Canine Food Allergies

Food allergies in dogsCanine Food Allergies

By Admin

Your dog has started vomiting up some of his meals and scratches his ears frequently.  Canine food allergies are an immunologic reaction to food.  Not all dogs with skin or intestinal problems have a food allergy.

Most dogs have been eating the offending food for two years before signs of food allergies appear.  A few dogs can develop signs as early as two months of eating the offending food.  Food allergic reactions do not normally appear immediately after introducing a new food.  When they begin to show, the onset is often sudden and serious.

When your dog ingests a small amount of an allergic substance it can provoke a reaction within hours.  The dog allergic reaction may be vomiting, diarrhea, itchy or redden skin in the ear canal or ear flaps.  The dog may shake or rub it’s head, scoot, scratch their ears or develop a food allergy rash.  The dog can develop secondary skin and ear infections with bacteria or yeast.  Ear disease is common in dogs with food allergies.

Food allergic reactions can start at any age, but most dogs show symptoms before they turn one year of age.  They are seen in all breeds.  Around 15% of dogs that have these allergies have both skin and gastrointestinal signs and 30% of dogs will have itchy skin from fleas and other allergies in dogs.

The primary cause of food allergy is meat sources such as poultry, beef, lamb and fish.  Two thirds are caused by beef, dairy products, what and chicken.  Chicken, lamb, soy and eggs account for one third of allergies.  Pork, rabbit, cow’s milk, mutton, horse meat, oatmeal, corn, rice, wheat, flour, potatoes, kidney beans, and dog biscuits can cause allergies too.

Most cases of common food allergies can take months to diagnose.  You can’t cure a dog allergy and most dogs have to take shots for life.  You can learn to manage your dog’s allergies over time.  Sixty to seventy percent of dogs show a big reduction in symptoms after taking steroid shots.

Treatment for dog allergies involves antihistamines, antibiotics for infections, medicated shampoos, topical medicines and in extreme skin reaction cases steroids.  Sometimes it is difficult to tell the difference between food allergies and food intolerance.

Causes Of Limping In Dogs

Limping in dogsLimping In Dogs

By Admin

What is lameness?  Lameness in dogs is any decrease in the dog’s ability to bear weight on a leg.    Sometimes even a vet can not always tell by eye or feel if a bone is broken.  If your dog is limping badly and you suspect a fracture, have an x-ray taken. Most cases of limping or lameness are not serious, but dog lameness can be a clinical sign of a more serious disorder.

What are the causes of limping in dogs?  There are three common problems that can cause dog limping or a weakness of your dog’s hind legs.  They are disc prolapse of the back, pelvic fractures, and instability of the neck bones.  Pelvic fractures are common injuries when dogs are hit by cars.  Disc prolapse in the nick can produce pain down one or both front legs, since the nerves for sensation and movement for the front legs originate in the neck area.  A disc prolapse in the back can produce pain, weakness, or paralysis of the back legs and loss of bowel and urine control.  Pekingese, dachshunds, miniature poodles, french bulldogs, and cocker spaniels have a high incidence of disc disease.  Instability of the cervical vertebrae is seen especially in doberman pinschers 1-2 years of age and Great Danes.  A wobbly gait develops in the rear legs, and the spinal cord become compressed by the unstable neckbones.

Why is my dog limping?  There are other reasons for canine limping.  Thorns, pain, tar can stick to your dog’s front pad and between the toes.  The dog tries to chew off these substances.  This causes the paws to become irritated.  The irritation makes your dog tender on the paw and then lame.  Hot spots between the toes or footpads are another cause.  Ligaments are tissues that connect the bones of a joint and give it stability during movement.  Sometimes these are strained, sprained, or completely torn.  The knee of the dog is the most common ligament sprain or complete tear.  The anterior cruciate ligament prevents the knee bones from rubbing together, so a partial or complete tear will cause severe pain.  Your vet will be able to determine the degree of tearing.

Another cause of a dog limp is osteoporosis, which can be seen in growing puppies that are fed a diet with the wrong balance of calcium and phosphorus and not enough vitamin D.  The calcium is the lost from the bones.  The puppy is reluctant to walk, has pain in the legs, and may stand with it’s paws turned inward.  It’s bones are fragile and fracture easily.

Osteoarthritis which is bony changes in the join is the result of joint instability that were not or can not be corrected satisfactorily, of joint injuries, or of the aging process.  After sleeping, or lying down, your pet is stiff and feels pain that seems to get better as your dog moves around during the day.

Dislocation of the hip joint are occasionally seen in dogs that have been hit by cars.  The hip joint is a snug ball and socket arrangement.  Trauma can tear the muscles and tendons over the hip and pop the ball out of the socket, causing a dislocation, or a luxation of the hip joint.  The dog may not be able to place the leg on the ground if the hip is dislocated.  Fractures of the pelvis can accompany traumatic injury to the hips.

Treatment involves time and activity restriction for a few days.  Aspirin can be give to dogs to decrease the pain and inflammation.

Any canine limping that gets worse or last longer than three days should be checked by your vet.

Dog Heart Disease

heart disease in dogsDog Heart Disease

By Admin

Dogs get heart disease too.  Dog heart disease is very common in older dogs.  About 10% of all dogs have heart disease.  All the factors that influence dog’s heart health can’t be controlled.  We can learn about common canine cardiac diseases that will help us recognize and deal with them if they occur.

Heart disease in dogs falls into two broad categories:

Congenital are those that are present at birth.
Acquired are those that develop after birth.

Dogs have a genetic predisposition for either type.

The vast majority of of canine heart ailments are acquired diseases.  The two leading causes of heart failure in dogs are dilated cardiomyopathy and degenerative valve disease .  Symptoms appear slowly and gradually worsen in both cases, resulting in heart failure in dogs, rather than dog heart attack.

Degenerative valvular heart disease is a lumpy thickening and malformation of the heart valves, which keeps them from closing properly.  This causes blood to leak backwards, decreasing the efficiency of the heart and causes a build up of fluid in the lungs or abdomen.  This is the most common canine heart disease.  It can occur in any dog, but affects small breed dogs that are older.

Dog heart disease symptoms are minimal in the early stages.  Later stage symptoms are coughing, difficulty breathing, abdominal distension, and exercise intolerance, which are all signs of heart failure.

Treatment involves managing the disease.  Degeneration of the heart valves can not be stopped.  Treatment consists of medication to increase heart efficiency and decrease fluid accumulation in the lungs and abdomen.  A low sodium diet can be given to reduce fluid retention.

Dilated cardiomyopathy is a disease of the heart muscle that causes progressive loss of pumping ability.  The heart walls become thin and flabby.

The cause is unknown, but some breeds have an inherited predisposition for it.  It can be caused by a deficiency of taurine or carnitine, amino acids required for proper development and function of the heart muscle.

Cardiomyopathy affects large breeds, but can occur in small breeds.  It strikes in middle age dogs and affects males more than females.

Symptoms are weakness, collapse, exercise intolerance, coughing, difficulty breathing, and abdominal distension.

Treatment involves increasing the heart’s pumping ability and decreasing fluid build up in the lungs and abdomen.  It can not be cured.  Fluid accumulation can be reduced by a low sodium diet.

Around 60-80 percent of affected dogs will die within one year of diagnosis.

Keeping your dog’s heart healthy with moderate exercise on a regular basis is very important.

Canine Hookworms

Canine Hookworms By Admin What are hookworms?  Canine hookworms are small thin dog worms about 1/2 to 1/2 inch long.  They are a dog intestinal parasite that fasten themselves to the wall of the intestine by a hook and draw … Continue reading

Dog Tapeworms

Tapeworms in dogsDog Tapeworms

By Admin

Dog tapeworms are dog parasites that live in the small intestines in dogs.  The scolex or head of the parasite fastens itself to the wall of the gut by suckers and hooks.  The body has small segments that contain packets of eggs.  Tapeworms in dogs can vary in size from less than an inch up to several feet long.  The head of the parasite must be killed and purged to cure the dog of tapeworm infection.

When sexually mature the segments of the body that contains the eggs are passed in the dogs feces.  If the segments are fresh and moist they are capable of moving.  They are about a quarter of an inch in size.  You may see them sticking to the hair around your dog’s anus or in his feces.  The worms on dogs look like kernels of rice or sesame seeds when they are dry.

There are several different types of dog tapeworms a dog can acquire.  One is due to eating discarded animal parts or uncooked meat.  Eating raw fish is another way.  The disease is transmitted by fleas.  The dog must swallow or bite the fleas which contains the immature tapeworms in it’s intestines.  The flea acquires the canine parasite by eating dog tapeworm eggs.

The tapeworm rarely causes significant ill effects.  You may notice a change in the texture and condition of your dog’s coat.  Symptoms of severe tapeworm infestation can cause, loss of appetite, diarrhea, and a reductin in weight.  Unless the dog has heavy infection, you will not notice tapeworm segments in the feces.

If a child accidentally swallows an infective flea it can acquire a tapeworm.  Echinococcus granulosus is a more serious disease in man that is caused by the canine tapeworm.  This disease is found in sheep, cattle, elk, deer, pigs, horses and other domestic livestock.  The dog acquires the infection by eating uncooked meat or the carcass of an animal that is infected with echinococcus granulosus larvae.

The eggs do not produce worms in humans, but produce large cysts in the lungs, liver, and brain.  The cysts are called hydatids.  This can result in a serious or fatal illness.  Common dog tapeworms can be prevented by controlling fleas and other insects.  Do not feed your dog fish or raw meat.  Keep your dog away from rodents.

In addition to external parasites such as fleas and ticks, dogs can be plagued by intestinal parasites.  Dog worms can cause severe health issues in dogs.  You should ask your vet to check your dogs stool twice a year for tapeworms and other canine worms too.

Treatment of tapeworms in dogs include giving Telmintic dog worm medicine 3-5 days in a row.