Archive for the ‘Dogs Health’ Category

Benefits and Disadvantages of Choosing the BARF Diet for Dogs

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014


The dog BARF diet, biologically appropriate raw food, focuses on feeding your dog food that has not been processed and matches a diet that dogs ate before becoming domesticated pets.

What is a BARF diet for Dogs?

In an effort to provide their dogs with quality food, many owners have made the switch to a BARF diet. The acronym sounds less than appealing, but it stands for bones and raw food or biologically appropriate raw food. The philosophy behind a BARF diet is that dogs should be offered a nutritional plan that resembles the diet that their ancestors ate in the wild: uncooked meat, edible bones, organs, and plants. The practice remains a bit controversial, but modern sled dogs typically eat a BARF diet because raw meat is readily available in the wilderness, and supporters use this evidence as reason to pursue a raw feeding plan.

Are There Benefits to a BARF Diet?

Supporters of the BARF movement report positive changes in their pets’ overall health. Most BARF diet literature says that raw foods can provide:

  • A shiny coat
  • Healthy skin
  • Clean teeth
  • High energy levels
  • Smaller stools

While there is little scientific evidence to support these claims made by BARF proponents, the number of advocates of raw feeding are growing rapidly. Owners take comfort in knowing precisely what their dogs are consuming and knowing that the food they offer their pet is not processed or full of additives and preservatives. There are entire online communities dedicated to raw feeding, and owners typically stand by their claims that raw diet improves canine health.

Are There Risks to a BARF Diet?

Any time an animal consumes raw meat, there is a risk of bacterial contamination. Additionally, a BARF diet does not ensure balanced nutrition. Owners must work with a dog nutrition expert or veterinarian to develop a supplement plan that will ensure the dog is getting the right balance of vitamins and minerals. Additionally, bones are always a choking hazard, and some can splinter, leaving the dog at risk for a torn GI tract.

To get around some of these risks, many owners adopt a partially-raw diet, providing their dogs with cooked meat instead of raw meat, and leaving fruits and vegetables as the only raw ingredients. Other owners include some kibble in the dog’s raw diet to help include some of the essential vitamins and minerals that aren’t provided in the BARF plan.

How to Switch to a BARF Diet?

Owners interested in adopting a BARF diet for their dogs should conduct as much research as possible before selecting a plan. There are hundreds of variations of the BARF diet, so it will be important to choose a plan that meets a family’s budget, comfort level, and provides the maximum amount of nutrition. It can be useful to work with a dog nutritionist that specializes in raw feeding plans.

As with any dog food switch, the change will have to happen gradually to help the dog adapt. Raw foods will be introduced slowly into the dog’s regular kibble meals. Over time, more raw food will be added as kibble is subtracted. A raw feeding plan is a personal choice. As long as the owner is watchful and safe, and consults with a vet or nutritional expert on how to provide nutritional balance, owners can feel comfortable making the switch to a BARF diet.

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Keep your Dog safe and warm in winter and cold weather

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

If you live in a region where the winters are cold, then you probably have a yearly routine to prepare yourself for the season change. You might change out your wardrobe, get your car ready for winter, and insulate your home. Don’t forget to take precautions to keep your dog warm and healthy. There are plenty of winter hazards out there, such as antifreeze and ice. Take steps to keep your dog safe! Here are some cold weather tips to you and your dog this winter:

Image credit: Susan D'Angelo

  • Do not leave your dog outside unsupervised without a heated shelter. Just because your dog has fur, it does not mean he can withstand the cold. Though some dog breeds (like Huskies and Malamutes) are better suited to cold weather, all dogs should have access to a warm shelter at all times. Most dogs do best living indoors. However, if your dog must live outdoors, provide a heated dog bed and adequate shelter.
  • Small dogs or those with little to no hair should have sweaters or jackets for protection against the cold. Some of the most common breeds that will benefit from protective clothing are Chihuahuas, Miniature Pinschers, Whippets, and Greyhounds. Remember, not all dogs will tolerate clothing, so don’t push it – just make an extra effort to keep them out of the cold. Keep food and water in a place where they will not freeze – preferably inside! A heated dog bowl can help outdoor water and food from freezing.
  • Watch those feet! If your dog will tolerate it, consider foot protection booties. This can keep your dog’s feet safe from harm, such as dangerous objects hidden by the snow or salt on roads and walk ways. Additionally, booties can help give your dog a better grip and prevent slipping on ice.
  • When walking your dog near ice, use extra caution to avoid slipping. Always keep a close watch your dog and be sure he says nearby. Do not allow your dog to run across frozen bodies of water – he could fall into icy water if the ice is too thin!
  • If you use an indoor or outdoor fireplace, always keep a safety guard around it in order to protect your dog away from the flames and soot. Do not leave a fire unattended.
  • If your dog is in the cold and begins excessively shaking or shivering, get him back to warm shelter as soon as possible. If you suspect your dog is developing hypothermia, bring him to a vet immediately.
  • Avoid letting your dog eat snow or anything else on the ground. Dangerous objects or chemicals may be hidden in the snow. Also, eating snow this can cause stomach upset and even hypothermia. Always keep fresh room temperature water available at all times.
  • Beware antifreeze – It is highly toxic! Antifreeze tastes good to pets, but even a small amount can kill your dog. Though exposure to antifreeze is a risk all year, the risk is especially high during the colder months. Keep your eyes on your dog at all times – and keep antifreeze out of reach. If you suspect your dog has had ANY exposure to antifreeze, get to a vet right away.
  • In general, be sure to contact your vet if any abnormal behavior or signs of illness appear. Also, have a look at the cold weather checklist from the Veterinary Medicine guide.

Did you know that your dog’s normal temperature is a few degrees higher than yours? Winter is the perfect time of year to snuggle up – so have fun and stay warm!

Article reposted from:
Written by: Jenna Stregowski, RVT

9 Reasons to Be Thankful for Pets

Sunday, November 30th, 2014

Your cat or dog is a member of your family and deserves to be appreciated for all the love and companionship he offers you. Here are some of the many reasons to be thankful for cats and dogs, not only on Thanksgiving but every day of the year.

1. Pets Are the Best Snuggle Buddies

Cuddling with cats and dogs is truly the best. You can cozy up on the couch or in your bed, and your furry friend won’t care that you’re binge-watching Scandal again. Your animal just wants to snuggle. And, best of all, in the colder months, your cat or dog is like a heater with four legs.

2. They’re Always Happy to See You

It doesn’t matter if you’ve been gone for five minutes or five hours, cats and (especially) dogs, greet you like you’re an A-list celebrity on the red carpet when you come home. And after a long day at the office, nothing beats a “welcome home” tail wag or meow.

3. They’re Good for Your Health

This is something to truly be thankful for: Cats and dogs can improve your health. Studies have shown that pets provide numerous health benefits for humans. Walking a dog for just 30 minutes a day can reduce your risk for heart disease, relieve stress and more. And you can break a sweat by playing games like fetch and chase with your cat. Plus, owning a pet can help you build better relationships.

4. Pets Know How to Have Fun

Dogs and cats like to have fun just as much as we humans do. And there are so many fun games you can play with them. It just takes a little creativity. Bring out your inner child and play hide-and-seek with your animal. Cats tend to be really good at it. Or, instead of fetch, lead your dog in a game of soccer or chase.

5. They Make You Laugh

There’s a reason cats and dogs are the stars of so many viral videos: They’re funny. Some dogs make the craziest sounds just to get a belly rub. And some cats can be entertained for hours with a simple piece of paper. Pets don’t even have to try to be funny, they just are. Think about it: How many times have you laughed out loud this week because of your animal’s silly antics?

6. They Comfort You When You’re Down

Maybe you had a stressful day at work or something is upsetting you, somehow cats and dogs just know when you’re feeling blue. You can cry your eyes out and your pet won’t mind. He’ll be there for you, no matter what.

7. Pets Don’t Ask for Much

Dogs and cats don’t care that “everyone” has the new iPhone and will never demand cars for their 16th birthdays. Most pets are happy to have food, water, shelter and a family who loves them. And, yes, they sometimes demand to be petted or beg for treats, but in the grand scheme of things, that’s not much to ask for, right? And if you say “no,” your pet won’t sulk in her room and say you’re the worst parent ever.

8. You’ll Never Feel Alone

Whether you live alone, your spouse is on a business trip or your kids are away at college, when you have a dog or cat, you don’t feel so lonely when loved ones aren’t around. Really, who else will follow you from room to room as you go about your day? Doing the dishes? There’s Sophie sitting patiently by the dishwasher to “help.” Taking a shower? There’s Tiger pawing at the door. While your animal’s constant presence may be a little annoying at times, be grateful that you have a loyal and devoted companion by your side.

9. A Pet’s Love Is Unconditional

Pets don’t care what you look like, what you do for a living, that you bite your nails or clean only when company’s coming over. They don’t judge your fashion choices or hairstyle. It makes no difference to them that you have no idea how to brine a turkey or make perfect homemade mashed potatoes. Pets just love you. It’s as simple as that.

Article reposted from:
By Laura Cross |

The Philosophy Behind Diagnosing Diseases in Pets

Thursday, November 27th, 2014

I have an unusual fascination with the concept of medicine as both an art and a science. Superficially, the two disciplines have little to do with each other. Where medicine is sterile, factual, statistical, and specific, art is paradoxically relaxed, fluid, and imaginative.

Image credit: Tashi Delek / Thinkstock

The role for creativity in the mind of a doctor is limited. We are thinkers and memorizers of minutia. Artists are thoughtful and philosophical. The proverbial war of the left brained versus the right brained prevails.

The ancient Greek physician Hippocrates is credited with being the first to truly separate medical science from religion and philosophy, based on his belief that disease was not a punishment inflicted by the gods but rather the product of environmental factors, diet, and living habits. For this, he is touted as being the “father of medicine.”

Fast-forward a thousand years and we meet a lesser known, but equally influential, ancient physician named Claudius Galenus. Galenus studied Hippocrates’s understanding of pathology but was also heavily influenced by the writings of the great Greek and Roman thinkers like Plato and Aristotle. He recognized medicine as an interdisciplinary field that was best practiced by utilizing theory, observation, and experimentation in conjunction.

One of Galenus’s most famous writings is the treaty entitled “That the best physician is also a philosopher,” which called for a melding of rationalist and empiric medicine sects. Galenus believed the best doctors were the best because they really thought about what they did.

My obsession with medical philosophy introduced me to the interesting and opposing theories called Occam’s razor and Hickam’s dictum. No, these strange sounding terms do not refer to unusual diseases but rather to two important, yet contradictory, fundamental philosophical ideals of medicine, with specifics regarding the approach to the diagnosis of disease.

Occam’s razor refers to the idea of “diagnostic parsimony,” which means that when diagnosing a given injury, ailment, illness, or disease, a doctor should strive to look for the fewest possible causes that will account for all the symptoms.

Hickam’s dictum counterbalances Occam’s razor by stating that more often it’s statistically more likely that a patient has several common diseases rather than a single, rare disease that explains a myriad of symptoms.

In veterinary school we learn when that we hear hoofbeats, we should look for horses, not zebras. The adage refers to more than just the sounds made by the limbs of our patients. Essentially, we’re trained to think more like Occam and base our diagnoses on the idea that “common things happen commonly.”

An unvaccinated puppy with vomiting, bloody diarrhea, and a fever likely has parvovirus. An older cat with vomiting, weight loss, a rough hair coat, and a lump on its throat likely has hyperthyroidism. In other words, keep it simple, explain things in the most uncomplicated way, and you will have your answer.

There are times, as a veterinary oncologist, when I find Occam’s razor to be a bit cumbersome. Don’t get me wrong — I’m a huge fan of giving my patients as few problems as possible, and I’m happy to leave Hickam’s mentality to my internist friends who love to come up with dozens of differential diagnoses for each and every one of a patient’s clinical signs. But I can’t ignore the innumerable instances where I’ve seen Occam’s line of thinking not only to be wrong, but also downright dangerous for my patients.

Perhaps the worst “Occam offense” occurs when a veterinarian concludes a pet’s most likely diagnosis is cancer based solely on demographical characteristics such as age or breed, in lieu of performing diagnostics designed to verify their suspicions.

I understand owners are reluctant to spend money on expensive tests when the outlook for their beloved companion may be poor, and vets are often expected to offer their professional opinion as to a diagnosis prior to having the evidence they need to be sure. This doesn’t excuse doctors from their responsibility for knowing and stating their limitations and their obligation to divulge their inability to predict an outcome off of limited information.

Occam’s razor also fails owners when we “blame” cancer, or anti-cancer treatments, for a pet’s adverse signs, behavior changes, or labwork alterations that actually result from a completely separate illness or condition. Cancer most commonly strikes older to geriatric pets, a population of animals predisposed to a wide variety of chronic, progressive diseases.

Sometimes a cat with lymphoma isn’t eating well because it has worsening kidney disease unrelated to its cancer. Sometimes dogs have diarrhea because they’re fed a remarkable amount of table scraps and it has nothing to do with their chemotherapy.

I don’t think it’s an end-all-be-all West Side Story type of analogy, where a veterinarian must choose whether they’re an Occam or a Hickam. That’s an oversimplification of the point I’m trying to make.

The more important issue is how we need to open up some of the tunnel vision that blinds us to the bigger picture of what’s really going on with our patients. We’re obligated to treat the whole animal, and its family, with equal parts respect and knowledge. Occum’s razor isn’t an excuse for laziness or ineptitude.

If we sway too far towards diagnostic parsimony, we could easily miss important signs of other diseases or conditions that are unrelated to our primary concern. Likewise, it’s possible to knit pick each and every detail of a pet’s case to the point where we are blinded by the possibilities of their pathology.

Finally, pet owners should keep an open mind when it comes to their veterinarian’s recommendations for further testing when a definitive diagnosis has not yet been achieved. Opinions and experience account for a great deal of the art of medicine, but there’s also a tremendous amount of data garnered from the plain old science part of the discipline as well.

Maybe the hoofbeats are zebras more often than we think.

Maybe I sound a bit too philosophical for a doctor.

Maybe they said the same thing about Galenus…

Article reposted from:
Written by: Dr. Joanne Intile

Thanksgiving: A Feast For Everyone, Including Your Dog Or Cat

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

Thanksgiving is a holiday full of overindulgence and sweet and savory treats. You might be in the giving mood and want to share with your pet, but not everything in your cornucopia is safe for your dog or cat.

They want to join the party too. (Image source: Google Images)

Here are some safe treats for your furry family member (information provided by Pet Health Network).


Of course Thanksgiving isn’t Thanksgiving without turkey and your fur-babies can have some too, unless you have certain breeds. “Keep in mind that certain breeds such as Miniature Schnauzers, Yorkshire Terriers, and Shetland Sheepdogs are especially predisposed to pancreatitis, so meat snacks are a big no-no in these three breeds,” according to Pet Health Network.

Just be sure to avoid fatty parts that can cause pancreatitis (like the skin), bones that can cause major damage to your pet’s insides and any string around the bird that can cause an obstruction in your pet. Thanksgiving should be full of food, football and family – not a trip to the doggy ER!

Turkey is OK as long as it is well-cooked and lean. (Image source: Google Images)


Most vegetables are a suitable snack for dogs, as long as they don’t have gravy or butter on them. If you give your pup or puss some sweet potato, make sure the marshmallow topping doesn’t contain a sugar-substitute, like zylitol.

And with all snacks, moderation is super important. Too much of a good thing can cause gastroenteritis – you’ll spend your holiday cleaning up after a vomiting dog with diarrhea.


Your canine doesn’t have to go low-carb on the day of thanks. A small piece of bread is OK, but be sure to keep unbaked dough away from Fido. “If accidentally ingested by dogs, the yeast and sugar can result in carbon dioxide and ethanol formation in your dog’s stomach; this can result in secondary hypoglycemia (e.g., low blood sugar), bloat and even alcohol poisoning,” according to Pet Health Network.

Be sure to give thanks for and with your pets! (Image source: Google Images)


If you have a fishy appetizer, you can sneak some to your favorite furball, as long as it isn’t swimming in a fatty sauce.


Oh, who doesn’t love cheese? A small amount is fine for your pet. Dogs and cats are lactose-intolerant (not sure who started that pesky rumor about kitties and their saucers of milk), but cheese only has a smidge.

Article reposted from:
By Kimberly M. Aquilina

Signs of Cancer in Dogs and Cats

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

Older dogs and cats are at high risk for developing cancer. In fact, estimates reveal that as many as 50% of pets die because of the disease. Early diagnosis is essential to effectively managing or curing cancer, so it is important that owners be aware of the common signs of the disease and understand some basic facts about cancer in dogs and cats.

Types of Cancer in Dogs and Cats

Cancer is usually classified in one of two ways:

  • By the organ that it affects – liver cancer, brain tumor, skin cancer, etc.
  • By the type of cell involved – hemangiosarcoma (a cancer of blood vessels), mast cell tumor, adenocarcinoma, etc.

Usually, both classifications are necessary to fully understand a pet’s condition because different types of cancer can affect the same organ yet have dissimilar clinical signs, prognoses, and treatment protocols. For example, two types of skin cancer may look different, be treated differently, and tend to have different outcomes.

Symptoms of Cancer in Dogs and Cats

Because there are so many different types of cancer, no one clinical sign is unique to the disease. Nevertheless, if a dog or cat develops any of the following symptoms, cancer is certainly a possibility, and the pet should be examined by a veterinarian as soon as possible:

  • Abnormal masses – Some types of cancer form discrete tumors or cause organ enlargement (e.g., lymph nodes) that can be seen or felt. Often, these masses will grow or change over time.
  • Persistent sores – Cancer affecting the skin or mucous membranes can look like a wound, but the lesion does not heal in a typical manner.
  • Weight loss and poor appetite – Cancer requires energy and other nutrients, which takes away from what is available to the rest of a pet’s body. Also, pets with cancer generally don’t feel good and may not eat as well as they normally do. Weight loss associated with cancer frequently involves both fat and muscle tissue.
  • Poor coat quality – Cancer can cause pets to stop grooming themselves and/or grow dry and brittle fur.
  • Unexplained bleeding or discharge – Cancer may cause blood vessels to rupture or be associated with secondary infections resulting in abnormal discharge from the mouth, nose, anus, genitals, or other body openings.
  • Abnormal odors – Cancer disrupts the body’s normal protective mechanisms that keep infection at bay, and most infections are associated with a foul odor.
  • Difficulty eating or swallowing – Cancer of the oral cavity or esophagus can make eating and swallowing difficult and/or painful.
  • Lethargy, weakness, or exercise intolerance – Cancer can make pets anemic (have low red blood cell counts), decrease energy levels, and adversely affect the musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, pulmonary, nervous, and other body systems making animals unwilling or unable to be as active as normal.
  • Persistent lameness or stiffness – Cancer of the musculoskeletal or nervous system can adversely affect a pet’s gait.
  • Difficulty breathing and/or coughing – Cancer affecting the cardiovascular system or lungs often causes dogs and cats to cough and breathe rapidly or with greater effort than is normal.
  • Abnormal urination – Cancer of the urinary tract and other body systems can cause pets to strain to urinate, urinate a greater or lesser volume than normal, urinate more or less frequently than normal, or have blood in their urine.
  • Vomiting and diarrhea – Cancer can directly involve the gastrointestinal tract or alter the functioning of other organ systems resulting in an adverse effect on the gastrointestinal tract. In either case, pets may vomit and/or have diarrhea.
  • Constipation – Tumors that block the lower gastrointestinal track can cause pets to strain or be unable to defecate.
  • Chronic sneezing – Tumors of the nasal passages typically make dogs and cats to sneeze.
  • An enlargement or swelling of any body part – Tumors or abnormal fluid accumulations (e.g., blood in the abdomen) that develop as a result of cancer can cause parts of the body to enlarge.
  • Behavioral changes – Unexplained aggression, altered mentation, or other abnormal behaviors can be caused by a tumor in or around the brain, altered body chemistry caused by cancer elsewhere in the body, or pain.
  • Paleness or yellowing of the mucous membranes or skin – Cancer that results in bleeding, abnormal red blood cell destruction, poor red blood cell production, or liver disease can result in anemia or jaundice.

In most cases, pets with cancer will have more than one of the aforementioned symptoms. For example, a dog that is losing weight, is lethargic, is straining to urinate, and has blood in its urine is more likely to have cancer than is a dog that only has blood in its urine.

Diagnosing Cancer in Dogs and Cats

To definitively determine that cancer is responsible for a pet’s clinical signs and identify the type that is involved, a veterinarian will take a tissue sample from the abnormal area, either via a needle and syringe or through a surgical biopsy. Sometimes, the veterinarian can reach a diagnosis by looking at cells under the microscope in the clinic, but it is usually best to send the sample to a veterinary pathologist for a complete evaluation. Additional diagnostic tests including blood work, a urinalysis, x-rays, and ultrasounds may be necessary to rule out other diseases, find the cancer, determine how widespread or advanced the disease is, and plan appropriate treatment.

Treating Cancer in Dogs and Cats

In most cases, cancer can be successfully managed for a period of time and potentially even cured if it is caught early enough. Treatment options aimed directly against cancer include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. Symptomatic treatment is also important and can include pain control, nutritional intervention, antibiotics, anti-nausea medications, and more. A pet’s primary care veterinarian and/or a veterinary cancer specialist will design a treatment protocol specific to the patient’s condition and the owner’s wishes.

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Watch out for these 8 common Dog illnesses

Monday, November 17th, 2014

Although dogs don’t necessarily fall prey to the cold or flu as often as we do, there are some common illnesses and conditions that dogs can and do get.

Some of these you’ll definitely recognize, and others you might not. Almost all of them are preventable.

Don’t forget to keep my vaccinations up to date.

1. Rabies

Rabies isn’t the terror that it once was, with the vaccination being so common now. But if you do not stay on top of your dog’s rabies vaccine, she will become susceptible to this deadly disease.

And make no mistake, rabies is deadly. If left untreated in humans, it has an estimated 99.9 percent fatality rate.

Rabies attacks the central nervous system and is transmitted through the saliva of infected mammals.

Stay on top of the vaccination for this disease, but also keep your eyes open for potentially infected animals if you live in rural areas where skunks, foxes, raccoons, bats or coyotes are common. If you see something, say something — call Animal Control right away.

Signs that an animal is rabid:

  • The classic heavy drool
  • A nocturnal animal moving about in the daytime
  • Aggressive or self-mutilating behavior
  • Paralyzed or disoriented

2. Kennel Cough

Think of kennel cough as the equivalent of bronchitis in humans. It’s an infection of the windpipe and voice box area that causes a dog to cough and sound like a goose — there’s a honking type of noise that goes along with this cough.

Some dogs, but not all, develop fevers or nasal discharge, and may cough up some phlegm after exercise.

Kennel cough is highly contagious, which is why when your dog has it he won’t be allowed in a kennel. There are some vaccinations, so ask your veterinarian about them.

3. Obesity

Although this isn’t something your dog can innocently “catch,” it can be prevented.

Obesity in dogs can lead to other diseases such as arthritis and diabetes. Just as in people, too much weight is not good.

It’s all about the calories in and calories out. If you’re feeding your dog more calories than she’s using, she’s going to store those calories as fat. The longer this goes on, the more fat there is — and then bam, you wake up one day to Roly Poly Puppy.

Obesity leads to health problems.

Quick tips for preventing obesity in your dog:

  • Understand what you are feeding her.
  • Know much to feed her.
  • Make sure she gets lots of exercise.

Consult with your vet before making any dietary changes and to get advice on a weight-loss regimen.

4. Canine Distemper

Like rabies, this is another preventable disease that can have devastating consequences if you ignore the vaccine. Distemper affects the central nervous system in your pup as well as respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts.

Unlike rabies, distemper can be contracted through the air.

When a dog is infected, he will show signs such as:

  • Fever
  • Depression
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Possibly nose or eye discharge

Distemper can be fatal, and it is always dangerous and distressing for both the dog and the family. Don’t skip this critical vaccination.

5. Canine Parvovirus

More commonly known as CPV or parvo, this disease can be fatal if left untreated.

CPV attacks the dog by first taking up residence in the lymph nodes, where it sets up shop by dividing and preparing to conquer the body. The bone marrow and intestinal walls are the areas hit hardest by CPV.

Puppies are more susceptible to Parvo.

The virus makes it more difficult for the body to produce white blood cells, and because of that it can more easily enter the intestinal area.

Puppies and younger dogs are more susceptible to CPV, so get this vaccine taken care of before bringing your dog out among other dogs.

6. Arthritis

We all get a little creakier as we get older. The same goes for your dog.

Although it is more common in the golden years, arthritis can really be contracted by dogs of any age.

Arthritis occurs when the cartilage around the joints wears down. Cartilage is like the lube of the joint — and when it’s gone, moving around can become painful. Causes include age, trauma, obesity or inherited conditions.

Dogs with arthritis may show some of these signs:

  • Moving stiffly
  • Reluctance to go up and down stairs
  • Limping
  • Obvious pain when prodded in affected areas
  • Pain or swelling that can’t be readily explained
  • Not as flexible as they once were

Although there is no way to totally prevent arthritis — especially if your dog’s breed is prone to it as an inherited trait — it is important to try and minimize the effects.

Keep your dog at a healthy weight, supply the appropriate nutrition and make regular visits to the vet. Arthritis cannot be cured, but it can be treated with various pain medications if necessary.

7. Canine Herpes

There’s a lot out there about “people herpes,” but believe it or not, dogs can get herpes, too  The canine herpes virus isn’t the same as the one people get.

Canine herpes can be contracted by adult dogs and even puppies 3 weeks old or older, with little to no adverse effects. However, in newborn puppies this disease is almost always fatal.

Its fast-acting nature contributes to the fatality of the disease as often many pet owners don’t realize there is something wrong until they find the deceased puppy.

Symptoms of canine herpes in puppies:

  • Loss of appetite or disinterest in nursing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Tender abdomen
  • Lack of coordination
  • Soft yellow-green feces
  • Possibly a bloody nasal discharge

Once the symptoms manifest, death is not far behind. If you suspect your puppy has canine herpes, it’s time for an emergency visit to the vet. If you have one infected dog, others may have it as well, so bring them all in.

Currently there is no vaccine for canine herpes; however, a female dog who has birthed a litter of infected puppies can become immune and future litters can be safely born.

8. Lyme Disease

Ticks infected with Lyme disease can transmit the disease to your dog when they attach themselves and begin to feed.

Usually it takes about 12 hours or more for the disease to pass from the saliva of the tick to your dog. Common sense dictates that the sooner you find ticks and remove them, the better off your dog will be — so look for ticks regularly.

Dogs who contract Lyme disease may show pain or swelling in the joints, stiffness, pain, fever and weakness.

The happy news is that usually Lyme disease responds well to antibiotics.

Article reposted from:
Written by: Melissa Smith
Images credit: Katie@!rist2796ganeshaisis

Burlington woman receives caring pet owner award

Sunday, November 9th, 2014

A Burlington woman has been lauded for her dedication to caring for shelter dogs.

Laura Watling has received the Pet Owner Award from Pets Plus Us, an insurance provider and online community.

Pet Owner Award winner Laura Watling (right) is pictured with Adrienne Gosse, shelter manager of the Burlington Humane Society, and Randy Valpy of Pets Plus Us. Watling was awarded $1,500 to donate to the charity of her choice, the Burlington Humane Society.

It recognizes pet owners and volunteers across Canada through the Champion Awards for those that volunteer, rescue and care for pets.

Watling gets an award of $1,500 to donate to the charity of her choice, the Burlington Humane Society. She received the award on Oct. 28 at the humane society on Griffith Court.

After losing her own dog, Diesel, to cancer in 2013, Watling committed to caring for other dogs in need. Since then she has adopted another pup named Phoenix.

Through a facebook page (Diesel’s Legacy) she spreads awareness about cancer in dogs as well as news about shelter dogs.

Watling has also written a book, Diesel’s Amazing Farm Adventure, with much of the proceeds being donated to animal shelters.

News reposted from:

Veterinarian Warns: Sugar-free candy not a sweet treat for dogs

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

When taking home a stash of candy, keep an eye on the sugar-free kind. While it may be a good alternative for humans, just a small amount can be life-threatening for pets, says a Kansas State University veterinarian.

Artificial sweetener xylitol, an alcohol sugar, is in many products, including sugar-free candy and gum. With two-thirds fewer calories than sugar, xylitol causes little inference with insulin release in people, making it a popular sugar substitute for diabetics. However, just one stick of sugar-free gum could be toxic to your dog.

“Unfortunately for dogs, when they consume xylitol, it does release insulin and causes low blood sugar,” said Susan Nelson, Kansas State University clinical associate professor of clinical sciences and veterinarian at the Veterinary Health Center. “There also are cases where enough was ingested that it caused liver failure. This can cause clotting disorders and seizures in dogs, with a poor prognosis for recovery.

Along with sugar-free candy and gum, xylitol can be found in nicotine gums, baked goods, breath mints, antacids, multivitamins, nasal sprays, pain medication, sleep aids, antianxiety medication, toothpaste and mouthwash. Typically, the higher xylitol is listed on the ingredient list, the more there is in the product. But it is not always listed on the ingredient list because some products may contain proprietary blends, Nelson says.

“On average, one stick of sugar-free gum can cause toxicity in dogs weighing around 10 pounds,” Nelson said. “That’s all it takes, and it’s more likely to happen than you think. You may have a package of gum in your purse or your pocket. A lot of times dogs go rummaging through those and find the products and consume them.”

Because xylitol can be quickly absorbed in a dog’s bloodstream, it can reach peak levels in the animal’s body within 30 minutes and symptoms of toxicity can develop rapidly. It’s important to contact your veterinarian immediately if you believe your dog has consumed anything with an artificial sweetener. Although there is no antidote available, dogs that are treated early have a better chance of recovery.

Nelson says the Veterinary Health Center frequently sees cases of xylitol poisoning.

“It’s very common, and the more popular and commonly used this product becomes, the cases of xylitol poisonings in dogs will increase,” she said. “The bottom line is that any products that have artificial sweeteners in them or medications that contain xylitol need to be kept away from your pets.”

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Written by: Lindsey Elliott
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Improving Your Dog's Diet For Cancer Recovery

Monday, November 3rd, 2014

Your dog’s diet is crucial to their recovery. “Diet can be easily controlled and can make the difference between a successful treatment outcome and a failure”. Dogs didn’t evolve as grain eaters. For the past 10 million years they’ve primarily been meat eaters. They don’t produce the enzymes necessary to digest grains.

Unfortunately, most commercial dog foods are based upon rice, wheat or corn. While rice and corn may be OK for young and otherwise healthy dogs, pets fighting cancer shouldn’t be fed grains. Read your dog food label to make sure the first ingredient on the list is some type of meat.

Manufacturers are required to list the predominant ingredients first. If grains are listed they shouldn’t be the first ingredient listed. A full list of the recommended grain free dog foods can be found here. Additional animal based protein and fat should be added to the diet as well, since lymphoma dogs require more of these in their diet than healthy dogs do. Feel free to add canned sardines (one of the best sources of high quality proteins), cottage cheese, eggs and just about any kind of meat such as hamburger or ground turkey. No Chicken Bones!

This additional protein is important because when adequate amounts of the correct proteins and fats aren’t present in the diet, the body will tend to rob it from other places, which can lead to serious secondary complications. This can lead to muscle wasting. Is more likely to lead to complications with the functions of the kidneys and liver, something your poor dog doesn’t need on top of the cancer.

These secondary liver and kidney complications can usually be avoided by watching your dog’s diet and supplementing it with high quality protein and Bio-Silymarin. A dog with cancer is building a lot of new tissue, whether it be tumor tissue or just scar tissue. Certain specific proteins and cell membrane .components (the omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids) are required to do this. Membrane stabilizers such as omega- 3-fatty acids, gamma-linolenic acid and coenzyme Q-10 are also important additions.

Antioxidants can sometimes be helpful in treating canine cancer. don’t add additional Vitamin C to the dog’s diet unless specifically recommended by your vet. In any case, check with your oncologist before adding any antioxidants to the dog’s diet, as some antioxidants can interfere with some of the chemotherapy drugs used in fighting lymphoma.

We HIGHLY recommend fish oil be added to any cancer dog’s diet to make sure they get plenty of the omega fatty acids. it’s easy to get a dog to take their fish oil. If you open the softgel, you’ll find it’s stinky and fishy. It’s like candy for dogs. They love it.

Just snip open the capsule and squeeze some out so the dog can smell it the first-time. After that you should’ve no problem with the dog taking the capsules.

One 1000 mg softgel capsule per 20 lbs body weight per day is a good dose for dogs. (60 lbs dog gets 3 capsules per day).

Make sure to provide plenty of fresh drinking water. Cancer dogs should drink filtered water only. The simplest way to provide this is with a counter top filter with the spigot positioned just above the water bowl.

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