Saturday, November 27, 2010

Canine Hip Dysplasia - part I

The growing popularity of larger breeds of dogs has brought with it a threat of a crippling disease of the hip joints known as hip dysplasia.

This disease was first described in the United States back in the 1930s. Research has produced abundant information on hip dysplasia, but many questions still remain unanswered. It is one of the most popular topics discussed among owners, breeders, and veterinarians.

Hip dysplasia is uncommon in small dogs (toys and miniatures), as well as Greyhounds, but it has been found in almost every breed. The disease is an improper development of the hip joint (properly called the coxofemoral joint) which leads to looseness of the joint, partial dislocation (subluxation), and finally, arthritis.

Basically, the hip is a ball-and-socket type of joint. If the socket is too shallow, or the ball to flattened, the result is an unstable joint which tends to come out of place.

The most commonly affected breeds are: German Shepherd, St. Bernard, Labrador Retriever, Boxer, Springer Spaniel, Great Dane, and the Bull Mastiff. This is by no means a complete or accurate list, since incidence depends a lot on breed popularity.

That is to say, it is possible that the Komondor or Great Pyrenees breeds have a high incidence of dysplasia, but, when the average veterinary clinic sees one of either breed every two to three years, how can an accurate breed incidence be determined?

Dysplasia is the most common disorder of the hips that a veterinarian will encounter in practice. Because it is considered to involve several genes, more work is necessary to establish the exact means of inheritance. Other factors, such as rapid growth, management, nutrition, hormones, and anatomic variations have been put forth as construing causes, but thus far selective breeding has given the best results in controlling hip dysplasia.

Clinical Signs Of Hip Dysplasia

The clinical signs range from a normal dog to one that cannot walk more than a few steps without collapsing. The usual course is that of lameness following strenuous exercise or difficulty arising after prolonged rest.

The gait is often diagnostic and is characterized by waddling, slinking, or "cow hocks" (toes pointed out, hocks pointed toward each other). Any larger breed of dog with a history of hind leg lameness should have hip dysplasia eliminated as the cause before extensive investigation of other diseases is undertaken.

A radiograph of the pelvis is necessary for accurate diagnosis of the disease. This is best performed under anesthesia to ensure proper positioning of the dog. Unless the animal is motionless and symmetrically placed on the x-ray table, a good evaluation of the hip joints cannot be made, especially in mild cases.

Dog Training in Harrisburg Pa. York Pa. Lancaster Pa. Dover Pa. and all of Dauphin County,York County,and Lancaster County: Training books and videos.


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Monday, November 22, 2010

Free Purina One SmartBlend Dog Food Sample

The Target website is offering free samples of Purina One SmartBlend Dog Food Samples (cat food sample also).

Information about Purina ONE SmartBlend Dog Food:

"Purina ONE SmartBlend formulas start with real lamb, salmon, chicken or beef and add select ingredients delivering nutrition shown to help make a healthy difference in your pet. The result is a unique blend of tender morsels and crunchy bites for a taste dogs love.

Discover the science in nature's ingredients. Purina One SmartBlend formulas deliver concentrated nutrition to promote whole body health. Make the most of everyday moments through smart nutrition."

The free samples are available one per customer and to the USA only. As always with free dog food samples, these will go very fast!

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ASPCA Issues Thanksgiving Safety Tips

New York City, New York

The ASPCA® has warned that many of the foods and decorations routinely within reach of pets during the holiday season can pose a risk of illness.

Last year the The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals® (ASPCA®) Animal Poison Control Center dealt with 17,000 cases of pet illness which was caused by ingesting human foods. Of these, chocolate is by far the worst offender, with dark chocolate being the most damaging to pets. Chocolate contains the alkaloid theobromine which is toxic to dogs, and leads to symptoms including vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rate and occasionally seizures. Pet owners should also be wary of sweeteners, such as xylitol, which is present in an increasing number of confectionary products. Xylitol can cause a sudden drop in blood glucose and there appears to be a strong link between xylitol ingestions and the development of liver failure in dogs.

While decorating the family home is an essential part of the holidays, many of the items we incorporate into our traditional holiday decorations each year - ribbons, tinsel, glass ornaments, as well as wires, cords, candles, and even Christmas tree water - can all pose potential dangers to pets if left unattended. And the ASPCA warns that plants and flowers should be kept to a minimum. Last year, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center received 8,000 calls about potentially poisonous plants and flowers. "Flowers such as lilies, which are commonly used this time of year, can cause kidney failure in cats. The more traditional festive plants such as holly and mistletoe can also be dangerous for cats and dogs alike, causing gastrointestinal upset or, in rare cases with mistletoe, cardiovascular problems. It's best to use non-toxic decorations, such as wood, fabric or even pinecones," said Dr. Wismer, Senior Director of Veterinary Outreach and Education for the ASPCA.

Giving your dog or cat a little turkey may seem like a good idea, but Dr. Wismer warns that the meat may contain bones that can splinter and cause blockages in the throat or digestive tract, and that the grease and fat can cause stomach upset. Additionally, Dr. Wismer strongly urges pet owners to be extremely careful with any alcoholic beverages. "Pets that ingest alcohol can become very sick and may fall into a coma, leading to an untimely death," she adds. If your dog or cat accidentally ingests a potentially toxic substance this holiday season, the ASPCA recommends that you contact your local veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center.

View the latest World Pet News every week at PetPeoplesPlace.com.

Original Source: http://www.petpeoplesplace.com/resources/news/general/aspca-issues-thanksgiving-safety-tips.htm


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Saturday, November 20, 2010

$5 off $5 at Petsmart Coupon

Here is a coupon for you to get $5 off $5 at Petsmart.

To use the coupon you have to be a member of PetPerks (free to join). You can sign up for PetPerks in your local PetSmart store or at PetSmart PetPerks.

A big thank you goes out to One Frugal Chick.

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Friday, November 19, 2010

Canine Hip Dysplasia: The Cause Is Still A Mystery To Veterinarians

In the early seventies, many young dogs were put to sleep after being diagnosed with hip dysplasia. It was practical choice in the old days and dog owners would agree with the decision from the veterinarian due to the understanding that "the dog would be crippled in time, for the rest of his life, or that he will not be able to hunt, track, or do obedience work because of his injured hips", according to the doctor.

Not All Veterinarians Agreed With This Diagnosis

The truth is that every young dog with hip dysplasia has a good chance of leading a normal and functioning life if nothing is done for the hips except to let time elapse until he has fully reached his maturity stage. Because of this fact, many reputable veterinarians would not perform surgery on an immature dog.

There are no published and worthwhile statistics which show that young dogs subject to such surgery turn out better than those that were not operated. Moreover, those that were left alone are still eligible to compete in dog shows, tracking, and obedience trials. Not only does experience dispute the worth or need of surgery but severing tendon or muscle in the young dog doesn't make any scientific sense. Its effect is to let the "ball" slide out of its "socket", and this creates "hip dysplasia" artificially.

When done later in life on a dog with persistent hip pain, the operation can provide immediate relief of discomfort by altering the weight-bearing surface of the hip joint. However, no worthwhile statistics have been published to show the length of time that such relief will persist or the percentage of adult dogs that were improved by surgery.

Hip Dysplasia May Not Be Genetic In Dogs

Since hip dysplasia was accepted to be genetic in humans, early researches were focused on trying to establish whether it was a dominant, recessive, or other characteristic in dogs. Sufficient statistics have accumulated to conclude that canine hip dysplasia is genetically influenced but a Swedish study on 11,036 German Shepherds showed that ten years of selective breeding not only failed to reduce the number of canine hip dysplasia offspring but also did not reduce the number of grade two or three (moderate or severe) cases.

The Swedish authors concluded that canine hip dysplasia was not as greatly genetically influenced as they formerly had thought. They found that other characteristics of the pelvic inlet were suggestive indications and that the rate of bone maturation of the dog is also important.

The Greyhound, the only breed of large dog that's not affected, has very slow bone maturation. When the Greyhound was crossed with the German Shepherd, hip dysplasia did not appear in the first generation. It was discovered that a very restricted diet, which contributes to slow growth, reduced hip dysplasia in affected breeds.

Although we still do not understand exactly the causes of canine hip dysplasia, it is reasonable to believe that a program of breeding based on the x-ray diagnosis of this condition should be carefully scrutinized.

Dog Training in Harrisburg Pa. York Pa. Lancaster Pa. Dover Pa. and all of Dauphin County,York County,and Lancaster County: Training books and videos.


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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Labrador Retrievers - Beautiful, Popular and Prone to Joint Problems

Intelligent. Patient. Tolerant. Mild mannered. Loyal.

With traits like these, is it any wonder the Labrador Retriever is the most popular breed of dog in the world? Since 1991, the Labrador Retriever has been the most popular registered breed in the United States, as well. They are gentle, affable and intelligent and considered by many to be the perfect family pet. They're also known for their working ability and are the most popular breed of working and guide dog in the United States, as well!

With good medical care and proper feeding, you can expect your Lab to live upwards of 13 years. It is a healthy breed with relatively few major problems... but, like other full-breed dogs, they are susceptible to certain inherited disorders, particularly those of the hip, elbow and knee. While not as common in Labs as in other breeds, dysplasia is also a concern.

Labs are somewhat prone to dysplasia of the hip and elbow, especially in larger dogs. Indeed, hip dysplasia is the most common genetic problem affecting dogs of all breeds. Canine hip dysplasia is a general term for the malformation of the hip joint that eventually leads to arthritis. This malformation occurs when the two parts of the hip joint - the ball (femoral head at the top of the upper leg bone) and socket (the "dented" area of the pelvic structure) are misaligned or misshapen. Dogs suffering from dysplasia are not as active as they could be due to significant pain. Often, the only cure for dysplasia is costly surgery to replace the dysplastic hip joint.

Labs also suffer from the risk of knee problems. A "luxating patella" is a common occurrence in the knee that results in the leg being "bow "shaped. This abnormality can cause abnormal wear and tear on the joint, resulting in the development of painful osteoarthritis for some Labs.

The only way to decrease the prevalence of these disorders is through conscientious breeding practices. However, even the most vigilant breeders cannot eliminate these genetic disorders altogether. There's no way of knowing whether an animal will develop a joint disorder later in life.

Regular trips to the veterinarian can play an important role in early detection and early treatment of problems. Unfortunately, the most commonly prescribed treatment for animals suffering from genetic disorders such as hip dysplasia is non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. As in humans, these medications provide temporary relief by decreasing inflammation, but not without a host of potential side effects.

There is an alternative, however.

Supplementation with glucosamine and chondroitin - the natural building blocks of healthy cartilage - offers relief from pain with long-term healing and little risk of side effects. Like NSAIDs, glucosamine and chondroitin decrease inflammation but they also give damaged joints the raw materials needed to build new cartilage, resulting in true relief from pain.

Syn-flex for Pets offers a high-grade liquid glucosamine formula designed to give your pet maximum relief in minimum time. Some satisfied owners report significant improvements in their pets in less than two weeks of use! Synflex (Syn-flex) is a safe, effective, inexpensive, and administering a dose to your pet is as simple as pouring a small amount in a dish or over his/her food.
About the Author

Find out more about Synflex for Pets and the dependable relief that is available for your pet by visiting http://www.syn-flex-usa.com/ today.


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Monday, November 15, 2010

3 Useful Tips on Training Your Labrador Retriever

Labrador retrievers are the most popular dog breed in America and for good reason. They are intelligent, family friendly, fun-loving dogs who possess a strong desire to make their owners happy. Their high level of intelligence allows them to learn quickly and their gentle nature makes them great with kids and other pets.

However, just like most other dog breeds, they need sufficient time and training to become the smart, obedient dogs that they are more than capable of being. Listed below are 3 helpful tips to help ensure that you train your Labrador retriever effectively.

1) Start Training Early

Just like young children need to be taught proper behavior at a young age, so do puppies. If a child develops bad habits and manners early on, they will likely carry those things on in to adulthood. Labrador retrievers need to be approached the same way and be given proper training when they are puppies. It's so much hard to retrain an older dog than it is to train a puppy, so be sure to start the training process while they are still young.

2) Practice Patience and Consistency

It is important to be patient with your Labrador retriever as it will take time them to learn things. Just as it takes months if not years for a child to learn and develop the ability to speak, dogs will also take time to learn what you teach them. In order for them to learn, you also have to be consistent with your training. Dogs learn from consistent actions and messages, so you need to be patient with your training approach.

3) Encourage Good Behavior with Rewards

Rewards like treats or petting in return for good behavior are important means of positive reinforcement for Labrador retrievers and all other dogs. Whenever your dog does something good or follows your training, be sure to give them a reward of some sort. This small reward will motivate them to repeat the positive action in the future.

While Labrador retrievers are super dogs who typically don't require as much training as other breeds, they will still need some good training to be the dogs they are capable of. If you start training them early, be patient and consistent with your training, and encourage their good behavior with rewards, you will ensure that your Labrador retriever is an outstanding companion for many years to come.

Christine is a bonafide dog lover and trainer with a new directory site for Denver Dog Trainers. If you are in the Denver, CO area and looking for an effective dog trainers, visit her new site at http://denverdogtrainers.com today.


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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Teaching Your Labrador Retriever to Lie Down

A useful lesson to teach your Labrador Retriever is to lie down on command. It is another basic Labrador Retriever training command that is essential for your dog to master. By teaching your Labrador to lie down, you can use that action to put your Lab in a passive stance when needed (ex: when taking your Labrador to the veterinarian or introducing them to new people or children).

Now, there are many different ways to teach your Labrador Retriever to lie down, some may work for you, while other will not. We do post more than one different lesson for each Labrador Retriever training command on All About Labradors, so if one way doesn't work, don't get discouraged, try a new lesson.

In the bellow Labrador Retriever training video, Melanie McLeroy, of the Taurus Training dog training facility in Austin, Texas talks about getting your Labrador retriever to lie down. Melaine uses a combination of hand signals and food treats to assist with her training.



A little advice: Do not teach your Labrador Retriever to lay down before they know how to sit. Once your Labrador has mastered sitting on command, it will be easier to teach them to lie down.

Always remember, patience is very important! You are not going to teach your Labrador Retriever how to lie down by yelling at them or hitting! Practice, patients and love are the key!

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Sunday, November 07, 2010

Are Your Dog's Allergies Misdiagnosed?

MYTH: Allergies are COMMON in dogs!

TRUTH: Most allergies are actually misdiagnosed!

Many “symptoms” such as itching, paw licking, excess shedding, irritated skin, chronic ear issues are misdiagnosed as “allergies.” Then the broad-spectrum symptom control starts. There are steroids for the itchy skin, drops for the yeast in the ears, sprays and antibiotics for the hot spots, special creams and shampoos. There are corn-free diets, chicken-free diets...even the vegetarian diet. And don't forget bottled water, allergy shots, antihistamines, creams, sprays.

But, thousands of dollars later, your dog is no better off. And, the cycle continues! Itch > Vet > Treatment > Itch...

When "allergies" have been treated with no real results, it may be that you are looking at a nutritional deficiency disease! For example, a dog with a zinc deficiency may itch constantly, can have irritated skin or could shed excessively.

The fact is many of your dog’s symptoms are actually nutritional deficiencies. And, no matter how you “treat” the symptoms, the only real solution is to fill in the huge gaps in his diet!

For example:

* Itchy skin? Repair Zinc deficiency.

* Stinky ears? Strengthen immune system weakened by a lack of required nutrition.

* Flaky skin? Reverse Omega Fatty Acid deficiency.

Your dog actually requires many nutrients that are destroyed in the heat processing of his food. Even the highest quality foods are highly processed. Your dog just lacks the tools he needs to be healthy!

To help your dog heal naturally, from the inside - out, first, look at your dog's food.

Overall, dog food should list meat as their first ingredient....and then meat again, listed in the next 2 or 3 ingredients. In other words, meat should be the main ingredient, not grain.

Next, fill in those nutritional gaps with nutritional supplements that contain things that cannot take the heat processing of dog food. Look for supplements that contain probiotics, digestive enzymes, essential fatty acids, delicate vitamins and nutrients.

A meaty food plus the added required nutrients will give your companion just what he needs to heal from the inside out! But, remember, turning your pet's health around using nutrition takes time. Be consistent and watch for small changes over the course of several months.

Free Online Health Report for your pet!

Author: Cindy Lukacevic, Owner, Dinovite Inc., has been working with pet owners for over 10 years to find natural and common sense natural solutions to pet problems.


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Wednesday, November 03, 2010

November Marks Fifth Annual National Pet Cancer Awareness Month

Cancer Among Most Common and Costly Pet Conditions

BREA, Calif., Oct. 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Cancer is not strictly a "human" condition. As the No. 1 disease-related killer of dogs and cats, cancer claims millions of pets each year. This November, Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. (VPI), the nation's oldest and largest provider of pet health insurance, will seek to increase awareness about the prevalence, detection and treatment of pet cancer during its fifth annual Pet Cancer Awareness Month. To raise funds for pet cancer research, VPI has partnered with the Animal Cancer Foundation (ACF) and organized its third annual VPI K9K Pet Cancer Awareness Walk in Long Beach, Calif. on Nov. 14. VPI also provides pet cancer detection tips and urges ACF donations through the purchase of pet cancer awareness collars and wristbands at www.petinsurance.com/cancer.

VPI started Pet Cancer Awareness month in 2005 after noticing that cancer diagnoses often caught pet owners by surprise. Many either did not know their pets could develop cancer or underestimated the cost to treat cancerous conditions. In 2008, VPI received nearly 30,000 claims for pet cancer. The most common form of pet cancer, lymphosarcoma, made up about a fifth of those claims. Other common forms of pet cancer included: mast cell tumors, fibrosarcomas (which stem from connective tissues), and hemangiopericytomas (a tumor generally located on a limb). Other types of neoplasias --defined as a growth or tumor--were commonly found on the liver, spleen or eyelid.

Overall, cancer claims were the sixth most common type of medical claim received by VPI in 2008. According to VPI's claims data, which draws from a population of more than 474,000 insured pets, following are the 10 most common types of cancer found in dogs and cats:

Top Pet Cancer Claims in 2008

1. Lymphosarcoma
2. Mast Cell Tumor
3. Neoplasia - Spleen
4. Neoplasia - Eyelid
5. Osteogenic Sarcoma
6. Neoplasia - Liver
7. Neoplasia - Thorax
8. Neoplasia - Brain or Spinal Cord
9. Fibrosarcoma
10. Hemangiopericytoma

The cost of treating a pet with cancer varies depending on the type of cancer and the length of therapy. If chemotherapy or radiation treatment is required, costs can reach more than $10,000 over several sessions. To ensure that VPI policyholders are able to pursue optimal cancer treatment, VPI offers an optional cancer-specific rider that attaches to its base medical plans. The cancer rider supplements benefit allowances available for treatment of eligible cancerous conditions.

To detect cancer early, pet owners should be attentive to any growing lump or sore that fails to heal, drastic changes in a pet's appetite or weight, unusually strong odors coming from a pet, discharge or bleeding from any body opening, difficulty chewing or swallowing, or an unwillingness to exercise. More detection tips and information on Pet Cancer Awareness Month can be found at www.petinsurance.com/cancer.

For more information on the Animal Cancer Foundation, visit www.acfoundation.org.

Note to editors: VPI can provide state-specific cancer data and digital images of Pet Cancer Awareness dog collars and wristbands. Send requests to gbiniasz@petinsurance.com.

About Veterinary Pet Insurance

Veterinary Pet Insurance Co./DVM Insurance Agency is the nation's oldest and largest pet health insurance company and is a member of the Nationwide Insurance family of companies. Providing pet owners with peace of mind since 1982, the company is committed to being the trusted choice of America's pet lovers and an advocate of pet health education. VPI Pet Insurance plans cover dogs, cats, birds and exotic pets for multiple medical problems and conditions relating to accidents, illnesses and injuries. Optional VPI CareGuard(SM) coverage for routine care is also available.

Medical plans are available in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. More than 2,000 companies nationwide offer VPI Pet Insurance as an employee benefit. Policies are underwritten by Veterinary Pet Insurance Company in California and in all other states by National Casualty Company, an A+15 rated company in Madison, Wisconsin. Pet owners can find VPI Pet Insurance on Facebook or follow @VPI on Twitter. For more information about VPI Pet Insurance, call 800-USA-PETS (800-872-7387) or visit petinsurance.com.

SOURCE Veterinary Pet Insurance Co.

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