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Liver Disease in dogs

DDD_liver_gallbladder_pancreas-150x150The liver is one of the most important organs in the body of your dog. It performs various functions like aiding blot clot, digestion, detoxification of waste products, and manufacturing of the body’s building blocks. If the liver fails to work properly, your pet can fall sick causing hepatitis which can progress into serious liver disease.

The liver is prone to being affected by a variety of diseases, including bacterial and viral infections, toxicities and neoplastic and degenerative diseases. According to canidae.com, “Canine liver disease is the fifth leading cause of death for dogs, and it’s estimated that three percent of all diseases veterinarians see are connected to the liver”. However, liver diseases can be treated and your pet can make a full recovery. [Read more…]

Pneumonia in Dogs

sick-dogThere is nothing more distressing then when someone you love is ill. It is even more difficult when the one who is sick cannot tell you what is wrong. It’s no different when your dog is not feeling well! When your dog is sick you just want to make him feel better! We understand. The best thing you can do for your dog is be diligent in your efforts to stay informed and educated! [Read more…]

What is 1 Good Reason to Exercise Your Dog?

Pet Exercise

Walkies!

Summer boredom impacts not only your two-legged kids but your four-legged kids as well. Bored kids and dogs spell “t-r-o-u-b-l-e”! One way to address summer boredom is by keeping your dogs exercised and plumb wore out! All kidding aside, did you know that exercising your dog is important ALL year long – not just during the summer?  It’s true.  Exercise promotes good health and reduces problem behaviors in your dog.

We all want our dog to be healthy, right?  Well, a good daily dose of exercise will definitely promote good health. Exercise builds strong bones and muscles in dogs just like it does in you! Strong bones and muscles are essential building blocks for good health.  They keep your dog protected against illness and injury.  Those long lean muscles will keep your dog flexible and mobile so he can continue to run, jump and play.  Exercise also prevents diseases that can plague aging dogs.  Cardiovascular disease, liver disease, cancer and obesity are three such diseases that can result from poor exercise habits.  Starting good habits now will last your dog a lifetime, literally. Exercise your dog today! First start with a trip to the vet for an exam to make sure your pup is healthy enough to increase physical activity. Then you can adjust the intensity and duration according to your dog’s level of fitness.

What happens when your kids get bored?  If they’re like most kids, they’ll either nag you or get into mischief! A dog will do the same if he is bored!  Destructive and problematic behaviors are often times a direct result of a bored, unexercised dog.  A dog is an inquisitive creature, by nature.  He is always up for some type of challenge whether it is physical or mental – and believe me, if you don’t provide the challenge, he’ll create his own.  Your dog’s predatory instincts demand that he explore the world in which he lives.  A nice long walk or romp at the dog park will fulfill those demands. Say good bye to problem behaviors such as jumping on people, chewing your favorite shoes and even aggressive behavior.  Again, poor behaviors are often masking a deeper issue and we can often point to boredom and lack of exercise. Exercising is imperative to keep your dog healthy and quite frankly, out of trouble. When exercising in the heat always take precautions and look for these signs of your pet overheating.

Remember to be safe, healthy and have a happy Summer!

Next Article: Invisible Fencing Can Keep Your Pets Safe

5 Ways to Ease Pet Arthritis in the Winter

“Them bones, them bones…”

If you’re experiencing extended wintery weather like we are in North Texas this year, your pet’s arthritis may be causing more pain than usual. Just as with human arthritis, doctors do not know why the cold causes more pain.

Osteoarthritis appears as a pet gets older, the cartilage in the joints erodes and the bones come in contact with each other. The joints most likely to be affected are the weight bearing joints: those in the pelvis, knees, ankles and spine. Arthritis is a progressive disease without a cure, but often some of the pain can be alleviated. Treatment plans often include a healthy, reduced-calorie diet, therapeutic exercise, massage, and anti-inflammatory medications and/or supplements.

  • One of the best things you can do for your dog is to make sure you have him or her on a weight maintenance diet, since extra weight places a lot of extra pressure on the already stressed joints.
  • Gentle exercise can be helpful, such as short walks. Dog gyms or dog activity centers are opening up around the country.   Check the internet to look for ones in your area. Some have pet indoor swimming pools. This is great exercise for arthritic pets since it takes pressure off the joints.
  • There are some medications that may help your dog, depending on the severity of the arthritis. Your veterinarian can prescribe an anti-inflammatory or corticosteroid drugs to reduce inflammation. Dietary supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate can also provide pain relief.
  • Keeping your dog comfortable and warm by providing your dog with a well-padded bed in a warm indoor location or placing a heated blanket (make sure it’s pet safe) in his bed can make all the difference in his outlook. Clothing can also help. Wrap your dog in a specially designed dog sweater, or alter one of your old sweaters or sweatshirts to fit your dog.
  • Ask your vet about massage and alternative medicine.

Take good care of your pet’s bones and joints in cold weather, and make him/her happy.

Arthritis in Winter

Winter Fun!

Next Article: 5 Ways to Alieviate Loud Noise Anxiety

Pet Vital Signs – What’s Normal?

Let’s learn about normal pet vital signs and some basic anatomy. This will give us a baseline so we can easily recognize abnormal symptoms. When I was a veterinary technician, one of my tasks was to assist doctors in surgery which involved monitoring vitals. I made sure vital signs i.e.  temperature, blood pressure, respiratory rate and pulse were within normal limits before, during and after surgery. I had to know what was normal so I could spot the abnormal. Of course you won’t be in a surgical setting but knowledge is power!

Body Temperature

Canine “normal” body temperature range is 100.5 – 102.5 Fahrenheit (38 – 39.2 Celsius). A body temperature below 100 or above 103F warrants a call to your veterinarian. Body temperature in dogs is most often measured rectally, ear thermometers can also be used, but it can be difficult to get an accurate reading. Gauging body temperature by the moistness of the nose or how warm the ears feel is not reliable. Click here to learn how to assess your dog’s body temperature: How to Take your Dog’s Temperature

Feline vital signs are sightly different than canine. A cat’s “normal” body temperature range is 100.5 – 102.5 Fahrenheit (38 – 39.2 Celsius). A body temperature below 100 or above 103F warrants a call to your veterinarian. Cats may become stressed in the veterinary office (or car ride to the office), creating a higher-than-normal body temperature temporarily. Gauging body temperature by the moistness of the nose or how warm the ears feel is not reliable.

Respiratory Rate

For dogs: 18-34 breaths per minute. Normal respiratory rates are assessed when the dog is resting. A dog that is in pain, having heart or respiratory problems, suffering from heatstroke, or simply excited will usually have increased respiratory rates. It is important to gauge the overall situation and condition of the animal to assess the respiratory rate.

For Cats: 16 – 40 breaths per minute. Normal respiratory rates are assessed when the cat is resting. A cat that is in pain, having heart or respiratory problems, suffering from heatstroke, or stressed will usually have increased respiratory rates. It is important to gauge the overall situation and condition of the animal to assess the respiratory rate.

Heart Rate

Dogs: 70-120 beats per minute. Larger dogs have slower rates than small dogs, and dogs that are in good physical shape will have lower heart rates than dogs of similar age and size who are not physically fit. Puppies typically have higher heart rates, up to 180 beats per minute is normal up to one year of age.

Cats: 120-140 beats per minute. When stressed, heart rates will increase. This will normalize as the cat calms down in healthy animals. Cats that suffer from heart conditions (cardiomyopathy) or diseases such as hyperthyroidism will have increased heart rates — over 200 beats per minute in some cases.

Number of Teeth

Puppies have 28 teeth (those sharp little needle like teeth!) Adult dogs have 42 teeth. Puppies usually lose their deciduous (baby) teeth by 6 months of age, which are replaced by the adult teeth.

Kittens have 26 teeth. Adult cats have 30 teeth. Kittens usually lose their deciduous (baby) teeth by 6 months of age, which are replaced by the adult teeth.

Some of the normal values are quite different between cats and dogs. A high end heart rate for a dog is on the low end of the range for cats. For your own pets, practice measuring their vital signs while they’re at rest by counting their breaths and/or heartbeats. Feel all over your pet for lumps and bumps. Look at your pets’ teeth and see how they’re shaped, how they are different from yours. Is it time for a dental cleaning? Any broken, worn down or chipped teeth? They may protest at first but with consistency they’ll come to accept that it’s part of the routine. The more you handle your pets, especially puppies and kittens, touching their feet, ears, teeth etc… the quicker they become accustomed to the “invasion” and relax.

More information can be found on these sites:

Canine Physiology and Anatomy

Feline Physiology and Anatomy

Merck Veterinary Manual
 

Vital Signs

Do You Know What to Do in a Pet Emergency?

If a pet emergency occurs, the goal is to get to the veterinary clinic as soon as possible. An initial visual evaluation of the pet and area will be essential, so stay calm and be observant.

Look for abnormalities on the scene such as blood or vomit around the pet, access to poison or additional hazards in the area. Also, take notice of the pet’s condition – conscious or unconscious, disoriented, unable to walk, and other physical or behavioral abnormalities. All of this information will help you properly assess the situation before taking action, so staying calm and observing the environment first is vital. The information you gather will also be very helpful for the veterinarian and their staff once you arrive with the injured pet.

The most important thing to keep in mind is YOUR safety. If you are injured, you will not be able to help the pet. For example, if we see a dog get hit by a car, we may panic, not watch for traffic on the road then run into harm’s way as we try to get to the injured pup. Also, a pet in pain may lash out and bite, so handling an injured pet on the scene of an emergency may be very tricky. Once you assess the situation and ensure your own safety, then you can begin transport to the veterinary hospital. If possible, call the vet immediately to let them know you are on your way and what the situation is. This will give them time to set up the proper pet emergency equipment to treat injuries.

In addition to proper observation and safety skills, knowing our pets’ normal vital signs may help us administer basic first aid in a pet emergency. So, in our next blog, let’s find out what’s normal!

Here are some excellent resources on pet first aid by the American Red Cross:

Pet First Aid: Dogs and Cats

Be Red Cross Ready Safety Series Vol. 2: Dog First Aid

Be Red Cross Ready Safety Series Vol. 3: Cat First Aid

Pet Emergency

First Aid for Pets


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