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Signs Your Dog May Be Sick

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Signs Your Dog May Be Sick

Overview

A dog’s health, just as it is in people, changes with age. However, and quite unfortunate, our pet friends age much faster than us.

What to look out for

Regardless of your dog’s age, You play a key role in helping your dog fight against llness and remain healthy. Your dog, unlike us, can only show signs of disease but cannot describe symptoms to you. Your knowledge of the signs which accompany common diseases is one way to help reduce your pet’s risk of being affected by them. A considerably high number of pets that appear healthy eve during annual checkups have underlying diseases.

10 signs that your dog may be ill:
  1. Bad breath or drooling
  2. Excessive drinking or urination
  3. Appetite change associated with weight loss or gain
  4. Change in activity level (e.g., lack of interest in doing things they once did)
  5. Stiffness or difficulty in rising or climbing stairs
  6. Sleeping more than normal, or other behavior or attitude changes
  7. Coughing, sneezing, excessive panting, or labored breathing
  8. Dry or itchy skin, sores, lumps, or shaking of the head
  9. Frequent digestive upsets or change in bowel movements
  10. Dry, red, or cloudy eyes
  11. If your best friend shows symptoms of being ill, you should contact your veterinarian immediately.
  12. Unfortunately, you may not always recognize that your dog is sick. Often, even the most well-intentioned dog owners attribute the subtle signs of disease to aging.
Diagnosis/Treatment

Because signs of disease are not always obvious, your veterinarian may recommend preventive care testing as part of your dog’s annual exam. Preventive care testing often includes the following:

  • Chemistry and electrolyte tests to evaluate internal organ status and ensure your dog isn’t dehydrated or suffering from an electrolyte imbalance
  • Tests to identify if your pet may have heartworm, tick-borne or other infectious diseases
  • A complete blood count to rule out blood-related conditions
  • Urine tests to screen for urinary tract infection and other disease and to evaluate the ability of the kidneys to concentrate urine
  • A thyroid test to determine if the thyroid gland is producing too little thyroid hormone
  • An ECG to screen for an abnormal heart rhythm, which may indicate underlying heart disease
  • Additional tests may be added on an individual basis. Your veterinarian will recommend the right course for your best friend.
Prevention

Preventive care screening not only helps to detect disease in its earlier stages, when it is most likely to respond to treatment, it also can help you avoid significant medical expense and risk to your dog’s health if an illness goes undetected. In addition, by establishing your pet’s normal baseline laboratory values during health, your veterinarian—and you—can more easily see when something is wrong with your pet. Annual screening is the best preventive medicine!

For more information about preventive testing, contact your veterinarian—your best resource for information about the health and well-being of your pet. If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian – they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.

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Alopecia In Dogs

Alopecia is a common disorder in dogs that is characterized by partial or complete hair loss from areas which normally are covered by hair. Some breeds of dogs have been shown to be more prone to alopecia. Among these are the alopecic breeds which include the Mexican hairless, Chinese crested, Inca hairless, American hairless terrier which is mostly associated with furunculosis, comedones and folliculitis; and Peruvian Inca Orchid. Cocker spaniel, poodle, Belgian shepherd, French bulldog, whippet, beagle, Yorkshire terrier, and Labrador retriever commonly are prone to congenital hypotrichosis. Others like the Doberman pinscher, cream chow chow, silver Labrador, blond Irish setter, and blue pit bull terrier; appear to have color dilution alopecia. Even more interesting a feature, some breeds of dogs have what is referred to as seasonal or cyclic (canine lank) alopecia. These are the English bulldog and the boxer.

Alopecia in dogs is due to a multiplicity of causes. However, this disorder is as a sequel of removal of hair or the disruption in hair growth from infection, hypersensitivity , trauma, autoimmune attack, endocrine abnormalities, neoplasia, drug reaction and/or blockage of the receptor sites for stimulation of the hair growth cycle and mechanical removal of hair.

Clinical Signs

A wide range of signs are seen in alopecic dogs and vary from acute at onset to those considered as slowly progressive. Multifocal patches of circular alopecia my be seen and often associated with folliculitis from bacterial infection and multifocal areas of demodicosis. Large and more diffuse areas of alopecia indicate a follicular dysplasia or metabolic component. The pattern and degree of hair loss are important for establishing a differential diagnosis.

Causes Of Alopecia In Dogs

Multifocal alopecia may be due to one of the following causes: Localized demodicosis, staphylococcal folliculitis, injection reactions, dermatophytosis, rabies vaccine vasculitis, localized scleroderma, Sebaceous adenitis of short-coated breeds, and alopecia areata.


The form of alopecia that is described as patchy to diffuse may be as a result of many various causes which include: demodicosis, epitheliotropic lymphoma, anagen deluxion and telogen deluxion, sebaceous adenitis, color mutant/dilution alopecia, bacterial folliculitis, dermatophytosis, hypothyroidism, hyperadrenocorticism, Keratinization disorders and due to pemphigus foliaceus.


Symmetrical alopecia is hormone responsive and is described as one which is present on both symmetrical sides of the dog’s body. Causes of this disorder are numerous and include: hyperadrenocorticism, non-inlammatory alopecia (alopecia X), hyperestrogenism (females), hypothyroidism, testosterone-responsive dermatosis in castrated males, hypogonadism in intact females, male feminization from Sertoli cell tumor, etrogen-responsive dermatosis in spayed female dogs, seasonal/cyclic/canine lank alopecia, and castration-responsive dermatosis.

Diagnosis And Treatment

The pattern and extent of the hair loss are important features for formulating a differential. Inflammation, scale, crust, are important samples for determining diagnosis.
It is of importance to rule out metabolic causes such as hyperadrenocorticism by carrying out biochemical tests such as urinalysis. Other Lab tests may be done include the thyroid test to diagnose hypothyroidism. These tests are the ACTH-response test, LDDST, and HDDST. Ultrasonography my be done to evaluate adrenal glands for evidence of hyperadrenocorticism.

Treatment varies with specific cause, hence the pet should be taken to a veterinarian for specific testing, diagnostics and treatment as needed.

Chocolate Toxicity In Dogs

A lot of people have come to me with histories of dogs which have fallen sick or worst still have died after ingesting cakes. Some narratives include birthdays or other parties where cake(s) were taken. Certainly, although unknown to many, this may be an ideal case of chocolate intoxication in dogs.

Why is chocolate toxic in dogs while safe in humans?

Chocolate contains methylxanthines particularly theobromine and caffeine. Humans unlike dogs, can metabolize and excrete methylxanthines such as theobromine much more efficiently than dogs which are far more sensitive to them. Various types of chocolate contain varying amounts of methylxanthines.

Symptoms seen in theobromine toxicity in dogs

  1. Diarrhea
  2. Vomiting
  3. Fever
  4. Muscle rigidity and ataxia
  5. Rapid breathing
  6. Increased heart rate
  7. Hypotension
  8. Convulsions
  9. Severe clinical signs include: cardiac failure, weakness, and coma.

Common household items/foods with theobromine.

• Candies
• Fudge
• Ice Cream rich chocolate Cookies
• Brownies commercially prepared
• Doughnut, cake-type,
• Chocolate Chip
• Birthday cakes
• Queen cakes

What should I do if my dog ingests chocolate?

The first necessary thing to do is withdraw access to chocolate containing food from the reach of the dog. Dogs which have ingested chocolate should be taken to the veterinarian immediately. Remember the prognosis is usually better when treatment is done early.