Dog Health Misc.

7 Stupid Reasons Why People Crop Dogs’ Ears

Why people crop dogs’ ears in the 21st century is beyond me. Yet, it still happens.  The procedure is performed with anesthetic because, up until recently, it was thought that puppy’s hadn’t fully developed pain receptors. That is not true.

I’m just going to get right to the reasons why people crop dog’s ears. After that, I’ll give some voice to both sides of the equation along with a final summary that reveals the ugly truth as to why people crop dog’s ears.

Try Not to Laugh at Reasons Why People Crop Dogs’ Ears

  • To make the dog look more intimidating.

Some people swear that’s just not true, but I know differently. There are people in society who want a mean-looking dog to keep others away or for protection. The reality is, the dog is the same whether his ears are cropped or his tail is docked.  The temperament and overall personality of the dog doesn’t change because of those procedures.

  • To protect the dog’s ears from being caught and injured while hunting.

Yes, I realize there are still people all over the world who hunt. Some do it to thrive and others for sport. Regardless, there is no proof to support why people crop dogs’ ears or tails for hunting.

  • It’s expected that certain breeds have the aesthetic that comes when people crop dogs’ ears. 

 There are some groups with the American Kennel Club who wholeheartedly believe in continuing the practice of cropping dogs’ ears and docking dogs’ tails.  For them, the procedure defines the breed and preserves tradition dating back hundreds of years.

  • Some consider it hygienic.

Why do people dock tails? It’s considered a hygienic practice for breeds who may have thicker coats. It almost sounds reasonable, but is it? It’s not that hard to keep the dog brushed and groomed properly. In my opinion, if your dog has bowel movements that get all over his tail, you need to get the dog to a veterinarian for a checkup and consider changing the dog’s diet!  But I’m not a veterinarian. If your dog really is having loose bowel movements, you should get in touch with the veterinarian.

  • It doesn’t hurt them anyway, so why not crop the ears and tails?

False.  I am sure you can find a video or a testimonial somewhere on the web showing someone performing the procedure. It will be quite obvious whether or not the poor animal is suffering.  And I know they do.  I could have dug out some videos to add to this post, but I couldn’t bring myself to show that kind of thing.

  • Many years ago, tail docking was through to prevent rabies. 

Presumably, the intention was that dog’s wouldn’t be caught by prey carrying rabies while hunting.

  • Tail docking was also thought to strength the back and increase speed

In theory, I suppose you might think that less tail makes for a lighter, more streamlined run.  Practically speaking, I don’t think there is any truth to that.  So, why do people dock tails to this day? Today, people crop dogs’ ears and dock tails primarily for legit hunting and herding dogs. These dogs spend a lot of time in the fields where their tails are subjected to painful burrs and foxtails.

Breeders have customers who expect the dog will have cropped ears or a docked tail.  The perception still remains that certain breeds in particular should have these physical characteristics.

 

 

The Aristocrat and the Stiff Upper Lip

Why people crop dogs’ ears seems to remain in the hands of clubs who have show dogs.  I believe some people believe that specific dog breeds without docked tails or cropped ears are “lesser” than other dogs of the same breed. Frankly, it’s about looking good, kind of the way society warped women into believing we had to look a certain way to be of value.

You can argue with these people and show them all the gruesome videos you want, but I don’t think it will matter.  We are, in many ways, a more enlightened society, and we can only hope that time will correct the mistakes of the past.

 

Straddling the Fence

The American Kennel Club  (AKC) is a complex organization serving the needs of all-breed clubs in America. The AKC believes in the humane, ethical approach to dog handling and care, but they also believe in the rights of club members to decide whether ear cropping is the thing to do.

This is where the American Veterinarian Medical Association joins the mix. They, too, are concerned with the health and welfare of our dogs, and they highly discourage the practice of dog ear cropping and dog tail docking. However, the association doesn’t have the authority to outright ban the procedure.  What they can do is apply pressure, which is exactly what they’ve been doing.

In fact, the American Veterinarian Medical Association issued the following statement:

 

The AVMA opposes ear cropping and tail docking of dogs when done solely for cosmetic purposes. The AVMA encourages the elimination of ear cropping and tail docking from breed standards.

 

2. Ear Cropping is Illegal in Many Countries and Some States

Various states have been pressured over the years to apply limitations on the practice of ear cropping.  It doesn’t appear there are any U.S. states with a distinct law against it. The onus has been put on the veterinarians to decide if they will or won’t do the procedure. From what I understand, a lot of veterinarians are simply refusing to do it.

Today, the following states do not allow ear cropping unless it is done by a veterinarian and the procedure is performed under anesthesia.

 

  • Connecticut
  • Maryland
  • New Hamshire
  • New York
  • Pennyslvania
  • Illinois
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Washington
https://www.hugspetproducts.com/why-people-crop-dogs'-ears

Why people crop dogs’ ears.

The following is a partial list of  countries have made the practice of ear cropping dog tail docking illegal:

  • Australia
  • Brazil
  • Boznia – can be done by a veterinarian
  • Crotia
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Rupublic (ear cropping banned)
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • Estonia
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Netherlands
  • Poland
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Turkey
  • British Virgin Islands

3. Sometimes a belief in something requires ignorance of the facts.

The fact is, it’s not only licensed veterinarians performing ear crops, it’s owners themselves.  Some breeders feel very strongly about having their dogs’ ears cropped and/or tails docked.  For them, it’s a matter of history and lineage. It’s about a certain look that characterizes the breed.

The following breeds most commonly have their ears cropped:

  • Affenpinscher
  • American Staffordshire Terrier
  • Boston Terrie
  • Bouvier des Flandres
  • Boxer
  • Briard
  • Brussels Griffon
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • German Pinscher
  • Giant Schnauzer
  • Great Dane
  • Manchester Terrier
  • Miniature Pinscher
  • Miniature Schnauzer
  • Neapolitan Mastiff
  • Standard Schnauzer

 

5. The Blatant Evidence is Everywhere

Drop by your local dog shelter and I guarantee you will see dogs whose owners have seriously botched an ear cropping job. It makes my stomach turn. These dogs have very little ear flap left leaving the ear canal open to debris and infection.

I couldn’t bring myself to publish some of the more offensive and graphic images, but I have added the following Twitter post for you.

At the end of the day, it’s about protecting those who can’t speak for themselves….our dogs. No procedure is worth putting them in pain and at risk of infection. In my opinion, if dogs needed cropped ears and tails, they’d be born that way.

I hope I’ve given you something to think about! I’m very open to your comments and discussion. Please send me a line and tell me what you think of the practice. No graphic images please!  My imagination is good enough.

Please don’t forget to share with your friends and family.

 

 

The Fickle Phases of Leptospirosis in Dogs

Leptospirosis in dogs is caused by the spirochete bacteria. This bacteria infects dogs and humans. If not diagnosed early, the prognosis is dire.

Warmer weather means swimming, camping, hiking, and biking.  Tropical or subtropical climates present an increased risk of infection and disease from waterborne pathogens.

Studies show a global increase in cases of canine leptospirosis.  Perhaps it’s a sign of climate change.  We’ve all seen the devastating images of mass flooding on the news. Floodwater of that nature pulls in a wide variety of pathogens that thrive for a long time. It only takes one infected animal to contaminate an entire body of water.

Leptospirosis in dogs is transmitted when the dog:

  • drinks from infected urine
  • is in contact with other domestic animals who have it (through skin cuts, eyes, mouth)
  • drinks or swims in urine-contaminated water (floodwater, rivers, etc.)
  • interacts or lives in close proximity to infected livestock or wildlife

The bacteria lives up to six months in urine-contaminated water. Even the damp soil can harbor the bacteria. This creates a risk of infection through scratches, scrapes, open wounds, and mucous membranes.  Dogs can transmit the bacteria to humans. However, the number of reported cases is relatively low.

The Worst Sign of Infection is No Infection At All.

Early detection of leptospirosis in canines is treatable. The problem lies in the difficulty of diagnosis.  The most commonly seen patients are considered “clinically inapparent”.  That simply meaning the dog has no obvious symptoms.

In the beginning stages, the dog is lethargic and appears under-the-weather.  The reality is that most of the time, there really isn’t anything seriously wrong with the dog.  However, if you’ve been near floodwater recently or live in a susceptible area, ask the veterinarian to test for leptospirosis.   Better safe than sorry.

Once a diagnosis has been made, the veterinarian will assess whether the dog is in one of the four following categories:

  • per-acute
  • acute
  • sub-acute –  most common
  • chronic

ACUTE AND SUB-ACUTE CLINICAL SIGNS

In the acute and sub-acute stages of the disease, clinical signs are evident. Unfortunately, that could mean a grave progression in the disease. Renal failure and liver damage are the top two concerns.  If the dog has developed a cough, it’s likely the bacteria has compromised the lungs.

Watch the video below for a discussion on leptospirosis in dogs. Dr. Becker discusses the risks, signs, and symptoms.  Video embedded from YouTube:

 

Lyme Disease:  The “Second Cousin” of Leptospirosis

You might be surprised to learn that there as many as 230 types of leptospira bacteria and that eight of them are known to cause disease in dogs. The four strains that commonly result in canine infection are:

  • Leptospira icterohaemorrhagiea
  • L. canicola
  • L. grippotyphosa
  • L. pomona

The Borrelia burgdorferi strain of bacteria falls under the larger umbrella and is known to cause Lyme disease .

Leptospirosis Risk Map and Endemic Tick Population Map

The Fickle Phases of Leptospirosis

As frightening as the clinical signs and symptoms seem (see below), the reality is that many dogs present with vague symptoms that could be mistaken for any number of things.  The dog might lack energy, refuse to eat, vomit, or have diarrhea.  In fact, the dog might even appear to recover after a few days.  There’s relief in the eye of the hurricane, until you realize it’s back with a vengeance.

The second phase of leptospirosis erupts with fury, striking its victims with intense symptoms including:

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Anorexia – the dog will not/cannot eat
  • Vomiting – perhaps with blood
  • Painful Abdomen
  • Diarrhea
  • Decreased urination
  • Abnormally rapid breathing
  • fever
  • severe pain in the joints
  • jaundice – often first seen as yellowing in the eyes
  • renal failure
  • liver failure
  • combined renal and liver failure associated with the infection is known as “Weil’s disease”

Eradicating The Disease Through Appropriate Vaccination

The days of many crippling or deadly infectious diseases are seemingly behind us now. The use of vaccines eradicated a host of once-feared diseases such as:

  • smallpox
  • polio
  • whooping cough
  • measles
  • tuberculosis
  • rabies

It’s been over 200 years since the first vaccine was discovered.  Immunization can be credited with saving approximately 9 million lives a year worldwide, and yet there remains skepticism from particular groups on the safety and necessity of inoculation.

There are roughly 100 – 150 outbreaks of leptospirosis in the United States every year.  Over 1 million cases happen globally with an average of 60,000 deaths.

CDC, “Leptospirosis Face Sheet for Clinicians”

 

American Animal Hospital Association Leptospirosis Vaccination Guidelines

The AAHA does not recommend that dogs be immunized for leptospirosis unless they live in a part of the world considered high-risk.  Avoiding absolutely unnecessary vaccinations eliminates the side-effect risk factors including:

  1. Facial swelling
  2. Hives
  3. Deadly anaphylactic shock

The controversy surrounding the vaccines offered before 2004 was heightened by the short-term gain stacked against the risks.  In 2004, a new vaccine released by Wyeth Pharmaceuticals was considered safer and longer lasting. The newer vaccines have essentially removed the unwanted “extras” from the formulation, resulting in fewer side-effects.

It’s suggested that dogs in at-risk areas should only be vaccinated against leptospirosis at 12 weeks of age.  That is considered the absolute minimum age, with an average age of inoculation between 14 and 16 weeks.

Dog Deaths Cause Controversy Over Vaccine

There have always been segments of the population against vaccinations.  The reality is that no vaccination can provide 100% protection, and the risks generally associated with inoculations (from mild to fatal) are considered a lesser worry than the proliferation of the disease itself.

The following video highlights fears and hysteria surrounding the leptospirosis vaccine. Whether you agree or disagree, it’s always worth debating both sides of the equation.

While the debate over the safety of vaccines continues around the world, leptospirosis continues to infect livestock, wildlife, canines, and humans.

A BAGHDAD STUDY ON LIVESTOCK WITH LEPTOSPIROSIS

 A small study performed in Baghdad revealed these results:
  • 565 serum samples were taken from cattle, sheep, and goats
  • 260 cattle
  • 171 sheep
  • 134 goats
The above animals were screened for the presence of leptospiral antibodies and the results showed:
  •  57.3% prevalence in cattle
  • 24.6% prevalence in sheep
  • 22.4% prevalence in goats.

A TRICKY DIAGNOSIS

The veterinarian will suspect leptospirosis based on a history of the dog’s recent activities, geographic location, and physical symptoms.  It’s important to let the veterinarian know about any and all outdoor excursions as far back as six months.  While the bacteria will die instantly when subjected to hot and dry conditions, it can easily survive up to 180 days in the right climate.

A variety of diagnostic tests including blood and urine analysis will be conducted. If leptospirosis is being considered, the veterinarian will recommend caution when handling the dog as the disease can be transmitted from animal to human.  A more likely scenario would involve the dog spreading infection to other animals.

Once a diagnosis has been confirmed, the dog will be placed on antibiotics right away. He/she will also be treated symptomatically to alleviate immediate issues like dehydration and pain.

PREVENTING THE ILLNESS THROUGH DILIGENCE

To reduce the risks associated with this particular pathogen, avoid:

  • walking through floodwater
  • avoid rivers (no swimming!) after a heavy rainfall
  • if your drinking water is questionable, boiling or chemically treating it will kill the bacteria.
  • discourage wildlife and rodents from your property
  • treat any cuts and scrapes with protective covering

At The End of The Day…

Use common sense around potentially contaminated water systems. Don’t drink, wash, or bath in rivers or other bodies of water that could be infected with the urine of contaminated wildlife.

Dog parks are the perfect place to give your dog some space to run, but be mindful of interactions with other dogs.  We all love to be “kissed” by our favorite pouch, but considering the contagious nature of leptospirosis, it might be a habit best left aside, especially if you live in a wet climate.  Please view the map above to identify the risks inherent in your neighborhood.

Has your dog been diagnosed with leptospirosis? What did you do?

Please share!

 

LISA’S BIOGRAPHY

DISCLAIMER:  LISA is not a veterinarian, nor does she play one on TV. While she tries to provide the most relevant, quality content, mistakes can happen. Please do not rely on this blog for your pet’s medical needs. See a veterinarian for accurate diagnosis and follow-up treatment.

Lisa is dedicated to writing a high-quality blog based on professionally researched data. Her time is spent writing and researching balanced with enjoying family life with her husband and two dogs.

Lisa’s writing skills emerged at an early age. Over time, her fiction has been published in various literary magazines. She has also written for non-fiction journals internationally.

Dogs are Lisa’s passion, and blogging is the means to direct her energy towards their well-being on a global scale.

To find out what Lisa is really about…click here.

 

 

Your Exclusive Guide To Why Dogs Eat Grass

I’m sure we’ve all witnessed dogs eating grass. Until I conducted this research, I wondered whether something I was doing (or not doing) was the contributing factor.  It turns out that it’s normal dog behavior!

Trying to find this evidence wasn’t easy. I searched high and low for the answer and couldn’t find anything substantial.  Until this…

STUDY CAPTURES PLAUSIBLE REASON WHY DOGS EAT GRASS

Hours of scouring articles and periodicals left me frustrated, wondering if any resources on the topic existed.  I was about to give up completely when I came across a study written by Dr. Benjamin L. Hart in which a group of 1571 dog owners were surveyed.

AND THE RESULTS ARE…

  • Out of 1571 surveys, 68% of the respondents observed their dogs eating grass or plants at least weekly.
  • Out of that same group, a mere 8% reported that their dogs appeared ill before consuming grass.
  • And within that same group, only 22% reported that their dog vomited after ingesting grass.
  • Dog owners were asked whether their dog was fed table scraps or a raw diet. It turns out that dietary preference doesn’t make any difference to whether dogs eat grass or not.
  • Survey results indicate that the amount of fiber in a dog’s diet has no bearing on whether or not they eat grass.

Have a look at this quick tweet:

Owners with dogs who had ongoing medical conditions were excluded from the survey, as were owners who spent less than 6 hours per day with their dogs.  In short, the general consensus is that grass-eating is a normal behavior in dogs.

Before coming across this study, the best information I could find were the routine reasons/myths that have been handed down for years:

  • Hypothesis #1

To relieve stomach upset.  The problem with this theory is that lots of dogs eat grass, but show no signs or symptoms of being sick or feeling ill.

  • Hypothesis #2

To induce vomiting and/or diarrhea to relieve upset stomach.  Some veterinarians would argue that dogs can’t rationalize their illness enough to “know” they need to eat grass in order to relieve symptoms.  The truth is, only 20% to 30% of dogs who eat grass actually vomit.

Check this out from Twitter:

In My Opinion:  I think they can.  Dogs don’t take prenatal classes, but they instinctively know what to do when the pups are born.  Why wouldn’t they instinctively know how to make themselves feel better?

  • Hypothesis #3

They like the taste. Some dogs will eat anything you put in front of them.  If they’re hanging out on the lawn without a source of food nearby, it’s possible they eat grass like you or I would eat something as a snack.

  • Hypothesis #4

They need fiber in their diet.  I guess if I believe that dogs instinctively know how to ease stomach upset, I have to believe that they also know when their diets need supplementation.

  • Hypothesis #5

The urge to eat grass is an inherited predisposition. This theory is based on the evolution of dogs from their ancestors.  Dogs are omnivores, meaning they eat plant and meat-based foods. In the wild, these dogs would eat the entire carcass of their kill, including the stomach which would have contained grass or plants.

An excerpt from YouTube

IF IT’S CONSIDERED “NORMAL”, IS IT FAIR TO SAY IT’S A SAFE PRACTICE?

It’s thought that the behavior shouldn’t be encouraged. That’s because the grass they are eating could be contaminated with things like:

  • Pesticides
  • Insecticides
  • Chemical weed killers
  • Fertilizers

WHAT SHOULD I DO ABOUT MY DOG EATING GRASS?

If your dog is eating grass on a continuous basis, you could try offering an alternative like carrots or celery.  And you know what? It might not make a difference.  If it’s a normal, instinctual behavior, your dog is going to go back to the habit.

WHAT IF MY DOG IS ACTUALLY SICK?

You know your dog best. If you suspect illness, observe the dog’s behavior.  Some questions to ask yourself include:

  • Has your dog’s coat/fur changed in any way?
  • Are your dog’s eyes clear and free from discharge?
  • Is your dog’s abdomen tender to touch, swollen, or sore?
  • Is your dog eating his/her food and drinking normally?
  • Does your dog have the same amount of energy he/she normally has?
  • Have you noticed a change in urinary/evacuation habits?

Still not sure? consider a routine checkup with a veterinarian.

SO, I SHOULDN’T WORRY ABOUT IT?

As long as your dog is sustaining a normal diet, isn’t showing signs of illness, and is only eating grass occasionally, don’t be concerned.  Of course, if you spray your lawn with chemicals that’s another story.

ONE FINAL NOTE OF CAUTION

If your dog has a habit of eating grass, he/she may also feed on plants and weeds. There are a number of plants that are toxic to dogs, especially if ingested in large quantities. A few examples include:

  • Sago Palm
  • Daffodils
  • Amaryllis
  • Acorns
  • Boxwood
  • and certain types of Ivy

Click here for a detailed list of plants known to be poisonous to dogs.

Did you find the answers you were looking for?  If so, please share. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Foremost Authority on Vestibular Disease in Dogs

Vestibular disease in dogs is a common occurrence, but a scary situation when you don’t know what’s happening. The condition, also known as Old Dog Disease, tends to happen out-of-the-blue.

Your dog will spin in circles, his/her eyes will dart back-and-forth, or up-and-down, and will appear to be in a drunken state.  Most people tend to think the worst, but there’s a good chance it’s a benign inner-ear problem.

Read on…I want to show you the symptoms, signs, variations, and treatment options for vestibular disorders in dogs.

Check out the infographic glossary of clinical terms at the end of this article!

Does Vestibular Disease in Dogs Have to do With Their Ears?

Yes. Vestibular disease in dogs is related to the inner ear canal. There can be a clinical reason for the condition, but oftentimes it’s labelled as “idiopathic”, meaning no clinical reason could be found.

We refer to it as a “disease”, but it’s really a set of issues affecting the dog’s vestibular system.

Symptoms of Vestibular Disease in Dogs.

  • Tipped head to the side. 
  • Wobbling around in a dizzy state.
  • Vomiting
  • Circling 
  • Nystagmus (darting eyes) In this case, the dog’s eyes might be rolling, horizontal, or vertical.

Check out the physical examination in this YouTube video!

What if it’s NOT Vestibular Disease?

There is a possibility that it could be something more serious, which is why you should always bring your dog to the veterinarian when he/she is experiencing symptoms like the ones listed above.

TYPICAL SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS COULD ACTUALLY BE SOMETHING ELSE.

  • Tipped head to the side:

This could be caused by an ear infection.

  • Wobbling around in a dizzy state:

There could be any number of reasons for this including possible poisoning, stroke, head trauma, tumor, and encephalitis. 

  • Vomiting:

It’s not unusual for dogs to vomit, especially if they’ve eaten too fast or nabbed some old food from the compost. If the vomiting doesn’t match the circumstances, it could be a sign of poisoning (chocolate, toxic plants), parasitic infection, bowel obstruction, upset stomach, or motion sickness.

  • Circling:

You’ve probably seen your dog chase his/her tail, spinning around at the same time.  The kind of circling we’re talking about here is different.  In the case of vestibular syndrome, it will occur suddenly. It might also be a sign of a tumor, onset of stroke, or head trauma/cognitive dysfunction.

  • Nystagmus:

Nystagmus, or darting eyes, is a common symptom of vestibular disease. The darting eyes are an involuntary action that might be cause by an middle ear infection or a ruptured ear drum, head trauma, cancer, hypothyroidism, encephalitis.

This video was taken from Twitter. The kind owner of this dog wants to help inform others about the issue of vestibular disease in dogs.

DO THIS TO RULE OUT THE POSSIBILITY OF STROKE.

Gently lift one of your dog’s front paws and flip it over so that the pads are face-up. If your dog flips his own paw back to normal without assistance, there’s a good chance your dog isn’t having a stroke.

IMPORTANT: The tip above should ease your worries a bit, but it’s still not a substitution for a veterinarian check-up.

Tell the veterinarian that you tried this test and give him/her the results. If some time has passed since you last tried it, the veterinarian may want to try it for verification.

DIFFERENT TYPES OF VESTIBULAR DISEASE IN DOGS:

PERIPHERAL:

Three-fourths of vestibular disorders in people are considered peripherally based. The most common disorder for people is benign paroxysmal positional vertigo.  This type of disorder involves the middle and inner ear.

I have benign paroxysmal positional vertigo and when it flares up, it feels as if the whole world tips upside down whenever I move my head. It makes me nauseous, dizzy, unsteady on my feet, and…quite frankly…like shaking my head. I can easily see how these symptoms also relate to dogs.

-LA Theriault

Peripheral disorders happen when there is irritation or a lesion in the nerves that send signals to the inner ear. Dogs with peripheral vestibular disease will have darting eyes in the direction of the lesion.

CENTRAL:

Central vestibular disease isn’t as commonly diagnosed. It refers to disorders that affect the brain stem and cerebellum.  Although dogs will exhibit the same signs noted above, other symptoms might also be present. These include:

  • Unusual posture
  • Unusual mental state
  • Some facial paralysis might be present
  • reduced sensation in the face
  • slow movement of the tongue
  • reduced gag reflex
  • eye-twitching up-and-down and NOT side-to-side.

These additional signs and symptoms are related to brain stem dysfunction.

REMEMBER THIS!

Vestibular Disease in dogs refers to an inner-ear condition.  The disease could be peripheral (the eyes dart side-to-side), or the more rarely diagnosed central vestibular disease (the eyes do not dart in the direction of the lesion)

If no known cause can be identified, the condition is considered idiopathic. However, if the condition is identified as being central, it’s more likely that a central cause will be identified.

Distinct symptoms that you won’t find in central vestibular disease:

  • Eyes that dart in different directions, independent of themselves. The term for this is disconjugate nystamus.  This is rarely seen in both central and peripheral vestibular conditions
  • Direction of eye-darting (nystagmus) changes when the position of the animal is changed. This is rarely seen in central vestibular conditions. It is never seen in cases of peripheral vestibular disease

FACT:  Any vestibular disease in dogs (whether it’s considered peripheral or central) can still be considered idiopathic if the veterinarian isn’t able to establish an underlying cause.

THE EXAMINATION PROCESS:

During the exam, the veterinarian will perform some tests to identify vestibular disease. The doctor will first perform a physical examination. He/she will look into the dog’s eyes, assess gait and response.

In addition to a physical exam, the veterinarian will want to know the dog’s history. He/she will also want to know if your dog has exhibited signs like this in the past (recent or distant).

He/she will want to know when you noticed the problem, where the dog was, what the dog has eaten, whether or not the dog has been treated for worms, and whether or not the dog has any other chronic conditions.

If the veterinarian isn’t satisfied with the results so far, he/she may order blood tests.

OTHER RELATED FINDINGS:

If your dog was perfectly fine one minute and exhibiting these sudden symptoms (with no other indication of infection, poisoning, or stroke), the veterinarian is likely to diagnose a vestibular condition.

The veterinarian will want to know if your dog has been on antibiotics recently. Overusing antibiotics, specifically one called metronidazole, has been shown to cause toxicity in some dogs, at certain dosages.  The Journal of Veterinary Medicine reports that the dosage doesn’t even have to be particularly high.

How Will I Know if my Dog Has Taken Metronidazole?

To find out whether your dog has taken this particular antibiotic, ask your veterinarian (current or past) for a list of the medications that have been prescribed to your dog.

Metronidazole is used to treat infections in dogs. It also stops the growth of bacteria and parasites. The side-effects of this drug can include dizziness, headache, stomach upset, vomiting, and diarrhea.

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CLICK HERE TO USE THIS INFOGRAPHIC!  YOU HAVE MY PERMISSION.

 

 

 

 

 

How to Safely Remove Porcupine Quills From a Dog


I’ve had to remove porcupine quills from my dogs and it’s not a pleasant experience. It’s not unusual to see porcupines, raccoons, skunks, foxes, and even bears where I live.  However, I have discovered a few tricks to keep them away from my house.

In this article, I’m going to help you decide when it’s okay to pull quills out yourself, how to recognize when a professional is needed, and offer tips on how to keep porcupines and other wildlife away from your house.

  1. The DIY Quill Project – Can I Remove Porcupine Quills From My Dog?

One Quill, Two Quill, Three Quill…Four?

If you are not able to get to a veterinarian right away, and you know you can safely pull quills from your dog, go ahead and do it. That, of course, is assuming there are only a few quills (and by “a few”, I mean 50 or less).

YOU WILL NEED:

  • Pliers
  • Puncture-proof container to put the quills in
  • A second person nearby to sit behind the dog, away from the porcupine quills, ready to steady the dog.

Courtesy of Pixabay

Remain calm and reassuring.

My dogs become incredibly docile when stuck with quills because they just want them out as fast as possible. Your dog, however, could react differently.

 

The risks associated with pulling quills from your dog(s) include:

  • getting stuck with quills yourself.
  • snapping the quills off and accidentally leaving pieces in the dog.
  • driving the quills deeper into the dog, which could puncture organs.

TECHNIQUE IS EVERYTHING!

Use the pliers to grasp one quill at a time. Grasp as close to the entry point of the quill as possible and be prepared to give one, quick, yank.

Don’t twist your arm or hand, and don’t pull the quill at an angle. Don’t cut the tips of the quills off before pulling.  It’s a myth that quills will “release” once the tips are clipped off. Quills are made of a tough keratin (protein) that don’t open or soften. Clipping the quills only makes them harder to grasp.

  1. HOW TO KNOW WHEN TO STOP

When the quills are embedded close to the eyes, up the nose, or deeply in the throat, get a veterinarian to assist.  Your dog will need a sedative in order to properly remove these quills. You only have one chance and if your dog moves suddenly, you could accidentally pierce his eye or shove the quill deeper inside.

Complications to Watch For Include:

Once the quills have been removed, the following medical complications are possible.

  • Abscess
  • Infection
  • Internal quills could migrate into the joints
  • Internal quills could migrate to the organs

WHEN A VETERINARIAN DOES THE JOB, he/she will likely send you home with an antimicrobial to prevent infection.

MY DOGS COULD HAVE DIED!

I want to tell you something that really scared me.  A few years ago, my dogs caught a scent and bolted into the woods.  Despite my calls, the dogs vanished and were gone the night.  I had a restless night worrying about them.  

The next morning, I opened the door to see both dogs covered from head to tail with quills.

They were in agony. I couldn’t see their eyes and I could tell their mouths were essentially pinned shut.  All I could do was guide the dogs with my voice to the car. I opened the back door and – somehow – those poor dogs managed to crawl in.

A HARD LESSON FOR ME TO LEARN

The quills were deeply embedded in their chests, abdomen, and throat. As a result, both dogs required surgery. Otherwise, the veterinarian couldn’t be sure that the organs were not damaged.

To this day, I feel awful about it.  My dogs both have wireless collars that keep them from wandering. I’m much more careful now because I don’t want them to get hurt.  Porcupines are just one of the many dangers lurking in the woods.

  1. TIPS FOR KEEPING PORCUPINES AWAY FROM YOUR HOUSE

Porcupines are nocturnal creatures (rodents, actually) that love to nibble on trees. You might see them during the day, but they mostly come out at twilight or evening

  • Hot Sauce/ Capsaicin: If you have seen porcupines in the yard, or noticed bites taken out of your trees/shrubs, try applying hot sauce.  Make sure the main ingredient is capsaicin.
  • You could build a fence around your property, although this could be a fairly expensive option.
  • Non-toxic deterrents are available at local hardware and department stores.
  • Sensor lights
  • Live-trap. Call your local animal control office for advice, assistance.

Of course, you know not to leave actual poison around the house! I admit that the suggestions above are not guaranteed, but it’s better than nothing. The good news is that porcupines are not persistent. If you can find a way to deter them, or remove them by live-trapping, it’s unlikely they will come back anytime soon. So, unless you have a large population of porcupines in your area, there’s a good chance you won’t have too many visits.

 

Veterinary Care

A veterinarian should be consulted as soon as possible.  The more your dog moves, and the longer the quills stay in their skin, the more likely it is for the quills to break and migrate within the body.

  • A vet will anesthetize your dog and remove the quills.

The anesthetic decreases the pain and stress for your dog, allowing the vet to remove the quills more easily without them breaking. Each quill can be closely looked at to ensure the whole quill has been removed – the end should taper into a point. A dog who is not sedated will typically not be able to sit still due to the pain making removing the quills properly near impossible.  

  • Often easily treated but can occasionally cause fatal or long-term problems.

Usually, the quills can be removed and the dog will recover without any further issues. However, certain location of the quills e.g. in the eye or in the joints as well as broken quills migrating through the body into vital organs can prove to be fatal.

THE REALITY IS…

I live in a small town with limited veterinary resources.  There’s always a doctor on call, but they reserve their practice for severe, life-threatening conditions.  Unless your dog has a ridiculous amount of quills (like mine did), it’s fine to pull them out yourself using the methods described above. Just remember to be careful. 

REMEMBER:

  • Grasp the quill as close to the entry-point as possible.
  • Use a firm tool like pliers. The barbed nature of the quill will make it too difficult to pull out with your fingers.
  • Gently look inside your dog’s mouth to see if any quills are embedded inside. 
  • Don’t try to pull embedded quills from your dog’s mouth. He/she will need to be sedated to avoid accidental biting.

If you are lucky enough to live in an area with good clinical resources, and you don’t feel confident taking them out yourself, by all means contact the vet.

EMERGENCY CARE EXPENSE

It cost me $800 Canadian dollars to have the quills surgically removed from my dogs.  Luckily, it was during regular business hours and the added $200 flat-fee wasn’t applied. 

Quills in dogs are, unfortunately, costly both in terms of money and your dog’s health. Don’t think for a minute that your dog has “learned his lesson” after being stuck with quills. The best thing you can do is try to deter or prevent porcupines, and other wildlife, from wandering onto your property. 

Share this with all of your dog-loving friends because they need to know how to protect and treat their furry friends.

 

 

 

 

57 Clinical Facts About Hip Dysplasia in Dogs

Hip dysplasia in dogs is a common concern.  Some people lean towards natural or holistic therapy for treatments, and others opt for more traditional treatment options.

Hip Dysplasia is caused by the abnormal development of the hip. This condition creates instability in the joint. In severe cases, dislocation of the thigh bone is possible.

Eager to grab quick information? The following list is designed just for that purpose.  Have a look and be sure to follow the links for more detailed analysis.

  1. GENETICS

The most common cause of hip dysplasia in dogs is genetics.  

  1. THE GENE POOL

Dogs might not show signs of hip dysplasia, but they can still be carrying the gene, which can be passed on to the pup.

3. BIG DOGS

Hip Dysplasia tends to occur in large dog breeds.

4. FEMALE DOGS

Hip Dysplasia occurs more often in female dog breeds.

5. MALE DOGS

Males are not immune to hip dysplasia either, although it is less frequent.

6. FAST GROWING BREEDS

Hip Dysplasia is common in fast-growing breeds like:

  • German Shepherds
  • Labrador Retrievers
  • Great Danes
  • Saint Bernards
  • Rottweilers
  • Mastiffs
  • American Staffordshire Terriers

7. SMALL BREEDS

Hip Dysplasia in small breed dogs can occur as young as four months old.

8. EARLY ONSET HIP DYSPLASIA

When a dog breed develops hip dysplasia as a puppy, it is called “early onset” hip dysplasia.

9. THEY GROW LIKE WEEDS

Breeds with fast-growth patterns, like Greyhounds, German Shepherds, Dalmatians, Borzois, and retrievers, are more susceptible to hip dysplasia.

10. ARTHRITIS

“Late onset” hip dysplasia is usually caused by osteoarthritis in dogs.

11. POOR DIET

Hip dysplasia can be caused – among other things – by poor nutrition.

12. MUSCLES

Hip dysplasia can be caused by poor muscle development.

13. REPETITIVE STRAIN

Sometimes, hip dysplasia results from repetitive strain injuries.

14. PACKING ON THE POUNDS

Hip dysplasia can be caused by rapid weight gain.

15. OBESITY

Dogs with weight issues can develop hip dysplasia more easily.

16. PELVIC INJURIES

Dogs who have experience pelvic injuries may be more susceptible to hip dysplasia.

 17. WARNING SIGNS

Stiffness and pain when walking are warning signs of hip dysplasia in dogs.

18. EXERCISE

If your dog used to exercise without problems, but suddenly develops an intolerance, he/she may be experiencing hip dysplasia.

19. WALK THIS WAY

You know your dog better than anybody else, so if you notice he/she suddenly develops an unusual gait, it could be a sign of hip dysplasia.

20.  HELP ME UP!

 If you notice your senior dog struggling to stand up smoothy, suspect hip dysplasia.

21. STAIRWAY TO HIP DYSPLASIA

If your normally limber dog suddenly has difficulty managing the stairs, you should suspect the onset of hip dysplasia.

22. CLICKETY-CLICK

If you notice a sudden clicking noise when your dog walks, he/she could be exhibiting signs of hip dysplasia.

23. SIT BOY!

The next time you offer a treat to your dog, watch how easily he sits and stands on command. Sometimes a reluctance to move might have to do with the development of hip dysplasia. 

24. WEAKNESS

Lack of exercise, inability to climb, and difficulty moving positions prevent your dog’s muscles from working. As a result, the thigh muscles might begin to atrophy.

25. OFF-BALANCED LOAD

If your dog has hip dysplasia, he/she will tend to put more weight on the front legs. That added load will cause the front legs to thicken.

26. HIP DISTANCE

Something doesn’t look quite right with your dog? If you can’t identify the problem right away, have a look at your dog’s stance. Increased width between the hips could be caused by hip dysplasia.

27. DIAGNOSIS

If a physical exam doesn’t show hip dysplasia, the veterinarian may require a radiograph (x-ray).

28. PREVENTION

Keeping your dog’s weight under control is one way to help prevent hip dysplasia.

29. THERAPY

Once hip dysplasia is established, your dog may require extensive physical therapy to improve mobility.

30. MASSAGE THERAPY

Canine massage is a good way to aid in your dog’s mobility once diagnosed with hip dysplasia.

31. CRANK UP THE HEAT

Heat packs are useful for dog’s with osteoarthritis and hip dysplasia.

32. BABY IT’S COLD OUTSIDE

Alternatively, dog’s will benefit from cold pack application to reduce any swelling.

33. RUNNING – THE SAFE WAY

Dog’s with hip dysplasia still need to get exercise, although it’s significantly harder. Hydrotherapy offers underwater treadmill exercise as a solution. 

34. FOOD

Diet modification with wholesome foods that are prepared at home can help ease, or possibly prevent, hip dysplasia in dogs.

35. PUPPY DIET

Specially formulated diets are a good option for puppies prone to hip dysplasia as they help regulate fast growth.

 36. NATURAL SUPPLEMENTS

Natural supplements recommended by a healthcare professional may aide in reducing joint inflammation.

37. SLICK AS ICE

Ask your veterinarian about natural supplements that act as joint lubricators for your dog.

38. CARTILAGE.

Dogs with hip dysplasia can also benefit from natural supplements designed to rebuild cartilage.

39. KEEP IT ON THE DOWN LOW

Exercise is important with all dogs, even dogs with hip dysplasia. However, the safest bet is low impact exercise.

40. LET’S MARATHON!

Or maybe not. All dogs are not made the same and some can withstand high intensity exercise, where others cannot. Too much exercise in dogs with low tolerance may hasten the development of hip dysplasia.

41. SOFT SURFACES

Dogs prone to hip dysplasia, or who have hip dysplasia, should be walked on soft surfaces like grassed or dirt trails.

42. SWIMMING

Most dogs enjoy a good swim and it’s especially beneficial for dogs with hip dysplasia because of the zero-impact on joints.

43. THERAPEUTIC EXERCISE

One way to keep your dog mobile is to practice limited amounts of targeted exercise. For example, “sit” and “stand” are good choices. Start slowly and do not overwork the dog. 

44. GOING UP?

Dogs with hip dysplasia will favour the front limbs, causing the rear to become weak and atrophied. One way to prevent or reverse this is to take your dog on short walks on an incline. Hiking trails are best.

45. DOWN THE PATH

What goes up must come down, but don’t worry…that downward incline helps your dog to equally work the front limbs for balanced muscle control.

46. SHAKE PAW?

A good way to practice balance control in a dog with hip dysplasia is to play the “shake paw” game.  Alternate low-calorie treats with non-food rewards such as love and affection.

47. DOGGIE BEDS

Specialty orthopaedic mattresses are available for dogs with hip dysplasia.

48. PIN IT 

Acupuncture is an excellent, natural way to relieve pain due to hip dysplasia.

49. GET TO IT RIGHT AWAY

An early diagnosis of hip dysplasia provides the best outcomes and treatment options.

50. HISTORY

Hip dysplasia in dogs was first identified in 1935.

51. THE DYNAMICS OF HIP DYSPLASIA

Hip dysplasia happens with the hip socket is too shallow or there is a deformity in the femur head. 

52.  PRIMARY CAUSE

The primary cause of hip dysplasia is subluxation, which is a partial dislocation of a joint.

53. SECONDARY

Osteoarthritis is the second cause of hip dysplasia in dogs. 

54. SPURS – NOT JUST FOR COWBOYS

Spurs are painful, bony projections that develop along the bone edge. Bone spurs are caused by the joint damage caused by osteoarthritis.

55. BONE SPUR STATS

In a study involving 5 different dog breeds, 60 out of 605 dogs had a greater frequency (54%) of bone spurs.

56. THAT’S NOT GRAVEL

If your dog has hip dysplasia, you may hear a grating noise as he/she walks. It might sound gritty, like sand being rubbed across a hard surface.

57. THE DOG WAS BORN WITH IT

Puppies born with hip dysplasia likely won’t show signs in the beginning, but as the puppy grows, you might notice structural abnormalities. Watch for swivelling hips from behind, a “bunny-hop” when the puppy jumps . If you suspect hip dysplasia, bring your puppy to the veterinarian for an accurate diagnosis. 

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Throw ‘Em into the Chipper!

7 Signs of Urinary Tract Infections in Dogs You Don’t Want to Miss

Any time I notice pain or discomfort in my dog, I get a little anxious. I hate it when she doesn’t feel well, and all I want to do is fix the problem ASAP.

I’ve had a few urinary tract infections before and let me tell you…they are no fun. The pain, burning, and urge to urinate is awful. I suspect the discomfort is no different when a dog has a urinary tract infection.

Even though your dog can’t tell you what’s wrong, there are signs and symptoms to watch for.

What Are The Signs of Urinary Infections in Dogs?

Urinary tract infections are more common in female dogs, although males can get them too. Watch for:

• Pain when urinating
• Inability to urinate
• Blood in the urine
• Cloudy urine
Unusual urine accidents indoors or loss of bladder control
• Peeing more often than usual
• Strong-smelling urine
• Licking around the urethra opening

What Causes Urinary Tract Infection in Dogs?

• Weak immune system
• Kidney/bladder stones, crystals, or debris accumulation
• Bladder disease
• Bladder infection or inflammation
• Diabetes
• Cancer
• Stress
• Spinal cord or congenital abnormalities
• Prostate disease

GOOD TO KNOW…

Urinary tract infections in otherwise healthy dogs are typically uncomplicated.  In other words, there are no underlying functional, structural, or neurological problems.

The treatment, usually a course of antibiotics, lasts from 10 to 14 days.

What If The Urinary Tract Infection is Complicated?

That means the veterinarian suspects an underlying cause/disease and may want to investigate further.

Depending on test results, treatment could involve antibiotics along with other prescriptions, tests, and treatment plans. A complicated urinary tract infection might take longer to clear up, but will improve with time.

Home remedies for urinary tract infections in dogs:

Treating you dog’s urinary tract infection should only be done after the diagnosis has been made, and under the approval of your veterinarian.

Holistic/natural treatments should always be balanced with thesound, accepted principles of veterinary medicine and the medical judgement of the veterinarian”.

Holistic, or home remedies, might be better used to stave off a urinary tract infection in dogs without underlying disease, rather than treat an established infection.

Increase Water Intake 

You’ve probably heard the old saying “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink”.  The same applies to dogs.  But…if you are able to encourage more fluid intake it could aid in flushing impurities out of the urinary tract.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Put 1–2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar in your dog’s drinking water once or twice a day.  The common household vinegar has a lot of natural antibacterial and antiseptic properties.

• Blueberries or Cranberries

These fruits are thought to inhibit bacteria from sticking to the urinary tract lining and help flush bacteria from your dog’s urethra.

Blueberries/cranberries may help lower the pH levels in your dog’s bladder.

• Juniper Berry

Juniper berry is a herb known for speeding up the rate the kidneys filter and flush out any impurities in the system.  It essentially acts as a diuretic. For that reason, you want to make sure your dog has plenty of water.

Do not treat your dog with multiple herbs that may also act as diuretics. These include:

Burdock

Dandelion

Red Clover

Alfalfa

Raspberry Leaves

• Vitamin C

You can increase your dog’s vitamin C intake by grinding vitamin C tablets in their food. This may help fight the infection and boost your dog’s immune system. Vitamin C will also make your dog’s urine more acidic which will help in flushing out the bacteria and will promote faster healing.

NOTE: Unlike their human counterparts, dogs produce their own supply of vitamin C (18 milligrams per pound of body weight each day).

Citrus Juice

Letting your dog drink fresh citrus juice will help restore their pH levels and help them fight off the bacteria. You can use fresh lemon, orange, and lime juices.

Cooling Foods

Eastern medicine supports the teaching that food can have warming or cooling properties. Offering your dog “cooling foods”, such as certain vegetables and fruits, is thought to aid in balancing the immune function.

WARNING: Keep in mind that some foods are either toxic to dogs, or hard on their stomachs. Do not feed your dog grapes, raw potatoes (cooked or dehydrated sweet potatoes are okay), tomatoes, onions, or mushrooms.

Reminder:  Proper diagnosis is important in order to determine the real cause behind the infection and to make sure that there is no underlying serious disease.

This is what the veterinarian will want to know.

When you make an appointment with your vet, be prepared to answer questions like what kind of urinary changes did you observe? How long has your dog been unwell? Have you noticed any behavioral changes?

If the veterinarian isn’t able to diagnose your dog with a physical examination, he/she might need to order urinalysis.

Depending on your dog’s diagnosis, your vet may recommend the following treatments:

• Antibiotics
• Supplements
• Increase fluid intake
• Urinary acidifiers
• Intravenous or subcutaneous fluid therapy
• Surgery (in case of bladder stones, tumor, congenital abnormality)

How to Prevent Urinary Tract Infections in Your Dog 

There are things you can do as a pet owner to help prevent urinary tract infections.

• Keep your dog well-groomed, especially around the urethra where bacteria can enter.

• Make sure your dog is well hydrated.

• Take your dog outside to urinate more frequently. Dogs who have to hold their urine for 8 or more hours are more likely to get urinary tract infections.

• Avoid dry commercial foods which make the urine more alkaline.

Urinary tract infections do not get better without some form of treatment. If you suspect that your dog has an infection, seek advise from your veterinarian.

3 Guaranteed Ways to Neutralize a Dog Sprayed by Skunk

My dog was sprayed by a skunk about a month ago, but the smell is still freshly burned into my memory.  It was early morning when I opened the door to let him out. I noticed him turn on his heels and race back toward the house at warp speed, but didn’t think much of it until he came inside.

SKUNK!

What a smell! Well, if you’re reading this, I’m going to assume you have a pretty good idea how bad it is.  The good news is that I was able to get the smell off my dog that day, and I’m going to show you how.

WHAT IS THIS VILE SUBSTANCE?

Skunk spray is comprised of seven volatile compounds that, when mixed with water, reorganize their chemical composition and become the most vile aroma you’ll likely ever encounter.

The compounds, thiols and acetate derivatives, bind to skin proteins like blood suckers on an ankle.  Have anything leather in your house? Leather, as you know, is a hide (or skin). Even though it’s the dog that needs to be de-skunked, the airborne compound quickly embeds itself leather jackets, belts, purses, sofas, etc.

#1  DE-SKUNK YOUR DOG NOW. RIGHT NOW. NO REALLY…

I phoned the veterinarian the morning of the “skunk incident” for advice. I thought they might have a solution or something to sell me.  Instead, I was told to do this:

  • Use an entire bottle of hydrogen peroxide
  • Use a small container of baking soda
  • Add about a quarter cup of vinegar
  • Add a few drops of dishwasher detergent.

I was instructed to put the dog into the tub and soak him (avoiding his eyes) with the concoction. I was skeptical, but what other options did I have?

IT WORKED!

I couldn’t believe that I was able to get at least 80% of the smell off of my dog using the recipe above. Unfortunately, I ruined a lot of towels in the process.

A couple of weeks later, when it seemed the smell was starting to come back, I gave my dog another bath using the peroxide, baking soda, and dish detergent. This time, I allowed the concoction to settle into his fur and skin before scrubbing him down and rinsing.

It worked again! This time, the smell didn’t come back.  My towels, however, are in the garbage.

 

#2 GIVE YOUR DOG AN APPLE CIDER RAIN SHOWER!

For this treatment, your dog must be wet first. Work a ratio of 1 part water to two parts apple cider into your dog’s fur, allowing it to sit for at least  5 to 10 minutes before rinsing.

#3  YOU KNOW WHEN YOUR DOG HAS THAT “NOT SO FRESH” FEELING?

Douche or feminine wash can also be used to de-skunk your dog. Mix a gallon of water and 2 ounces of feminine douche. Soak your pet with the solution and let it sit for about 15 minutes before rinsing.  Once rinsed, wash your dog with dog shampoo.  Rinse and repeat as needed. 

Personally, I can only vouch for the first method using hydrogen peroxide, vinegar, baking soda, and dish detergent. I was blown away by how well it worked.

NOTE:  My dog’s black fur now has an auburn sheen to it because of the bleaching effects of the hydrogen peroxide.  Frankly, it could have turned him alien green as long as it got the smell out.

WHY MR. SKUNK? WHY?

A skunk sprays when it feels threatened. This stinky form of self-defence comes with a warning beforehand by stomping their feet, raising their tail, and hissing. If the warnings are not heeded, hit the dirt and cover your eyes.

The spray, a secretion from the anal glands, can reach up to 15 feet and skunks are known for their accuracy.  

Aside from the horrific odour, skunk spray can make you (and the dog) sick. I had no idea! My eyes burned, I felt sick to my stomach, and I had a pounding headache all day long.  In absolute worst-case scenarios (if you or your dog are directly sprayed in the face), the compound can cause temporary blindness.

DON’T GO TO WORK THAT DAY!

Of course, my fight or flight instincts kicked in immediately and all I wanted to do was flee.  Once I knew my dog was okay, I grabbed my leather jacket and headed to work.

Bad idea.  I thought I was escaping the smell, but was quickly told by my employer that I had brought it with me.  People were annoyed. I’ve worked there for 20 years and have never been asked to leave but – on that day – it was gently suggested that I head back home for the day.

Embarrassing!

What are the effects of skunk spray on your dogs?

The severity of the damage a skunk spray can do to your dog will depend on which part of your dog got sprayed and how close the skunk was when it happened. The effects can be ocular, dermal, respiratory, and oral. Here is a list of common symptoms:

  • Drooling
  • Sneezing
  • Squinting
  • Temporary blindness
  • Swelling and redness
  • Vomiting

THE SKUNK AND I ARE NOT ON SPEAKING TERMS

If you live in a rural area like I do, it’s almost impossible to totally avoid skunks and other wildlife. There are a few helpful tips that will help lessen the chances of encountering one, however:

  • Take note that skunks are nocturnal creatures that typically come out at dusk.  Consider having a well-lit yard if your dog stays outdoors or keep them company when you let them out in the evenings to do their business.
  • Make sure that dog food or treats are not lying around in your yard and that your trash cans are sealed. Skunks roam on properties when they are lured by the smell of a possible meal.
  • If skunks are frequently spotted in your area, consider hiring the help of pest-control professionals.

If you’re out camping or just happen to spot a skunk nearby, there’s no need to get hysterical.  Skunks actually don’t startle all the easily, so just go your separate ways.  Trust me, that relationship was never meant to be.

I hope you enjoyed the article and gained some useful advice. Please share this with your dog-loving friends or family through social media and follow me for updates on more useful content like this! 

Find out who Lisa Theriault “really” is by clicking here…

 

15 Compelling Facts You Should know About Yeast Infections in Dogs

If you are the least bit intuitive, you know when something is not right with your dog. It might be subtle, but the slightest change in behavior puts you on guard.  Yeast (or fungal) infections aren’t always easy to detect in the early stages.

Today, I’m going to give you the scoop on what to look for in case you think your dog might have a yeast infection and exactly what you can do about it.

  1. Yeast Infections in Dogs Can Be More Complicated Than You Think

Dogs with weakened immune systems are more likely to develop a yeast (fungus) infection.   Medicated dogs or dogs who have other illnesses may be more susceptible to these infections because of a lowered immune response.

Medication used to treat diabetes or Addison’s disease can leave the dog’s immune system compromised, and that weakened immune system leaves the dog unable to fight the invasion of fungi.

  1. Fungal or Yeast Infections Can Take Two Different Forms:

Some fungi affect only the skin or mucous membranes. Examples include things like parasites (ringworm in particular) or thrush.  Systemic fungi is widespread within the body and affects the organs.

  1. HISTOPLASMOSIS

This strain of yeast infection, considered “subclinical”, means that the initial symptoms could be too subtle to notice or treat. In fact, you might think your dog has a cold/mild respiratory infection.

This fungus originates in Central United States near the Great Lakes, Appalachian Mountains, Texas and the valleys of the Mississippi, Ohio, and Missouri rivers.

The soil in these areas is nitrogen rich, where fungus easily grows. Spores are found in soil contaminated by the excrement of wild life and are inhaled unknowingly by people and dogs.

Symptoms might include:

  • Weight Loss
  • Diarrhea

In rare systemic cases, symptoms could involve:

  • Fever
  • Weight Loss
  • Vomiting
  • Muscle Wasting
  • Coughing
  • Enlargement of the Tonsils
  • Enlargement of the Lymph Nodes
  • Attack on bodily organs (liver, spleen, etc.)
  1. VALLEY FEVER (COCCIDIOIDOMYCOSIS)

This type of fungus is the most severe. The spores thrive in the dry, dusty plains of southwestern United States including California. Humans and dogs can contract the fungus from inhaling spores.

This type of yeast infection in dogs affects the:

  • Lungs
  • Causes Acute Pneumonia
  • Could involve the bones
  • Liver
  • Spleen
  • Lymph Nodes
  • Brain
  • Skin

Dogs with this usually develop a chronic cough.  Treatment is available, but a full recovery could take a year.

 

  1. CRYPTOCOCCOSIS

Let me tell you a true story about this one.

I live in a small town where an elderly poet lived with a flock of seagulls. They were everywhere and made a mess of droppings on people’s homes and cars. Nobody would ever have dared go into the man’s house, because that’s where most of the seagulls resided.

Years went by and finally, he was ordered out. The poor man was deathly sick…all because of the spores inhaled from the bird droppings. I’m pretty sure he passed away shortly after.

Cryptococcosis in dogs (and humans) involves the brain, eyes, lymph nodes, and skin. Half of the dogs will show signs of breathing trouble. 

Once this fungus makes its way to the brain, you’ll notice:

  • head pressing against hard surfaces
  • sometimes standing with the head up against a wall
  • circling
  • seizures
  • blindness
  • and, eventually, dementia
  1. BLASTOMYCOCIS

 You’ll find this particular fungus along the eastern seaboard, Great Lakes, Mississippi, Ohio, and Missouri River valleys.  This type of fungus thrives in moist, rotting organic debris.

This is another fungus where spores from bird droppings are inhaled primarily by dogs.  Blastomycocis involves the respiratory system and can cause serious pneumonia. 

  1. SPOROTRICHOSIS

This fungus inhabits the skin after physical contact with spores from the soil. These spores gain access through breaks in the skin. Hunting dogs are mostly prone to this particular fungus. 

Sporotrichosis shows itself as crusted sores that are nodular in shape. They’re usually at the base of the wound and ooze/drain. Diagnosis is determined with a fluorescent antibody test and treatment options are good.

  1. General Symptoms of Systemic Yeast Infections in Dogs.
  • fever
  • weight loss
  • vomiting
  • muscle wasting
  • coughing
  • enlargement of the tonsils
  • enlargement of the lymph nodes
  • there’s usually involvement of the dog’s organs as well (liver, spleen, bone marrow, eyes, skin, and brain)

  Hot spots for Yeast Infections.

Here are the common areas where you will see visual signs of a yeast infection:

  • Ears
  • Paws
  • Skin folds
  • Armpits
  • Jowls
  • Anal area

10. Other Symptoms of Yeast Infections.

  • The biggest sign will be the appearance of your dog’s skin.

Pink or red means the yeast infection is still in the early stages of infection.

  • Gray or black skin

 Could become thick and leathery signifies a chronic stage.  

  • Cheesy or spoiled milk odor

People have all kinds of ways to describe the smell, but it is very distinct.

  • Scaly and greasy skin 

Some yeast infections will lead to flakiness and crusting or scaling in the skin.

  • Head tilting and shaking

Most yeast infections are found in the ears. If you notice your dog shaking his head or tilting his head more than the usual, you should check his ears.

  • Obsessive scratching, rubbing, and licking 

Your dog will seek comfort so they will be scratching and licking the infected area and sometimes rub up against other surfaces or scoot along the floor to deal with the itch.

  • Drooling 

Yeast infection in the mouth can cause excessive drooling and oral discomfort.

11 Treating a Dog’s Yeast Infection.

 Treatment for yeast infections will depend on the location of the infected area, the severity of the infection, the underlying cause behind the yeast overgrowth, and the type of yeast.

  • Yeast infections due to allergies will involve a plan to remove the allergens from the food, home, sleeping area, etc.
  • Yeast infections caused by certain prescriptions or vaccinations can be eliminated by switching pills or brands and eliminating the use of vaccinations where possible.
  • Topical ointments are prescribed for yeast infections on the skin. These ointments combined with prescribed baths are effective.Yeast infections in the ears are treated with drops.
  • If the infection is internal or starts in the gut, you should consider your dog’s diet.  Poor nutrition could also cause a weakened immune system, leaving your dog vulnerable to various infections.
  1. YOUR DOG’S DIET

Food could be the cause of yeast overgrowth. Here are the ingredients that you should look out for in your dog food:

  • honey
  • white or sweet potatoes
  • high-fructose corn syrup
  • rice
  • sugar

If you see these in the label consider switching to a healthier brand. Some dog owners have started putting their dogs on a raw food diet, which is reported to help alleviate the itching and scratching that is associated with yeast infection.

  1. Treating a Yeast Infection at Home.

  •  You can use apple cider vinegar to treat yeast infection. Simply dilute the vinegar in water and massage the mixture all over your dog’s body. Be careful to avoid your dog’s eyes and nose. The vinegar will restore your dog’s pH levels and discourage further yeast growth. Keep in mind that the apple cider vinegar must be organic, unfiltered, and raw in order to get the best results.
  • Coconut oil is comprised of medium-chain triglycerides which are composed of caprylic, lauric, myristic, and palmitic acids. Together, they give coconut oil strong antifungal properties, making it an ideal home remedy for yeast infections in dogs. Mix about 8 oz. of melted extra virgin coconut oil with 10 drops of lavender oil and 2 drops of lemon essential oil. Shake the mixture and massage all over your dog’s skin.

Some pet owners recommend feeding your dog yogurt. Make sure the yogurt has cultured live bacteria (It will be on the container)

  • Turmeric could have anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties that can help your dog deal with the itchiness and at the same time, help heal the infected area. All you have to do is sprinkle the turmeric powder on the infected area.
  • Adding baking soda to your pet’s drinking water can help eradicate the yeast infection and helps with the balance of bacteria in your dog’s system. Baking soda is also said to have a neutralizing effect on the whole body. All you have to do is add 1 teaspoon of baking soda to 1 liter of water.

PLEASE NOTE:  ALWAYS CONSULT YOUR VETERINARIAN BEFORE LIMITING TREATMENT TO ANY OF THESE DIY OPTIONS.

  1. Treating Yeast Infections with Probiotics.

The most vital supplement that you can get for your dog in the midst of a yeast infection is probiotics. Probiotics are “good” bacteria that will provide a natural defense against not only yeast but other bad bacteria as well.

Here are the things you should look for when shopping for probiotics:

  • Buy probiotic supplements made for dogs.
  • The best strains for yeast are L. acidophilus, L. rhamnosus, and B. bifidum.
  • Look for supplements that contain prebiotics along with probiotics.
  • It is best to get probiotics in powdered form. Probiotics that come in the form of food and treats are not as effective because the heat used to process them destroys the probiotic.

Yeast infections can become quite serious.  Once you notice your dog is suffering, make an appointment to see the veterinarian.

  1. A Positive Diagnosis.

If your dog has a yeast infection, always follow your veterinarian’s prescriptions and instructions. Do not stop treatment until the veterinarian tells you to do so – even if you think the symptoms are improving or gone.

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 The infographic below was added to Visual.ly.com by TheNewGroup

What is the Difference Between Bacteria and Yeast Probiotics? Infographic