Thursday, May 2, 2013

Responsible Pit Bull owner



The following is 'borrowed' from their Facebook page.

"Pit Happens" Rescue · 7,717 like this
Tuesday at 2:51pm · 
  • If you are not a responsible Pit Bull owner, guess who pays for it? Help spread the word so we can end this BSL crap once and for all. T

    1. Never allow your pit bull to roam free. Dogs are just like human children. When not supervised, the decisions they make are often not for their best interest. For the safety of your dog and the general dog population, keep your pit bull behind a fence!

    2. Always keep your pit bull on leash. When a Golden Retriever runs up to a person, they say, “How sweet!” When a pit bull does the exact same thing, people say, “Vicious dog!” This is an unfortunate truth. Let’s not make the reputation of the pit bull worse than it already is.

    3. Never take your pit bull to a dog park. Even if you think your pit bull is wonderful with other dogs, all it takes is once. If a Labrador starts a fight and your pit bull defends himself, whom will everyone blame? Let’s face it; the pit bull is always at fault in the eyes of the public.

    4. You should take your pit bull to obedience classes. Yet again, in the eyes of the general public pit bulls are menacing creatures. The more socially acceptable they are by having impeccable manners, the better the reputation they will have. And remember, once is NOT enough. Ongoing obedience classes are best.

    5. Socialize your pit bull as much possible before and after they reach maturity. A shy pit bull is a pathetic creature indeed. Not only is being shy an abnormal pit bull trait, it also could be dangerous. You want your dog to be able to handle new situations with confidence and pleasure. As with obedience classes, once is not enough! Ongoing socialization will ensure your dog’s happiness by showing him the world is a wonderful place. And please remember, socialization does not mean your dog running around with other dogs off leash!

    6. Be a responsible parent! Do not allow your pit bull to be subjected to people who are belligerent or cruel. By ‘forcing’ your dog to ‘say hi’ to these types of people, you are being an irresponsible parent! You would never expect your human child to simply take whatever you dish out and like it. Please do not expect this from your dog.

    7. Know where your dog is at all times. Don’t leave your pit bull outside unattended. Who knows what is going on in the back yard while you are away. Are children teasing your dog? Is your dog learning to be aggressive by having to defend himself in these situations? Don’t leave the parenting up to others. Responsibility is the key to proper and safe pit bull ownership.

    8. Pit bulls need a job. Whether this job is obedience classes, taking a walk with you everyday, sitting at your feet while you are on the computer in the evenings, or something more intense such as search and rescue, a pit bull needs to feel important and needed. They are highly intelligent animals with fine tuned problem solving skills. They need an outlet for this energy.

    9. Daily exercise is a must! Playing fetch, hiking or whatever you love to do, your pit bull will be more than willing to participate.

    10. Spay and neuter your pit bull. With thousands of pit bulls dying in shelters, don’t be a part of the problem. Be part of the solution!

    11. Understand that Terriers can be dog aggressive and prey driven. Take precautions and use common sense. Don’t allow your pit bull to run up to unknown dogs and never allow unknown dogs to run up to your pit bull. Remember, you are the parent! As long as you understand this and can love your dog for who and what he is, you’ve got it made!

    12. NEVER leave pit bulls alone and unsupervised with other animals. Even though you think they are the best of friends, it’s better to be safe than sorry! All it takes is one time for a fight to break out. This is especially true with multiple Pit Bulls in one household. Don’t take any chances and remember this saying… Never trust your dog, not matter what the breed, not to fight another dog… ever!

    13. Keep your pit bull in an enclosure that is escape proof. I always keep my dogs in the house in crates when I am not there to supervise. This is the utmost in safety. Just make sure your dog cannot get out to roam. If your dog makes a mistake, ALL pit bull owners pay for it!

Pit Bull only programs




Today there was a question brought up in regards to a post that I shared. Honestly never really thought about the reasoning. Perhaps it’s because I have seen just how over crowded these shelters are with our beloved Pit Bull and Pit Bull mixes. (The average person may not be aware of the staggering statistics.) Someone wanted to know why there always seems to be programs out there to help get them spayed/neutered for low cost or even sometimes free. Why are they the only type of dog that seems to have these programs?

Simple answer is this – there is by far more Pits and Pit mixes in the shelters (and in homes) than probably any other dog breed/type at this time. The other dog that comes close (especially in the California shelters) is the Chihuahua. Sadly many get these dogs because it’s a fad at the time. Perhaps they see that cute little Chi movie and think that’s the breed for them. Or someone falls for the stereotype and thinks they will make a cool looking thug wannabe if they get a pit bull. Sadly many of these dogs get dumped after the novelty wears off, some are overbred to meet the demands of said fad. Not only do the offspring often end up in shelters but once their parents have served their purpose they too are dumped.  These situations are why we have so many issues within the shelters and rescues all over.

The way the animal community (shelters, rescues, donors, charities, etc) are trying to combat this never ending problem is to initiate programs for everyone (not just low income families) to be able to be the responsible pit bull owner and get their pits fixed. As many know there are several beneficial reasons for having your dogs sterilized.

Besides, let’s face it too many dogs (especially pits) in this word are looking for a home. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Haters






Poems




Aggression or Frustration






Silly Chocolates

Dedicated to my Chocolate Brindle boy 'TANGO'
[these pibble pix reminded me of him]






Random Quotes






Romeo's Paws for a Casue



Crossposting page for dogs in need on facebook.
Check it out...

Spay & Neuter






Dog Rules


Dog Health - Sports



Agility

This physically demanding sport is devised to test a dog’s ability to navigate through an intricate obstacle course during a set time. Coordinated well trained dogs such as the ‘pit bull’ are able to showcase their ability to navigate through ramps, seesaws, elevated dog walks, and tunnels. The winner is determined by the athlete with exceptional drive and fastest time.

Although ‘pit bulls’ aren’t typically known for their speed and aren’t usually expected to win among other breeds that excel in this type of competition they enjoy the sport. They can have fun and show their best while getting a healthy work out.

Participants have the opportunity to earn Agility titles from the United Kennel Club (UKC), United States Dog Agility Association (USDAA), North American Dog Agility Association (NADAC), and the Agility Association of Canada (AAC). Each level within the various organizations has different scoring and requirements so participants should do their research.


Flyball

Competitive relay sport that teams up four dogs and their owners against another four with their owners. One dog from each team competes by running through a course filled with hurdles to jump and eventually triggering a mechanism that spits out a tennis ball. The dog catches the ball, reverses direction, returning to its team so that the next dog can run the course. First team to have all four of its dogs finish wins.


Weight Pulling

This intense sport seems to be tailor made for ‘pit bulls’. After much training and intense conditioning dogs are given a chance to demonstrate their superior strength and outshine other breeds. Hitched to carts or vehicles loaded with a set weight amount with padded harnesses the dogs compete within their own weight class. Winners are determined by which dog can pull the most weight 16 feet in a minute.

Sponsored by the American Dog Breeders Association (ADBA) the ‘pit bulls’ have their very own competition. Three certificates are awarded on a point basis. The top point earners in each class at the end of the season have the opportunity to then compete across the region.

Some critics are concerned that the dogs don’t enjoy the challenging sport. The fans of the sport feel that the dogs enjoy the challenge and wouldn’t participate if they didn’t. It’s recommended that you make your own decision on what’s best for you and your dog after doing much research.


Schutzhund

This sport was originally developed to test the merit of German Shepherds. Its name literally means ‘protection dog’ and it’s become possibly the most popular sport for ‘pit bulls’. These dogs seem to be naturals for the competition as they are tested on mental stability, stamina, tracking, gameness, trainability, following directions, and structural efficiency.
The challenging course resembles those of the agility and obedience trials except it focuses more on developing protective traits and ability. Dogs are tested as they attack their handlers arm sheathed in a protective sleeve made of burlap. The focus is not to encourage and teach aggression but to demonstrate agility and obedience. The dogs are trained not to bite anything except the burlap.

Titles like SchH I, II, and III can be earned during these competitions. Each level requires a certain age and temperament. The master’s level has three tests that are geared toward protection of the dog’s handler plus difficult scent tracking testing.

Quite popular among law enforcement and other agencies this sport is now enjoyed by a great many people. With proper responsible training this can even be a great family event for both ‘pit bulls’ and their owners.




Disclaimer – In no way am I claiming to be an expert on these topics. These are only informational articles written to help dog owners. It’s recommended that you always do your own research and consult with your veterinarian for more detailed information. (01-27-13)

Dog Health - Alternative Care



Over the years different types of alternative care have been used on not only humans but now on animals as well. There’s a chance that your dog may benefit from receiving alternative care. However, this should not replace current veterinarian practices. Always consult with your veterinarian before starting an alternative care regime. The goal is to make your dog feel better and you don’t want to exacerbate the issue or possibly risk adding more medical issues.

When used properly alternative care does have some great healing methods. Many holistic and alternative practices can help ease emotional, physical, and health issues. Having a good balance between science and alternative care can help make for a healthier lifestyle.


Acupuncture

The practice of inserting very fine needles into the skin stimulates specific anatomic points for healing purposes. This technique is not only used on humans but can be done on your dog as well. The process helps to promote healing and good health as well as regulate life force. For many centuries the
West regarded this as the ideal complement to conventional methods. In the last few decades this has now become a popular and well known choice to alternative care.


Chiropractic

This type of practice is based on the philosophy that there’s a relationship between the spinal column, nervous system, circulatory system, movement and biomechanics. Manipulating the vertebrae relieves many nerve, joint, and muscle problems and helps alter the progression of disease.


Homeopathy

This is the practice of using highly diluted products to help stimulate health, healing, and wellbeing in a patient. Combining this with conventional medical treatments may be quite helpful for the patient.


Herbal

By far the simplest and most pure form of therapy is using what nature has provided. Many herbs and types of plants have a restorative effect on various ailments. If you wish to try any of these techniques it’s important that you talk with your dog’s vet first. Some allergic reactions and drug interactions have been documented and you should be made aware of any possible risks.





Disclaimer – In no way am I claiming to be an expert on these topics. These are only informational articles written to help dog owners. It’s recommended that you always do your own research and consult with your veterinarian for more detailed information. (01-24-13)

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Dog Health - Cancer



Unfortunately dogs aren’t immune to the many types of cancer that can attack their bodies. In purebred dogs reach first place on the top ten most fatal diseases. Half of the dogs over the age of 10 years die from cancer and sadly almost half the dogs that die of natural causes are killed by cancer. As dogs age they become more at risk for this disease. According to statistics 1 in 5 dogs will end up developing some type of cancer. Skin cancer is the most common culprit in dogs. Typically lighter skin dogs are more at risk but it’s been proven numerous times that isn’t always the case. Like in humans cancer can and does strike at any time and it isn’t particular on who becomes its victim.

There are some things you can do to help prevent cancer; provide a healthy life, balanced diet, essential vitamins and minerals, wholesome foods, spay or neuter, and plenty of exercise to name a few. However, this doesn’t mean your dog will be immune to the disease and won’t still get some form. Cancer is described as a genetic disease, so there is large chance your dog may be genetically predisposed.

As with anything early detection is important. Getting diagnosed and treatment may save your dog or at the very least extend its life. Be vigilant when grooming or petting your dog, be aware of any abnormal growths, bumps, lumps, or sores. Anything out of the normal with your dog’s behavior, mood, energy level, weight or habits should also be taken into consideration. Has the food or water intake increased or decreased? Does your dog seem lethargic or depressed? Have you seen any bleeding or discharge anywhere? Has breathing, swallowing, bad breath, lameness, stiffness or going to the bathroom become an issue?

It’s important to remember these problems can often be the same symptoms as other problems and doesn’t automatically mean they have cancer. Set up a vet appointment for a complete exam. Your vet should be able to answer any of your concerns and provide a diagnosis if there is an issue. This is a good example on why maintaining a close relationship with your dog’s vet and scheduling yearly physicals is a good idea.

Cancer treatments vary depending on the type, stage, and age of the dog. Some types of cancers require chemo, others may be better combatted with radiation, and some may need more aggressive treatments. This is another reason why early detection is so important when combating this potentially life threatening disease.






Disclaimer – In no way am I claiming to be an expert on these topics. These are only informational articles written to help dog owners. It’s recommended that you always do your own research and consult with your veterinarian for more detailed information. (01-24-13)

Dog Health - Ear Disorders



Typically the ‘pit bull’ ears are generally low maintenance. Routine checks to make sure inside the ear is clean, pink, and smooth. If you notice your dog pawing at its ears check for red irritation, discharge, or odor. Some dog owners believe cropped ears help prevent ear issues but this isn’t true. Some breeds are more simply more prone to getting ear issues. The short ears of a ‘pit bull’ usually allow plenty of air circulation so that cropping isn’t an issue.


Yeast infections

Rarely the main cause of the infection the yeast organisms invade moist and red irritated ears or even toes. Some antibiotics cause this as a side effect. Scratching only worsens the irritation. Easy to identify this thick whitish discharge has a yeasty smell. A good home remedy for this problem is a diluted vinegar wash. Sometimes however it does sting and it often doesn’t take care of the main cause of the infection. Seeing the vet can help cure both issues.


Aural hematomas

This condition is quite common, mostly found in retrievers. The ear flap swells causing blood vessels to rupture.  Serum or blood fills up the space between the skin and cartilage in the dog’s ear. The cause of this is unknown. Often this is caused by other issues going on such as allergies, porcupine quills, or even ear mites. If left untreated painful scarring occurs. Your vet can ease the pain and make the dog more comfortable with prescriptions. Treatments don’t always cure the issue but it’s recommended they are tried before the option of surgery.


Fly strike

Flies target the ears usually due to wax, wound, cut, or scent of infection. The vicious cycle continues when the miserable dog scratches until the irritation is bleeding and attracts more flies. To stop the process from continuing remove the dog from the infested area, clean the ears and seek advice from your vet. To prevent this from happening be sure the outside is rid of any garbage or other fly attractions.







Disclaimer – In no way am I claiming to be an expert on these topics. These are only informational articles written to help dog owners. It’s recommended that you always do your own research and consult with your veterinarian for more detailed information. (01-24-13)

Dog Health - Eye Disorders



American Pit Bull terriers are typically not prone to eye disorders, however terriers tend to be. The following is a list of common disorders and a brief description of each. For more information on these disorders and others that may be of concern be sure to talk with your veterinarian. Potential breeders should be tested for all eye disorders to prevent passing it onto future generations.


Cataracts

As with humans dogs can develop cataracts. Sometimes they are only slightly affected and have no interference with vision. If part of the lens is affected it can cause blurry vision. Loss of functional vision happens when a dog’s entire lens is clouded.


Nuclear Sclerosis

Often geriatric dogs form what’s called nuclear sclerosis in their eyes. After the age of eight years the lens hardens and causes a grayish color to the lens. This is a natural byproduct of age and typically inherited.  The sclerosis may either develop quickly within weeks or months or it can grow at a slower pace over years. This disorder can affect one or both eyes.

This disorder can affect diabetic dogs of any age as well as orphaned puppies that were raised on a milk supplement. Extreme heat, radiation, or chemicals can also cause this problem. Once it’s developed it’s not possible to clear the lens. In the past the outcome was blindness. However, now the same types of artificial lens replacement surgeries performed on humans are being done on dogs.

The procedure involves making a small incision in the eye and a hole in the small sac that holds the lens. A special probe then emulsifies ultrasonically removing the affected lens. An intraocular lens is then placed in the sac. Surgery is performed using a high magnified operating microscope. This artificial lens must match the original as close as possible. The procedure is finished with small sutures no larger than strands of hair. The downside to this procedure is that it doesn’t guarantee perfect vision, and only a limited amount of the artificial lens is available for dogs. Another issue that effects dogs more so then most humans is the inflammation after surgery tends to be greater accompanied with more scarring which can blur vision. The upside is if the lens isn’t perfect or isn’t able to be replaced the cornea is responsible for 2/3rd of the vision. This means that the functional vision shouldn’t be affected.


Lens Luxation

This disorder occurs when the fibers that hold the lens in place break it causes shifting, either backward or forward. Normal functions of the eye are interrupted and lead to glaucoma blindness. Symptoms may not appear until after three years depending on where the lens rests. Typically the first signs that there’s a problem is behavioral changes in the dog.  The pain may also cause a dog to paw at its eyes.

Primary lens luxation is when the disease is congenital. When this disorder happens from the result of injury to the lens it’s called a secondary lens luxation.

All cases require surgery and depending on how soon the condition was found will be the determining factor on how well treatment works. The entire lens is often replaced with an artificial one. Another process is removing part of the eye fluid causing the glaucoma. However, if the optic nerve is damaged there is no treatment available and the result is blindness. Damaged eyes are quite painful and to relieve the dog’s pain are either surgically removed or replaced with prosthesis.

Persistent pupillary membranes (PPM)
When the fetus is developing there’s vestiges of blood vessels. Generally by 4-5 months old these disappear. In some cases they remain and cause vision problems, some dogs have no problems. In extreme cases total or partial vision can be lost. Since an ophthalmic scope is needed typically an ophthalmologist would conduct the exam. Unfortunately unless cataracts form there are no treatments for this disorder.


Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA)

This inherited eye disorder is the result of vision cells degenerating. Blindness in the retina is the result. The early signs are loss of night vision causing the dog to possibly be reluctant to go outside or even in dark areas inside. Sadly after this day vision is also lost. Cataracts sometimes appear as well. Unfortunately there is no treatment for this condition. Like with PPM annual exams by veterinary ophthalmologist are needed.







Disclaimer – In no way am I claiming to be an expert on these topics. These are only informational articles written to help dog owners. It’s recommended that you always do your own research and consult with your veterinarian for more detailed information. (01-24-13)


Dog Health - Orthopedic Disorders


The ‘pit bull’ is one of the dog types that sometimes experiences skeletal issues. Dogs that suffer with these types of problems often experience a lot of discomfort. Sometimes the issues are so severe dogs have trouble walking or getting into a comfortable position.

Hip dysplasia

Most likely dog owners are most familiar with this debilitating painful congenital disease. Lameness and painful arthritis often become a daily struggle with dogs suffering from this disorder. Due to a combination of genetic factors the hip joint is defected. The femur in a dysplastic hip doesn’t fit well in the too shallow socket. Due to this deformity the bone often slides out of its place causing a tremendous amount of pain. Some affected by this may have only mild stiffness where others suffer from severe crippling.

Usually by the time a dog reaches 18 months old the presence of this disorder will become obvious. Unfortunately for the sufferer there is no real cure. Surgery can sometimes ease the pain and in extreme cases a complete hip replacement much like that of a human can be performed. Although this procedure produces the highest success rate and typically restores mobility and prevents the issue from reoccurring it’s often quite expensive.

Genetic screening in potential breeders and other preventative methods give your dog a chance at beating the odds. You can help prevent issues by making sure you don’t over feed your dog. Keeping your ‘pit bull’ on the lean side until they’re about 2 years old can help develop bones capable of carrying their weight. Avoid over exercising before a young puppy’s bones and muscles have developed completely, especially with active ones as this may risk immature bone structure and the puppies resulting in them possibly not able to stand up to their weight.











Disclaimer – In no way am I claiming to be an expert on these topics. These are only informational articles written to help dog owners. It’s recommended that you always do your own research and consult with your veterinarian for more detailed information. (01-26-13)





Dog Health - Gastrointestinal Disorders



Any ‘pit bull’ owner can tell you they are no stranger to their dog’s gastro issues. Barrel chested dogs, like the ‘pit bull’ are more prone to having gastrointestinal problems. Knowing what to look for may help prevent serious issues.


Gastric torsion (bloat)

This gastro disorder is especially serious for ‘pit bulls’. When a stomach becomes distended due to water, gas, or both it increases the chances of swelling and twisting. The esophagus closes off and limits the ability to relieve the distention by either vomiting or belching causing the stomach to be as taunt as a drum creating severe pain.  The distended abdomen is then pushed up into the dog’s lungs causing breathing difficulty. The vena cava (larges transport vessel that carries blood from abdominal area to heart) is pressed restricting blood flow and ultimately causing the heart to fail. Crucial lifesaving surgery is then needed immediately.

It’s important that you don’t panic and contact your vet immediately. By calling ahead they can prepare for your dog’s arrival. Every minute is crucial as even a healthy dog can die within hours. Often the situation is taken care using a tube to decompress the stomach. If this procedure doesn’t work then immediate surgery is needed to correct the twisted stomach. Unhealthy tissue will be removed during the procedure and the stomach is anchored into place to avoid recurrences.

Symptoms that may alert you that your dog is suffering from bloat are obvious swelling and pain in the abdominal area. Your dog may have a dazed or shocky look or perhaps they are panting and drooling excessively and attempted to vomit repeatedly with no success. The skin can become pale and cool to the touch in and around the mouth area.

There are external factors that may cause a dog to get bloat and should be avoided if possible. Avoid strenuous exercise after large amounts of water and or food.  A stomach that is heavy with food can twist due to strenuous activity and large water gulps can cause large amounts of air to be swallowed. Besides eating too fast a dog’s gender or age may also factor into the problem. Avoiding mealtime stress and agitation, eating meals off the ground or floor in elevated dishes can also help. Refrain from feeding your dog only once a day as this may risk causing an engorged stomach to twist due to gulping.

Consult with your veterinarian for tips and products that may help prevent your dog from suffering this painful ordeal.


Giardiasis

Sometimes the symptoms for this gastrointestinal disorder are confused for worms, instead it’s a one celled protozoa that matures in the intestine. Typically severe watery diarrhea is the often the only symptom. It’s not life threatening unless the patient is a weakened adult or a puppy.  Diagnosis is done through a microscopic exam of the stool sample or blood test.  The treatment is antibiotics that kill the giardia. Fluid replacement is also administered in cases of severe diarrhea.

Dog Health - Orthopedic Disorders
The ‘pit bull’ is one of the dog types that sometimes experiences skeletal issues. Dogs that suffer with these types of problems often experience a lot of discomfort. Sometimes the issues are so severe dogs have trouble walking or getting into a comfortable position.


Hip dysplasia

Most likely dog owners are most familiar with this debilitating painful congenital disease. Lameness and painful arthritis often become a daily struggle with dogs suffering from this disorder. Due to a combination of genetic factors the hip joint is defected. The femur in a dysplastic hip doesn’t fit well in the too shallow socket. Due to this deformity the bone often slides out of its place causing a tremendous amount of pain. Some affected by this may have only mild stiffness where others suffer from severe crippling.

Usually by the time a dog reaches 18 months old the presence of this disorder will become obvious. Unfortunately for the sufferer there is no real cure. Surgery can sometimes ease the pain and in extreme cases a complete hip replacement much like that of a human can be performed. Although this procedure produces the highest success rate and typically restores mobility and prevents the issue from reoccurring it’s often quite expensive.

Genetic screening in potential breeders and other preventative methods give your dog a chance at beating the odds. You can help prevent issues by making sure you don’t over feed your dog. Keeping your ‘pit bull’ on the lean side until they’re about 2 years old can help develop bones capable of carrying their weight. Avoid over exercising before a young puppy’s bones and muscles have developed completely, especially with active ones as this may risk immature bone structure and the puppies resulting in them possibly not able to stand up to their weight.











Disclaimer – In no way am I claiming to be an expert on these topics. These are only informational articles written to help dog owners. It’s recommended that you always do your own research and consult with your veterinarian for more detailed information. (01-26-13)





Dog Health - Heart & Blood Disorders



Both heart and blood disorders can be serious and interfere with the blood’s ability to deliver nutrients and oxygen to cells of body. As with any dog ‘pit bulls’ should be checked for problems with congenital heart disease and blood disorders.

Heart Murmur

Particular sound made by dysfunctional heart valves heard with a stethoscope.


Valvular Diseases


Endocarditis – This is a bacterial infection that affects young to middle aged large breed dogs with no heart disease history.

Congenital Aortic Stenosis – This disorder is the result of a narrowing of the outflow channel between the aorta and the left ventricle.

Congenital Pulmonic Valve Stenosis – Typically caused by a malformed pulmonary valve that causes a partial obstruction of the normal blood flow to the lungs.

Canine Dilated Cardiomyopathy – The prevention of a properly pumping heart due to a flaccidity of the heart muscle that results in congestive heart failure.


Pericardial Disease

When diseased the protective sac surrounding the heart and major vessels known as the pericardium restricts ventricles and can become life threatening. Vomiting and labored breathing may alert to the disease though there isn’t always symptoms present. The displaced or muffled sounds of the heart can be detected through a stethoscope.


Patent Ductus Arteriosis

This birth defect is the second most common congenital heart defect. An opening that connects the aorta to the pulmonary artery should close once a puppy is born. Should this remain opened it will cause too much blood to pass into the lungs.

Within a year of diagnosis approximately 60% of the dogs afflicted will die. However if this disorder is caught early enough surgery can be performed allowing the dog to lead a normal life. Symptoms to watch for are coughing, difficulty breathing, lethargy and intolerance to exercise. 


von Willebrand’s Disease

Potentially life threatening genetic disorder that causes excessive bleeding can sometimes be seen in ‘pit bulls’. Often the first signs of a problem are seen during dew claw removal and ear cropping. There are three types of this disease. The first type is fatal and most often Scotties are affected. The third type is most common and though not proven its thought to be the most predominant type that affects ‘pit bulls’. Some carriers don’t suffer from the disease so it’s important especially in potential breeders to have blood tests done. These tests determine the range of genetic tendency. Puppies as young as seven weeks can be tested.

 



Disclaimer – In no way am I claiming to be an expert on these topics. These are only informational articles written to help dog owners. It’s recommended that you always do your own research and consult with your veterinarian for more detailed information. (01-26-13)



Dog Health - Diseases



Distemper

The number one killer that is passed on from dog to dog and usually attacks puppies is often hard to diagnose. Symptoms are much like with any health issue; vomiting, diarrhea, cough, fever, lack of appetite, nasal discharge, inflamed eyes, or lethargy. Treatment is most successful if at the first signs of symptoms. Depending on the stage of the disease anticonvulsants, antibiotics to prevent a secondary infection, eye ointment, and medication to ease the diarrhea and vomiting is administered. Fluids are also given to counteract any dehydration caused by the vomiting and diarrhea.

Rabies

Not just a disease that affects dogs this virus borne contagion is transmitted by various wild animals. Infected saliva enters its victim through bites, open cuts, or even scratches. Affecting the nervous system the first symptom is generally disposition. Pupils dilate causing bright light to become uncomfortable to the victim, as well as facial tics, or even loss of facial muscle control. The lack of control contributes to the most familiar symptom when one thinks of rabies and that is the open mouth and drooling. Behavior such a formerly independent dogs becoming clingy, aloofness, stomach upset or even fever are also areas of concern when diagnosing whether your dog has contracted this deadly disease.

There is no effective treatment for canine rabies. The final stage of this horrific disease is coma and then death. It’s crucial to keep your dog vaccinated from this disease. All warm blooded animals are potential victims and preventative actions should be made toward protecting you and your dog.

Canine Bordetellosis (kennel cough/bordetella)

This disease is caused by bacterium in many animals respiratory tracts. Typically in healthy dogs it runs its course in a few days or within a couple weeks, but it may be life threatening for puppies or seniors. The symptoms generally resemble a bad cold accompanied with a hacking couch and running nose. Isolating the dog and having them rest in a humid environment can often help. Humidity can be produced by using a vaporizer or humidifier in the sleeping area. Getting your vet’s permission okay first often it’s okay to give a mild kid’s cough syrup. Once the coughing stops the dog should be able to restore its energy and be okay. It’s highly recommended that your dog is immunized if they’re going to be around other dogs on a regular basis or in a doggy care or boarding environment.

Parvovirus

Before 1977 this deadly disease wasn’t heard of. It’s believed that a strain of the feline distemper mutated to infect canines. This disease can be easily spread contaminated stool often found on shoes or paws. Quickly it spreads to attack the bone marrow, lymph nodes, and stomach lining. In young puppies the heart is infected causing them to die suddenly or within days. This form of the virus is known as Myocardial Parvovirus. The few puppies that are lucky to survive may end up developing heart issues later in life.

Possible signs that your dog may have contracted this potentially fatal virus are depression, vomiting, fever, loss of appetite, diarrhea. Depending on the symptoms, age of the dog, and the severity of the case hospitalization is usually necessary. Fluids are given to combat dehydration and medication is administered to stop the diarrhea and vomiting. Antibiotics are also given to cure any possible secondary bacterial infections.

Parainfluenza

Several different viruses as well as bacterium can cause this not so dangerous illness. Although it’s not typically dangerous it does spread easily among dogs and common in boarding kennels, doggy day care, or other places where many dogs are in contact with each other. Sometimes even vaccinated dogs can contract this but it’s still recommended and often required that they be vaccinated in that type of environment.

Due to the frequent hacking cough this illness is often inaccurately referred to as kennel cough. Like the flu in humans it usually runs its course. Not usually too debilitating most dogs that contract this don’t even lose their appetite. Antibiotics and medications may be prescribed to prevent complications and ease the coughing. 

Coronavirus (Corona)

This viral infection has several different stains and can infect many species. The canine form doesn’t affect humans. In the dog it attacks the intestinal lining. Dog to dog, contaminated bowls, or feces are how a dog contracts this virus. Often the symptoms are confused with Parvovirus. Dogs infected with this virus become lethargic and have a decreased appetite accompanied by sudden diarrhea that is orange tinted, foul smelling, and possibly containing blood.  If you suspect your dog may be suffering from this seek vet care immediately as there’s no cure. It’ll usually run its course within several days but treatment will still be required to get the dog on antibiotics and intravenous fluids to combat the dehydration caused by severe diarrhea.

Infectious canine hepatitis
Much like the human strain of this disease it affects the liver. Dogs contract it from other dogs by infected urine, saliva, or stool. Symptoms are similar to distemper; coughing, vomiting, diarrhea, nasal discharge, inflamed eyes, fever, intense thirst, lack of appetite and lethargy.

Early detection is crucial to surviving this potentially fatal disease since it can spread quite rapidly. Depending on the severity treatments may vary but with acute cases hospitalization is required. Vitamin supplements, antibiotics, and plenty of fresh water accompanied by several small fat free meals through the day are typically the treatment. 

Lyme Disease

Caused by bacterium typically from an infected deer tick this disease can spread to both humans and dogs. The size of a poppy seed the nymphs are virtually undetectable. Often it’s not until the symptoms present themselves that it’s even discovered that bite has taken place. Severe joint pain, fever, fatigue, and skin rash sometime don’t appear until two months after the dog has been infected.

This disease can be contracted in every continent except for Antarctica and it’s prevalent in the eastern United States. Typically antibiotics and analgesics (pain relievers) are given to the sufferer and recovery time varies on the severity of the case and how early it is detected. There are vaccinations available and recommended to help prevent your dog from contracting this bothersome disease.

Leptospirosis

Caused by spirochete this microorganism is usually carried by rats. If an unvaccinated dog comes into contact with a contaminated rat they can contract this illness.

Immediate treatment should be administered if your dog shows any of the following symptoms; bloody stool or urine, depression, fever, vomiting, thirst, lack of appetite, painful mouth sores, red eyes and mouth, and pain when moving.

This disease can permanently damage liver or kidneys and it’s transmittable to humans so it’s vital that treatment is performed quickly. Your vet can inform you of the precautions you should take during the course of treatment. Acute cases do require hospitalization but most dogs typically recover at home.





Disclaimer – In no way am I claiming to be an expert on these topics. These are only informational articles written to help dog owners. It’s recommended that you always do your own research and consult with your veterinarian for more detailed information. (01-24-13)

Dog Health - Internal & External Parasites



















If your dog has any of the following symptoms there’s a likely chance that they have a parasite. If you suspect that’s the case consult your veterinarian promptly and provide them with a stool sample so that a diagnosis and treatment can be administered.
·         Dull coat
·         Dull eyes
·         Coughing
·         Weakness
·         Vomiting
·         Diarrhea
·         Weight loss even with good appetite
·         Loss of appetite
·         Severe anemia

Tapeworms

This type of worm enters the system when a dog eats intermediate host.  This is known as the immature form of the worm. Fleas ingest the eggs of tapeworm which in turn hatch into larvae within the flea. When the dog eats the infested flea the larvae mature into adults. These parasites can sometimes become several feet long and they feed on the digesting food within the dog. Extreme cases are fatal and dogs rarely exhibit signs.

The typical sign that your dog is infested is the appearance of short white worm segments in the stool, fur, or around the anus area. Resembling moving rice these are egg sacs that have broken off the adult worms. Sometimes your dog is irritated by their presence when they tickle or both the anus area which causes the dog to scoot. If you witness this behavior or suspect the presence of tapeworm make a vet appointment. A solution that will dissolve the worms is administered either orally or injected. After treatment the main concern is focusing on ridding the dog’s environment of fleas.

Roundworms

Quite common in both puppies and adult dogs this worm can pass through mother’s milk. Even if there’s no outward signs of an infestation the mother may have the larvae encysted inside her body. Puppies can become infested in utero when migrating larvae end up in the mother’s lungs during pregnancy. Though this can happen to any type of breeder it’s a largely seen in puppy mill dogs. These puppies require several treatments before they rid their bodies of the parasite.  

This parasite can be transmitted to both dogs and humans from the ground, animals, beetles, rodents, or even earthworms. Like the tapeworm they feed off their host’s digesting food. These parasites resemble strands of spaghetti and can reach lengths of up to 8 inches.

Puppies that are infested will eat voraciously at first. Quickly they then become weak from malnutrition and stop eating completely. The outward sign of a puppy with an acute or chronic case of these worms often has the ‘pot belly’ appearance. Diarrhea and vomiting are also symptoms. Luckily these parasites are typically easily treatable by a variety of medications available. Stool samples are taken to confirm the presence of worms and during the treatment. It’s highly recommended that dog owners are vigilant about their hygiene and keeping the environment clean especially during the treatment of these parasites.

Ringworms

The name is deceiving as this extremely contagious fungus isn’t a worm at all.  Easily spread through contact with infected hair or skin both dogs and their owners can become infested. Spores are dropped by the infected host and even just one spore can cause an infestation. This fungus feeds on dead hair cells and surface skin. The result is itching and typically dogs end up with raw looking bald patches. Sometimes the skin will be scaly and show no signs of rawness.

This parasite is very hard in its environment and can survive for years making it resistant to treatment. Systemic and topical therapies are needed during treatment. It’s vital to maintain extreme vigilance when it comes to hygiene and complete decontamination. This process needs to continue throughout treatment until the vet has declared the infestation gone. Kids, adults, and elderly with compromised immune systems are highly susceptible to contracting the fungus. However, if you don’t contract it during your dog’s diagnosis there’s a likely chance you won’t.

Hookworms

Dog owners should be aware there are four types of this blood sucking worm. Generally the most common and serious are found in the warmer climates. However, one species does prefer colder climates, including not only the upper United State but Canada as well.

Though this pest can cause issues for the dog’s owners too it can’t complete its life cycle within humans. As typical of worms it’s transmitted through infested feces. The best way to help prevent your dog or you from coming in contact with this parasite is cleaning up after their dog using pooper scoopers and disposable gloves.

Not only can this parasite cause skin irritation but can cause a severe iron deficiency…. It attaches to the intestines to feed and changes locations approximately six times a day. Since the dog loses blood during each reposition of the worm anemia becomes a risk.

Dark stool, pale skin coloration, weight loss, general weakness, swollen and red skin from the larvae penetrating usually in the feet area are all signs that your dog has an infestation of hookworms. A number of medications as well as preventatives are available.

Whipworms

The most common worm in North America attaches to the intestine. Spending its larvae stage in the small intestine it then migrates to the large intestine during its adult stage. This worm can live for months and sometimes even years inside a dog. The dog ingests the eggs or immature worms that are passed on through infested dog feces. Typically an upset tummy or small amount of diarrhea is the only symptom. If this is left untreated it can lead to anemia. Stool samples are needed to diagnose and even then it’s not entirely accurate. Strong deworming medications will be administered.

It’s important to rid your dog’s environment of all dog waste. Even though a dog may have been successfully treated it can still become infested again from the exposure of the eggs. The vicious cycle can continue over and over since these worms are able to survive outside even exposed to the elements for as long as five years.

Heartworms

This deadly parasite is transmitted to dogs via mosquito bites. The infected fly injects larvae into the dog’s skin during the bite that then enters the circulatory system and takes up residence in the blood vessels.

Sometimes it takes up to eight months after the bite for the worms to mature. At that time symptoms that there’s interference with heart functions appear as well as a chronic cough, fatigue, and weight loss. Ultimately heart failure is the cause of death.

The infestation of adult worms is treatable. However, the long process is expensive and can be risky. Dead worms within the heart can provoke a blood clot in the vessels or chambers. Heartworms can be fatal even after treatment so prevention is important.

Speak with your vet on the best age for your dog to start monthly prevention. In most cases it is recommended to continue the process throughout the year. It’s vital that the dog tests heartworm negative before preventative is used. If a dog is already infested it may become critically ill. Prevention isn’t a guarantee that your dog won’t contract the worms but it’s less likely than no preventative at all.

Fleas

This fast producing parasite can become resistant to insecticides making it difficult get rid of. Scratching is typically the first sign that suggests there is an infestation. Some dogs have allergic reaction to the saliva in a flea bite. Fleas don’t have to be present to determine if your dog has them. Separate a patch of fur and examine the skin. Black flecks resembling pepper known as flea dirt are in fact excrement caused by the fleas.

Ridding the entire environment is key to curing the issue. Your vet can recommend or prescribe a preventive that would be best for your dog. For dogs that suffer allergies due to the bites the irritation and infection can be eased with medications.

Ticks

These tiny pests burrow their mouths into their victim and feed off the blood. Diseases such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever that can cause paralysis or the most common, Lyme disease can be the result of a bite. They come in many sizes and colors and often hard to detect.

For the most part a ‘pit bull’s short coat makes it easy to spot the tick. If you do spot one the safest and simplest removal tool is blunt tweezers. When dealing with a tick it’s a good idea to avoid handling it with your bare hands. Don’t use sharp tools, hot matches or nails to remove it.

Grasping the tick as close to the head as possible. Avoid using twisting or jerky motions pull with a steady motion to remove it and then flush. Don’t rupture or squeeze the body of the tick as this could potentially cause the release of infectious fluids. If the head remains it should eventually fall off on its own, apply some antiseptic to the area to help prevent any infection. Don’t apply lidocaine, gasoline, or petroleum jelly.


Ear Mites

As their name suggests they live within the dog’s ear. They reside in the canal and cause irritation to sensitive ears producing foul smelling dry rusty discharge. If your dog is constantly scratching, shaking its head, pawing at its ears or they show signs of inflammation or discharge they probably have these annoying visitors taking up residence in their ears. Your vet can help determine what course of action is needed to rid the mites from your dog’s ears and perhaps prevent them from coming back.

Mange Mites           

These tiny bugs can cause huge issues such as Sarcoptic mange. The skin becomes crusty, itchy, and often red bumps also form. Another type of mite causes Follicular mange. This type may or may not be itchy with noticeable small bare patches in the fur given a moth eaten look. Both types of mange need to be diagnosed and treated by your vet.







Disclaimer – In no way am I claiming to be an expert on these topics. These are only informational articles written to help dog owners. It’s recommended that you always do your own research and consult with your veterinarian for more detailed information. (01-24-13)



Dog Health - Nutrition



Proteins

Bone growth
Tissue healing
Daily body tissue replacement
Not stored in body tissues needs daily replenishing
Most digestible found in meat
Too much indigestible (vegs) causes colic and diarrhea.


Fats

Healthy skin & coat
Shiny coat
Energy
Adds to taste; encourages eating
Too much: weight and health issues
Too little: dry itchy dull coat, dandruff, ear infections, sensitive to temperature changes



Vitamins

A – Fat absorption, promotes good sight, glossy and healthy coat, normal growth and reproduction.
B – Important for skin, appetite, growth, eyes, coat, protects nervous system, aids metabolism.
D – Essential for good muscle tone, healthy teeth and bones.
E – Proper muscle function, internal and reproductive organs, all cell functions.
C & K – Synthesized within body; not usually listed.



Minerals                                   

Calcium & Phosphorus – Correct ratio works together to prevent bone deformities, rickets, aides in tooth formation, muscles, lactation in nursing dogs.
Potassium – contributes to healthy nerves and muscles, normal growth.
Iron – healthy blood.
Zinc – promotes healthy skin.
Iodine – prevents enlarged thyroid (goiters).
Cobalt – aids in normal growth, keeps reproductive tract healthy.
Magnesium – synthesis proteins, prevents nervous system problems and convulsions.
Sodium & chlorine – helps maintain normal activity level and appetite.


Disclaimer – In no way am I claiming to be an expert on these topics. These are only informational articles written to help dog owners. It’s recommended that you always do your own research and consult with your veterinarian for more detailed information. (01-26-13)