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Showing posts from November, 2017

6 Common Illnesses to Watch for in Puppies

Your puppy is brand new and you want to protect him. The best thing you can do is to feed him a healthy, balanced diet, says Dr. Jim Dobies, a veterinarian with South Point Pet Hospital in Charlotte, N.C., and a member of the North Carolina Veterinary Medical Association.

“If you do, you’re giving your puppy’s immune system the best chance to fight off infection, he says. “He is in better shape to fight off illness and recover.”

But you can’t protect your baby pooch from everything. Here are six common illnesses he could catch in his first year of life.

1. PARVOVIRUS (PARVO) This highly contagious canine illness attacks puppies aged between 12 weeks and up to 3 years. Transmitted through bodily secretions and unvaccinated dogs, canine parvovirus is easily passed on, though most dogs are vaccinated against it starting at six to eight weeks, then again every three weeks until they are four months old (or until your veterinarian recommends).

Symptoms: A CPV infection (parvo) in dogs …

5 Reasons Life Stage Diets Help Improve Pet Health

Balanced and complete nutrition is important for any animal. However, the nutritional needs will vary depending on the dog or cat's life stage. For instance, the nutritional needs of a growing puppy or kitten are much different than the needs of adult dog or cat that leads a sedentary life. Conversely, as our pets age, their nutritional needs may change again.

Here are five reasons to make sure that your pet's food is designed specifically for their life stage.
Puppies and kittens that are growing require pet foods with a higher protein level and a higher calorie count than most mature dogs and cats to meet their growth requirements. If these nutritional demands are not met, your pet’s growth may be stunted and/or your pet may become ill. DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), a fatty acid, has been shown to increase mental acuity in puppies. In fact, according to the results of some studies puppies eating dog food which contain DHA have been found to be more trainable.Obesity is the mos…

Why Your Dog's Weight Really Matters

According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP), 54% of the nation’s dogs and cats are overweight, and the founder of APOP, Ernie Ward, DVM, is really not happy about it.

“We often try to compare what’s happening with our pets to the childhood obesity epidemic, since it’s a similar pattern that emerges,” said Dr. Ward. “The biggest problem is that by the time most people recognize the problem, it’s often too late.”

So why is it that having an obese dog is such a problem? Dr. Ward broke it down.

THE TWO MAIN PROBLEMS WITH OVERWEIGHT DOGS There are really two factors to keep in mind when you consider the issues associated with overweight and obese pets, says Dr. Ward: health and money.

The first, health, should come as no surprise to those who are aware of all the health issues that overweight people have to deal with. “It’s not only the fact that obese pets face a shorter life expectancy, but it’s the quality of the life they’re l…

What to Do When Your Dog Has Worms

You might not want to think about it, but your dog likely has had worms at some point in his life, and may even have them now. If your reaction to this is an emotive “Ick,” you are not alone. But don’t let squeamishness get in the way of protecting your dog. Left untreated, these parasites, which can infect your pet’s intestines, heart, lungs, and other parts of the body, can sicken and even kill your dog, and can quite possibly infect you, too.

Dr. Cindi Cox, head shelter veterinarian with the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Boston, said studies have shown that virtually all puppies are born with roundworm infections. Cox said research has also shown that up to 30 percent of all dogs shed worm eggs into their environment.

Dr. Neil Marrinan of Old Lyme Veterinary Hospital in Connecticut added that dogs who are shedding parasites in their feces can contaminate the dirt in your yard.

SIGNS OF WORM INFECTION IN DOGS Signs of intestinal parasitic infe…

What is causing my pet's bad breath, and what can I do about it?

Few things rival the sensation of being awoken from a deep sleep by the noxious odor of a pet breathing heavy doggie-breath into your face. Halitosis is one of the most common complaints owners have about their pets. So what causes it?

Most of the time, bad breath is a result of periodontal disease- which is found in about 85% of all dogs and cats! As bacteria build up on the teeth and form plaque, the resulting smell can get very noticeable indeed. As untreated periodontal disease progresses, the smell only worsens.

In these cases, treating the periodontal disease helps the symptoms resolve. The most beneficial treatment is a full cleaning at the veterinarian, though home care such as toothbrushing and dental chews can help preserve dental health in between cleanings.

Aside from the periodontal disease, halitosis can also result from other medical conditions. Conditions of the mouth and throat such as bacterial infections, fungal overgrowth, or cancer can create bad breath. System…

What Causes Diarrhea in Dogs?

HOW TO DIAGNOSE AND TREAT DIARRHEA IN DOGS Diarrhea is a prevalent problem for dogs. Even worse, it can be a serious issue that quickly leads to dehydration. What people want to know most, though, is how to treat diarrhea in dogs. Let's look into that as well as the common causes of diarrhea in dogs and how veterinarians diagnose the ailment.

WHAT CAUSES DIARRHEA IN DOGS? "Diarrhea can also be a common side effect of some pet medications, including antibiotics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and heart medications,” says Dr. Jules Benson, VP of Veterinary Services at Petplan pet insurance. Some dogs will even have bouts of diarrhea when their diet is altered or they are overly stressed.

HOW IS DIARRHEA IN DOGS DIAGNOSED? Identifying the cause of the diarrhea will vary in difficulty. "To diagnose the cause of severe or prolonged diarrhea, veterinarians will perform a thorough history and physical exam," says Dr. Coates, adding that "in some cases, th…

What can I do to improve my dog’s oral health?

Believe it or not, periodontal disease is the number one condition diagnosed in veterinary clinics- so if you’re looking at your dog’s teeth with some concern, you’re not alone!

Like the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Preventing dental disease is more cost effective and better for your pet’s health than trying to reverse it down the line. Don’t wait until your pet has overt signs of dental disease such as visible tartar and halitosis before implementing a home care routine. Regular toothbrushing is the best way to keep your pet’s teeth healthy at home. It may take some time to get him or her accustomed to it at first, but with lots of praise and reward it can be an easy task.

Some pets do well with dental treats and kibble that are proven to reduce tartar and plaque accumulation. While many products may make this claim, look for treats with the Veterinary Oral Health council seal of approval on the package. These are proven products approved by multi…

What Age Should You Spay Your Dog?

New puppy visits have to be one of my favorite appointments in veterinary medicine. Adorable puppies, excited owners, so many opportunities to lay the groundwork for a long and happy life together. We cover lots of topics: vaccinations, deworming schedules, training, nutrition. During the first visit, one of the most common questions I get with puppies is, “When should my pet be spayed or neutered?”

For a very long time, veterinary medicine offered a fairly standard response: Six months. But why is that? Is it truly in every pet’s best interests to be desexed, and if so, why this particular age? Let’s unpack this very important topic so that you understand the factors we consider when we give you our recommendation for spays and neuters.

UNDERSTAND EXACTLY WHAT A SPAY OR NEUTER ENTAILS A spay, known in veterinary parlance as ovariohysterectomy, is the surgical removal of both the ovaries and the uterus in female dogs. While ovariectomies (removal of the ovaries, leaving the uterus)…

Weight Reducing Diets For Dogs (and Cats)

WHERE HAVE WE GONE WRONG? Twenty years ago commercial diets appeared on the canine and feline banquet table that were designed to promote weight loss. Great, I thought. And since so many pets were overweight, I jumped into the pool of promoters dispensing pet weight loss diets from my animal hospital.

Pretty soon just about every pet food company produced and promoted their various brands of weight reducing diets in flavors, textures, colors and compositions that were sure to keep our pets' tummies full and appetites satisfied … and yet would result in a slimmer and healthier dog. The problem is that these reduced calorie or weight loss diets seldom worked.

Today, twenty-five years after the weight reducing diets first appeared, it is estimated that over 35 percent of domestic dogs and cats are not only overweight but actually obese!

I began asking myself what happened. I had examined thousands of dog and cat patients that were consuming various brands of "lite" or …

Understanding Common Pet Food Ingredients

Generally speaking, most pet foods contain a combination of protein, carbohydrate sources, vitamins, minerals, fats, and preservatives. Each ingredient plays an important role in providing enrichment to the body, and every combination of ingredients is regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ensure that our pets are being fed safe and nutritious products.

PROTEIN: IT STARTS HERE The origin of the protein source depends on the type of product that is being made. Protein sources come in multiple forms, including fresh meats like chicken and beef, or they can be formed from various types of meat “meal.” Some meals are made from the ground-up parts of an animal that are not used for human consumption, usually the heart, liver, bone, feet and other such material that are categorized as the “by-products” of meat processing. The most commonly used animal by-products come from cows, pigs, sheep and poultry birds. These materials go to a rendering facility, where they are…

Valerian Root for Dogs: Does It Work?

If your dog is terrified during thunderstorms or becomes anxious when left home alone, valerian root may offer relief. It’s an herbal supplement with mild sedative qualities that humans have traditionally used to alleviate insomnia, stress, and anxiety. Integrative veterinarians also recommend it for their anxious canine patients.

Valerian root is not without its risks. You need to watch for side effects, especially if your dog takes other medications or supplements. And because dogs are individuals (just like us), it may not work as well for yours as it does for the pup living down the block.

Before investing in a bottle of valerian root capsules or liquid, it's important to learn the essentials: Are valerian supplements safe? Are there side effects? And do they even work? Our vet experts weigh in on valerian root’s usefulness for treating anxiety in dogs. Of course, you should run any supplements past your own vet before giving it to your canine companion.


How to Clean Dried Poop Off Your Dog

Dog owners are bound to deal with a lot of dirty business. From fleas and dirt to vomit and poop, our furry best friends sure can put us through the wringer when it comes to cleanliness.

That last issue—poop—could actually be more of a problem in certain circumstances than you might think. For example, there is actually a medical term for when your dog has mats of fecal matter and fur that block the anus—it’s called pseudocoprostasis. If left untreated, it can cause a whole host of other problems. “Pseudocoprostasis usually happens in longer haired dogs and cats,” says Dr. Jerry Klein, chief veterinary officer with the American Kennel Club. “The matted mass of hair and feces can vary in size from walnut size to the size of a large grapefruit. Once the matted hair grows over the anus, it becomes difficult for the dog or cat to defecate.”

To prevent your pet from further harm caused by pseudocoprostasis, learn what to do to handle the situation before it gets out of hand.


5 Tips for Treating and Beating Canine Lymphoma

Lymphoma is a blood-borne cancer of lymphocytes, which are a specific type of white blood cell. It is the most common cancer diagnosed in dogs. There are several forms of lymphoma in dogs, the most common being high-grade lymphoblastic B-cell lymphoma, which closely resembles non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in people. Lymphoma is one of the most treatable cancers in dogs, and recent developments in targeted therapies, monoclonal antibodies, and bone marrow transplantation could offer the hope of a cure in the future. Whether your dog was recently diagnosed, currently undergoing treatment, or you’re looking for information about disease prevention, you will find the following tips for treating and beating canine lymphoma valuable.

1. Pet your pup! While you might expect a dog with cancer to show signs of illness, many dogs with lymphoma behave normally. Feeling enlarged lymph nodes may be the only sign something is wrong, and early detection is helpful for ensuring your dog is a good candidate …

Growth in Dogs: What to Expect

If a young dog has joined your pack recently, you likely have questions about what the first year or so in her life will look like from a developmental perspective. When will she stop growing? What do those big paws really mean? Dr. Susan O’Bell, a primary care doctor at Angell Animal Medical Center in Boston, and Dr. Matthew Rooney, owner of Aspen Meadow Veterinary Specialists in Longmont, Colo. and a board-certified specialist in surgery, have the answers.

WHEN DO DOGS STOP GROWING AND HOW BIG WILL MY PUPPY GET? Most dogs’ growth plates close at around 9 to 11 months of age, the doctors say. By that point you should have a good sense of your dog’s ultimate height and length, with giant breeds growing until they are a little over a year old, O’Bell says. Smaller dogs reach full growth a bit sooner, between six and eight months, Rooney says.

“Many medium and large breed dogs retain a ‘juvenile’ appearance for their first one to two years of life, but technically they aren’t still grow…

Cannabis Oil for Dogs: Everything You Need to Know

In certain states across the country, medical marijuana is an option for people suffering from various ailments and seeking relief. Now, as research continues to emerge, pet parents and veterinarians alike are finding that medical cannabis can provide positive benefits for dogs as well.

Whether a dog has cancer, seizures, or anxiety, cannabis oil can serve as an alternative medication to help treat symptoms. Here’s everything pet parents need to know about cannabis oil for dogs.

Cannabis oil is liquid derived from the marijuana plant. There are many ways to extract oil from the plant, including CO2 extraction, says Dr. Tim Shu, founder and CEO of a pet cannabis company in California called VETCBD.

“The [marijuana] flower contains trichomes, which are glands that have essential oils,” Shu explains. Once the glands are separated from the plant, they can be formulated to find the ideal ratio of cannabinoids, he says.

Marijuana plants contain 80 different cannabinoid…