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Dog Parvo, Symptoms and Treatment

Canine parvovirus (CPV2, colloquially parvo) is a contagious virus mainly affecting dogs. dog-parvo  The disease is highly contagious and is spread from dog to dog by direct or indirect contact with their feces. It can be especially severe in puppies that are not protected by maternal antibodies or vaccination. It has two distinct presentations, a cardiac and intestinal form. The common signs of the intestinal form are severe vomiting and dysentery. The cardiac form causes respiratory or cardiovascular failure in young puppies. Treatment often involves veterinary hospitalization. Vaccines can prevent this infection, but mortality can reach 91% in untreated cases.

Parvovirus is contagious to dogs only—not to cats or people. Any age, breed, or sex of dog could be affected by parvovirus. However, infection with parvovirus does not automatically mean illness. Several factors such as age, environment, stress, parasites, and general health status of each individual dog infected could affect the severity of the disease. The degree of illness could range from very mild to unapparent to very severe, often resulting in death. The disease is usually more severe in young dogs (less than 6 months of age), old dogs, Rottweilers, and Dobermans. The younger and smaller the dog, the greater the chance that it will not recover.
Parvovirus is resistant to extremes of temperature (i.e., it survives freezing and extreme heat) and is unharmed by detergents, alcohol, and common disinfectants.  Direct transmission occurs when an infected dog comes in contact with a healthy dog. The virus is found in heavy concentration in the infected dog’s stool. Because dogs will usually sniff where another dog has eliminated, this fecal-oral transmission is the most common method of transmission. The virus particles can be easily spread by hands, shoes, clothing, or other inanimate objects (fomites)—this is an indirect source of transmission.
As many as 30 billion parvovirus particles can be shed from the intestines of an infected dog in every ounce of stool. The highest concentration of virus in the stool is seen when the infected dog is showing signs of illness. A dog can, however, be a source of infection to other dogs without it having observable signs of illness (the disease may be incubating). Transmission can occur for at least 3 weeks after a dog becomes infected with the virus. Chronic “carriers” are not known to exist as in other viral diseases. Parvovirus in the environment can infect susceptible dogs for as long as 6 months once shed in the stool.

Clinical Signs and Symptoms :

The most common symptoms of this disease (the “intestinal form”) are vomiting and diarrhea. Another less common form, the “cardiac form”, occurs in very young pups (less than 8 weeks of age) and attacks the heart muscle, often resulting in sudden death.

Symptoms of Parvo in Dogs

Symptoms of Intestinal form (any age dog affected, but more severe in puppies):

  • Depression
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fever (usually above 103F)
  • Vomiting with or without blood
  • Diarrhea with or without blood (more serious if blood present)
  • Low white blood cell count (due to immunosuppression)

Symptoms of Cardiac form (less than 8 weeks of age):

  • Sudden death
  • Crying, difficulty breathing, gasping for breath
  • Extreme depression
  • Weakness
  • Unwillingness to nurse
  • Irregular heartbeat

vomitingfeverloss of appetitedepression, and bloody diarrhea with a very foul odor. Infected animals rapidly dehydrate and severe cases progress to shock and death.


Treatment of Parvo in Dogs

Treatment is aimed at maintaining the normal body composition and preventing secondary bacterial infection. Because this is a virus, there is NO CURE. Death from parvovirus results from dehydration, overwhelming secondary bacterial infection, blood loss from intestinal hemorrhage, or heart attack from invasion of the heart muscle by the virus.  Early FLUID THERAPY is the most important factor in treating dogs with parvovirus infection. The body is normally about 80% water. Life is NOT possible when 12-15% of the normal body fluids are lost. Intravenous fluids both rehydrate the body and nourish the sick dog.
Additional treatment includes prevention of secondary bacterial infection and drugs to control vomiting and diarrhea. No food or water is given while the dog is vomiting. Repeated laboratory tests are often necessary to monitor your pet’s white blood cell count and state of hydration.

HOSPITALIZATION  enables us to provide the best medicine and is the best way to achieve success. There is NO GUARANTEE, even with hospitalization, that your pet will survive. With most dogs, there is at least a 70% survival rate. Very small (young) puppies, Rottweilers, and Dobermans usually only have a 30-50% chance of survival. Length of treatment depends on the severity of disease. Most dogs have to stay hospitalized for at least 2-4 days, but may require treatment for as long as a week. Dogs that recover from parvo are often weak, making them even more susceptible to other diseases, such as distemper. Dogs that recover from parvo continue to spread the virus in the feces for a month or longer.

 Early, vigorous treatment of illness caused by canine parvovirus infection can save lives.

Prevention and Control

Dog parvo prevention is really the same as rabies prevention; you just have to make sure your dog has all of their necessary vaccinations.
Vaccinations should start after the puppy is 6 to 8 weeks old. Up until that point, a puppy is typically protected against most sicknesses because its mother’s anti-bodies are still flowing through it’s blood. But now it has to build up its own system of protection.
The initial shot is followed by booster shots in the following weeks, followed by a yearly one after that to keep the protection up. Unless your dog is of a particularly susceptible breed, it’s probably safe to discontinue the booster shots after a few years.
As always, talk to your vet to get your dog on an appropriate vaccination schedule to minimize the risks of this deadly virus.

Control  of parvovirus by sanitation measures alone is extremely difficult because the virus is such a resistant, hardy organism and because it is so easily spread. Contact with other dogs,and especially their stool, should be minimized. Clorox diluted one part to 30 parts water (4 oz Clorox in 1 gallon of water) has been effective in disinfecting inanimate objects such as clothing, floors, kennels, etc. However, it is impractical, if not impossible, to disinfect public streets, parks, etc. Isolation of infected dogs is another method of control, moderately effective. Both of these measures will help reduce the amount of contagious virus in the environment, but only a full series of vaccinations, with appropriate booster intervals, will help to control the source of infection, the contagious shedding dog.


1. Do not take the puppy to the front yard, park, for a walk around the block, or to pet stores. These are all places where infected dogs have been or presently are.

2. Only have the puppy around adult dogs that YOU KNOW are current on vaccinations. There should be no contact with stray dogs or dogs that you are not sure of.
3.Do not let the puppy be exposed to any other puppies. These pups could be incubating the disease (and therefore be contagious) without showing signs of illness.

4. Always wash your hands after handling any dog.5.

 Dogs remain HIGHLY SUSCEPTIBLE to parvo until 2-4 weeks after the last injection of the immunization series of vaccine.



Notify Your Dog’s Veterinarian if the Following Occur
  • Your dog’s stool contains blood, or the diarrhea returns.
  • You cannot medicate your dog as instructed.
  • Your dog vomits or is reluctant to eat.
  • There is a change in your dog’s general health.
  • Your dog does not drink water
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Dog Brain Cancer Diagnosis, Symptoms and Treatment

Overview of Dog Brain Cancer:

Brain tumor are common and often seen in middle age and older dogs however they can also affect the younger one too. If canine has a seizure then it could be the signs that a brain tumor is present.

The most common types that often found in dogs are astrocytomas, oligodendrogliomas and meningiomas. Tumor tend to be wide spread on multiple sites on the brain rather than one spotted position.
Some of the tumor arise directly from the brain tissue while other types spread to the brain by bloodstream since the brain control extensive blood supply.
The severity depend mainly on the brain location where the tumor arise and how fast they grow. Canine seizures can also be caused by other problems such as low blood sugar level or heart problems. dog-brain-cancer

Causes of Brain Tumor in Dogs :

As with other forms of cancer, the exact cause of brain tumors in dogs is not known. In humans, brain tumors are thought to be caused by such things as genetics, exposure to radiation, nitrosamines from processed meats, electromagnetic fields, immunological issues, traumatic head injuries, solvents, and pesticides. It is not known if these same factors can cause brain tumors in dogs or not.
Brain tumors do appear to be more common in dogs than in many other kinds of domestic animals. Dogs that are over five years of age seem to be most at risk. Some breeds of dogs are more susceptible to brain tumors than others, such as Boston Terriers, Bulldogs, and Boxers. These are short-nosed or brachycephalic breeds and they seem predisposed to having tumors affecting the pituitary gland. Golden Retrievers, Collies, and other dolichocephalic (long-nosed) breeds may also be predisposed to having brain tumors, particularly meningiomas. Most mengiomas occur in dogs that are over seven years of age.

Symptoms of Dog Brain Cancer:

The most common symptom of a brain tumor is the onset of seizures, especially if the seizures start after the dog is five years old or older. Other symptoms include the dog exhibiting abnormal behavior and forgetting things; extreme sensitivity to touch or pain around the neck; problems with the dog’s vision, especially if the dog begins walking in circles or showing uncoordinated movements. Some dogs have a staggering walk that is a tell-tale sign. Some dogs may develop aggression or behave like puppies. In some cases dogs may develop obsessions.

More Symptoms :

  • behavior change
  • lethargy
  • irritability
  • compulsive walking
  • walk in circle
  • loss of habits that have been trained before
  • facial paralysis often cause by tumor in the lower part of the brain (brainstem)
  • lower intelligence
  • partial or fully blindness indicated that there is a tumor in optic nerve or hypothalamus
  • low energy level
  • decreased activities
  • seizures often cause by tumor in the cerebral cortex
  • confusion
  • disorientation
  • wobbliness and tremors indicated that there is a tumor in the cerebellum region of the brain that play an important role in the integration of sensory perception
  • loss the sense of smell often cause by tumor in the sensory system used for olfaction (olfactory system)
Because of slow growing rate of tumor inside the brain dogs can carry brain tumors for a few years before they start to show signs and symptoms, so its wise that the owner gets his/her dog checked by a veterinarian if he/she noticed any kind of above symptoms.


Treatment of Dog Brain Cancer:

There are three primary care methods for dogs and cats that have been diagnosed with brain tumors: surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. The major objectives with these therapies are to eradicate the tumor or reduce its size, and to control secondary effects, such as fluid build-up in the brain (known as cerebral edema) that may result from a brain tumor. Surgery may be used to completely or partially remove tumors, while radiation therapy and chemotherapy may help shrink tumors. Various medications can be prescribed to slow tumor growth and to cope with side-effects, such as seizures. A course of radiation therapy will usually cost from $3,000 to $4,000, according to the North Carolina State College of Veterinary Medicine. Chemotherapy is not used very often to treat canine brain cancer, so the data on this treatment is limited.

Breeds that are prone to brain tumor :


  • boxers
  • boston terriers
  • golden retrievers
  • doberman pinschers
  • scottish terriers
  • old english sheepdogs

Living and Management :

It will be necessary for your veterinarian to monitor your dog regularly with different scans such as CT scans (computed tomography, CAT scans (computerized axial tomography, and MRI scans (magnetic resonance imaging). This will help your vet examine your dog’s nervous system and look for any complications from the treatments.
The prognosis for dogs with a brain tumor will depend on what ki

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Sudden Dog Diarrhea

Dog Diarrhea has four general reasons for occurring: osmotic imbalances, over secretion, intestinal exudation or motility disorders.

Osmotic imbalances occur when the concentration of food molecules in the intestine is too high. Water is drawn into the intestine by the excess molecules, causing diarrhea in dogs . Over secretion occurs when the intestine secretes too much fluid after being exposed to bacteria or toxins. Intestinal exudation describes a slow oozing of blood fluids through ulcers or other breaks in the intestine’s tissue layers. This exudation can be mild or very severe.

Motility disorders refer to how active the intestine is and its capability of moving contents through. An intestine that is under functioning in its ability to muscularly contract and push the contents out of the canal is most common; this condition is referred to as peristalsis. Conversely, motility can be increased as well, so that the intestine contracts too quickly and fluid which normally is absorbed is lost into the feces. Sometimes dog diarrhea can be from a combination of these causes. Intestinal infections can also cause the intestine to over secrete. They also tend to change the motility of the intestine.

Symptoms and Types of Dog Diarrheadog-diarrhea

  • More water in feces than normal
  • May have an increased volume of feces
  • Fecal accidents
  • Vomiting
  • Blood or mucus in the feces
  • Straining to defecate
  • Possible listlessness
  • Possible anorexia
  • Depression
  • Abdominal pain
  • Fever
  • Weakness


Causes of Dog Diarrhea

  • Systemic illness
  • Eating garbage, nonfood material or spoiled food
  • Changes in diet
  • Hypersensitive digestive tract
  • Addison’s disease – less active than normal adrenal glands
  • Liver disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Pancreatic disease
  • Ingesting foreign bodies
  • Intestinal blockage
  • Infection
  • Viral
  • Bacterial
  • Parasitic
  • Rickettsial – bacterial infection typically acquired through parasites such as fleas, ticks, etc.
  • Fungal
  • Drugs and Toxins


Diagnosis of Dog Diarrhea

Your veterinarian will perform a complete physical exam on your dog. You will need to give a thorough history of your dog’s health, including a background history of symptoms, and possible incidents that might have precipitated this condition. A blood chemical profile, a complete blood count, an electrolyte panel and a urinalysis will be performed so as to rule out other causes of disease. X-rays can help to rule out the possibility that your dog swallowed inappropriate items, which may be blocking or irritating the intestine.

Blood tests can be performed to rule out an inflamed pancreas, or a pancreas that is not producing enough digestive enzymes. Blood tests can also be used to check levels of cobalamin and folate (vitamins) as these are normally absorbed in the intestine.

Laboratory tests can be performed on fecal samples to check for Giardia, Parvovirus and Cryptococcus infections. A smear of feces should be checked for parasite eggs as well. Your veterinarian may perform an endoscopy to take a sample of your dog’s intestine for histopathologic examination at the laboratory.

Treatment of Dog Diarrhea

If your dog is only mildly ill, it may be treated on an outpatient basis, but patients with severe dehydration and/or vomiting should be hospitalized for fluid and electrolyte therapy. Shock fluid therapy may be necessary. Potassium supplementation may be required in very ill patients but it should not be given simultaneously with the shock fluid therapy. Patients that are mildly ill, and are not vomiting should follow a period of fasting (12–24 hours), which is often followed by a bland diet, such as boiled rice and chicken or a prescription diet.

Patients with obstruction or foreign bodies may require surgery to evaluate the intestine and remove the foreign objects. Your veterinarian will prescribe the appropriate medicine for your dog’s diagnosis. Anti-secretory drugs, intestinal protectants or dewormers are the most commonly prescribed medications. Rarely, antibiotics are prescribed.

Living and Management of Dog Diarrhea

Be sure to follow your veterinarian’s time guidelines for deworming puppies. Parasitic infections that can cause diarrhea in dogs can be easily prevented. Watch your dog so that it does not eat from the garbage or from other inappropriate sources. Garbage can be dangerous to your dog’s health, especially if very fatty food is eaten, or if foreign bodies, such as bones are ingested. Also, there are several infectious causes of dog diarrhea that may infect people as well. Caution must be taken when cleaning up diarrhea and feces.

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Elbow Dysplasia in Dogs Symptoms , Diagnosis, Prevention and Treatment

Overview of Elbow Dysplasia

The word “dysplasia” means means abnormal development of a tissue or organ. Elbow dysplasia therefore means that there has been abnormal development of the elbow joint. Elbow Dysplasia in Dogs, Symptoms , Diagnosis, Prevention and TreatmentThe elbow is a complex joint because it involves the articulation of three bones. If the three bones do not fit together absolutely perfectly as a result of abnormal development, the consequence is abnormal concentration of forces on a specific region of the elbow joint. Forms of primary cartilage disease may also constitute abnormal development. The term “Developmental Elbow Diseases” may be a more descriptive nomenclature for this condition since most people will have heard of “dysplasia” only in reference to the hip joint, and elbow dysplasia has little in common with hip dysplasia. Furthermore, the term elbow dysplasia intimates a discrete entity, when in fact there are many forms of developmental elbow diseases, which have very different causes and treatments.

Certain dogs are predisposed to elbow problems, primarily large and giant breeds, including:

  • Golden retriever
  • Labrador retriever
  • English setter
  • St. Bernard
  • English Springer spaniel
  • Rottweiler
  • German shepherd
  • Burnese mountain dog
  • Chow Chow
  • Bassett Hound
  • Chinese Shar-Pei
  • Newfoundland

If you rescued your dog, you obviously don’t have a choice when it comes to his DNA.
However, if you plan to purchase a dog at high risk of elbow dysplasia from a breeder, I strongly suggest you insure your prospective pup’s parents have been cleared for elbow dysplasia by OFA.
Elbow dysplasia typically occurs in puppies between 4 and 10 months, but some dogs don’t show any signs of the problem until they develop degenerative joint disease as adults.
The problem usually affects both elbows, but sometimes it’s unilateral, meaning it only occurs in one elbow.


Symptoms of Elbow Dysplasia

The first sign of a problem is a mild to moderate front limb lameness in a young dog between the ages of 4 to 10 months. If the problem is not diagnosed at this stage, more marked lameness may be noted as severe arthritis sets in.

Dogs with elbow dysplasia are often lame or they have an abnormal gait (they ‘paddle’ or ‘flip’ their front feet when they walk).
Sometimes elbow dysplasia causes dogs to hold their elbows out or tightly into their bodies, and often a dog’s feet will rotate outwards. Sometimes dogs with this condition will choose to spend much of their time sitting or lying down, and when they play it’s usually not for long periods of time.
Dogs with elbow dysplasia tend to tire easily, and their owners may assume they’re just lazy or quiet when really their elbows hurt. You might also notice your dog is stiff when he attempts to stand, and exercise frequently makes the situation worse, not better.
If your dog has dysplasia in both elbows, his lameness may shift from one leg to the other. When both legs hurt equally, dogs with this condition don’t limp. They alter the way they stand and walk in order to shift their weight back and forth. If one elbow hurts more than the other, you’ll notice an obvious limp.
Symptoms of elbow dysplasia can range from an occasional lameness to severe and crippling arthritis and very painful elbows.

Symptoms at-a-glance

  • Not all affected dogs will show signs when young
  • Sudden episode of elbow lameness due to advanced degenerative joint disease in a mature patient are common
  • Intermittent or persistent forelimb lameness that is aggravated by exercise; progresses from stiffness, and noticed only after the dog has been resting
  • Pain when extending or flexing the elbow
  • Tendency for dogs to hold the affected limb away from the body
  • Fluid build-up in the joint
  • Grating of bone and joint with movement may be detected with advanced degenerative joint disease
  • Diminished range of motion


Diagnosis of Elbow Dysplasia

Diagnosis of elbow dysplasia is usually made by observing clinical signs, palpation of the joints, and taking X-rays of the elbow joint. A dog with elbow problems will often resist any attempt by the veterinarian to manipulate the elbow. Elbow Dysplasia in Dogs, Symptoms , Diagnosis, Prevention and Treatment
Joint capsule swelling can sometimes be felt, especially after exercise. The joint capsule can also appear thickened. There can be changes to the musculature in the shoulders, so muscle atrophy is not uncommon.
X-rays will permit the vet to visualize abnormalities in the appearance of the joint, as well as increased bone density at the ulnar notch. They will also sometimes (but not always) show lesions caused by OCD, as well as ununited anconeal process, a missing coronoid process, and arthritis.
A CAT scan can also be used to arrive at a definitive diagnosis, as well as to perform a minimally invasive diagnostic arthroscopy, which involves passing a tiny camera inside the joint.
Your veterinarian will want to rule out several possible causes for the symptoms before arriving at a diagnosis. For example, whether there has been trauma to the joint, or whether there is an infection that has brought on, an arthritic condition will need to be explored. A tumor may account for the symptoms, and this possibility will be taken into account as well.Your doctor may also want to order a computed tomography (CT) scan, or magnetic resonance image (MRI) to look for fragments. A sample of fluid will be taken from the joint with a fine needle aspirate for laboratory testing, and an arthroscopic examination (by use of a tubelike instrument for examining and treating the inside of the joint) may be utilized to help for making a definitive diagnosis.

Treatment of Elbow Dysplasia

The type of treatment given depends on several factors, including the amount of pain the dog is living with, and the extent of arthritic changes to the joint. The goal of treatment of elbow dysplasia is to relieve pain and maintain function in the affected limbs. We want to help these patients live active, normal lives.

Surgery may be the treatment of choice. An ununited anconeal process is typically removed through a small incision made in the elbow. Studies suggest that if a UAP is detected early enough, an ulnar osteotomy, which is the cutting of the ulna bone, can be used to reduce stress and potentially allow the UAP to unite normally in a growing puppy.
Cold-packing the elbow joint immediately following surgery to help decrease swelling and control pain is advised. You will want to continue to apply the cold pack five to ten minutes every eight hours for three to five days, or as directed by your veterinarian. Range-of-motion exercises will be beneficial for healing therapy until your dog can bear weight on the limb(s). Your veterinarian will demonstrate the types of range of motion movements you will be working on with your dog, based on the location and severity of the affected limb.
It’s very important for dogs with elbow dysplasia to stay at a very healthy, normal weight, and to get moderate exercise. Sometimes veterinarians suggest that the dog should has no exercise but that advice may results in significant muscle atrophy.
Dogs with elbow dysplasia usually respond well to rehabilitation therapies such as underwater treadmill/swim therapy, massage, joint mobilization and therapeutic exercises.
Anti-inflammatory medications are often prescribed for elbow dysplasia patients, but I’ve had really good success using natural anti-inflammatory agents like esterified fatty acid complexi .
If arthritis is present, injectable polysulfated glycosaminoglycans, which is a big fancy term for injectable substances such as Adequanii , can be of great benefit.
Also proteolytic enzymes is being used to help reduce inflammation, as well as CPAs, which are chondroprotective agents such as eggshell membrane. Cetyl myristoleate, or CMO, can be used to reduce cartilage deterioration.

Home Care and Prevention of Elbow Dysplasia

Excessive intake of nutrients that promote rapid growth can have an influence on the development of elbow dysplasia; therefore, restricted weight gain and growth in young dogs that are at increased risk (due to breed, etc.) may decrease its incidence. Avoid breeding affected animals, since this is a genetic trait. If your dog has been diagnosed with elbow dysplasia, you will need to have it neutered or spayed, and you will need to report the incident to the breeder your dog came from, if that is the case. If the affected dog came from a litter in your own home, do not repeat dam–sire breedings that result in these offspring.

Yearly examinations are recommended for assessing the progression and deterioration of joint cartilage. Progression of degenerative joint disease is to be expected; however, the prognosis is fair to good for all forms of this disease.

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Common Heart Conditions That Affect Dogs

While older dogs are at risk for heart disease, there are certain heart conditions that may
be lying in wait for puppies or younger adults, diseases that may have been caused by
a congenital (from birth) defect.

Some of these defects are genetic (inherited), some are not, some can be fixed, some cannot, and some may cause no symptoms throughout the dog’s life except for the presence of a heart murmur. Murmurs are the result of turbulent or abnormal blood flow created by narrowed vessels, valves, or abnormal openings between heart chambers.

ALL PUPPIES SHOULD HAVE THEIR INITIAL VETERINARY EXAM by twelve weeks of age so heart functions can be monitored. Most congenital heart defects can be detected at this early age. Know the signs so you can get early treatment from your veterinarian. Some common signs of a heart problem include weakness, reduced exercise tolerance, irregular or rapid breathing, a bluish color of the gums, coughing, lack of appetite, weight loss (or poor weight gain), abdominal swelling, or a fainting episode.

PDA (Patent Ductus Arteriosus) SYMPTOMS AND TREATMENT
Before birth, the lungs are not yet needed for breathing, so blood simply flows from the pulmonary artery through a vessel called the “ductus arteriosus” to the aorta. At birth, due to pressure changes within the bloodstream, the ductus normally closes permanently, forcing blood to enter the lungs where oxygen can be exchanged. In the case of PDA, the vessel fails to close completely, so some blood continues to bypass the lungs. When this happens, even though the puppy is breathing, the proper amount of blood is not flowing to the lungs, and therefore, the puppy is not receiving enough oxygen. Inactivity is one of the initial signs of PDA. In periods of excitement, puppies with PDA may become short of breath and collapse. As the blood flows through the abnormal ductus arteriosus, a murmur can sometimes be heard without a stethoscope. Many affected puppies will not grow at a normal rate and will be smaller than their littermates. Without treatment, almost all dogs with PDA will live a shorter than normal life. Depending on severity, some will live only a few weeks, others can survive longer. Treatment of PDA requires surgery, which is quite successful and is best if done early before growth is affected.
The pulmonary artery carries blood from the right ventricle to the lungs. If a congenital narrowing of this vessel or its valves is present, normal blood flow will be impeded. Without normal pressure, not enough blood can pass through the artery and enter the lungs. To compensate, the right side of the heart must pump harder. This enlarges its muscles and size. The right side of the heart becomes overworked and prone to failure. Most affected dogs initially show no symptoms even though a heart murmur will be present. These types of murmurs are typically noted on routine veterinary examinations with a stethoscope. Later in the syndrome, as the right side of the heart fails, it is unable to accommodate all of the blood returning from the body. This leads to edema, or fluid buildup, within the abdomen and limbs. Minor cases are generally not treated. In severely affected dogs, surgery can be performed to remove the narrowing and improve blood flow.
In the developing embryo, the heart initially has four chambers that are not separated from one another. As the fetal heart develops, walls called septums form to divide the heart into the four separate chambers. Occasionally, the walls separating the heart chambers will develop incompletely, not properly dividing the chambers from each other. Most commonly, this septal defect occurs between the right and left ventricles. Because the left ventricle is stronger than the right, when the muscles of the left ventricle contract, blood is forced backward into the right ventricle. With any backward flow of blood, additional stress is placed on the heart and can lead to heart failure. Additionally, with VSD, the body tissues receive an inadequate quantity of oxygenated blood. Puppies may not have any outward signs and in mild cases a veterinarian may hear the heart murmur. However, in severe cases, a decrease in stamina and retarded growth rates occur. In minor septal defects, treatment is generally not recommended. In severe cases, heart surgery to correct the defect can be performed.
Aortic stenosis (also known as subaortic stenosis or SAS) affects the left side of the heart. First, the left ventricle pumps blood to the body through the aorta. This huge artery then branches into smaller ones. With SAS, the opening between the left ventricle and aorta is narrowed, causing the left ventricle to work harder to force the required amount of blood through the restricted area into the aorta and on to the rest of the body. Animals affected with this disorder are weak, lethargic, prone to fainting, and may have poor growth rates. All of these signs are due to inadequate profusion of the tissues with nutrient- and oxygen-rich blood. These animals typically have much shortened life spans and death finally results from left-sided heart failure. Even though the left ventricle is extra strong, it cannot maintain this workload over time. Only surgical opening of the stenotic area of the aorta provides a true cure.
Common Heart Conditions That Affect Dogs
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Important facts about Chocolate Toxicity in Dogs







Why is chocolate dangerous for your dog?

Both milk chocolate and dark chocolate contain toxins called methylxanthines in the form of caffeine and theobromine. Caffeine is a well-known stimulant. Theobromine, a bitter, colorless chemical, increases urine production, relaxes blood vessels, and stimulates the heart. Methylxanthines are also found in coffee, tea, cola, and cocoa bean hulls (landscape bedding).


What symptoms will your dog exhibit after eating too much chocolate?
Methylxanthines cause many problems – usually within 6-12 hours after ingestion.
Common symptoms include:
* Accelerated breathing or panting * Increased thirst and drinking
* Increased or decreased heart rate * Loss of muscle coordination
* Irregular heart beat * Muscle tremors
* Restlessness * Increased body temperature
* Hyperactivity * Seizures
* Vomiting * Coma
* Diarrhea * Bloating
Less common symptoms may include:
* Abdominal pain * Blood in the urine

Chocolate Toxicity in Dogs Just how much chocolate is too much?
Ideally, your dog should never consume chocolate. Mild symptoms occur with the ingestion of 9 mg per pound of body weight of either caffeine or theobromine. Severe signs occur around 20 mg/lb. Seizures and possible death can occur after ingestion of 27 mg of theobromine or caffeine per pound of body weight. Since milk chocolate contains 58 mg/oz of theobromine, a dose of less than 1 oz of milk chocolate per pound of body weight could potentially cause death. Less than 0.1 oz of baking chocolate per pound of body weight could be lethal, and less than 0.075 oz per pound of cocoa could be toxic. Usually the more bitter the chocolate, the higher the level of theobromine.

What should you do if your dog ingests chocolate?
First, call your veterinarian, who will evaluate the situation and likely provide instructions on how to make your dog vomit. If possible, note the type of chocolate and estimate the amount eaten. If your regular veterinarian is unavailable, seek emergency care.

How will your veterinarian treat excessive chocolate ingestion?
If a trip to the veterinarian is required, he or she may keep your dog vomiting to continue expelling the chocolate from his system. Your veterinarian may also flush out your dog’s stomach and administer activated charcoal to absorb remaining toxins. Your dog may receive IV fluids to prevent dehydration and increase urine production, since some toxins may be reabsorbed from the urinary bladder. A urinary catheter may also be required. If your dog has a fever or seizures, your veterinarian will also take steps to treat those conditions. Throughout treatment, your veterinarian will closely monitor your dog’s heart rate and rhythm, and give heart-stabilizing medications if indicated.

What is the prognosis for dogs who’ve ingested too much chocolate?
Dogs treated within 6-12 hours of ingestion usually recover with hospitalization and aggressive therapy. However, if enough methylxanthines are absorbed, chocolate ingestion may lead to coma, cardiac failure, or death.

CHOCOLATE, ONE OF THE MOST PREVALENT HOLIDAY TREATS, is also one of the most toxic foods your dog can consume.
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Important Facts about Dog Heartworm

THE FACT IS, HEARTWORM INFECTION is still an extremely serious health concern for your dog, and the risk of it is widespread. The American Heartworm Society notes that adult heartworm disease has been reported in dogs in all 50 states. Adult heartworm disease can cause severe damage to the heart, lungs and other organs, and can eventually lead to death. While it is true that there is a treatment for adult heartworm disease, the treatment can be costly, requires hospitalization, and is not without the risk of side effects.
IF A DOG DEVELOPS HEARTWORM INFECTION, the drug Immiticide (melarsomine hydrochloride) is the only one that is approved by the FDA for the treatment of adult heartworm disease in dogs. Immiticide is given by deep injection into the muscles of the back, usually in one or two doses over the course of several days.  dog-heartworm

AS THE DRUG WORKS, DEAD AND DYING WORMS in the heart and lungs can cause an inflammatory reaction in the body. While Immiticide is better tolerated by the body than the previously used drug Caparsolate, the dog must still remain hospitalized during treatment to be observed for the development of possible side effects.

AFTER TREATMENT, THE DOG’S ACTIVITY LEVEL must be quite limited for several weeks, to reduce the chance of pulmonary thromboembolism (obstruction of blood flow in the arteries of the lungs, caused by dead heartworms), which can lead to death. The injectable treatment alone generally costs at least several hundred dollars, not including the blood testing and x-rays of the heart and lungs that are recommended beforehand to evaluate any damage the heartworms have already done and the patient’s ability to safely tolerate the treatment.

FOLLOW-UP DIAGNOSTIC TESTING MAY BE NEEDED after treatment, also. Total cost varies depending upon the patient and the area of the country, but may be a thousand dollars or more in some cases. Finally, although treatment will kill the adult heartworms, it cannot repair any damage that they may have done prior to treatment.

THE HEARTWORM LIFE CYCLE depends on the mosquito. When the insect bites an infected dog, it takes in tiny heartworm larvae (microfilariae) that have been circulating in the animal’s bloodstream. Once inside the mosquito, the microfilariae mature into infective larvae, eventually migrating to the mosquito’s mouthparts, to be transmitted when the insect bites another animal. In the new host, the larvae continue to develop, eventually migrating through the bloodstream to the lungs, heart and associated vessels, where they cause inflammation and obstruct blood flow. As the larvae become adult worms, they mate and produce more microfilariae, continuing the cycle. The heartworm life cycle, from larva to adult worm, generally takes about 6 months.

While heartworm disease is certainly a serious health risk, the good news is that it is also one of the most easily prevented conditions. Monthly heartworm preventives come in convenient oral forms (such as Heartgard Plus or Interceptor) or easily-applied topical applications (such as Revolution). We recommend using a heartworm preventive every month year-round. In the long run, maintaining your dog’s heartworm protection is money well spent.
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Kennel Cough (Infectious Tracheobronchitis) in Dogs

‘Kennel Cough’ is the term that was commonly applied to the most prevalent upper respiratory problem in dogs in the United States. Recently, the condition has become known as tracheobronchitis, canine infectious tracheobronchitis, Bordetellosis, or Bordetella. It is highly contagious in dogs. The disease is found worldwide and will infect a very high percentage of dogs in their lifetime.

Infectious agents involved Coughing-dog

There are many different agents that can cause of tracheobronchitis. The most common are parainfluenza virus, Bordetella bronchiseptica, and mycoplasma. Canine adenovirus type 2, reovirus, and canine herpes virus are thought to possibly contribute to the disease, as well. Although any one of these organisms can cause symptoms of the disease, the majority of cases are the result of more than one organism.

The most common viral agent is parainfluenza virus. This common virus will cause mild symptoms lasting less than 6 days unless there is involvement of other bacteria, as is usually the case. Most 5-way vaccines and ‘kennel cough’ vaccines offer some protection against this virus.

Bordetella bronchiseptica is the most common bacteria isolated from dogs with tracheobronchitis. Clinical signs of infections occur 2-14 days after exposure, and if uncomplicated with other agents, symptoms will last around 10 days. However, after the infection has been resolved, the affected animal will continue to shed the bacteria for 6 to 14 weeks and can spread the disease to other susceptible animals during that time. Bordetella is one of the agents protected against through the use of intranasal ‘kennel cough’ vaccines. Parainfluenza and Bordetella most commonly appear together in infectious tracheobronchitis, creating a disease that normally lasts from 14-20 days.

The most common symptom is a dry hacking cough sometimes followed by retching. Many owners describe the cough as having a ‘honking sound.’ A watery nasal discharge may also be present. With mild cases, dogs continue to eat and be alert and active. Many times, there is a recent history of boarding or coming in contact with other dogs. In more severe cases, the symptoms may progress and include lethargy, fever, inappetence, pneumonia, and in very severe cases, even death. The majority of severe cases occur in immunocompromised animals, or young unvaccinated puppies.

Diagnosis is usually based on the symptoms and a history of recent exposure to other dogs. Bacterial cultures, viral isolation, and blood work can be performed to verify individual agents of the disease, but due to the characteristic nature of the symptoms, these tests are not routinely performed.

There are two treatment options depending on the severity of the disease. In the most common mild (uncomplicated) form of the disease, antibiotics may or may not be used. Treating the mild case does not shorten the length in which the animal will be a potential spreader of the disease. In addition, bronchodilators like aminophylline or cough suppressants may also be used in treatment of mild cases.

In more severe (complicated) cases where the animal is not eating, running a fever, or showing signs of pneumonia, antibiotics are often used. The most common ones are doxycycline or trimethoprim-sulfa. However, many other choices are also available. Steroids or cough suppressants are not usually recommended because of the risk of immunosuppression with steroids and the need to continue to clear extra fluid or mucous in pneumonia patients. Bronchodilators and even aerosol therapy can be used. In moderate or severe cases, veterinary care should be instituted, as the resultant pneumonia could become life threatening if not treated properly and promptly.

Because pressure on the throat and trachea can make coughing worse, it is recommended that dogs with a cough should wear a head collar or harness instead of a regular neck collar.

Vaccination and prevention
The best prevention is to not expose your dog to other dogs, especially young puppies. If this cannot be avoided, then proper vaccination is the next best option. Chances are that if your dog is regularly vaccinated with a standard 5-way or 7-way vaccine, he is already being protected against several of the agents causing tracheobronchitis, mainly parainfluenza and adenovirus. However, these vaccines alone rarely provide protection against contracting the disease, although they will help reduce the severity of the disease if the animal becomes infected.

There is an injectable Bordatella vaccine, and one that is given intranasally (squirted into the nostrils). Neither vaccine will totally prevent infection with Bordatella. For the injectable vaccine, 2 doses must be given 3-4 weeks apart, and protection does not occur until 1-2 weeks after the second injection.

Do not give an intranasal vaccine as an injection, as an abscess may occur.

More commonly, for best protection, an intranasal vaccine containing both parainfluenza and Bordetella is used. Intranasal vaccines create localized immunity that greatly reduces the incidence of clinical signs and illness. The vaccine may be used in puppies as young as 3 weeks of age, only one dose is necessary to provide protection, and protection occurs as early as 3-4 days following vaccination. There are several precautions and warnings that need to be observed pertaining to this vaccine. Some dogs will develop mild signs similar to tracheobronchitis when given this vaccine. Very often, the symptoms will last for several days and the dog will recover without treatment. Dogs that are vaccinated can also shed the virus and cause other dogs to become mildly infected and show mild signs. This shedding usually lasts less than 72 hours. In addition, it takes up to 4 days after vaccination for dogs to develop protection. When you combine these facts, you will see why it is strongly recommend that a dog not be given intranasal vaccine within 72 hours of coming into contact with other susceptible dogs. Do not give the vaccine the day before a dog show, boarding, etc. Try to give at least four days before contact with other dogs and preferably 7 days. This way you will protect your dog from becoming infected by other dogs, and protect those dogs from becoming infected by yours.

In kennels where tracheobronchitis is a problem, strict hygiene with thorough cleaning and disinfection of cages and food and water containers is essential. In addition, kennels that are indoors should have good ventilation with an air turnover rate of at least 12 times an hour. Agents causing tracheobronchitis can be transmitted on hands and clothing as well as through the air, so infected animals must be isolated and handlers should wear gloves and use proper handwashing to help prevent spread. Vaccination of all animals, especially puppies is indicated in problem kennels. After initial vaccination as puppies, a yearly booster is recommended. However, some dogs that are at very high risk are vaccinated every six months.

Human health risk
Until recently, infectious tracheobronchitis was considered to not be a human health risk. Recently however, research indicates that Bordetella bronchiseptica may cause disease in some humans, primarily those with compromised immune systems. In normal, healthy adults there does not appear to be a risk, but young children and immunocompromised individuals should take precautions against coming into contact with animals that have symptoms of tracheobronchitis.

‘Kennel Cough,’ now more commonly referred to as ‘infectious tracheobronchitis’ is a widespread disease caused by several different viruses and bacteria. It is usually a self-limiting disease and most animals do not require treatment. Intranasal vaccines are effective, but due to some possible side effects are recommended for animals that are at higher risk. Infectious tracheobronchitis is a disease of dogs and wild canids, it does not appear to be a risk to healthy humans.

References and Further ReadingEttinger, S. Textbook of Veterinary Internal Medicine. W.B. Saunders Co. Philadelphia, PA; 1989.
Ford, RB. Bordatella bronchiseptica: Beyond Kennel Cough. In: Bonagura, JD; Twedt, DC (eds.) Current Veterinary Therapy XIV. W.B. Saunders Co. Philadelphia, PA: 2009.
Foster, R; Smith, M. What’s the Diagnosis. Macmillan. New York, NY; 1996.
Greene, C. Infectious Diseases of the Dog and Cat. W.B. Saunders Co. Philadelphia, PA; 1998.
dr foster and smith

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Brucellosis (Brucella canis) & Abortions in Dogs

Brucellosis is a disease caused by Brucella canis, which is a bacteria that was first isolated from dead puppy fetuses in the middle 1960’s. It is the most common bacteria that can infect bitches and their fetuses. It seems that over the years much has been written on brucellosis in breeding dogs, but despite it all, infection rates may run as high as 8-10%. That is right, it is suspected that one in ten dogs in this country may carry Brucella canis.  Brucella canis also poses a significant public health hazard since it is transmissible to humans, especially those handling aborted fetuses. Humans may develop a serious liver impairment or arthritis. abortion-dogs
Medical advancements in controlling this disease have been few and far between. Contrary to some opinions, it is a very difficult disorder to treat, and in most cases, treatment is unsuccessful. A prevalent attitude among many people is that “if my dogs get it, then I will treat it.” This is a serious mistake because you probably will not cure it, and if you do, the individual will probably be sterile or be a poor breeding specimen.

Transmission of Brucella canis

B. canis is sexually transmitted by the mating of infected males and females. Brucella canis in the female dog will live in the vaginal and uterine tissue and secretions for years, and except in rare cases, for life. The infected female usually appears healthy with no signs of disease or indication that she is a ‘carrier’ or harborer of the organisms. She can spread the bacteria to other animals through her urine, aborted fetuses, or most commonly through the act of breeding. Once pregnant, the bacteria will also infect the developing fetuses causing illness.
In males, the Brucella bacteria live in the testicles and seminal fluids. An infected male is just as dangerous as the female as he can spread the Brucella bacteria via his urine or semen. Oftentimes, there are no signs except in advanced cases when the testicles may be uneven in size.
Litters are commonly aborted, usually in the last two weeks of gestation, or the puppies may die shortly after birth. If a pregnant dog aborts after 45 days of gestation, you should be highly suspicious of brucellosis. Usually, the fetuses are partially decayed and accompanied by a gray to green vaginal discharge. This discharge can have very high numbers of Brucella canis. If embryos die early, they may be reabsorbed and the female may never appear to be pregnant at all.

What are the risks?

The risks are great. Since the Brucella canis organisms are transmissible to humans, it is best to avoid all contact with the dead fetuses and their associated vaginal discharge. The infected mother will likely be unable to sustain a pregnancy in the future. Furthermore, she would likely transmit the disease to any male which breeds her causing fertility problems in him as well.


Testing for Brucellosis usually requires a blood test by your veterinarian and all positives should be retested for a confirmation. Since Brucella canis is mainly spread by the act of breeding, it is paramount to test all canines, male and female, prior to breeding. Test between every breeding of different animals. In other words, if a male (or female) was tested one year ago but has bred since, he must be tested again. In the case of a male, if he serviced a female since his last test, then he must be tested again even if his last test was as recent as four weeks ago. Testing is the only sure way to detect carriers.
In cases of abortion, the bacteria may be isolated from the aborted fetuses. Blood tests can also be performed on the mother’s blood to help confirm a positive diagnosis of Brucellosis.


When possible, all incoming breeding dogs should be isolated for two weeks upon arrival at the kennel. At the end of two weeks, have the individual (male or female) tested by your veterinarian for brucellosis. Do this even if the dog was tested before shipment. This may seem excessive, but you will spend a lot more money if Brucellosis creeps into your kennel, not to mention the disruption in your breeding program and loss of genetic potential.
Artificial Insemination (AI) can lessen the risk of Brucella transfer at breeding. While rare, transmission of Brucella canis to a bitch can occur during AI, especially if infected semen is used. However, AI will protect an infected female from transferring it to a noninfected male.
All positive males and females should not be bred. Surgical spaying or neutering of these individuals is recommended. Various blood tests are available to screen breeding dogs (male and female) and identify those who are infected (carriers). All individuals used for breeding should be routinely tested prior to breeding.


There is no reliable treatment for Brucellosis. Brucella canis lives inside of the dog’s cells so it is difficult to reach the bacteria with antibiotics. Any attempt at treatment would require the use of multiple types of antibiotics. Various antibiotics such as doxycycline, minocycline, and dihydrostreptomycin have been partially effective at causing a temporary reduction in the bacterial organisms after several weeks of treatment. A complete cure is unlikely. It is recommended that infected animals be castrated or spayed.
As a rule, do not breed your dog with an individual that is said to be treated and cured. (Unless of course it is the last of its breed and even that would be questionable.) ‘Cured’ patients often begin shedding the bacteria months to years after treatments… Do not knowingly take a chance.

Human health hazards

People can become infected with Brucella canis. People should avoid contact with dead fetuses or the discharge from aborting dogs. Transmission has also occurred from contact with secretions from male dogs.
In conclusion, test and isolate. Do not rely on an uncertain cure. If you do not heed these suggestions, then you are playing with fire in your kennel and perhaps with your own health. Remember, statistically one out of ten dogs may be carriers and those are very disturbing odds.

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Sudden Vomit in dog

My Dog is Throwing Up ! What Should I do ?

It is not uncommon for dogs and cats to vomit from time to time. They might have eaten something that upset their stomachs, or just have sensitive digestive systems.  dog-vomit
However, it becomes acute when the vomiting does not stop and when there is nothing left in the stomach to throw up except bile (a yellow fluid). It is important you take your pet to a veterinarian in these types of cases.

While vomiting may have a simple, straightforward cause, it may be an indicator of something far more serious. It is also problematic because it can have a wide range of causes, and determining the correct one may be quite complicated.

Symptoms of Vomit in Dogs

  • Vomiting that will not stop
  • Pain and distress
  • Weakness
  • Bright blood in the vomit or stool (hematemesis)
  • Evidence of dark blood in the vomit or stool (melena)


Causes of Vomit in Dogs 

  • Dietary indiscretion
  • Change in diet
  • Gobbling food/eating too fast
  • Intolerance to a particular food (i.e., be careful feeding pets food intended for humans)
  • Allergic reaction to a particular food
  • Obstructing objects
  • Acute inflammation of stomach (gastroenteritis)
  • Parasites (e.g., whipworms, roundworms, giardia)
  • Dislocation of the stomach (prone in deep-chested dogs; very critical)
  • Tumors
  • Metabolic disorders (e.g., kidney disease)
  • Liver disease
  • Heat stroke
  • Adrenal gland disease


Diagnosis of Vomiting in Dogs

Bring a sample of the vomit to the veterinarian. If there is a lot of mucus, an inflamed intestine may be the cause. Undigested food in the vomit can be due to food poisoning, anxiety, or simply overeating. Bile, on the other hand, indicates an inflammatory bowel disease or inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis). If bright red blood is found, the stomach could be ulcerated. However, if the blood is brown and looks like coffee grounds, the problem may be in the intestine. Finally, strong digestive odors are usually observed when there is an intestinal obstruction.

The veterinarian will generally look in your pet’s mouth for foreign objects that may be wedged inside, such as a bone. Enlarged tonsils are another good indicator for this. The pet’s temperature will be taken and an examination of the abdomen will be done. If it turns out to be no more than a passing incident, the veterinarian may ask you to limit the diet to clear fluids and to collect stool samples over that period as the underlying cause may be passed along in the stool. Occasionally, the animal’s body may use vomiting to clear the intestines of toxins.

Treatments for Vomit in Dogs

Treatment will be recommended according to the underlying cause behind the vomiting; some possibilities include:

Dietary changes

Medication to control the vomiting (e.g., cimetidine, anti-emetic)
Antibiotics, in the case of bacterial ulcers
Corticosteroids to treat inflammatory bowel disease
Surgery, in the case of tumor-caused vomiting
Special medications for treating chemotherapy induced vomiting

Living and Management 

Always follow the recommended treatment plan from your veterinarian. Do not experiment with medications or food. Pay close attention to your pet and if it does not improve, return to your veterinarian for a follow-up evaluation.



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