How To Prevent Dog Ear Infections

Causes of dog ear infectionDog Ear Infections

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Everyone that owns a dog should learn how to prevent dog ear infections.  Checking your dogs ears frequently will prevent infections.  Dirt, wax and parasites can lead to canine ear infections in dogs.

Healthy ears are pink.  Any signs of redness can be a sign of infection or inflammation.  A small amount of earwax is normal and healthy.  An excessive amount, a change in color or consistency can be a cause for concern.

If your dogs ears have a unusual smell, strong odor, or if he whines when you touch his ears, it may have a health problem, such as infection or dog allergies.

Cleaning your dogs ears regularly prevents wax and oil build up.  Excessive amounts of earwax can provide a fertile environment for bacteria and fungus.  You should regularly pull out the hair any hair in the ears of  your dog.  This improves air flow in the ear canal which prevents infections and infestations.

Ear infections in a dog can be uncomfortable and agonizing.  If left untreated, canine ear infections can compromise hearing and cause permanent deafness.

Canine anatomy which includes heavy overhanging ear flaps are a cause for infection.

The most common dog ear disease is otitis externa which is an inflammation of the external canal.  Otitis media which is a middle ear infection can develop from otitis externa and canine allergies is the biggest cause of infection.  About seventy five percent of dogs with a food allergy or atopy have ear disease.

Some ways to prevent infection in a dogs ears are:

  • cleaning dogs ears on a weekly basis
  • tape the ears over the dogs head for one to two hours each day to increase ventilation to the ear canal.
  • feeding an all natural diet

Routine dog ear care can prevent many ear problems.  Regular cleaning keeps the ears of your dog healthy and odor free.

Canine Demodectic Mange

d.mangeDemodectic Mange

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What is the mange? Canine Demodectic mange in dogs is a disease that causes hair loss without itch. It is caused by a tiny parasitic mite and occurs in dogs three to twelve months of age. It is too small to be seen without a microscope. It is sometimes called the red mange. Dog mange can be seen in all breeds. The mange on dogs can be difficult to cure.

Most dogs have some Demodex mites living in the pores of their skin. They are acquired early in life from their mothers. The dog mites are usually present without causing symptoms. The mange mites are able to produce a substance that lowers dogs’ natural resistance to them, allowing them to multiply on the host.. It has been observed in kennels that certain females have a higher incidence of Demodex mange in their litters than other mothers. This suggest that in some purebred dogs there is a lowered immunity to the mite. Dogs with Demodectic mange should not be bred, because it is a genetic problem.

The disease is more common in dogs with oily skin that are short-haired. Symptoms of mange appear at puberty. At this time the sebum, which the mite feeds on , is increasing in amount.

Demodectic canine mange may take one of two forms:

Localized form – It occurs in dogs up to a year old. The first sign is the thinning of the hair around the eyelids; the corners of the mouth or on the front legs, which give a moth eaten appearance in these areas. It progresses to patches of hair loss about one inch in diameter. It can be confused with ringworm. If five patches or more are present, the disease could be progressing to the generalized form. The hair begins to grow back after one or two months. The majority of cases are healed in three months. Treatment of mange involves dipping with an insecticide dip. This must be done at least 3 times with 10 day intervals between dips. The dip will kill all parasites, but not the eggs. That is why several dips are required.

Generalized form – The disease begins as a localized case, but instead of improving it gets worse. You will see numerous patches on the legs, head and trunk. The patches coalesce to form large areas. Hair follicles become plugged with debris and mites. The skin breaks down to form sores, crusts and draining sinus tracts. It can be a severe and disabling condition.

Treatment of the generalized form is prolonged and response is slow, which requires frequent changes in medications. You should clip away the hair to facilitate topical therapy of the skin. A betadine shampoo can be used to wash the whole dog to remove scales and debris.

This form of Demodectic mange should be treated by a vet. Treat until skin scrapings are negative. Cultures from infected skin sores will determine the most effective antibiotic. Cortisone can be used to treat severe skin irritations. However, it may depress the dog’s immunity to the mites making the dog’s condition worse.

Canine Sarcoptic Mange

Sarcoptic MangeSarcoptic Mange

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Canine Sarcoptic mange in dogs is a disease caused by a microscopic spider-like creature called a mite.  Your vet can make a diagnosis by examining skin scrapings under a microscope in which he look for sarcoptic mites.  Any breed can get dog mange.  Parasitic mites, which are external parasites that cause the mange in mammals, embed themselves in the skin and hair follicles in the animal.

This skin disease causes your dog to scratch and bite at himself very intensely.  The intense itching is caused by the female dog mites tunneling a few millimeters under the skin to lay their eggs.  A mite egg hatches in three to ten days.  The immature mites then develop into adults and begin to lay eggs too.  This cycle takes on 17 to 21 days.  A mite is a round parasite with four pairs of legs.

What does mange look like?  Symptoms of  mange are small red bumps that itch.  The bumps look very much like insect bites, which they are.  The skin breaks down which allows serum to seep out, which is caused by scratching, rubbing and biting at the itch.  You can see scabs, crusts, and patches of hair loss.  The skin becomes thick and darkly pigmented in the last stages.

The mites prefer the skin of the ears, elbows, legs and face.  Crusts and early hair loss are seen in these areas.  Intense itching and crusty ear tips, make the diagnosis certain. Most home remedies do not cure mange on dogs.

What is scabies? Scabies in dogs is a common name for Sarcoptic mange. Canine scabies is highly contagious.  If your dog has scabies, they can be transferred to you.  The first sign is an intense itching of the skin at the belt line.  Mites do not live on human skin over three weeks.  The problem is self limited if the dog is treated.

How to treat mange?  Treatment of Sarcoptic mange includes clipping scabies affected areas on long haired dogs and bathe the entire animal in an insecticide dip.  At least three dips are required at intervals of ten days each.  A fourth dip may be needed to catch late hatching eggs.

Dandruff shampoos can be used between insecticide dipping to loosen scales.

Cortisone will help relieve severe itching.  If the dog has sores that look infected, they can be treated with a soothing topical antibiotic ointment.

Canine Giardia

Giardia in dogsCanine Giardia

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What is giardia? It is a single cell parasite that lives in the intestine of dogs.  Canine giardia is caused by a microorganism present in contaminated feces and bodies of water.  Giardia in dogs is a common health problem.  Symptoms of parasitic infection include dog diarrhea, vomiting, weight loss and lack of appetite.  Some parasites can cause intestinal upset.  Fecal samples can be examined for the presence of giardia, and a drug called Flagyl is commonly prescribed to treat it.  Dogs with giardia do not always show symptoms.  It can be especially fatal in puppies under six months of age.

The dog giardia vaccine is not recommended because it only prevents spreading of the disease through fecal matter and not the disease itself.

Dogs, cats and all animals can get this disease.  It has the potential to infect humans too.  They are too small to be seen by the naked eye.  It is spread by feces of infected animals.  Some dogs can be carriers and show no signs of the disease.  Humans that have giardia have diarrhea, abdominal cramps, bloating, and sometimes fever and nausea.

The best way to diagnose the disease is by a trichrome stain of fresh feces.  The cysts may not be seen on a regular fecal examination.

Treatment of giardia is done by giving the antibiotic metronidazole or Furazolidone.  Kaopectate can be given to help control diarrhea in dogs.

Since the dog parasite is spread by fecal contamination of food, water, and the environment, prompt disposal of waste is very important.

The best way to prevent giardia infection is to make sure your dog has clean drinking water.

Dog Parasites

Dog Parasites

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What are parasites?  A parasite is an organism that lives in or on a host and obtains its nourishment from the host.  Intestinal parasites are dog parasites that live in the intestine of dogs and draw blood.  Worms in dogs are a common problem.  Some people think if their dog is found to have parasites in his stool, that he must be suffering from a disease state.

This is not always true.  Most dogs are infested with intestinal parasites at one time or another.  Some are born with them and others acquire them later in life.  They develop a certain a mount of immunity when they recover.  This helps to keep the worms in check.

We should distinguish a disease state from the presence of canine parasites.  Not all dogs with parasites will suffer from symptoms of a disease.

If canine worms are causing disease, there will be some change in the appearance of the stool.  This can be reflected by a decline in the general health of the dog.  Symptoms of parasites are a loss of weight, decreased appetite, upset stomach, anemia, mucus and/or blood in the feces.

Most dogs are capable of developing a resistance to certain dog worms like those having a larvae phase which migrates in their tissues like dog roundworms, hookworms and threadworms.  The effect is on the maturation cycle.  Instead of becoming in the intestine, the larvae remain dormant as cysts in the tissues.  Tapeworms and whipworms have no migratory stage and cause little build up of immunity.

Resistance to canine roundworms appears to be age related.  Dogs over six months of age usually do not have a heavy infestation of worms.  Ten or more worms are considered to be a heavy infestation.  Dogs with worms can suffer from malnutriton.

Cortisone which is an immunosuppressive drug have been shown to activate large numbers of hookworm larvae lying dormant in the dog’s tissue.  Stressful events such as surgery, trauma, severe disease, and emotional upset like shipping can activate dormant larvae.  This leads to the appearance of parasites in dogs stool.

During pregnancy, roundworms and hookworm larvae are activated and migrate to the unborn puppies.  Even when the mother has been wormed, a heavy parasite problem may appear in the puppies.  This happens because none of the deworming agents are affective against larvae encysted in the tissue.

Different types of worms in dogs may require different medications.  If your puppy is diagnosed with more than one type, ask your vet about a medication that will protect against more than one parasite at a time.

If your puppy goes outside for any length of time, more than likely it will pick up worms sometime in its life.