Image Credit: Laura Held “My buddy Copper”
Dogs can experience a decline in mental health, or cognitive function, as they age. Physical and chemical changes in the brain that occur in some aging pets mirror the changes found in human Alzheimer’s patients.
Behavioral changes are often the first reported symptoms of declining mental health, though dog owners often underreport behavior changes in elderly pets not realizing help is available. Generally, cognitive dysfunction is diagnosed in dogs over ten years of age but recent research has found early brain changes and coinciding symptoms in younger dogs. Read More >
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An aural hematoma is a soft swelling of the ear flap due to an abnormal accumulation of blood between the skin of the ear and the underlying ear cartilage. This fluid is made up of blood or bloody fluid; sometimes it can also contain infection. In theory, blood leaks from the ear vessels when the vessels become weakened. This can be due to either chronic disease or ear trauma. Aural hematomas can occur in a variety of animal species including dogs and cats. Read More >
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Should I Be Concerned About Panosteitis?
“Growing pains” refers to a painful orthopedic condition in young dogs called panosteitis: a condition of the bone that often presents as lameness (limping) due to bone swelling. Panosteitis occurs in the leg bones of dogs and appears to affect only rapidly growing large or giant-breed dogs. Small dogs and cats are rarely affected. The male German Shepherd is considered the poster-dog for this condition, though many active sporting and working dog breeds including retrievers, pointers, hounds, setters, shepherds, and other large and giant breeds can be affected by it. Read More >
Image Credit: Facebook Fan Kelly from Nova Scotia and “Reno.”
Giardia is a tricky protozoan parasite that does not always cause symptoms when present and it infects multiple vertebrate species. These single-celled microorganisms live in the intestinal tracts of their hosts; infective units are called cysts and they shed in feces. Cysts are durable and survive several months in cool, moist environments. Major symptoms of Giardia infection in dogs include diarrhea, poor body condition, and ill-thrift appearance. Read More >
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Not So Sweet: Lethal Sugar Substitute, Caution
Of the many common sugar substitutes, Xylitol appears to be the only one dangerous and potentially lethal to dogs; it is a more potent toxin to dogs than chocolate, yet many owners are unaware of the serious risk xylitol ingestion poses to their dog. Though not toxic to humans, a dog experiences severe illness often occurring within the first half hour following ingestion. Read More >
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Adverse Food Reactions
Adverse food reaction (AFR), food intolerance, and food allergy are terms often misused interchangeably to describe a pet’s abnormal physical responses resulting from the ingestion of a food source. This also includes food flavoring, preservatives, or other food-like products. In most cases, allergy is technically a misnomer, though it helps people understand the severity of their pet’s problem with food. A true allergy is based on an abnormal or overactive immunologic response, while an AFR is an abnormal response often based on other host factors not directly linked to the immune system; food appears to be the main trigger for the symptoms and treatment is geared toward avoidance of trigger foods. Read More >
Image Credit: Facebook fan Andrew C. from Michigan with “Ashli & Kimber”
Improvements in available health care has many pets living longer than previous life expectancy estimates. Longer life affords us more time with our companions, yet comes with additional health risks and concerns to provide quality within those extra years. Considerations to keep in mind include changes in your pet’s nutritional needs, lifestyle management, and management of chronic diseases. One disease that affects the hearts of adult dogs is dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). Read More >
Canine Oral Hygiene
What pet owner doesn’t appreciate the wet-nose nudges and licks of hello from their furry companion? Maybe an owner whose pet has stinky or downright putrid breath! Bad breath is more than unpleasant: It is often an indicator of underlying health problems in the mouth. Unfortunately, treatment options can be limited once dental disease progresses to the point that owners notice a problem. Read More >
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Not All Mites Are Created Equal
Demodicosis is a condition that occurs when the normally self-limiting population of demodex
mites on a dog goes rogue. They are microscopic parasitic mites that inhabit hair follicles, oil
glands, and skin. Demodex mites are non-contagious, host-specific, and are a normal skin
inhabitant of dogs. Demodex mites are NOT Sarcoptes mites (which cause very itchy and
contagious sarcoptic mange).
Dogs of any age can have demodicosis. Young dogs most often get a transient overgrowth of
mites that is localized to a few spots on the face or legs (see below: localized demodicosis). With
a healthy immune response, the majority of these cases will resolve without treatment.
Occasionally demodicosis completely takes the skin of its host hostage (see below: generalized
demodicosis); it spreads to encompass very large areas of skin resulting in massive hair loss
and other complications. This form of demodicosis occurs sporadically in young dogs but
accounts for the majority of the adult cases of demodicosis. The demodex life cycle is completed
on the dog host. Dogs are infected with mites from their mother while nursing during the first
week of life and will have mites throughout their lifetime (in low numbers). Read More >
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Why So Serious?
Canine bloat (a.k.a Gastric Dilatation Volvulus or GDV) is an emergency condition that is
initiated within the stomach. Under suboptimal circumstances the stomach can become overly
distended and twist upon itself. This agonizingly painful and rapid event becomes life
threatening within a few hours of onset if intensive emergency treatment is not initiated.
Frequently, cases are fatal even with treatment. No single cause is identifiable but certain dog
breeds do indeed have the deck stacked against them, so to speak. The rapid sequence of
events that occur from GDV are toxic and potentially deadly.
Read More >