Archive for the ‘Dogs Health’ Category

7 Things You Need to Know about Canine Cancer

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

1.) Cancer is the cause of nearly half the deaths of older dogs (10 years and up), according to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).

2.) Early detection is vital. You should routinely examine your dog for any physical or behavioral abnormalities and bring your dog in for regular veterinary exams. Things to look out for include: abnormal swellings, lumps under armpits and under the jaw, sores that won’t heal, foul breath, weight loss/poor appetite/difficulty eating, difficulty breathing, or bleeding/unusual discharge from any orifice on your dog’s body.

3.) Mast cell tumors are one of the most common cancers found on and under the skin of dogs. Any breed or mixed breed can get them, but Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, Boxers, Boston Terriers, Pugs, and Shar Peis have shown an increased propensity for them, according to the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM). Between 10 and 15 percent of dogs with a mast cell tumor end up getting more of them throughout their lifetime, the ACVIM reveals.

4.) Not all skin growths and masses on your dog are cancerous. Just like with humans, some tumors are benign (harmless), while others are malignant (harmful). Veterinarians confirm tumors in dogs through x-rays, blood tests and ultrasounds, and diagnose benign or malignant tumors through a biopsy, where a tissue sample is taken from the dog and examined under a microscope.

5.) Spaying and neutering reduces your dog’s risk of certain cancers. This is particularly true of uterine and breast/mammary cancer in females, and testicular cancer in males (if neutered before six months). This is important because breast cancer in dogs is fatal in about 50 percent of cases, according to the ASPCA. And let’s not forget, spaying and neutering helps control the pet population, as well.

6.) Chemotherapy isn’t just for humans. That’s right—this treatment you’ve heard about for human cancer patients is also used to put canine cancer into remission. Chemotherapy can extend the life of a dog with cancer, even canine lymphoma, and in some cases, even pose a cure. Chemotherapy damages rapidly growing cancer cells in dogs, slowing or stopping their growth entirely. The bad news is chemo can produce some rough side effects in your dog, like vomiting and nausea; however, the good news is dogs rarely lose their hair from the treatment like humans do, the ACVIM says.

7.) Cancer treatment for dogs is expensive. This is especially true of advanced treatments. You may want to consider getting a pet insurance policy when you decide to own a dog, especially if you have a high-risk breed. A pet insurance policy can give you peace of mind that you won’t go broke when obtaining the best cancer care for your dog.

This guest post is contributed by Alvina Lopez, who writes on the topics of accredited online colleges. She welcomes your comments at her email Id: alvina.lopez@gmail.com.

The National Canine Cancer Foundation Awards Halo, Purely for Pets Its First Award of Excellence.

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

Congratulations to Halo, Purely for Pets

The National Canine Cancer Foundation Awards Halo, Purely for Pets Its First Award of Excellence.

Phoenix, Arizona – January 20, 2010 – With statistics showing Cancer striking 25% to 30% of our dogs, the National Canine Cancer Foundation feels as part of their commitment to finding cures and new treatments for cancer in dogs, they are rewarding companies and individuals who have gone above and beyond in their desire to consider the complete, holistic well being of pets in the operation of their company and within their products and/or services or with their actions as an individual. Halo , Purely for Pets is the very first company to be awarded the National Canine Cancer Foundation’s Seal of Excellence.

The National Canine Cancer Foundation’s Seal of Excellence is their most coveted award.  The Seal of Excellence will be awarded to only a very select few companies and/or individuals and the award is based on some of the most extensive criteria. A detailed list of the criteria can be found on the NCCF’s website by clicking here.

“I have been a big fan of Halo Pets for years and it’s very appropriate that we awarded them the very first Seal of Excellence, since some of our criteria for the Seal of Excellence was modeled after the operation and business practices of Halo,” according to Gary D. Nice, President of the National Canine Cancer Foundation.

For over two decades, Halo, Purely for Pets® (www.halopets.com) has created holistic pet products of uncompromising quality.  Halo believes nutrition is the single most important factor in the quality of a pet’s life.  Halo produces natural pet food, treats, supplements and grooming products – including the award-winning Halo Spot’s Stew, Dream Coat and Liv-a-Littles treats. Halo products are available at PETCO, Whole Foods, thousands of independent pet specialty and natural food stores, and online at www.halopets.com.

Ellen DeGeneres – a long time Halo customer — became a part-owner of Halo in 2008, saying, “because I think Halo is incredible, I decided to become part owner in hopes that all animals have the chance to be the healthiest they can be.”

“So many of us have lost four-legged loved ones to this terrible disease,” according to Halo Vice President of Marketing Communications David Yaskulka. “While we all strive for a cure, health professionals are telling us to eat natural foods, avoid harsh chemicals, and lead active, healthy lives to have the best chance of avoiding cancer. Halo customers try to do exactly that for our pets. Everyone at Halo is deeply honored to be recognized in this way.”

About the National Canine Cancer Foundation.

The National Canine Cancer Foundation (www.wearethecure.org) is a nationwide, contribution funded, 501 (c)(3) non-profit corporation dedicated to eliminating Cancer as a major health issue in dogs by funding grants directly to Cancer researchers who are working to save lives, find cures, better treatments and accurate, cost effective diagnostic methods in dealing with canine Cancer.

Its purpose is to encourage and provide grant support for basic, pre-clinical and clinical research in high impact and innovative cancer research, which is intended to develop innovative approaches to a cure, treatment, diagnosis or prevention of cancers in dogs. The program fosters collaboration between basic and clinical scientists with the intent of enhancing the transfer of basic research findings to clinical usefulness.

Do you check your pets gum regularly?

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

The color of your pet’s gum could be a very important indicator of his overall health. But due to lack of awareness and knowledge we hardly take note of this. As responsible dog parents we should make it a point to lift their lips from time to time and examine the color of their gum. It might happen that your otherwise healthy looking pet is actually suffering from a serious illness.

However, gum discoloration, dryness or paleness does not indicate any one type of abnormality. Different colors have varied implications.

Check out the ailments associated with altered color of the gum:

Pale gum – Lack of redness generally stems from anemia caused by a decreased number of red blood cells (RBC). But this thwarted production of RBC could be an indication of  underlying illnesses like internal bleeding, low blood pressure or more serious complications.

Brick red gum – If gum becomes brick red in color it means there is an overproduction of red blood cells and augmented circulation of blood in your pet’s body. This occurs when the blood becomes thickened due to dehydration and sunstroke.

Yellowish gum – Gum turns yellow when there is an excess of bilirubin in the blood. This condition results in jaundice which occurs due to liver failure or a blockage of bile ducts.

Blue gum – When there is a lack of oxygen in the blood gum appears blue. This condition is known as cyanosis. Your dog could also be suffering from a lung disease or hypoxia — a pathological condition in which the whole or a part of the body is deprived of adequate supply of oxygen.

Dry gum – When there is an adequate amount of fluids in the body gum appears wet and shiny. But when there is a lack of it (dehydration), they appear dry to the touch.

However, there is a point to be noted. Sometimes you might notice dark pigmentation on his gum or tongue. Let me tell you there is no need to press the panic button because this is quite a natural occurrence. So, only if you come across abnormal conditions like bleeding around the teeth, swelling, discoloration, bleeding and redness of the gum, particularly surrounding the teeth, you should immediately consult the vet.

Who is a potential candidate for blood donation?

Monday, November 16th, 2009

With the growing need of blood transfusion among dogs, blood banks are steadily increasing. Earlier, owners were not fully aware of the necessity of blood donation, but with a spurt in canine diseases, they are slowly taking stock of the situation. A number of blood bank programs are also being initiated to support the need to supply life saving blood components. But now, the most pertinent question here is who is a prospective donor? Also, do you know what are the precautions one must take before taking his/her pet to a donation camp?

Only a healthy vaccinated dog is eligible for blood donation. However, before the donation process gets underway the dog has to undergo a comprehensive physical examination, including a complete blood count and blood chemistry profile. He would be tested for other possible conditions like Brucellosis, Rocky Mountain, Spotted Fever, Lyme Disease, and several other ailments. A dog who has received blood transfusion earlier is not eligible for donation. A potential donor also cannot be under any medication and should be protected against heartworm diseases.

There are basically 2 types of programs —  “Full Pints Program” and also “Half-Pints Program”. To be able to qualify for the full-pint program, a dog must be at least 1 year old and weigh 50 pounds or more. But for half-pint programs, donors must be at least 1 year old and weigh 35 pounds or more. The potential donor must be a nice, easy going dog with a universal blood group.

The process of blood donation, however, is rather simple. The donor is placed on an elevated platform and blood is extracted from a large vein from the neck. It is not carried out under anesthesia and takes about half an hour. After the process is accomplished the dog is treated to a nutritious meal and given water.

Impact of flaxseed oil on dog health

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

Do you know that flaxseed oil has immense nutritional benefits for dogs? Yes, because it contains a substance called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an essential fatty acid that seems to hold great promise in keeping arthritis and cardiovascular diseases at bay. Moreover, it also keeps their coat shiny and glossy. Nowadays, dogs seem to suffer from a deficiency of Omega-3 fatty acids since the foods they consume lack this important nutrient. Research, however, shows that in earlier days dogs mostly fed on the flesh of wild animals that were high in their fatty acids content.

I have summarized some of the potential benefits of flaxseed for my readers.

Here’s a quick look:

Keeps the coat glossy – Surprisingly enough both dry and greasy coat can be an indication of fatty acid deficiency. If there is a lack of this vital nutrient in your dog’s body, his skin can turn dry and flaky. But if there is an excessive amount of oil in his coat, chances are that he is suffering from a similar deficiency. Fatty acid insufficiency can also lead to ear infections and other skin problems. So, if your dog is suffering from any of these problems, you can supplement his diet with flaxseed oil in consultation with his vet.

Prevents Arthritis – Just like humans, arthritis too can affect dogs. It is indeed  distressing to see our buddies groan with pain. As we are very often unaware of the cause there is very little we can actually do to ameliorate the situation. The joint pain stems from a deficiency of Omega-3 fatty acids in their diet. In the absence of this nutrient, inflammatory prostaglandins, hormone-like substances produced from wrong kinds of fat can attack the joints, resulting in pain and inflammation. So, what we can do is treat them to a flaxseed meal which tends to lower the inflammatory response. This in turn reduces swelling and in turn, arthritis pain.

Prevents cardiovascular diseases – Flaxseed has multifarious benefits on the cardiac health of dogs. Its thinning properties help in preventing blood clots. Flaxseed also lowers blood cholesterol and high blood pressure by improving the elasticity of blood vessels. Flaxseed has been found to be useful for other conditions, like allergies, irritable bowel syndrome and cancer.

Flaxseed oil is available both in liquid form and also as chunks. However, for appropriate  guidelines you should consult his vet.

How to deal with Onion Toxicity

Monday, November 9th, 2009

Not many of you have heard of onion toxicity I am sure for it is a condition that only afflicts dogs. It is caused by thiosulphate, a natural substance present in onion and garlic. In humans, thiosulphate is efficiently burnt by the digestive system. But in case of dogs, it doesn’t happen that way. Thus, the unburnt amounts of thiosulphate that remain in the body results in toxicity.

This medical condition also causes red blood cells to rupture thereby leading to a compromised immune system. This situation may further compound into hemolytic anemia.

Some of the symptoms of onion toxicity may include general debilitation, diarrhea, difficulty in breathing, pale or bluish gums, blood in urine, jaundice, fever, loss of  appetite and increased heart rate. If any of these symptoms come to your notice, you should immediately rush him to a doctor who will first decontaminate his body and then administer intravenous fluids. Sometimes, in case of acute anemia, blood transfusion may be necessary.

However, having said all this, I would like to add that onion toxicity is very much preventable. What you only have to do is completely cut down on his consumption of food items stuffed with onion like pizza, hamburger, sandwich meats, canned spaghetti, gravies, and spicy meals. Finally, keep an eye on whether he is consuming left over food or not. So, by exercising these precautions you can actually minimize the risk of onion toxicity in dogs.

Safeguard your buddy against CIH

Friday, November 6th, 2009

Canine Infectious Hepatitis (CIH) is a deadly disease that can affect dogs of any breed. The risk, however, increases manifold if the dog has a compromised immune system. It is a canine adenovirus-induced disease and every dog would be exposed to the virus during its lifetime at least once. It spreads through direct contact with the infected dog. But it can also be transmitted by direct contact with the virus through urine, feces, saliva, bites from mosquitoes, fleas and ticks. The liver, lymphoid system and blood vessel walls are affected.

The symptoms of canine infectious hepatitis may vary from minor to severe like inappetance, fever, pale feces, coughing, ocular and nasal discharge, temporary corneal opacity, abdominal pain, long lasting bouts of diarrhea, abnormal accumulation of fluid in the head and neck, vomiting, and jaundice.

The treatment consists of controlling the secondary illnesses. However, if the disease aggravates, vets may resort to antibiotics and liver treatment.

Unfortunately the virus cannot be eradicated but you can of course safeguard your pooch by vaccinating him at 6 weeks of age, and re-vaccinating every 3-4 weeks until 16 months old. Once he grows up, you should get him vaccinated every year.

Sometimes, the virus may remain in your dog’s system up to a year even after the infection has receded. So, a regular monitoring by the vet is absolutely necessary.

Dealing with UTIs in pooches

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

Rearing a pet could be even more difficult than bringing up a child. Some of us go for adoption without sparing a thought and very soon find ourselves in the midst of trouble. This becomes all the more conspicuous in case of onset of a sudden medical condition. Unable to handle the situation we get too distressed and worked up. But these situations can be handled in a much better manner only if we look out for the symptoms.

We should in fact make a directory of the common illnesses affecting dogs and their clinical signs. Urinary tract infection (UTI) is one such illness. It occurs quite frequently in dogs because most of them abide by schedules set by their masters. Therefore they don’t have the liberty to relieve themselves as and when they wish to. Some of the clinical signs of UTI may include presence of blood in the urine, weight loss, anorexia, vomiting, difficulty while urinating and abdominal pain.

This situation calls for immediate medical attention because if left untreated it can even lead to cancer. X-ray and ultrasound are some of the most common methods employed in detecting the disease.

The course of treatment, however, would finally depend upon the severity of the illness. In extreme cases, surgery may be required, but if it’s less severe a change in the dog’s diet along with some antibiotics would do.

But as we all know prevention is better than cure we must try to take all the precautionary measures. We can do so by following certain simple guidelines.

What are the foods you should avoid giving him?

  • Foods high in salt
  • Foods containing too much preservatives.

What foods should you give him?

  • Dog meals and pet foods that are especially formulated to treat UTI
  • Citrus juices
  • Distilled water
  • Fresh meals

By regularizing their food habits and allowing them to relieve at regular intervals we can definitely decrease the incidence of UTIs among dogs.

How to treat urinary bladder stones in dogs

Friday, October 30th, 2009

As we move towards finding better ways to improve canine lives, this blog is another small effort to make dog parents aware of the implications urinary bladder stones can have on canine health. By now I think we are already aware of the repercussions any disease can have on our pets’ heath. So, as responsible dog parents we should be extra cautious and immediately pull up our socks whenever we notice any abnormalities in their behavior.

Urinary bladder stones can be excruciatingly painful and if left untreated can damage the kidneys completely. The symptoms of bladder stones may include difficulty while urinating, hematuria, vomiting, fever, lethargy, dribbling urine, inappetance and depression. Some dogs are genetically predisposed but in others they may result from poor diet or recurring bacterial infections.

Bladder stones can be easily diagnosed with the help of X-ray and urinanalysis. Since they are amenable to resection, surgery is the treatment of choice. But other available options may entail dietary alterations, antibiotic drugs and urohydropropulsion in which the stones are flushed out from the dog’s urinary system with the help of water pressure.

Eventually, the mode of treatment depends upon the general health of the dog, and the severity of the problem. Surgery is opted mostly in case of big stones and dietary alterations are also prescribed depending upon the stone sizes. Like surgery, urohydropropulsion too is performed under anaesthesia. In this procedure the dog’s bladder is filled with saline and then squeezed in such a manner so that the stones come out through the urethra easily. Antibiotic drugs are administered to resolve bacterial infections as they tend to make the urine alkaline which results in the formation of stones.

So, it is very important to be attentive and careful when it comes to our pets’ health because even the slightest negligence can prove fatal.

Dry ways to clean your pet…

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

Not all dogs are amenable to the idea of being bathed. But does that mean they would remain perpetually dirty? Of course not because there are alternative ways of keeping your pooch clean.

Dry shampoo available at a pet store can solve the problem. Rub the shampoo into his body without using water and then brush properly. However, before using it you should never forget to read the instructions. Other ways of keeping his coat clean are by using baking soda or a home made mixture of cornmeal and salt. Baking soda is a natural deodorant which keeps your pet’s coat bright and shining. All these methods are safe and convenient. Moreover, in this world of rising water crisis it’s high time that we start conserving water in our own little ways. Also brush your dog as often as you can especially when he’s shedding. Nylon brushes are good for long haired dogs while metal brushes are good for the medium haired ones. For the short haired dogs you can use either of them.

However, keeping the coat clean is just one aspect of it but other places like the ears, eyes, and teeth also need to be washed regularly. But how will you keep those areas clean? Very simple by using damp sterile cotton balls. While cleaning his teeth, however, soak the cotton ball in baking soda.

Having said all this we cannot ignore the importance of nails. Taking good care of nails is equally important because broken pieces can cause grievous injury to our paw pals. Either take him to a vet or clip his nails yourself. Embalm the nails with petroleum jelly so that you don’t confront difficulties during the clipping episodes.

For detailed information on nail clipping click here.