more health benefits to your dog (and to you). One tablespoon of kefir typically contains about 10 strains and 5 billion beneficial bacteria. Wow! Only the best of Probiotic Supplements for dogs even comes close, and it comes to you at a fraction of the price of prepared supplement.

8. Organic Kelp Powder

Kelp is a great source of minerals, such as iodine, iron, and Vitamins B1, B2, C, and E. These vitamins are important for maintaining proper health and are responsible for bone growth, heart health, and maintaining muscle strength. Kelp also acts to increase metabolism and balance blood lipid concentrations.

9. Sweet Potato

Unlike their boring white cousins, sweet potatoes contain high levels of vitamins A, C, and E and beta-carotene, as well as a host of minerals such as calcium, iron, copper and potassium. Vitamin E supports the skin, and so does vitamin C – it helps speed up healing and supports collagen production. Try making sweet potato chips for your dog – sprinkle olive oil on thinly sliced sweet potatoes and bake them in the oven until they turn crispy. Delicious and healthy for both humans and dogs.

Kefir, Organic Kelp Powder, Sweet Potato and Eggs

10. Eggs

Cheap and safe, raw OR cooked, the egg is one of the most complete and nutritious foods you can feed your Pooch. Containing Vitamin A, Riboflavin, Folate, B12, Iron, Selenium and Fatty Acids; a fresh, free range egg a few times a week is an awesome addition to your dog’s diet.

Article reposted from:

Written by: Alla Keogh

Pet owner drove hundreds of miles a week to care for her sick dog

October 22nd, 2014

An animal lover who spent more than £1,000 per month and drove hundreds of miles a week to care for her sick dog has been named Britain’s most dedicated pet owner.

Committed Christie Hanson embarked on a 150-mile round trip every week, at the same time as racking up thousands of pounds worth of vets’ bills, in order to give her German Shepherd Roxie “the best possible chance” of fighting cancer.

Prize winner Christie Hanson, left, and tragic German Shepherd Roxie, right

The 25-year-old video game designer, from Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, had lived happily with her two adorable rescue dogs – Copper and Roxie – for more than six years.

However, in April, Christie began to notice something wrong with her beloved Roxie.

She described how she realized her seven-year-old pet was “a bit off” and “wasn’t behaving in her normal way”.

After rushing Roxie to her local vets, Christie was told how her dog had lymphoma.

Despite regularly visiting her local vets – where she held Roxie’s trembling paw as she endured blood tests and chemotherapy – after three months of treatment in Huddersfield, Christie was told that their treatments were not helping and Roxie would need to see a specialist in Liverpool, more than 75 miles away.

It was then that Christie took the decision to commit hours of her time, driving up and down the motorway, and a large sum of money to continue Roxie’s treatment.

On being given the offer of specialist treatment, Christie explained: “Of course I snapped it up – I said ‘Yeah, When can we go? What do we need to do?’.”

Christie Hanson with her dog Roxie

Praising the work of the Liverpool Small Animal Teaching Hospital, Christie described how she helped Roxie’s treatment by creating a special diet for her pet – filled with Omega 3, fresh meat and organic vegetables.

She said: “One thing we that found really difficult with her having chemotherapy was the next day she’d occasionally go off her food.

“This food was brilliant, it was very palatable.

“It got to the point that Roxie would wander around the house with a can of food in her mouth, to tell us she was hungry!”

The only drawback was that Christie had to make sure her other dog Copper – adopted from Marina Kennels in Huddersfield – was getting the same level of culinary service.

She added: “[Copper] was sat there, with her eyes asking – why does Roxie get it and I don’t?”

Despite a “hiccup” in August, Roxie began to improve when the Liverpool clinic suggested another treatment, with Christie describing how she “was a normal dog for a good week or two”.

However, the good news failed to last and Roxie sadly died in September as Christie made the heartbreaking decision to have her pet put down.

By that point, Christie had run up a bill of around £6,500 on her pet’s treatment.

She said: “It’s an awful decision. You know, it’s the one you have to do as an owner. Every decision I made for her was the right one.

“I’m one hundred per cent certain of it. I’ve got no regrets about doing any of it.”

Two weeks after losing her precious Roxie, Christie discovered she had been named the UK’s most dedicated pet owner.

Picked more than 540 entries, the competition – run by Frontline Spot On – handpicked the heartbreaking story Christie had submitted about Roxie during one of her lunchbreaks at work.

She said: “I just came across it on Facebook in my lunchtime and thought it looked like a good little competition to enter.

“So I thought – ‘why not?’

“I’m absolutely thrilled to have won the competition but it was a moment of sadness as well that Roxie wasn’t here to share it with me.

“To many people, pets are a huge part of the family and for us; Roxie & Copper are no different.

“Roxie was a real fighter and I’m so proud of Copper’s devotedness to her best friend, I’ve learnt to cherish every moment with my dogs and will ensure Copper is doted on.”

As a prize, Christie won a sparkling trophy, a pet-friendly holiday for her and her family and a years worth of Frontline Spot On flea and tick protection.

Story reposted from:

Written by: Aaron Brown

Getting Ticks Off of Your Dog

October 20th, 2014

If your dog spends time outside in areas where ticks like to hang out, a tick check should be part of your daily routine.

Even the best repellents may not prevent these parasites from latching onto your pooch. And since it can take 24 to 48 hours for an attached tick to transmit an infection to its host, it’s important to promptly and properly remove these parasites.

Image Source:

Check, please!

First, run your fingers slowly over your dog’s entire body. If you feel a bump or swollen area, check to see if a tick has burrowed there. Don’t limit your search to your dog’s torso: check between his toes, under his armpits, the insides of his ears, and around his face and chin.

Don’t limit tick checks to your canine family members. Dogs can’t directly transmit tick-borne illnesses to people, but ticks can move from host to host. A tick may enter your home on your dog’s back and move on to another pet or human, or a tick could hitch a ride on you and then move on to one of your pets. A good tick prevention strategy includes checking all family members for these parasites, especially after outdoor activities in wooded, leafy, or grassy areas.

Is it a tick?

Ticks can be black, brown, or tan, and they have eight legs. Ticks are arachnids and related to spiders, not insects. They can also be tiny—some tick species are only as large as the head of a pin—so look carefully.

In some areas of the United States where there is no real winter, ticks are active all year, not just in the summer months. Even in areas where there has been a killing frost with the approach of winter, ticks can become active again if the weather turns warm for more than a day or two.

Safe tick removal

If you find a tick on your dog, don’t panic! Follow these quick and easy steps to safely remove the pest.

1: Get your gear

  • Pair of gloves
  • Clean pair of tweezers or a commercial tick remover
  • Antiseptic
  • Isopropyl alcohol

2: Remove the tick

Wear gloves while removing the tick to avoid contact with your skin (ticks can transmit diseases to people, too).

If you’re using tweezers:

  • Grasp the tick as close to your dog’s skin as possible, but be gentle! Try not to pinch your dog’s skin.
  • Pull outward in a straight, steady motion, making sure that you’ve removed the entire tick, since anything left behind could lead to an infection.

If you’re using a tick remover:

  • Gently press the remover against your dog’s skin near the tick.
  • Slide the notch of the remover under the tick.
  • Continue sliding the remover until the tick is caught in the small end of the notch and is pulled free. (The tick will remain in the bowl of the remover.)

3: Store the evidence

Drop the tick into a small container that contains isopropyl alcohol (the alcohol will quickly kill the tick), and mark the date on the container. If your dog begins displaying symptoms of a tick-borne illness, your veterinarian may want to identify or test the tick.

4: Praise your patient

Clean your dog’s skin with antiseptic and make sure to clean your tweezers or tick remover with isopropyl alcohol. Wash your hands, too! Then give your pup a treat for being a trooper in the fight against ticks.

Follow up

Keep an eye on the area where the tick was to see if an infection surfaces. If the skin remains irritated or infected, make an appointment with your veterinarian.

Watch your dog for symptoms of tick-borne diseases. Some symptoms include arthritis or lameness that lasts for three to four days, reluctance to move, swollen joints, fever, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes, loss of appetite, and neurological problems.

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7 Top Canine Health Problems

October 19th, 2014

Canines unfortunately do not complain of their health or tell you they are in pain. The most serious health problems can be prevented by vaccinations and regular treatment, yet it would help to have a look at the 7 top canine health problems.

1) Vomiting and Diarrhea:

It could be caused by an infection known as parvovirus, or when the canine swallows inappropriate foods and objects like little toys, items of clothing, chocolate, or gum wrappers. It is the cause of concern when a dog repeatedly vomits for more than a day and it is characterized with blood in vomit or diarrhea, dark or black diarrhea, lethargy, weight loss, fever, or a change in appetite. Prevent dehydration by giving the dog plenty of fresh water to drink. As a general rule avoid feeding your dog food for 12 to 24 hours or until your vet advices you.

2) Heartworms:

It is a serious and potentially deadly disease where parasites infect the dog’s heart and arteries and show up as symptoms like coughing to lethargy, collapsing, and depression. Developed when canines are exposed to the larvae by a mosquito bite, these larvae could develop into large worms that could progress to heart failure and death. Treatment includes medications to kill the parasites and surgery in advanced cases. Heart worms can however be prevented by daily oral medications, topicals, injections, and a simple, once-a-month pill.

3) Kennel Cough:

Known to be a highly contagious form of bronchitis, it creates inflammation in the dog’s voice box and windpipe. Most commonly caused by exposure to other infected dogs, either at doggie daycare, the groomer’s, or a kennel, the treatment lies in giving the canine antibiotics as well as letting it run its course. It would help using a humidifier or taking your pet dog into a steam filled bathroom.

4) Lower urinary tract problems:

Some of the most common problems include incontinence, bacterial infections, bladder stones, and even cancer and could cause symptoms like frequent urination, producing small amounts of urine, blood in the urine, incontinence, straining or crying in pain when trying to urinate, vomiting, fever, and weight loss. Some of the treatment options include antibiotics, dietary changes, and surgery to remove bladder stones or a tumor.

5) Obesity:

Also a common health problem in canines, dogs could face risks of joint pain, diabetes, and liver disease. Consult a vet for a suitable diet and exercise plan if your dog is overweight and you cannot feel its backbone and ribs without pressing.  Increase the calorie output and decrease the calorie input by reducing snacks or treats, feed him small meals throughout the day, and make it a point to take him to the park to play and run around.

6) Broken bones or fractures:

One of the most common problem, it could show up as symptoms like limping, not moving, with its treatment lying in surgery, splint or a cast.

7) Dental disease:

Periodontal disease, an infection of the gums affects most dogs by the age of 2 and could be linked to heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, and other serious dog health problems. Symptoms range from smelly breath to difficulty eating and facial swelling, with the treatment lying in removing dental plaque and teeth if necessary. This disease could be prevented by regular check-ups with a vet dentist, giving your dog rawhide chews, and regularly brushing your pet’s teeth with dog toothpaste.

Regular vet visits and preventive steps with prompt attention from a vet in case of any unusual behavior or symptom could keep your canine in good health and also lead to speedy recovery.

Article reposted from:


October 17th, 2014

1) Walking:

Walking is a great activity for any dog. Walking doesn’t stress joints, can be done in almost any weather, and lets your dog explore.

No matter how well behaved and trained you believe your dog is, keep him on a leash. The local wildlife, other dogs, people and other outside activities can be a big distraction, and you don’t want your friend to run out of sight or into a street. For off-leash fun, explore your local off-leash dog park.

2) Jogging and Running:

Slowly introduce jogging if your dog is new to the activity. Speed up the pace gradually over several weeks, and watch your dog for signs of fatigue. Keep in mind that the best canine companions for running are medium- to large dogs that are energetic and in excellent health. If you have any questions or concerns if your dog is fit enough to run, consult your veterinarian.

A couple of cautions:

  • Don’t feed your dog in the hour before or after a run; doing so can cause bloat.
  • Watch the heat! Don’t run with your dog on very hot days as it can lead to heat exhaustion or heatstroke.
  • Pavement can hurt your dog’s paw pads. Look for softer ground like grass or a park.

3) Swimming:

Swimming is a great complete workout that offers both muscle toning and aerobic benefits. It also makes a great lifelong sport because it’s easy on the joints, and a good exercise for dogs with hip dysplasia or arthritis. If mobility or stiffness is a problem for your pet, try to minimize stress on the joints by picking a swimming location that won’t require your pet to maneuver an awkward dock or a steep incline.

Some dogs, including the retrieving breeds, are natural swimmers, while others have no interest in water. If your dog refuses to consider water sports, don’t force it. If your dog is just lukewarm about swimming, don’t give up right away. Many dogs grow to enjoy it if they’re introduced to the sport gently and gradually. And it’s a great choice in the summer because your dog won’t overheat.

Keep the first session short and stay at your dog’s side, praising and encouraging forward paddling. If your dog only uses the front legs to swim, you can help by placing a hand under the lower abdomen for support. Soon your dog will get the hang of it and use his rear legs, too.

After a few minutes, show your dog where to get out of the water. With a low-pressure approach, your dog may be swimming in no time. If your dog likes to fetch, toss a buoyant toy into the water.

Watch your dog during any swimming session. If his swimming motion slows down, it’s time to quit for the day. Rinse your dog off to remove any chlorine or give him a quick bath.

4) Fetch:

Most dogs love a good game of fetch, and it can be a lot of fun as well as great exercise.

Choose a toy that your dog likes to hold in the mouth. Soft balls, frisbees, squeaky toys and fleece toys are all good choices. Avoid small balls that your dog could swallow or inhale, and never use sticks because they can tear or puncture your dog’s mouth. Fenced yards or parks are the best places to play – your dog won’t run into foot traffic or the path of a moving vehicle.

5) Activities to Avoid:

Biking and in-line skating are fun for people, but for most dogs, keeping up is too hard. It could be especially dangerous if your pet runs free near roads and traffic. If your dog is on a leash, the strap could tangle in the wheels of your bike or blades and you or your dog could end up seriously hurt.

Exercising with your dog can lead to a lifetime of good health and good times. You may need to adjust your pet’s routine to suit age and physical condition, so check in with your veterinarian.

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