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Posts Tagged ‘dog health’

A hernia is caused by tears or bulges in the body that allow tissues or organs to pass or protrude through. Hernias can be genetic or the result of an injury. There are different types of hernias, and they can occur in different areas of the body.

Some hernias can be detected through X-rays and others may appear only through symptoms such as eating problems, respiratory trouble or excessive salivation. Hernias do have the potential to be life-threatening, so take your dog to the veterinarian as soon as you notice either an unusual bulge or symptoms of illness.

How Do I Know If It’s a Hernia?

There are several symptoms to look for if your dog has a hernia. Any unusual symptoms outside of normal behavior should be cause for concern, but these symptoms are attributed to hernias:

Types of Hernias

  1. Umbilical: An umbilical hernia is usually inherited through genetics and is not caused by cutting the umbilical cord too close. This hernia appears as a swelling or bulge near or under the belly button that may adjust as the dog eats. These hernias are not considered serious and usually close on their own. Large ones may grab or encapsulate other organs or intestines and restrict blood flow as it closes. The loss of blood flow can be life-threatening, so always have the hernia examined by a veterinarian.
  2. Inguinal: These hernias appear in the groin area and are most commonly seen in females that are pregnant, bloated or constipated. Males can be affected by this type of hernia, but this is uncommon. Recurrence on the opposite (healthy) groin is possible, so both sides should be checked by your vet.
  3. Perineal: These hernias appear around the anus and are usually caused by hereditary muscle weakness or muscles that weakened from other causes. This type of hernia typically affects older males more than females. A hernia can appear on one or both sides of the anus. The anal glands are commonly removed when the hernia is being treated surgically since they are usually the cause of the hernia. Perineal hernias are more common in small or toy dogs.
  4. Diaphragmatic: Most of these hernias appear after car accidents but can be the result of genetics. These are the most difficult to treat because of the locations of nearby internal organs. The hernia is caused by a tear where the diaphragm meets the rib cage. This can put pressure on internal organs and cause difficulty with breathing.

Treatment

Treatment for all hernias in dogs is surgery unless it is an umbilical hernia that closes and resolves itself. Hernias are most commonly mistaken for tumors, but do not try to diagnose your dog yourself; what may appear to be a small and harmless hernia to you might be one that is pressing on other organs that you can’t see or cutting off blood supply to other parts of the body.

Let your veterinarian make the determination and decide the time and type of treatment needed; it just might save your pet’s life.

Other Considerations

Hernias can be passed down through generations, and affected dogs are usually not recommended for breeding. If you want to breed for pets and not for show animals, be prepared to have the offspring examined and treated for hernias if they exist in the parents.

Attached Images:

This guest post was written by Kristine Lacoste, a writer and editor with PetsAdviser.com, a pet advice site.

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byguest blogger Dr. Susan Wright, DMV

Dog owners want their dog to be obedient, and listen and respond appropriately when they are commanded to. However, the result of an obedient dog requires a lot of time and attention in training your pup to follow your lead. The best-case scenario to obtain an obedient dog is to train your dog at the ideal time. There are certain periods of a dog’s life where it is easier to mold than others, and this is when the dog is still a young puppy. While any dog can be trained and habits can be broken, it is most ideal to have these lessened learned while the dog is still young.

Is anybody watching?

Start Young

So when is the best time to begin obedience training? Typically, the best period to start training your dog is between 7 and 16 weeks of age. This age is ideal because the puppy has had the adequate time to grow, develop and be nurtured by his mother and learn imperative dog socialization from his littermates. When you first adopt a puppy, your dog begins to interact and live with people. This is also when your dog will learn habits that may stick with him through adulthood.  Make sure you are clear on your stance about basic behavior patterns that you will accept and not tolerate, like biting, chewing aggressiveness etc.

Keep Training Brief & At Home

As your dog is still young and susceptible to some diseases it is best to keep the obedience training at home alone and begin with simple commands.  Work with your dog to understand how to sit, stay, lay down and come. Since your dog will be young and have a short attention span it is important to keep the training sessions brief and condensed, but repeat them often daily. Start out with five minute training sessions, repeated five to seven times a day. You may find it is best to work on one command at a time, and introduce others one at a time as your dog becomes proficient in leaning the skill.

Stay Positive & Creative

The best method to teach your dog is using positive learning, or positive reinforcement. Reward your dog for doing what you want him to do, verses scolding him when he does not. Dogs naturally want to delight their alpha dog, which is you, so when they receive love, attention and praise they will want to repeat the behavior to receive more of the good attention. When you are training your dog, incorporate lessons throughout the day with different activities to help teach your dog how they will use the skill and to make training fun. For example, ask your dog to sit and stay while you go grab his food to feed him. This will help your dog practice the commands and control – especially when he really wants to eat!

Reinforcing Behavior

Once your dog has some age, you might consider professional training to reinforce what you have already taught your dog. You of course may also continue training your dog at home and introduce your own distractions. It is also important to keep your dog involved in socializing with other animals, either through playtime with a neighbor dog or visits to a local dog park. Most importantly understand that obedience training is a life-long commitment to your dog.

Dr. Susan Wright DMV is a veterinarian with more than a decade of experience. Susan is a writer and serves as a dog bark collar expert. Dr. Wright and her staff share their love of dogs both professionally and personally by writing informational and entertaining pieces on the proper care of domestic animals.

Photo courtesy: http://www.sunnydayphotos.com

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Several weeks ago the evening news reported a story about a man who left his dog on Mt. Bierstadt in Colorado after the dog had become injured and unable to walk (Read the news article)Without food or water for eight days, this dog was somehow able to survive.

It’s really an amazing story on several levels; from the incredible will to live on the part of the dog to be able to fight off starvation,

Australian Shepherd

dehydration, and the harsh elements; to the group of strangers who selflessly took action to save the life of this dog who had been abandoned in a harsh, unforgiving environment by her master.

I imagined myself in that same situation and wondered what circumstance, if any, could possibly force me to choose to leave my dog

behind without shelter, food, or water?

Would you have been able to leave your dog on that mountain?

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I’m not the type of person to visit the doctor every time my nose runs, I’m comfortable with trying a few home remedies or let whatever ails me run its course. I know my body well enough to know when it’s time to consult an expert.

Papion with toy

When it comes to my dog, I’m not always sure if I’m meeting her needs the best I can.  Keeping in line with an all-natural, conservative approach as much as possible. I do consult with my veterinarian more often because I want to know that I am doing the right things to help my dog live a long, comfortable life.

At a recent visit to my veterinarian, Sadie Maybach, DVM, for Kaycee‘s shots, I asked Dr. Maybach about giving my dog a supplement to help her joints. As Kaycee gets older I notice slight changes in her energy level and overall mobility. An old injury to her leg occasionally flares up when we are out and about, so I wanted to see if there was something natural that I could do for her to ease the discomfort in her joints and limbs. Dr. Maybach was very helpful and suggested a supplement of glucosamine/chondroitin sulfate. I take glucosamine supplements myself, but I didn’t know if they were safe to give my dog. Turns out they are safe for dogs and cats and there are a lot of high quality brands out there for animals including, Nutramax and Myristol.

One thing Dr. Maybach did caution me on was whether the product contained any Vitamin D. Vitamin D is toxic to dogs, so be sure to examine the label carefully before you make a purchase.

It’s easy to make the assumption that if something is safe for humans, then it must be fine for our pets as well. However, this is not always the case and a quick call to your veterinarian could prevent a very tragic and unnecessary consequence to that assumption.

Photo courtesy: http://www.sunnydayphotos.com

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by guest blogger VetDepot

Vomiting in dogs has many possible causes, some of which are temporary and not major health concerns. Other causes are potentially life threatening and require emergency veterinary attention. Knowing which symptoms could indicate a serious problem is key to promptly getting your canine companion proper treatment.

Causes of Sudden Vomiting

Sudden, or acute, vomiting develops rapidly and may be severe. Your dog may vomit multiple times in a row and have great difficulty

Cute Poodle

holding down water and other fluids. Acute vomiting is usually caused by a bacterial infection of the digestive tract, car sickness, viral infections, food intolerances, or a foreign body (such as a chew toy or bone) trapped in the digestive tract. Causes that are more serious include pancreatitis, acute kidney failure, heatstroke, toxins, liver failure, gallbladder inflammation, or medication overdose. Unless you know the cause of acute vomiting, take your dog to the veterinarian right away.

Causes of Chronic Vomiting

Chronic vomiting may occur off and on over a period of weeks or months. It is often due to severe constipation, food intolerance, or intestinal inflammation. Potentially fatal causes of chronic vomiting include liver disease, cancer, and kidney disease. If dietary changes do not help your dog, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. Blood work, urinalysis, and x-rays may be necessary to determine the underlying cause. In the meantime, make sure your dog stays hydrated by providing plenty of clean drinking water.

Danger Signs

Even mild vomiting can become serious quickly. If your dog is vomiting and has any of the following symptoms, seek veterinary attention right away: diarrhea, bloody vomit or stool, reduced appetite, increased thirst, lethargy, weight loss, dehydration, and/or weakness. Also, if your dog is unable to have a bowel movement, appears to be in pain, or vomits for longer than one day, he should be seen by your vet.

Treating Vomiting at Home

If your veterinarian determines your dog’s symptoms are innocent, you can safely manage stomach upset at home with fluid therapy, dietary changes, rest, and medication. Offer your dog bland foods, such as boiled potatoes, skinless chicken, and plain rice. Offer fluids at least once per hour, and make sure a fresh supply of drinking water is available at all times. Check for dehydration regularly and report any change in symptoms or behavior to your veterinarian.

Encourage your dog to rest as much as possible and keep him away from other pets and children during recovery. While some animals remain friendly while feeling ill, others can become cranky or aggressive. Your dog may pose a danger to small children and animals during this time. Plus, the noise and activity associated with small children may be stressful for your recovering dog.

This helpful information was provided by VetDepot.com, a discount retailer of pet medications.

Photo courtesy: http://www.sunnydayphotos.com

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by guest blogger Jennifer Dalbeck

Profile of dog

Dog bites, although very common, is something that can be controlled if the dog owner is responsible enough. This includes training the dog, especially the aggressive ones, how to behave not only inside the home but outside and around other people as well. This should also include giving the dog vaccines against rabies and other diseases. Last, responsible dog ownership also means knowing the legal consequences of a dog bite and attack.

Here are the most common Q&As regarding dog bites.

Are there any laws regarding dog bites and attacks?

Yes. In fact, not only are there state laws regarding dog bites, but if you visit your local city or county office, you will know that there are also local community laws about it. These laws include ownership of dangerous and aggressive breeds, leash laws, and laws against dogs running at large. There are also laws regarding dog vaccinations as well as dog bite laws. It will help you a lot if you familiarize yourself with these laws to better protect your pet and the people around him.

What if my dog bites a trespasser? Am I responsible for it?

There’s a little debate going on between placing a “Beware of Dog” sign or not. Some say that placing a sign like this is tantamount to admitting that you have an aggressive dog, making you more liable in case it bites a person. On the other hand, some say that this will make you less liable since the person has had ample warning.

However, you should know that this depends on where you are. In some states, it makes you less liable; however, in some, it makes no difference at all. It is only when facts are presented will the liability be determined.

Of note; if a trespasser was bitten by your dog, then you should know that you are protected from being sued. To be sure though, it is advisable that you discuss the details of the situation with a personal injury attorney who is more familiar with your state and local dog bite law.

In case my dog bites, will it be covered by my homeowner’s insurance?

Fortunately, yes. Most incidences of dog bite and attack are covered by your homeowner’s insurance. However, there are some insurance companies that do not provide coverage for certain types of dog breed, especially those breeds known for their aggressive and mean nature. To be sure, you have to ask your insurance company if they are providing coverage for your dog. You should also know that you will be asked to pay a higher premium if your dog belongs to the known aggressive breeds or if he is simply considered a high-risk dog.

Some of the popular breeds considered as dangerous and aggressive include Pit Bull, Doberman, Doberman Pinscher, German Shepherd, Rottweiler, and Boxer, among others.

What should I do if my dog bit someone?

If your dog bit your guest or your neighbor, then it is important that you immediately get in touch with your insurance company. If your insurance company does not provide dog bite coverage, then get in touch with your lawyer who can help you in case a dog bite lawsuit is filed against you.

Jennifer Dalbeck, an online writer for a dog bite lawyer Los Angeles, CA, specializes in personal injury articles. She mainly writes about nursing home abuse, animal attacks, and automobile accidents.

Photo courtesy: http://www.sunnydayphotos.com

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by guest blogger David Fairhurst

Dog at the Vet

Having a pet is one of life’s great pleasures, but it can also be one of life’s great expenses. Veterinary science has progressed enormously over recent years and the rising costs of medication, operations and treatment has rocketed. For most people, getting rid of their pet is simply not an option, so it is worth to spend some time thinking of ways to reduce the bills.

Insurance

It may seem obvious, but one of the best ways to guard against unexpected vet bills is to insure your pet. Policies are available for every sort of pet, from small rodents like hamsters to horses or dogs. Take some time to compare the different policies on the market and understand exactly what is covered. Many policies exclude routine treatments such as neutering or vaccinations, and there may also be an excess to pay. Even with these relatively minor drawbacks, an insurance policy is a sensible investment given the cost of treating an animal after a road accident or major illness could run into the thousands.

Shop around

Most of us get into the habit of buying the same things from the same shops every week, and most pet owners pick up their dog or cat food when doing the weekly shop at the supermarket. Pet food is a competitive market, and far better deals can often be found online, or if you are prepared to buy pet food and other items in bulk. Factor in the costs of delivery or get together with other pet owners to share the costs.

Medication

Many of the items recommended for your pet by the vet are only available on prescription and this makes it difficult to cut down the cost. Always ask your vet if items are prescription only, and if not, shop around in local pet stores or online to try to get a better deal. This is especially the case for items such as horse digestion supplements which are not really medication, but can assist your pet’s general health. Typing the key phrase of horse digestion supplements into any search engine will throw up dozens of online stores specializing in the market.

Prevention

Our pets are really not that different to us, and although there are no cast iron guarantees, one of the best ways of minimizing the risk of illness is to keep them as fit and healthy as possible. Obesity is a growing problem with our pets, so it is vital to control what they are eating and to cut back on portions if the weight is piling on. Exercise is also important, and especially for naturally active animals such as horses and dogs who need exercising every day without fail. If owners are unable to make that commitment themselves, there are dog walkers up and down the country who will exercise your pet, and if a horse is stabled, regular riding may be included as part of the livery fees. Always make sure your pet is up to date with vaccinations, flea and worm treatments too.

Citations:

  • Photograph by Joe Futrelle [CC BY-SA 2.0]

For horse digestion supplements and other equine health products head to the wonderful Equine Warehouse online store.

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