Wobbler Syndrome in Dogs

Wobbler syndrome is more properly called cervical spondylomyelopathy (CSM).  It is caused by a compression of the spinal cord at the cervical vertebrae.  It is common in large and giant dogs.  The term wobblers describes the characteristic wobbly gate caused by the damage to the spine.
Disk slippage between vertebra and or bony malformation in a narrowed vertebral canal can cause…

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Tick Paralysis

Ticks carry many diseases and should be kept off your pet if at all possible.  However, sometimes dogs, especially those that go into wooded areas, get bitten by a tick.  One problem that is caused by ticks is tick paralysis.
Tick paralysis is caused by the female of certain species of ticks.  These ticks have a potent toxin in their salvia. …

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Hydrocephalus

Hydrocephalus is also referred to as water on the brain.  The ventricles that are next to the spinal cord are expanded due to an excess of spinal fluid.  It may involve both sides of the brain or only one side of the brain.  It may involve the entire ventricle system, or only part of it next to an obstruction.  The…

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Thunderstorm Phobias in Dogs

Some dogs never fear thunderstorms.  Others seem to be afraid from the moment they are born.  Still others develop a thunderstorm sensitivity as they grow older.  No one is sure what causes thunderstorm phobias in dogs.  Some ideas are failure to be exposed to thunderstorms as a puppy, a bad event during a thunderstorm, unintentional reinforcement of a fear response…

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Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever in Dogs

Ticks are not just unsightly and annoying to your dogs.  They carry several serious diseases that they can transmit to the dog when the tick bites him.  One of the most well known of these diseases is rocky mountain spotted fever.  Rocky mountain spotted fever is caused by a Rickettsia, a rod shaped microorganism that look like bacteria but act…

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Thyroid Hormone Deficiency in Dogs

The thyroid gland in dogs functions like the thyroid gland in people.  It releases hormones, especially T3 and T4, that control metabolism.  Without T3 and T4, humans and dogs would die.  Sometimes, the thyroid gland stops producing enough of these hormones, causing the dog to get sick.  If the thyroid glands produce too low an amount of these hormones, the…

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Prostate Cancer in Dogs

Male dogs get prostate cancer just as male humans do.  The prostate gland is part of the male reproductive system.  It contains many essential enzymes and also plays an important role in the protection and motility of sperm.  The liquid secreted by the prostate helps the sperm by providing a liquid for them to be in after ejaculation and helps…

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Obesity in Dogs

We hear about the epidemic of obesity in humans all the time.  There is also an epidemic of obesity in dogs.  A dog that is ten to fifteen percent above his ideal weight is considered obese.
Dogs that get too much food, or too rich a food for their activity level, lack the ability to exercise, or that have a tendency…

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Roundworm in Dogs

Roundworm is also called “raccoon disease” since it is usually picked up from eating raccoon feces or the dirt where they have been.  Roundworm is the parasite Baylisascaris procyonis.  It does not seem to hurt raccoons but can be fatal to puppies and seriously injure adult dogs.  Roundworm can also be caught by ingesting an animal infected with it. Dogs…

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Flea and Tick Medicine Poisoning

Flea and tick medicines have revolutionized dog care.  Veterinarians rarely see flea bite anemia now, for example.  However, too much of a good thing can make your pet sick.  Most flea and tick medicines contain one of two compounds:  pyrethrin and pyrethroid.  Pyrethrins are derived from the Chrysanthemum cinerariaefolium plant, while pyrethroids are synthetic versions of pyrethrins.  Pyrethroids generally last…

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False Pregnancy in Female Dogs

False pregnancy is when a female dog starts showing the symptoms of pregnancy, including lactation and nursing pups, when she is not pregnant.  This usually happens about two months after the dog comes into heat and can last as long as a month.  It is thought that a hormonal imbalance causes false pregnancy.
The symptoms of false pregnancy are a lot…

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Kennel Cough

Kennel cough, also called infectious canine tracheobronchitis, is a highly contagious respitory disease among dogs.  It is like the dog’s version of the common cold.  If one dog in a household gets it, everyone in the household gets it.
Kennel cough is an inflammation of the trachea and bronchi.  It is so common that most dogs get it at least once…

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Ethanol Poisoning in Dogs

Ethanol is a type of alcohol.  Dogs can get ethanol poisoning by consuming anything with alcohol in it, from perfume to mouthwash, gasoline or alcoholic beverages.  Giving your dog some of your drink is a common cause of ethanol poisoning.  Beer and other alcoholic drinks can kill your dog.  Even bread dough contains enough ethanol to poison a dog.  So…

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Electrocution in Dogs

Puppies chew to find out about the world and relieve the itch of teething.  Older dogs chew to find out about the world or out of boredom.  Sometimes, they chew an electrical cord and are electrocuted.  This is a very serious injury requiring immediate veterinary care.  These kind of injuries can lead to fluid in the lungs, burns on the…

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Glaucoma in Dogs

Dogs can get glaucoma just like humans.  Glaucoma is when pressure is put on the eye, causing inadequate drainage of the fluid of the eye.  If the pressure persists, it can damage the optic nerve and even cause blindness.
Unlike humans, most glaucoma is caused by heredity.  Samoyeds, cocker Spaniels, poodles, chow chows, and Siberians are some of the breeds most…

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Cataracts in Dogs

A cataract refers to the cloudiness in the lens of the eye.  Sometimes this is just a partial opacity, while sometimes it is a complete opacity.  When the eye lens is clouded, it prevents light from passing to the retina, resulting in vision loss.  Your dog will stumble around and bump into things, especially if they have been moved in…

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Arsenic Poisoning in Dogs

Arsenic is a heavy metal that is used in many compounds around the house.  It is used in pesticides, herbicides, wood preservatives, and in some drug formulas to treat heartworm.  In the cause of heartworm treatments, the arsenic is a sub-lethal level.  However, over dosing the dog on the heartworm tablets can cause arsenic poisoning.
The symptoms of  arsenic poisoning are…

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Motion Sickness in Dogs

Many dogs get motion sickness when traveling by car, boat, or air.  Car travel is most common.  Dogs show their problem in various ways.  They may be constantly licking their lips, drooling excessively, yawning, whining, or crying out in distress, act afraid to move, and finally, vomiting.  They may even urinate or defecate in the car.
Motion sickness has several causes…

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Botulism in Dogs

Humans are not the only species to get botulism.  Dogs can get it too.  Of course, they get it from eating dead animals or raw meat, not from improperly canned food.  They can spread it to humans by licking them soon after eating the toxin.  Clostridium botulinum type C is a bacteria that forms a toxin that is one of…

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Dangerous Spider Bites in Dogs

In the United States, there are only three poisonous spiders, the black or brown widow and the brown recluse.  The bites of both spiders can be life threatening to your dog.
The black widow is known to most people.  Another related spider is the brown widow, which also has the characteristic hourglass on the bottom of the abdomen  The spider may…

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Anal Sac Problems in Dogs

Does your dog scoot across your carpet on his butt?  He may have an anal sac problem.  Most owners do not even know what an anal sac is, or that it exists.  The anal sacs are two small sacs on either side of the anus and are filled with fluid.  As the dog has a bowl movement, this fluid leaves…

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Drug Poisoning in Dogs

Many dogs die of drug poisoning.  Surprisingly, most of the dogs that die this way did not get into their owner’s medications, but were given medications meant for humans by their owners.  Most human medications, even over the counter medications, are toxic to dogs.  Never give a dog a human medication without the express permission of your veterinarian.
Ibuprofen is a…

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Epilepsy in Dogs

Dogs can have epilepsy just as humans do.  Epilepsy is a brain disorder that causes the dog to have sudden, recurring physical attacks, with and without loss of consciousness.  Idiopathic epilepsy is caused by an unknown factor.  Genetic epilepsy runs in some lines in some dogs.  Untreated epilepsy tends to become more severe and the seizures occur more and more…

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Mange and Your Dog

There are two types of mange.  The first type is inflammation and redness caused by different types of the Demodex mite.  When too many mites are on the dog, it can lead to skin lesions, genetic disorders, problems of the immune system, and hair loss. The severity of the problems varies depending on the type of mite and the number…

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Addison’s Disease in Dogs

The adrenal glands, perched on the kidneys, produce two types of hormones, mineralocorticoids and glucocorticoids.  Mineralocorticoids regulate blood sugar, salt, and electrolytes.  Glucocorticoids reduce inflammation and suppress the immune system.  Addison’s disease occurs when the adrenal glands produce too little of one or both of these hormones.  This is a life threatening situation and should be treated as such.  Dogs…

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Cushing’s Syndrome in Dogs

Cushing’s syndrome is caused by the excess presence of glucocorticoids in the dog’s body.  Glucocorticoids are substances produced by the adrenal glands on top of the kidneys to control inflammation and suppress the immune system.  In addition, almost all types of steroids given to dogs are glucocorticoids.  Thus, Cushing’s syndrome can be caused by either the body producing excess glucocorticoids…

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The Life Stages of a Dog

According to the American Animal Hospital Association, dogs have six distinct life stages and need different care during each of them.
Dogs are considered puppies from birth until they are able to reproduce.  This happens sometime between six and eight months of age for most dogs, although it varies by size and breed.  Puppies need several rounds of vaccinations starting at…

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Canine Bloat and Your Dog

Bloat, or gastric dilation volvulus, as veterinarians refer to it, is a serious emergency and can kill your dog.  The mortality rate for bloat approaches fifty percent.  Early diagnosis and treatment increase the likelihood your dog will survive.
Bloat actually refers to two problems.  In the first, the stomach fills with gas and fluids and becomes distended.  The second problem is…

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Top 10 Dog Poisons

In a typical year, there are over 100,000 cases of dogs being poisoned.  Most of these are by things in and around the home that are not harmful to humans.  Watch out for these ten poisons that can threaten the health of your dog.
1. People prescription medications.  Medications that are lifesaving to humans can kill dogs.  When your dog gets…

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Flatulence and Your Dog

Does your dog have gas that would gag a maggot?  Sometimes our companions have flatulence, and that is normal.  However, if the dog is frequently passing gas, something may not be quite right.  There are several things you can do to help this problem.
The first is overhaul the dog’s diet.  Many dog foods have a lot of soy in them. …

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Diabetes and Your Dog

Dogs can get diabetes just as humans can.  In fact, as many as one in a hundred dogs will get it in their lifetime.  Dogs experience the same symptoms as people do, such as excessive thirst and urination, fatigue, and weakness.
Diabetes happens when the pancreas produces too little insulin or the body cannot make the insulin work as it should. …

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Heat Stroke and Your Dog

Dogs will play as long as you will let them.  However, on hot days, that drive to play over and over may cause them to suffer heat stroke.  Dogs cannot sweat except on the pads of their paws.  They cool themselves by panting and in extreme heat, or when the dog has over exerted himself, that just isn’t enough.
All dogs…

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Dog Ear Infections

Dogs get ear infections just like people do.  And, just as with people, such ear infections can become serious and result in the loss of hearing out of that ear if not treated.
Symptoms of ear infections range from rubbing the ear vigorously, to shaking the head.  They can also include an odor coming from the ear and green pus coming…

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Blastomycosis In Dogs

Blastomycosis is a relatively rare disease cause by the fungus Blastomyces dermatitidis.  It is most commonly found around river banks and other wet places.  Hunting dogs are the most common victims of this disease.  It is spread when a dog inhales the spores or receives a puncture wound that contains the spore and introduces it into the body.  The spores…

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Giardia

Giardiasis is an intestinal upset caused by a one celled protozoa called Giardia.  It is often referred to as beaver fever since campers and other travelers get it from water contaiminated by beavers.  Giardia has two forms in its life cycle.  The first form is called a trophozoite.  This is a fairly fragile creature that attaches to the intestinal wall…

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Canine Pancreatitis

Do you feed your dog people food?  You may be setting your dog up to have canine pancreatitis.  This is an inflammation of the pancreas.  While most people know the pancreas produces insulin to help keep blood sugar stable, many do not know that it also produces a quantity of digestive enzymes that help digest food.  In response to some…

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Pyometra

Pyometra is a very serious condion in dogs where the uterus fills with pus.  Just as in appendicitis, the uterus can burst and kill the dog.  This is another good reason to get a dog spayed — no uterus, no pyometra.
Pyometra normally occurs in middle aged or older intact bitches.  There are two kinds of pyometra, open and closed.  In…

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Treatment of Canine Heartworms

Most people give their dogs heartworm medicine to prevent the development of heartworms.  However, occasionally heartworms do infect a dog.  What happens then?  Heartworm treatment is a serious thing, but gone are the days when arsenic was administered to the dog in an effort to kill the heartworms but not the dog.
A dog gets heartworms when he is bitten by…

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Thyroid Problems in Dogs

Dogs can have problems with their thyroid just like humans can.  Some of a dog’s symptoms are the same, but some are different.  Thyroid problems can be caused by too much thyroid hormone or by too little thyroid hormone.
Hyperthyroidism is when the thyroid produces too much thyroid hormone.  It is relatively rare in dogs.  Usually hyperthyroidism is the result of…

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Common Plants Poisonous to Dogs

Dogs are curious creatures.  They tend to satisfy that curiosity by putting things in their mouths and eating them.  In some cases, this curiosity can be fatal.  Here is a list of the ten most common plants that are poisonous to dogs.  You can find a complete list of toxic plants on the ASPCS website.
1)  Grapes and raisins are very…

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Common Poisonous Foods for Dogs

Many dog owners give their pets tidbits of human food.  While veterinarians frequently complain about this, but most owners cannot resist.  However, many foods are toxic to dogs.  Here is a list of the most common poisonous foods for dogs.  The list is not exhaustive, but does contain the ten most common foods that cause problems for your dog.  A…

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Five Summer Hazards for Your Dog

Each season contains hazards for our pets.  Here are five hazards to guard against this summer.
1) Heat stroke.  Never leave a dog in the car, even for “just a minute.”  Temperatures can soar in minutes in the hot sun.  Even leaving a car window open is not adequate to save the dog.  By the same token, make sure that outside…

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Why it is important to spay your female dog

It is important to spay your female dog before her first heat or as soon as you acquire her, if she if older.  There are many myths about spaying dogs and many benefits to doing so.
First, we will discuss the benefits.  When a dog is spayed, her uterus and ovaries are removed.  This totally eliminates the possibility of uterine or…

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Why you should neuter your dog

Neutering your dog is an important part of responsible dog ownership.  There are many good reasons to do so as well as many myths about the process.  This article will explain the importance of neutering and dispel some of the myths about it.
The most important reason to neuter your dog is to prevent unwanted litters of puppies.  One male dog…

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Lyme Disease and Your Dog

Lyme disease is the most common tick borne disease in the United States in dogs.  It was first discovered in humans in an area of Connecticut called Old Lyme in 1975.  It is caused by a spirochete (bacteria) species of the Borrelia burgdorferi group.  Most cases are found in wooded areas in the Northern part of the United States, but…

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Ehrlichia in Dogs

Ehrlichia is a type of bacteria and a tick borne disease in dogs and other animals, including humans.  Ehrlichia causes ehrlichiosis in dogs.  It is primarily transmitted by the brown dog tick.  It can also be transmitted from an infected donor dog to a blood recipient dog.
Ehrlichia bacteria infect the white blood cells.  The severity of the illness and the…

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Internal worm parasites and your dog

When people think of parasites and their dog, most people focus on external parasites such as fleas and ticks.  Dogs also get internal parasites, such as tape worms, hook worms, whip worms, round worms, and heart worms.  This article will explain the facts you need to know about all the worms except heart worms, which are addressed in another article.

Tape…

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Leptospirosis

Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection caused by several strains of Leptospira bacteria.  It is most common in warm and wet climates and least common in the Southwest, but can cause problems anywhere.
Dogs are at risk when they drink from stagnant water, roam on rural property or in barnyards, or catch rodents and other wild animals.  Leptospirosis is spread by contact…

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Kennel Cough, The Doggy Common Cold

Kennel cough is a highly contagious disease that causes upper respiratory problems and a deep, persistent cough.  Because it is so contagious, it can sweep through a kennel in a matter of days, hence the name “kennel cough”.  This infection is actually found wherever dogs congregate, such as dog shows, the groomer, veterinarian’s offices, or dog parks.
Dogs with kennel cough…

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Five Winter Hazards for Your Dog

Each season seems like it comes with its’ own hazards for our dogs.  Winter is no exception.  Dogs have to worry about several things in the winter, including the cold, ice, de-icing solutions, car antifreeze, and lack of water.  Each of these poses problems for your dog that are not as prevalent at other times of the year.
The cold is…

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Dental Care and Your Dog

Did you know dogs get cavities?  In fact, dogs get all the same problems with their mouths we do:  cavities, gum disease, abscesses, and bad breath.  Further, in addition to causing pain in their own right, mouth problems can lead to infections, heart problems, and death.
How can you tell if your dog has a problem?  Look inside the dog’s mouth. …

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Rabies 101 and Your Dog

Rabies!  The very word is enough to strike fear in most dog owner’s hearts.  Since rabies is fatal to mammals, it is treated very seriously by health authorities and the incidence is low in the United States and Canada.  Other countries have a higher incidence, though, and wild animals lurk in even very urban areas.  It pays to know the…

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Distemper 101

Distemper used to be the scourge of the dog world.  Every dog went through it, with some dying, some suffering brain damage and being destroyed, and some coming through it okay.  One reason trainers used to wait until a dog was eight or nine months old to start training was to see if the dog would come through distemper okay. …

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Snake Bites and Your Dog

Snake bites range from clinically insignificant to life threatening and even deadly.  Most snakes are not poisonous.  Even poisonous snakes do not inject venom every time they bite.  The trouble is there is no way for an owner to know if this is a “dry bite” or if the snake shot a full dose of venom into the dog.  For…

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Parvo 101

Veterinarians dread dealing with a dog who has bloody diarrhea or is throwing up blood. It usually means the dog has parvo, an extremely contagious virus that often kills the dog. Even if it doesn’t kill the dog, it means days on an IV while the dog recovers. The dog must be kept in isolation so it…

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What to do in a Doggy Emergency

If you have a dog, you will eventually have an emergency. Your dog will eat something he isn’t supposed to, get in a fight with something, catch that car he is always chasing, or get very ill. While no one wants to have an emergency, a little preplanning and information can make having one go smoother.
First, your veterinarian’s…

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Vaccinations and Your Dog

Vaccinations can be a controversial topic. Some people do not believe in vaccinating their dogs, some give fewer vaccinations than the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) recommends, and some follow those recommendations completely.
Just as humans get vaccinations against certain diseases when young, it is recommended that puppies get a series of vaccinations against such diseases as adenovirus cough and…

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Pet Insurance

Veterinary medicine has reached the point where almost any treatment available to humans is available to dogs. That is good and bad. Knowing there is something that can be done to help your pet if only you could afford it is worse, in many ways, than knowing there is nothing that can be done. Economic euthanasia is…

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Diseases to Vaccinate Your Dog Against

Dogs get viruses that can threaten their health as well as make them miserable. Vaccinations exist for many of these illnesses. Vaccination schedules vary and are discussed in a separate article. Here are the diseases for which vaccines exist.

Adenovirus cough is one of the causes of kennel cough. The dog’s trachea and bronchial tubes are inflamed. …

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