Archive for the ‘Dogs Health’ Category

How to help your dog live a long and healthy life?

Friday, April 24th, 2015

1. Encourage a healthy diet

Dogs who eat less live longer. According to a 2011 study, dogs who were raised on a restricted-calorie diet-about 25% less than “normal” recommended amounts of food-lived an average of two years longer than dogs who were fed more.

Of course, you should not drastically reduce your dog’s caloric intake without consulting a vet, but this information supports the common-sense knowledge that a dog with a healthy weight is a dog with a longer life.

Obese dogs are more likely to develop heart disease and debilitating joint problems that can lead to early death, so help your dog stay fit and trim. The quality of the food you feed her matters, too.

Research the available options, and opt for a balanced diet free from unnecessary fillers to extend your dog’s health.

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2. Exercise enables a healthy body

Diet isn’t the only way to help your dog stay in shape. Exercise is a key component to prolonging your dog’s life, and as an added bonus, it’ll help you live longer, too!

Exercise is proven to lower stress, increase endorphins, and balance mood and emotions in people and dogs alike. In addition to helping your dog maintain a healthy weight and muscle mass, and keeping her cardiovascular system in shape, regular physical activity will help keep her happy.

If you want to prolong her life, consider prolonging those evening walks, and maybe even kick it up to a jog. Better yet, let your dog romp off-leash with a canine friend or two: socialization with other dogs is another way to reduce her stress and improve her overall quality of life.

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3. Keep her mind in shape, too

Like people, dogs thrive on mental stimulation to keep them happy. A bored dog can become depressed, anxious, and even ill. You can extend your dog’s life by keeping her busy. As she ages, keep her mind active with training, socialization, games, one-on-one attention, and other enrichment activities.

It’s never too late to teach an old dog new tricks: sign up for advanced obedience lessons, or try a dog sport like agility or lure coursing. Your dog will thrive with the added stimulation, and your bond will strengthen as you learn new skills together.

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4. Don’t forget to brush those teeth

Dental hygiene is an often-overlooked aspect of pet care. Many of us, myself included, simply forget to brush our dogs’ teeth on a regular basis. Unfortunately, poor oral hygiene can lead to plaque, gingivitis, and eventually periodontal disease, a bacterial infection of the mouth that has been linked to heart disease and organ damage in dogs.

The good news is, it’s not hard to keep your dog’s chompers in shape. Simply brush her teeth regularly, provide safe chew toys and dental treats, and have the vet check her teeth at annual visits. Learn more about dog dental health in our posts, How to Brush Your Dog’s Teeth (and Keep All Your Fingers) and Help! My Dog Has Bad Breath.

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5. Follow your doctor’s orders

Even if your dog is the picture of health, she should visit the vet at least once a year for a general check-up, and twice a year as she enters old age.

Wellness exams are meant to “maintain optimal health,” and they provide a concrete record of your dog’s health history as she ages. They also give your vet the chance to spot potential problems early on, and a problem detected in its early stages is more likely to be treated and resolved successfully. Sticking to a regular preventative care routine will give your dog the best shot at a long, healthy life.

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6. Remember to enjoy every moment

The sad fact of dog parenthood is that people outlive pets, and there are no miracle products that will extend your dog’s life far beyond the natural lifespan of her breed. But with conscientious care, enrichment, and regular veterinary attention, you may be able to give her a few extra years.

Your time together is precious, so maintain healthy habits, keep your dog active in body and mind, and savor every minute.

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When to take a dog to the vet ASAP?

Thursday, April 16th, 2015

How do you know when your dog’s health problem is life threatening and requires immediate veterinarian attention?

Here is a list of the top 10 most common dog emergencies seen in the vet ER:

1. Dog trauma

If your dog has sustained some form of trauma such as a fall, gunshot wound, getting hit by a car or is involved in a dog fight then immediate veterinary attention is needed. Even if your dog appears fine initially a check-up with your veterinarian is still necessary because sometimes injuries sustained from a traumatic event such as a ruptured lung, diaphragmatic hernia or internal bleeding will not manifest symptoms immediately. Wounds such as lacerations and bite wounds may be deeper than they appear and complications such as infection can result from delaying veterinary attention. Sometimes the traumatic event is not witnessed by the owner, if you find your dog limping, seemingly in pain or is just not acting right then it would be best to have her checked out.

2. Dog has difficulty breathing

Dyspnea is also known as difficulty breathing and can manifest as wheezing, choking, weak and raspy breathing or respiratory arrest. This can be caused by a foreign body in the throat, allergic reaction, heart disease or pulmonary disease. If there is a foreign body present it is important not to try and extract it yourself – doing so may lodge the object even deeper, completely obstructing the airway. Breathing problems almost always indicate major dog health problems so do not wait to take immediate action.

3. Dog neurological conditions

Neurological problems can manifest in your dog as disorientation, incoordination, severe lethargy, unresponsiveness, and coma. A normal healthy dog is bright, alert and responsive; any pronounced change in your dog’s mental status requires immediate veterinary attention. Lethargy and weakness can be seen with any serious illness and should never be ignored. Sometimes neurological disorders do not affect mentation (for instance loss of use of the hind limbs can sometimes be cause by a ruptured intervertebral disc). Again these are serious disorders that need prompt veterinary attention to achieve the most favorable outcome.

4. Dog seizures

Seizures are also considered a neurological condition but are so common in dogs it deserves its own category. Any dog that has never experienced a seizure before needs to be seen immediately. Signs associated with a seizure include uncontrollable shaking and tremors, loss of consciousness, paddling with the legs and possible loss of bowel or urinary control. The most common cause of seizures in dogs is epilepsy. If your dog is diagnosed as epileptic not every seizure will constitute an emergency. If your dog has multiple seizures within a 24-hour period or if a seizure lasts longer than a couple minutes then your epileptic dog may need immediate veterinary attention. Talk to your veterinarian more about how to manage epilepsy and what to watch for. Other causes of seizures include hypoglycemia in puppies, insulinoma in older dogs and toxicities in dogs of all ages.

5. Suspected or known toxic exposure

You found a chewed up rat bait while running some laundry down to the basement or you notice the bag of fertilizer in the garden shed has been ripped open. If you suspect your dog has gotten into something potentially toxic call the ASPCA animal poison control at (888) 426-4435 for immediate advice on what to do. A veterinary toxicologist may advise you to induce vomiting, seek immediate veterinary attention or simply monitor at home if the substance ingested turns out to be innocuous. Keep a bottle of hydrogen peroxide in the house at all times in case you are ever asked to induce vomiting.

6. Dog vomiting and dog diarrhea

Vomiting and diarrhea are common problems in dogs and while they can be signs of a serious dog health issues the majority of cases are simple gastric upset that typically resolves within 24 hours. If your dog is otherwise acting fine then rest the stomach by withholding food for 4 to 6 hours and make sure your dog has access to plenty of water so they can stay hydrated. If she develops additional clinical signs such as lethargy, weakness or seems to be in pain then immediate veterinary attention is indicated. Also if vomiting or diarrhea persists more than 24 hours OR you notice blood in the vomitus or the diarrheas then go see your veterinarian immediately. If your dog has a chronic medical problem such as diabetes and starts vomiting then it is not recommended to wait 24 hours and to seek veterinary attention as soon as possible.

7. Dog distended abdomen or abdominal pain

If you notice your dog’s abdomen is distended and she seems to be in pain and/or uncomfortable then a serious medical problem necessitating immediate veterinary care is likely. Abdominal distension may be accompanied by dry heaves, retching, weakness, collapse and difficulty breathing. Abdominal distension can be caused by air trapped in the stomach which can cause the stomach to twist over on itself. This condition is known as gastric dilatation-volvulus—or commonly “bloat” – and usually occurs in large breed dogs. This is life threatening if not treated and the sooner you go to the veterinarian the better your dog’s odds for a positive outcome will be. Other reasons for abdominal distension can be fluid distension (ascites) from heart disease and hemoabdomen from internal bleeding such as a ruptured spleen.

8. Dog ocular problems

Eye problems in dogs have a nasty tendency to deteriorate faster than problems in other areas. These problems can quickly escalate into loss of the eye and blindness if not treated especially glaucoma. Signs of ocular disease include redness of the eye, discharge, excessive tearing swelling, squinting and constant pawing at the eye. Even if it is just a foreign body in the eye or a superficial scratch on the cornea prompt veterinary treatment can prevent a minor problem from becoming a serious one.

9. Dog urinary problems

If you notice your dog is not producing any urine then go see your veterinarian as soon as possible. While much more common dog health problem in cats than dogs, urinary blockages do occur and are life-threatening. If you notice difficulty urinating or blood in the urine then see your veterinarian as soon as possible because it may indicate a urinary infection or urinary stones that can escalate to blockage if not treated.

10. Dog whelping emergencies

If your dog goes into labor and you notice that more than four hours pass without any puppies, strains for more than 30 minutes without results or more than two hours elapse between puppies then she may be experiencing dystocia. Call your veterinarian immediately for advice.

This list is by no means all inclusive of definite emergencies but is a compilation of the more common dog health emergencies seen. If there is something going on with your dog and you are not sure if it is an emergency or not, be aware that help is just a phone call away. Always have the number of your regular veterinarian, the ASPCA poison control and the number of your local 24-hour emergency clinic available. As a dog owner you know your dog best – if you suspect something is wrong do not hesitate to call. This one act can sometimes mean the difference between life and death. Never feel embarrassed about calling or being a worrywart because it is better to be safe than sorry.

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6 Pet Health Myths You May Have Fallen For

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

Like that old game of telephone, misinformation has a way of getting around – and around again. Pet care isn’t immune to the game. To help clear things up, here’s a list of some of the most popular misconceptions about pet health and the truth behind them.

Have you heard that the only way to reward a dog is with food? Unfortunately, this is a very common misconception among pet owners. Image credit: Thinkstock

Myth 1: Parasite Prevention Isn’t Necessary Year-round

In truth, many vets want pet owners to think of parasite prevention as preventive medicine. Some parasites, like roundworms, can infect pets at any time of the year, so only continuous prevention is effective against them. To help keep pets safe from fleas, ticks, heartworms and intestinal parasites, you’ll need to administer broad-spectrum parasite prevention medication; many of these products are administered or applied once every month. Your veterinarian will help you choose the products that will be most helpful to your pets.

Myth 2: Neutering Makes Dogs Soft

Neutering male dogs can quiet certain unpleasant tendencies (such as mounting behavior and urine marking) when done at a young age. At the same time, it won’t diminish skills that are characteristic of a breed – like hunting. What’s more, neutering also can help protect against testicular cancer and an enlarged prostate.

Myth 3: Urine Marking Is Just a Cat’s Way of Staking His Territory

Though cats sometimes use urine to mark their claim, frequent urination outside the litterbox can signal a serious health problem, like a urinary tract infection, bladder stones or even diabetes or renal failure. Sometimes inappropriate urination can signal that your cat is suffering from anxiety. If your cat goes outside his litterbox once or twice, it’s worth a call to the vet to see if you should be concerned. But if he’s having frequent “accidents,” making numerous trips to the litterbox, howling or meowing while urinating, seems unable to urinate or has any blood in the urine, take him to your veterinarian right away.

Myth 4: It’s OK to Skip Brushing Pets’ Teeth

Failure to brush regularly can lead to serious gum disease and significantly decrease your pet’s overall quality of life. When started at a young age, many pets enjoy teeth brushing! Even many older cats and dogs can learn to love it when you introduce it slowly and make it fun. Visit your veterinarian for toothbrushing pointers and advice — such as avoiding using toothpaste for people, because the fluoride can cause health problems in dogs and cats.

Myth 5: Itchy Ears Must Mean Ear Mites

When your canine’s ears start to itch, don’t immediately assume it’s ear mites and don’t attempt to treat the itch without seeking out your veterinarian’s advice. The itching could be due to a yeast or bacterial infection that requires appropriate medication to treat. Those infections typically occur as a result of food or inhalant allergy or another underlying medical issue. Plus, if your dog’s ear issues are allergy related, a one-time treatment might not do the trick. Your veterinarian will explain how to soothe your dog’s itchy ears.

Myth 6: The Only Way to Show Pets Love Is Through Food

Pets’ longing looks at your food or their empty food bowls do tug at the heartstrings. But feeding pets too much isn’t affectionate; it’s a health risk. Obesity can lead to other medical problems including skin issues, orthopedic complications, arthritis and heart and liver troubles. Don’t get hung up on the portion recommendations on a bag of pet food — those recommendations are general and might not illustrate the amount your pet needs to eat. Speak to your veterinarian about the portion size that’s best for your pet. And remember that when you want to show your pets a little love, active playtime is one of the best ways to do it!

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The Benefits Of Coconut Oil For Dogs

Friday, April 10th, 2015

Coconut oil is a fantastic addition to a dog’s diet. More and more people are discovering the amazing health benefits of virgin, unrefined coconut oil. We are now learning that this healthy oil is also extremely beneficial for our dogs as well! Coconut oil consists of approximately 90% saturated fats, yet most of those fats are Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs). The main component of the MCTs in coconut oil is lauric acid; which is antiviral, anti-fungal, antibacterial and helps to balance the immune system. MCTs are an excellent source of energy and are extremely easy to digest, as they do not require lipase or gall bladder bile to digest – making it easily processed in the body.

Coconut oil is very beneficial to the skin and coat:

The addition of this oil to the diet can result in the alleviation of skin conditions such as itchy skin, eczema and allergies. Coconut oil can reduce allergic reactions and improve the overall health of the skin and coat while making fur soft and shiny. Coconut oil can be used to deodorize as well, which makes it a phenomenal toothpaste substitute for dogs with stinky breath. Coconut oil can also be used to treat both fungal and yeast infections, including candida overgrowth.

Due to the antibacterial properties of coconut oil you can apply it topically to disinfect wounds and skin abrasions and promote quick healing. I have used coconut oil topically on Hunter with nice results, I find that it speeds the recovery significantly while keeping the wound clean. Apply coconut oil to hot spots, insect bites and stings, scrapes and scratches for protection and healing.

This fantastic oil is also used to treat or improve digestive issues and it is also known for improving digestion and nutrient absorption. Coconut oil is also known to assist in normal regulation of the thyroid, which can also help overweight dogs shed the pounds.

In summary, coconut oil is an extremely healthy oil that consists of mostly saturated fats – but don’t let that put you off! Coconut oil is extremely rich in Medium Chain Triglycerides and contains lauric acid which is very easily digested and converted to energy. Coconut oil improves skin and coat conditions, allergic reactions, improves digestion and nutrient absorption, support a healthy immune system and disinfects wound and promotes fast healing.

The dosage for coconut oil is one tablespoon for every 30lbs of body weight. Try this healthy oil for your pet, you won’t be disappointed!

Article reposted from:
By Angel – K9 Instinct

Be Treatwise with our Dog

Monday, April 6th, 2015

Dogs enjoy food – there is certainly no doubt about that. They will often sit by or circle the table at dinner waiting to get your scrumptious leftovers, and you are very likely to cave in when those puppy dog eyes are staring up at you.  What we fail to think about though is that our bodies are very different to the bodies of dogs, and the foods that we might think are healthy for them can actually have the opposite effect on their health.

Who would have thought that food we humans see as healthy, grapes and raisins, could develop into kidney failure within 48 hours of snacking when eaten by a dog? It’s unbearable to even think about!

There are many reasons why you might give your dog your leftovers, whether he deserves it for learning a new trick or because he just won’t leave you alone; it’s not necessarily always a bad thing. There are some foods that we eat that you can give them which are beneficial and may actually improve your dog’s health.

It can be difficult knowing what is healthy for your dog and what isn’t, so make sure you stick to what you know, do some research or speak to your vet.

Can Dogs Eat Bones?

One food to avoid is cooked bones; they splinter more easily so contain more sharp bits which are as painful, if not more, for a dog as we humans. However, it isn’t only boned meat you should be concerned about. If you’ve cooked too many sausages, don’t be tempted by your dog’s imploring look, preservatives in sausages can cause thiamine deficiency which can be fatal.

It’s important to also think about your actions as carelessness can affect your dog. For example, if anti-freeze drips from your car to the ground, its liable to be licked up – which can result in vomiting, diarrhoea and breathing difficulties.

What Can Dogs Eat?

So what can we actually give our furry friends as a treat? They bring us lots of happiness and they deserve it, right?

Apples are great for improve a dogs overall health, they help to satisfy a dog’s desire to chew, while providing a source of pectin. This can help to remove toxins from the intestinal tract, strengthen intestinal muscles and remove harmful bacteria. Carrots are also a healthy treat for your pet, they are low calorie and naturally sweet, and again will satisfy your dog’s desire to chew, whilst aiding blood clotting and energy production.

Bear in mind that treats should only make up one tenth of your dog’s daily intake.

Our infographic below features common snacks that may be harming your dog and it will give you a good insight to what’s classed as a treat or poison. You may be surprised at some of them!

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Will you be changing your dog’s diet after this? If so, are you taking the bad things out, or putting the good ones in? Why not print off the infographic and stick it on your fridge so the rest of the family also know the difference between healthy dog treats vs. what could poison your dog.

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Infographic Source:

How Healthy is your Dog?

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

Your dog needs to be kept healthy – doing so can increase your dog’s longevity. Animal Health Company provides top tips to keep your dog on track for a long life. From ensuring your beloved pet has the right nutrition to health needs, exercise, grooming and dental care. Below is the infographic provides information “How to keep your Dog Healthy?”

[click image below to enlarge & better reading]

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Courtesy: Animal Health Company

Early detection key in finding tumors in dogs

Monday, March 30th, 2015

Schautzie, was a cute 10-year-old Schnauzer sent to me for straining to urinate for the past two months. His family veterinarian had tried two courses of different antibiotics with no improvement. Talking to his owner, I (Perry Jameson) found out that he had been neutered as a puppy and had no major health problems until now. She described how two months ago he started having to go out and urinate more frequently and sometimes would strain and produce no urine.

I had almost completed my physical examination and not found any abnormalities. The last part of the exam is mine and the patient’s least favorite, the rectal. Unfortunately, it provides an amazing amount of information so has to be done.

In Schautzie’s case, I was most interested in how his urethra and prostate felt. It also allows me to assess his anal sacs, caudal portion of his colon, fecal consistency, and sublumbar lymph nodes. I found Schautzie to have an enlarged, irregular prostate.

The most commonly seen prostate problem in dogs is benign prostatic hyperplasia, BPH. This is the same issue human men get that you see commercials for during sporting events.

In dogs that have not been neutered, this is considered a normal aging change as most will develop some degree of BPH. Many are asymptomatic and we only know by feeling a normally shaped but enlarged prostate on rectal examination.

If the prostate enlarges enough, however, it will cause problems. Interestingly, the most common symptom is straining to defecate. As the prostate grows, it actually puts pressure on the dog’s colon, causing an increased urge to defecate and sometimes difficulty doing so. Less commonly, we see straining to urinate, increased frequency of urination and blood in the urine.

Since lifelong exposure to male hormones induces gradual growth, the best treatment is to take these hormones away by castration. Within a few weeks, the prostate shrinks in size and usually within 2-3 months all symptoms resolve.

There are occasionally parents who do not want to neuter their pets. The same medication used in humans to block the conversion of testosterone to the form that stimulates prostatic growth can be used. These medications usually improve symptoms within 2-3 weeks. The biggest drawback is if they are stopped, the prostate will enlarge again, so they must be given life-long.

Benign prostatic hyperplasia can predispose dogs to other problems with prostatitis being the most common. This is a bacterial infection of the prostate that rarely occurs in neutered male dogs that do not get BPH. They can have the same symptoms of straining to urinate and defecate but often these are accompanied with abdominal pain, stiffness in the rear legs and fever. I have seen dogs severely ill from prostatitis, requiring several days of hospitalization to treat with intravenous antibiotics and fluids. Therapy is four to six weeks of antibiotics and castration as soon as possible.

(Dr. Henri Bianucci and Dr. Perry Jameson)

Once a dog develops prostatitis, if the BPH is not resolved, they will usually have repeated bouts for the remainder of their lives.

Fluid-filled cysts often develop as part of BPH. These cysts can be extremely enlarged. Often dogs with cysts will leak a red-tinged fluid making Mom and Dad think he is incontinent. Sometimes this may be the only symptom, or all the same issues noted with BPH may be observed. These usually require abdominal surgery combined with castration to fully resolve.

An abscess can develop following prostatitis and cyst formation. These, too, require surgical intervention, castration and prolonged antibiotic therapy.

Dogs get prostatic cancer just like people and, unfortunately, following my examination, this is what I suspected Schautzie had. This is the primary reason a neutered male dog will develop an enlarged prostate since they rarely develop BPH. I performed an ultrasound revealing one side to be larger than the other and contain mineral deposits, both concerning for neoplastic change. Mom allowed me to obtain an aspirate with a small needle. The sample was submitted to a pathologist and two days later, she confirmed what we feared, prostatic carcinoma.

I explained to Mom that by the time we diagnose these in dogs, most cancers have spread elsewhere (lungs, lymph nodes, liver or bone). There are no great treatment options for dogs like in humans. We could attempt to surgically remove his prostate with most dogs surviving about five months following the surgery. Also around 50 percent will develop urinary incontinence since removing the prostate may damage the nerves that keep urine in his balder. Intraoperative radiation therapy may extend this a few months more.

Schautzie’s Mom elected the final option we discussed. This is the use of an aspirin-like medication, feldene, which may slow tumor growth and reduce tumor size temporarily. He responded for a month, then his symptoms progressively returned over the next month and his parents elected euthanasia.

I have to believe an earlier diagnosis would help our outcomes. Unfortunately, the markers, for example PSA, used in people do not work for dogs. The basic rectal exam remains the best way to detect these tumors and other forms of prostate disease in dogs.

Dr. Henri Bianucci and Dr. Perry Jameson are with Veterinary Specialty Care LLC.

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By Dr. Henri Bianucci and Dr. Perry Jameson

Smoker says passive smoking was to blame for the death of her dog

Thursday, March 26th, 2015

When her beloved dog collapsed and had to be rushed to the vet, Heather Goddard was horrified.

The grandmother was left grief-stricken when tests showed Clover, an eight-year-old crossbreed, had lung cancer and would have to be put down.

But the biggest shock came when she was told that her dog’s death was caused by passive smoking – the result of being in the house as she and her husband Keith puffed through 30 cigarettes each a day.

Devastated: 62-year-old Heather Goddard, from Seaton Delaval, said her dog got lung cancer after inhaling the toxic chemicals from tobacco smoke – she is now speaking out to protect pets in the future

Happier times: Ms Goddard, with husband Keith, granddaughters Chelsea and Leona and dog Roger, quit smoking a year ago and has been told she now smells ‘like a proper grandma, which is lovely to hear’

Now Mrs Goddard, 61, has quit smoking and is alerting other pet owners to the dangers posed to animals by second-hand smoke.

She and Mr Goddard, 67, of Seaton Delaval, Northumberland, were walking Clover in a park when the rescue dog became ill.

They took her to a veterinary practice in Morpeth, where they were told she had black spots on her lungs and was also suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

The vet said nothing more could be done for Clover, adding that the cause of her cancer was passive smoking.

‘Knowing my smoking was to blame was like somebody had just put a bullet into my heart. It was a nightmare that had come true,’ said Mrs Goddard, a retired cleaner who has another dog, Roger, as well as two cats and a rabbit.

‘Clover was a lovely dog. She was friendly and there wasn’t a bad bone in her body.

Fond memories: She says thinking about Clover ‘brings a tear to my eye just thinking about the damage my smoking was doing’ – she is now hoping to inform others about the dangers of second-hand smoke

Clover had to be put down after a scan showed up black spots on her lungs

‘She showed no signs or symptoms of being ill. We had no idea why she had collapsed until we took her to the vets. It was such a shock.

‘You don’t think about your animals but they are just like us. They can get illnesses like diabetes and cancer the same as us.’ Mrs Goddard says she now regrets exposing her family and her animals to years of cigarette smoke in the house and the car.

She added: ‘I think I would have tried to give up earlier if I had known the damage it was doing to my animals. As long as the animals were fed I would be happy to go without food but I had to have my cigarettes.

‘I didn’t connect passive smoking with animals. You don’t realise how much of it they are taking in. My grandchildren are only here once or twice a week but our pets are with us 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.’

It still took her nearly three years following Clover’s death before she managed to quit her 30-a-day habit – and by then she too had been diagnosed with chronic lung disease.

Her husband has also given up smoking, much to the delight of their three children and eight grandchildren.

Mrs Goddard, who had smoked for 40 years, said: ‘I feel a lot healthier now I have stopped.

‘I can walk to the end of the path without getting as out of breath and I don’t use my inhalers as much.

New start: Ms Goddard pictured with her grandchildren – who are ‘always happy that I no longer smoke’

My grandchildren tell me they are glad I stopped smoking because I don’t smell of smoke any more. When I gave up smoking that stopped my illness from getting any worse.’

She hopes by speaking out she will alert other animal owners and help protect more pets from the harmful chemicals in tobacco smoke.

‘I would tell anyone who smokes and has animals to think twice,’ she said. ‘I know how difficult it is to give up but they need to think about their animals. Don’t give up trying, even if you have two cigarettes less a day.’

The British Veterinary Association has long warned of the dangers of smoking around pets, saying it can lead to incidents of cancer, asthma and bronchitis in cats and dogs.

Story reposted from:
By Jaya Narain

Does your dog have food allergies?

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015

Just as we can develop food allergies, so can man’s best friend.

Food allergies occur when a dog’s immune system mistakenly treats a specific protein as harmful and responds with antibodies that trigger a series of symptoms. Proteins are present not only in meats, but also in grains and vegetables, so any commercial dog food could cause an allergic reaction.

When your dog is on a special diet, don't feed him any other foods, including treats, unless recommended by your veterinarian. (Photo: Amy/flickr)

While dogs can be allergic nearly any ingredient, there are certain foods that are more likely to cause an allergic reaction. These include the following:

  • Beef
  • Pork
  • Rabbit
  • Chicken
  • Lamb
  • Egg
  • Corn
  • Soy
  • Wheat
  • Dairy

When a dog has an allergic reaction to a food, symptoms can vary, but they can include any of the following:

  • Itchy skin and scratching, especially in the ears and rear end
  • Itchy, runny eyes
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Sneezing
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Swollen paws
  • Constant licking

Every time a dog eats the offending food, the immune system’s overreaction becomes greater, so continuing to feed your dog the same food can result in serious health issues.

Dogs can develop food allergies at any stage of life, and while they can occur in any breed, they’re especially common in setters, terriers, retrievers and flat-faced breeds such as pugs and bulldogs, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

What to do if you suspect your dog has food allergies

If you think your dog may be reacting to a food, visit your veterinarian. He or she may be able to determine the source of your dog’s allergic reaction, but if not, he or she will likely recommend blood or skin tests or suggest an elimination diet.

Elimination diets isolate which food your dog is allergic to by feeding him a protein and carbohydrate source that he’s never eaten before. Common foods used in such a diet include sweet potatoes, ground turkey, kangaroo, oatmeal, venison or potato.

If your dog doesn’t react to the new foods, you can then begin adding different ingredients back into his diet until you notice your pet having an allergic reaction.

Once you’ve identified the offending food or foods, you and your veterinarian can then design a diet that’s free of any triggers.

Your vet may also recommend that your dog eat a hypoallergenic diet. Hypoallergenic foods typically have fewer ingredients and feature novel proteins like bison, fish, kangaroo or pheasant.

Ingredients like lamb and rice were once considered hypoallergenic because they were rarely used in most commercial dog foods; however, many dogs have now developed allergies to these foods.

While your dog is on any special diet, it’s important not to give him any treats or rawhides unless your veterinarian says it’s OK.

If your dog is still having allergic reactions after changing his diet, he may be allergic to something else in his environment such as pollen or a medication and your veterinarian will likely recommend further testing.

Article reposted from:
By Laura Moss

Screening tests can uncover hidden conditions early in your pet

Thursday, March 5th, 2015

Some dogs bury bones, while some cats squirrel away socks. But that’s not all our pets can hide; they often hide illness quite well.

From an evolutionary perspective, showing illness or weakness can be detrimental, so over time animals instinctively have hidden illness. Veterinarians are trained to pick up subtle cues that something is not right with your pet, but cannot learn everything through senses alone.

A physical exam should be performed by a veterinarian at least yearly. For older animals, twice a year is better. During the exam, you might hear terms such as “FeLV/FIV,” “fecal,” “chem panel,” “CBC” or “UA.”

What do these abbreviations and acronyms mean? Veterinary medicine uses abbreviations and slang for many recommended tests. You may wonder what these tests are, and why your veterinarian considers them important – especially if your pet seems perfectly fine.

Screening tests provide additional information and can detect potential problems earlier than can be picked up by physical exam alone. Because of their role in providing important – and even potentially life-saving health information – veterinarians at Colorado State University consider screening tests a cornerstone of preventive veterinary care.

Here are some common tests your veterinarian might recommend to protect your pet’s health or to find a problem early:

• Heartworm test: Heartworms are small parasites that your dog or cat can get from mosquito bites. The larvae, or immature worms, work their way to the large blood vessels of the lung and into the heart, causing damage and interrupting normal blood flow. The American Heartworm Society recommends annual testing and monthly preventive medicine to keep your pets safe. The test uses a few drops of blood and can be performed in the veterinary clinic.

• Complete blood count (CBC): Using a small amount of blood, a CBC tells us about the body’s ability to fight infection, produce red blood cells and platelets for blood clotting, and if an infection is present. Deviations from normal values may also indicate metabolic diseases or the length of time a disease has been going on. Because some animals normally fall above or below normal ranges without disease, it is important to have a baseline test run when your pet is young and healthy.

• Biochemical profile (aka “chem,” “chemistry” or “chem panel”): Another type of blood test, biochemical profiles can give us hints about kidney and liver health and give us clues about metabolic diseases like diabetes. Because some animals normally fall above or below normal ranges without disease, it is another important baseline test to run when your pet is young and healthy.

• Urinalysis (UA): As you might guess, this tests looks at your pet’s urine. Blood cells and bacteria do not belong in urine. So if these are found, we know there is a problem in the bladder or kidney. A urinalysis can also show us how well the kidney is working or whether your pet has diabetes.

• Feline leukemia virus and feline immunodeficiency virus test (FeLV/FIV test): Feline leukemia and immunodeficiency are two different viruses that infect cats. Cat-to-cat contact is the most common way your cat may become infected, including mom-to-kitten transmission. Because these viruses interfere with the immune system’s ability to fight infection and can be fatal, all cats should be screened for these two viruses. Since these viruses are good at hiding in the body, all sick cats should be tested as well.

• Fecal flotation (aka “fecal” or “parasite screen”): The Companion Animal Parasite Council recommends annual screening for gut worms. If your dog or cat has parasites, the eggs will be shed in feces and can be found by fecal flotation. The protozoan parasite Giardia can also be found if present. Some worms can be transmitted to people, so it is especially important to keep your pets on regular parasite control and to screen annually.

Along with a physical exam, these tests allow veterinarians to detect disease earlier and to provide treatments that can keep your pet happy and feeling good longer.

Article reposted from:
By Dr. Rebecca Ruch-Gallie