Thursday, February 09, 2012

Dogs: Common Health Conditions and Warning Signs

The companionship of a dog is unparalleled. Your dog is part of your family. When your dog isn't feeling well, it can be upsetting, trying to determine the problem, and what requires immediate attention. This list of common, dog health concerns, along with warning symptoms, and possible treatments will help prepare your dog's best line of defense. Loving pet owners don't want their dog feeling poorly.

INSECT INFESTATION

Fleas:

If your dog is scratching, licking or biting more than usual, check your dog for fleas. Typically, fleas will attach to your dog's abdomen, tail and head.

TREATMENT: Flea collars, shampoos dips.

PREVENTION: See your veterinarian for insect growth regulator drugs or use spot-on or oral prevention medications.

Ticks:

If you live near wooded areas, it is essential to check your dog for ticks. Ticks can spread Lyme disease as well as some other serious diseases.

TREATMENT: Remove all ticks with tweezers, see your veterinarian if your dog becomes ill after removing any ticks.

PREVENTION: Restrict your dog from roaming in heavily wooded areas.

Ear Mites:

If your dog is scratching his ears more, and you spot crusty matter on the tips, this may indicate ear mites.

TREATMENT: See your veterinarian for treatment.

PREVENTION: Completely dry your dog's ears after bathing, swimming. You will want to check your dogs ears often, and visit your veterinarian if you suspect mites.

DENTAL HEALTH

Bad Breath:

Bad breath is a sign of improper dental health. Your dog should have his teeth cleaned regularly by you or a professional. Bad breath is a known symptom of health conditions that involve the kidneys and liver; and tend to be far more serious.

TREATMENT: Visit your veterinarian to have serious conditions ruled out.

PREVENTION: Brush your dog's teeth on a regular basis.

OBESITY

If you cannot easily, feel your dogs ribs; your dog is overweight. Obesity and carrying excess weight can lead to joint issues and other diseases.

TREATMENT: Work with your veterinarian to develop a diet for your dog and exercise regularly.

PREVENTION: Portioned meals with a nutritious dog formula and daily exercise.

HEAT STROKE

In hotter climates, heat stroke can be a critical issue especially for dogs living outside and those breeds that have trouble with extreme temperatures (flat faced dogs typically). Symptoms of a dog in distress include excessive panting, a racing heart rate, vomiting and excessive stringy drool.

TREATMENT: hydrate and cool your dog down quickly, in serious cases visit your veterinarian.

PREVENTION: If you dog must be outside during heat waves, ensure there is a shaded area with a fan to offer a breeze for your dog. Your dog needs to have an ample amount of fresh water throughout the day.

VIRUSES/INFECTIONS

Kennel Cough:

A respiratory disease passed from dog to dog. Symptoms of kennel cough include coughing, sneezing, fever, loss of appetite and lethargy. Your dog's mucous may become a yellow-green color.

TREATMENT: See your veterinarian for treatment.

PREVENTION: There are vaccines available, but they are not guaranteed to prevent this virus.

Conjunctivitis: If you dog's eyes look red, gooey and crusty, it is more than likely an eye infection

TREATMENT: See your veterinarian for treatment.

PREVENTION: Hard to prevent due to viral causes. Keep dog shampoo out of your dog's eyes.

Ringworm:

Ringworms are an infection of the skin, leaving scabs on your dog.

TREATMENT: See your veterinarian for proper diagnosis, and use an anti-fungal treatment on the skin for four to six weeks. Dispose of all dog bedding, then give your home and yard an intense cleaning. Wash hands constantly to avoid spreading to family members, keep children away until the infection has cleared.

PREVENTION: Keep your dog away from other dogs with the infection. A tip is to get an invisible fence to keep your dog on your property.

WORMS

Heartworms: Heartworms are transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. Symptoms will not appear for up to seven months and begin with a cough.

TREATMENT: See your veterinarian immediately.

PREVENTION: Vaccine.

Tapeworms: Tapeworms are spread through your dog eating infected fleas or rodents and can cause anal irritation and itching. You can see pieces of the worm passed through the feces.

TREATMENT: See your veterinarian for treatment.

PREVENTION: Keep your home free of fleas and rodents.

Whipworms: Whipworms are passed through feces and will cause bloody diarrhea.

TREATMENT: See your veterinarian for treatment.

PREVENTION: Vaccinate. Dispose of your dogs waste properly, and keep your dog away waste of other dogs.

Threadworms:

Threadworms can infect puppies and cause bloody diarrhea. Threadworms are highly contagious and can be passed to humans.

TREATMENT: Isolate your puppy and see you veterinarian immediately.

PREVENTION: Vaccine.

INSECT BITES

Depending on the insect bite, your dog may experience swelling and pain at the location of the bite. If your dog is stung multiple times by bees, wasps or ants your dog may need medical attention. Spider bites by a black widow or brown recluse are extremely dangerous and need immediate medical attention. Symptoms of a toxic bite include hyper activity, fever and weakness, shock and seizures.

TREATMENT: Medical attention is required with multiple bites or by poisonous insects. A single bite, without serious symptoms, only requires you to remove the stinger by using a scraping motion, followed by an application of an ice compress.

PREVENTION: Pest control.

Guest post provided by Dr. Susan Wright, DVM:

Dr. Susan Wright, DVM, has been providing quality care for family pets as a veterinarian for more than 10 years. Dr. Wright is a dog bark collar expert and author. In her free time, Susan enjoys writing articles, giving helpful tips and proper care advice to dog owners.

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1 comments:

Four Paws One Tail February 24, 2012 10:23 AM  

This is a very helpful list for both new and seasoned dog owners. Thanks for posting!

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