Causes Of Fever In Dogs

fever in dogsFever In Dogs

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The two most common causes of fever in dogs are viral and bacterial infections.  Some examples of viral infections are hepatitis, parvovirus, and distemper.  Examples of bacterial infections are skin abscesses and pyometra.  Respiratory infections can be viral or bacterial.  Some other causes are heatstroke, eclampsia or low blood calcium, and tick fever.

The average temperature in dogs is 101.3.  The adult dogs temperature can range from 100 to 102.5.  A body temperature above 103 in a dog is considered to be a canine fever.  An elevated temperature is not necessarily a sign of dog illness.  A dog can have a variation in temperature of one or two degrees depending on the time of day, their emotional state and amount of activity, or the environment, such as being outside on a hot day.  Fever can be one of the symptoms of a sick dog.

Most dogs hair insulates against heat loss or heat gain.  On a hot day the only way a dog can lower its body temperature is by panting.  A dogs sweat glands are located on the foot pads.

Viruses, bacteria, and cancer cells can cause fever by stimulating white blood cells to produce chemical substances called pyrogens.  Pyrogens are helpful in combating unwanted invaders.  Fever may mean your dog’s body is responding to the challenge and fighting the infection.

Some of the signs of a fever in dogs are:

  • Depression
  • Lack of appetite
  • Nasal discharge
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Coughing

Dogs can seem cold and shiver or feel hot and pant or seek a cool place.  There may be an increase in the heart rate and respiratory rates.

If a dog has fever over 105 it may have had a heatstroke.  A shower or cold water bath must be given immediately to lover the body temperature before brain damage or death results.

Dog fever can be controlled by aspirin.  Providing shade and plenty of water helps prevent heat stroke in dogs.

Causes Of Rapid Weight Loss In Dogs

Weight Loss In DogsWeight Loss In Dogs

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There are many causes of rapid weight loss in dogs.  It can be caused by medical problems.  Disease of the liver, pancreas, and intestines can cause the food not to be absorbed properly.  Vomiting and dog diarrhea may be present.  Dog weight loss accompanied by increased water intake and urination may indicate kidney disease or diabetes.  Heart disease can cause weight loss in which the body does not get the proper nutrition because of poor circulation.  Dog worms or other canine parasites can steal your dog’s nutrition.

If your dog is just a little underweight, there may not be anything seriously wrong.  Toy breeds are sometimes picky about their food.  Adding a teaspoon of canned dog food to the dry food may tempt it to eat better.  Some dogs prefer their food be soft and moist.

Healthy pets that are lean usually have less joint, heart, lung and pancreatic problems.

Dogs that are underweight are not receiving enough calories.  If your dog is burning up more calories than it is taking in or eating a food that in not digestible, it may be losing weight.  Some dogs are hyper and you may have to cut back on the amount of exercise he gets.

If your dog does not seem ill and is active and alert, you can start by increasing it’s caloric intake.  You may need to increase the protein and fat contents in your dogs food.  Vitamins may increase your dogs appetite too.

If no weight gain is seen with increased food intake or if the weight loss is accompanied by signs of illness in the dog, you should see your vet.

Your vet may want to do a blood test, stool sample, urinalysis, electrocardiogram, ultrasound, endoscopy, and x-rays to find the underlying cause for the canine weight loss.

Dog Constipation

Dog ConstipationConstipation In Dogs

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Dog constipation happens when a dog strains repeatedly and is unable to pass stool.  The leading cause of constipation in dogs is ingesting bones, wood, or other indigestibles.  A healthy dog should have one or two stools a day.  If your dog is not straining and is active, alert and eating well, but has not defecated in a few days chances are the problem is not serious.  Other causes of irregular bowel movements are ingestion of hair balls from cleaning themselves, tumors, and the slower intestinal movements, perineal hernia’s or prostatic enlargement in older dogs and lack of exercise.

A dog that has an impaction will pass blood tinged or watery brown stool.  This can be mistaken for diarrhea.  This is caused by the liquid stool being forced around the blockage.  The dog may have lack of appetite, be listless and may vomit or pass small amounts of blood streaked, foul smelling feces.  Some long haired dogs get feces stuck and matted over their anus.  They can not defecate.  This referred to as Pseudocoprostasis.  The hair and matted feces must be clipped around the anus so the dog can defecate.

Mild constipation in a dog can be relieved by adding over the counter laxatives such as Metamucil to the dogs food.  Adding water to a dry dog food diet may be helpful for inactive bowels.  Mineral oil, which lubricates and softens the stools, maybe be a relief for constipation.  It is best to put the mineral oil in the food.  It may pass into the respiratory system and cause pneumonia.  Milk and liver have a laxative effect and can be a cure for constipation.

In older dogs with constipation, the intestines become lazy and moves the feces through the intestines much more slowly.   The long the feces is allowed to stay in the intestine, the more water is removed from them, which makes the stool much harder and drier.

Preventing irregular bowel movements includes giving your dog plenty of water, feeding a balanced diet with fiber, and make sure the dog gets plenty of exercise.  Do not give your dog bones.  Chicken, steak, and pork chop bones are all dangerous for your dog.  They can cause obstructions and can cut the intestines.

What Causes Bad Breath In Dogs

Bad Breath In DogsBad Breath In Dogs

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What causes bad breath?  Usually bad breath in dogs is caused by problems with the dogs teeth and gums.  Plaque develops on a dogs teeth just like it does on human teeth.  Few dog owners brush theirs dogs teeth.  The plaque hardens and turns a brownish color that is called tartar or calculus.  The tartar that is under the gums loosens the delicate membranes that holds the teeth in their sockets.  This causes infections to develop around the receding gums and teeth.  This is known as periodontal disease.  The dog odor is bad and the gums are red and swollen.  The dog may have trouble chewing or may drool.

More than 80% of dogs that are three years old develop periodontal disease which affects the gums.  The overgrowth of gum tissue will cause a foul mouth odor.  How to cure smelly breath?   A teeth cleaning is necessary to save the dogs teeth.  Sometimes extractions of the teeth is needed.

Mouth odor causes are red or bleeding gums, loose teeth, tartar on the teeth, sensitive or painful mouth, reluctance to eat.

If your dog has a very sweet mouth odor combined with lethargy and increased water intake, urination, and appetite may indicate diabetes.  Your vet will want to take a urine sample to check for sugar.  Kidney disease in dogs can produce dog bad breath too.

Dogs do not get cavities often.  They are more prone to fractured teeth and malocclusions.  A malocclusion is a misalignment from a normal bite, which is generally a scissors bite.

Prevention of periodontal disease is very important.  Chronic mouth infections constantly spread bacteria and toxins to the kidneys, liver and heart of the dog.  This can cause damage to these organs.

The time to prevent future dental problems is before the tartar forms.  Your dog should have his teeth cleaned on a yearly basis to prevent dental disease.

Cellulitis In Dogs

Cellulitis In DogsCellulitis In Dogs

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Cellulitis in dogs is an inflammation which involves the deep layers of the dogs skin.  What causes cellulitis?  It is caused by deep cuts, scratches, puncture wounds, bites and lacerations of the skin which lets bacteria set in.  If proper care is taken in the first few hours, infection can be avoided in most fresh wounds.  Cellulitis and abscess of the leg are common in both dogs and cats.

Cellulitis symptoms are pain or tenderness to pressure, firmness, warmth, and a change in color.  You may see red streaks in the skin and be able to feel enlarged lumpy glands in the groin, neck or armpits.  As the infection spreads out from the wound into the sub-dermal lymphatic system.

A localized pocket of pus beneath the surface of the skin is a skin abscess on a dog.  Boils pustules, pimples and furuncles are examples.  The symptoms are the same as cellulitis except that the dog abscess is fluctuant or it feels like fluid under pressure.

If hot packs are applied to an area of cellulitis, moisture and heat assist the natural defenses of the body to surround the infection and make it come to a head.  The skin that covers the top of the abscess thins out and ruptures, which allows the pus to drain form the wound.  Then the pocket is able to heal from below.

Boils, pimples, pustules, furuncles and other small abscesses which do not drain may need to be lanced with a sterile needle.  The cavity will need to be flushed with a diluted hydrogen peroxide solution to keep it open and draining until it heals from below.

How to treat cellulitis?  Antibiotics are used in the treatment of wound infections, abscesses, and cellulitis infection.  Most bacterial skin infections respond well to Penicillin, Erythromycin and Keflex, but cultures may be indicated to select the drug of choice.  Infections of the skin can be dangerous if not taken care of promptly.

Foreign bodies such as splinters beneath the skin must be removed with tweezers as they are a continuous source of infection.