Some Health Issues in Dogs

Kennel Cough (Parainfluenza) and its effect on dogs and puppies

The Parainfluenza virus is the most common cause of Kennel Cough among dogs. However, Kennel Cough normally includes a host of other related viruses.

Although a dog can get Kennel Cough quite badly it is not generally, by itself life-threatening. Of course, should your dog be weak from another condition, complications can arise.

The virus is however very contagious and is easily spread amongst groups of dogs where one dog has the infection. Therefore, if a dog at a kennel has the virus, it can spread rapidly. I guess this is how Kennel Cough derived its name.

Symptoms are very much like you would expect from a dog with a severe cough. Symptoms start with a dry cough which can progress into a deep racking type cough. Often when coughing it will appear as if something is stuck in the affected dog’s throat, or that it is going to vomit. This is, however, the severity of a cough.

If your dog has a severe cough it is advisable to take the dog to a vet. Normally, the dog can recover by itself, but it is definitely not worth the risk. Other more serious diseases can show similar symptoms to Kennel Cough and you may misdiagnose your dog’s illness to its detriment.

A vet can treat Kennel Cough quite effectively with the range of antibiotics that modern vets have at their disposal.

Vaccinations are available to reduce the chances of your dog contracting Kennel Cough. However much like humans with flu injections, dogs can still pick up a different strain or still contract Kennel Cough, but normally with less intensity.

Most vets seem to recommend vaccinations against Kennel Cough, and I go along with that thinking. Why expose your dog to any more risks than necessary. Be wise and vaccinate against Kennel Cough (Parainfluenza)

Parvovirus Infection in dogs.

The origins of this serious dog-related disease, are a little baffling. It may be that a mutation of panleukopaenia or feline enteritis is the cause of this contagious enteritis of dogs. Feline enteritis cannot affect dogs, but the virus is so similar to the one that affects dogs, that it may be a result of a mutation.

However it came into being, one thing is certain, it quickly has become a serious disease which affects dogs worldwide. It is a relatively new disease, before the late seventies Parvovirus was unheard of, but has since spread rapidly.

Initially, there were two forms of Parvovirus. The first affected puppies and caused death. However, with time puppies gained some immunity from their mother’s antibodies. This first form is no longer widely prevalent, but the second form of Parvovirus is still a great threat to your dog’s well being. This second form can affect both puppies and adult dogs.

Symptoms of Parvovirus are diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy, and loss of appetite. Parvovirus can result in the dog’s death particularly in young pups. Parvovirus can infect the bowel, but can also attack the heart, causing heart failure especially in pups.

Vaccination is a safe and effective measure to ensure that your dog does not suffer the effects of Parvovirus Infection.

If however, your dog shows any of the symptoms, please consult your vet immediately. Vaccination will not help at this stage, but your vet will probably treat your dog, by way of an intravenous drip to ensure hydration, together with vitamins and analgesics.

Please note the above symptoms, do not necessarily point to Parvovirus Infection, as these symptoms can occur in other conditions. However if your dog shows any of the above symptoms or you have reason to believe that your dog has been in contact with a sick animal, please do not hesitate to consult a vet immediately.

What To Do If Your Dog Seems Unwell

If you have a dog it is important to be observant to all of the dog illness symptoms so as to get ahead of any illnesses or problems. You can keep your dog healthy by observing how he is acting or reacting to his environment around him, and act accordingly. For example if he is scratching and itching more than usual, it might be that he has a skin condition, or that his skin is exceptionally dry. It could also be a sign that he is having a problem with his food.

Some dogs are reacting to the ingredients in some of the dog foods. There has been a movement recently for some of the major brands that were “pure” in that they had no chemicals, fillers, or additives, had changed their stance in those areas, and suddenly people were seeing symptoms in their animals. So, read the labels on the packages just to be sure what is in the food.

Always be on the alert for arthritis, especially if the dog is getting up in years. Dogs love to run, but as they get older, their joints are not as capable of taking the stress as much. A dog can step in a hole or twist the wrong way and come up lame in a hurry. If that happens, you will have to limit his activity until it heals. If it doesn’t heal to the point where he is unable to walk, then surgery may be necessary, and that can be quite expensive. Limiting running is usually the best remedy.

One of the biggest things to watch out for is the dog’s weight. Too much weight can cause a whole bunch of problems from stress on the dog’s joints to cancer and heart problems. When you take your dog to the vet, they always get weighed. The vet will be able to advise you on the proper weight for your dog, based upon the breed. If necessary, the veterinarian can help you with a diet to take off the pounds.

Allergies can be a real irritant for your dog and for you. If there is frequent vomiting, irritated skin, frequent diarrhea, a poor coat and loss of hair, an allergy may be the culprit. If your dog has any of these symptoms for any length of time, have your vet take a look.

If a dog is constantly rubbing his head on the floor or ground with his ears, he may have ear mites or an infection. Your vet will have a way to fix that condition. Ear mites will leave a brown, waxy substance that is easily cleaned out with a vinegar and water solution, and a soft tissue, but the vet will be able to get rid of the mites.

Our dogs can’t tell us in words what is the matter, but their actions will many times tell us that something is going on, and when we observe dog illness symptoms and get our dog to the vet, we can head off more serious illness most of the time.

Puppy Potty Training

Man’s best friend can bring a great deal of joy and affection to anyone who loves animal life. But there are also not-so-pleasant aspects of having a young dog, such as the instances that your pet doesn’t make it out the door before mature calls.

Sometimes, it is simply a matter of the pet’s owner neglecting to let the dog out. It also could be that it is because the dog is too young and does not know any different. There is one tried and true way to potty train a puppy that works better than any other methods. Piddle pads or dog training pads are available in with antibacterial action that decreases odors with sealed edges and draws off moisture fast for quick and easy housetraining and more floor protection. These pads are perfect for housetraining puppies, when leaving small dogs for longer periods of time or for around litter boxes and can be found at discount pet supplies.

Many found an effective way to train a puppy was to smack him with a newspaper every time he made a mess inside and then to put him outdoors. This is negative reinforcement theory at work for potty training.

The only problem with a negative reinforcement method is that it will likely make you feel terrible swatting your puppy. You may feel like an absolute jerk. One way that requires no discipline is that taking the dog out at the same time, three times a day. It works because the dog would get used to going outside and would do its business out there. That may sound great but who has the time? If you are a stay-at-home mom you could make sure that her dog was out at the exact same time every day.

Another way is to put down a newspaper for the dog to go on, and then each day, gradually move that paper closer to the back door. Eventually, the dog will go all the way to the back door and then you can just let him out.

By staying disciplined in training your dog you’ll find that a little patience and a lot of newspaper works best. It may take a few days, but there is no discipline involved, and you do not have to worry about following a rigid dog walking schedule. There are even special potty strips and patches available on pet supply plus store for those that need their dog to go potty indoors.