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DECREASING DISEASE RISKS FOR YOUR DOGS...

Posted Oct 19 2009 10:05pm 1 Comment
Keeping your dog healthy can present many of the same challenges as keeping your cat healthy (from last week's issue of Questions On Dogs and Cats); however, since dogs and their owners tend to be a little more social in their gatherings, there are additional considerations for "Decreasing Disease Risks For Your Dogs." Helpful Buckeye will address this topic a little later in this issue.

Until December 15th, the People's HealthBlogger Award icon will be displayed at the top of the column to the left so that our readers can vote for Helpful Buckeye in the "competition" being sponsored by Wellsphere, the large health interest community on the Internet. Wellsphere has many different health communities for different interests and one of those is a Pet Health Community. That's where Helpful Buckeye spends some time each day, answering many questions from pet owners and exchanging ideas about dogs and cats. Wellsphere is conducting this People's HealthBlogger Award to recognize what they are calling their "Top Bloggers" and they want all of their bloggers to let their readers know about this award. You can vote for Helpful Buckeye anytime up until the 15th of December on their web site by clicking the "Vote Now" box in the newly-added "People's HealthBlogger Award" emblem and proceeding according to their instructions. Since most of Wellsphere's bloggers and readers are related to the human health fields, Helpful Buckeye has no delusions about competing at a high level in this voting. They are just getting started with the Pet Health Community this year. However, it would be nice to see that their readership for pet-related concerns is beginning to grow. Helpful Buckeye is grateful for the votes already received. So, as they say on Dancing With The Stars, please vote! And, if you have a few spare minutes, take the opportunity to move around the Wellsphere web site and sample some of their options...it's all free! Wellsphere can be found at: http://www.wellsphere.com/home.s

Last week's poll question left almost all of you with a surprise. There were 17 guesses, both at the poll and by e-mail, and all but 1 guessed France and Italy. They were incorrect. The one person, Sam from Atlanta, who guessed Germany was correct. "Breed historians are in general agreement that the Poodle had its origins in Germany, with some influence from Russia and then became standardized as a distinct breed in France where it is the national dog. That is why many people today refer to the Poodle with the misnomer of "French" Poodle. In Germany the Poodle (from the German word pudel - meaning "to splash in water") was a very sturdy dog, that possessed two coat types, curly and corded. The corded type of coat is rarely seen in the United States, but is still in existence." From: http://www.barkbytes.com/history/poodle.htm

Don't forget to respond to this week's poll question in the column to the left.

OK, now it's time for Helpful Buckeye to lace up the blogging shoes and get to work!
From The New Yorker:


CURRENT NEWS OF INTEREST

1) The American Kennel Club and the Cat Fanciers' Association have been very active this past week in anticipation of their joint venture in New York City held yesterday and today. Meet the Breeds was the world's largest showcase of cats and dogs. The event offered cat and dog lovers the rare opportunity to meet nearly 200 breeds and interact with dogs, cats, puppies, and kittens. As part of the pre-show festivities, several dogs and cats participated in the ringing of the opening bell for the NASDAQ portion of the stock market...click through the pictures at: http://www.akc.org/press_center/NASDAQcoverage.cfm

Then, go to: http://www.akc.org/meet_the_breeds/ and click on Meet The Breeds Video....

2) The AKC and CFA also announced the results of their poll on which species was more popular, dogs or cats. Dogs were the ultimate winners but cats made a strong showing in several cities: http://www.akc.org/news/index.cfm?article_id=3990



DISEASES, AILMENTS, AND MEDICAL CONDITIONS

Dogs' Social Lives and Disease Risks

Decreasing Disease Risks For Dogs, Their Owners, And Common Sense Measures For The Protection Of All

Helpful Buckeye has reproduced this commentary from a presentation of The American Veterinary Medical Association. This information has been prepared as a service by the AVMA. Redistribution is acceptable, but the document's original content and format must be maintained, and its source must be prominently identified.

Whether it's the dog park, doggie day care, boarding, competitions or training classes, mingling dogs with varied or unknown health histories can present health problems for dogs as well as their owners. The very reason you take your dog to a dog gathering – social mixing with other dogs – is the same thing that can put them at risk. Diseases can be spread through direct contact between dogs, shared bowls and equipment, contaminated water, stool, insects and other methods. People who visit these areas and interact with the dogs may also become infected with zoonotic diseases, which are diseases that can be spread from animals to people. In addition, any gathering that puts people and dogs together introduces the risk of dog bites.



As always, your veterinarian is your best source for animal health information. If your dog is showing signs of illness, consult your veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment. If you feel you have been exposed or made ill by any of the conditions listed below, consult a physician.
This information isn't intended to scare dog owners away from participating in and enjoying social events involving dogs; rather, it is intended to inform you of the risks and some common sense measures that can decrease the disease risks for you and your dog(s).



Disease Risks For Dogs

The following is a list of the most common diseases to which your dog(s) may be exposed at a dog gathering. There may be specific risks in your area that are not listed. For more information about specific diseases in your area, consult your veterinarian.

People can also spread some diseases (such as mange, ringworm, kennel cough and canine influenza) from dog to dog through shared brushes, collars, bedding, etc. or by petting or handling an infected dog before petting or handling another dog.

Canine distemper is caused by a very contagious virus. Puppies and dogs usually become infected through virus particles in the air or in the respiratory secretions of infected dogs. Infected dogs typically develop runny eyes, fever, snotty nose, coughing, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, and paralysis. It is often fatal.

Fortunately, there is an effective vaccine to protect your dog from this deadly disease. The canine distemper vaccine is considered a "core" vaccine and is recommended for every dog.

Canine influenza ("canine flu" or "dog flu") is caused by the canine influenza virus. It is a relatively new disease in dogs. Because most dogs have not been exposed to the virus, their immune systems are not able to fully respond to the virus and many of them will become infected when they are exposed. Canine influenza is spread through respiratory secretions, contaminated objects (including surfaces, bowls, collars and leashes). The virus can survive for up to 48 hours on surfaces, up to 24 hours on clothing, and up to 12 hours on people's hands.

Dogs can be shedding the virus before they even show signs of illness, which means an apparently healthy dog can still infect other dogs. Dogs with canine influenza develop coughing, a fever and a snotty nose, which are the same signs observed when a dog has kennel cough.

There is a vaccine for canine influenza, but at this time it is not recommended for every dog. Consult your veterinarian to determine if the canine influenza vaccine is recommended for your dog.

Canine parvovirus ("parvo") is caused by the canine parvovirus type 2. The virus is very contagious and attacks the gastrointestinal system, causing fever, vomiting and severe, often bloody, diarrhea. It is spread by direct contact between dogs as well as by contaminated stool, surfaces, bowls, collars, leashes, equipment, and the hands and clothing of people. It can also survive in the soil for years, making the virus hard to kill. Treating parvo can be very expensive and many dogs die from parvo despite intensive treatment.

Fortunately, there is a vaccine for parvo. It is considered a "core" vaccine and is recommended for every dog.

External parasites (ticks, fleas and mange) are fairly common dog problems. Ticks from the environment, fleas from other dogs and the environment, and mange from other dogs pose risks at dog gatherings. Ticks can transmit diseases (see tick-borne diseases below). Fleas can transmit some types of tapeworms as well as some diseases, and they may end up infesting your home and yard if they hitchhike home on your dog(s).

There are many approved products available to effectively prevent and treat external parasites on dogs. Consult your veterinarian about the best product for your dog.

Cheyletiella mites cause "walking dandruff" on dogs (itching and flaky skin on the dog's trunk). They are spread from dog to dog by direct contact, and may require more aggressive treatment than fleas.

Fertilizers and pesticides can be toxic to dogs. Avoid letting your pet walk, run, play or roam in areas that have recently been treated with fertilizers or pesticides.

Fungal organisms in the soil can infect dogs when they eat or sniff contaminated soil. Dogs can also be infected through the skin, especially through a skin wound. The types of fungus seen vary throughout the U.S.: histoplasmosis is more common in the Eastern and Central U.S.; blastomycosis is more common in the Southeast, Southcentral and Midwest regions; cryptococcosis is more common in the Pacific Northwest region; and coccidioidomycosis is more common in the Southwest U.S. Histoplasmosis can be also be spread by bird or bat droppings.

In general, the fungus infects the body through the respiratory tract and causes fever, coughing, lethargy and flu-like or pneumonia-like signs. If eaten, digestive problems (e.g., pain, diarrhea) can occur. Immunosuppressed dogs (dogs whose immune systems are weakened because of disease or certain medications) are much more likely to become infected with these fungi and develop disease.

Heartworms are spread by mosquitoes and can cause coughing, lethargy, difficulty breathing, heart disease and death. Fortunately, there are many approved products to prevent heartworm infection. Consult your veterinarian about the best product for your dog.

Heatstroke and heat exhaustion are big risks during warm and hot weather. Remember that your dog is always wearing a fur coat and they are usually warmer than you are. A temperature that seems only a little warm to a person can be too hot for a dog. Add to that the fact that dogs at dog gatherings are often active and playing, and the heat could become deadly for your dog. Never leave your pet in the car on warm days. Even a 70°F day can be too hot in a car. Short-nosed breeds, such as pugs, Boston Terriers, boxers, bulldogs, etc. are more prone to heatstroke and breathing problems because they don't pant as effectively as breeds with normal-length noses.

Signs of heatstroke include excessive panting and drooling, anxiousness, weakness, abnormal gum color (darker red or even purple), collapse and death.

Any dog showing signs of heatstroke should be immediately taken to a shaded area and cooled with cold, wet towels that are wrung out and rewetted every few minutes. Running cool water over the dog's body and quickly wiping it away (so the water absorbs the skin's heat and is immediately wiped away) can also help. Transport the dog to a veterinarian immediately, because heatstroke can rapidly become deadly.

Injuries can arise any time unfamiliar dogs and/or dogs with different temperaments are mixed. Bite wounds should be immediately evaluated by a veterinarian and efforts should be made to determine the rabies vaccination status of the biting dog. Overweight dogs and dogs accustomed to more sedentary lifestyles should be encouraged to become more active, but excessive activity can put them at risk of injury to joints, bones or muscles. If your dog is overweight and/or you plan to increase its activity level, consult with your veterinarian about the best plan to get your dog active with the least risk of injury.

This concludes the first part of this series on keeping your dog healthy. The second part will appear in next week's issue of Questions On Dogs and Cats. Helpful Buckeye has already discussed several of these problems in detail in previous issues and those topics can be found in the listing under "Labels" in the left column.

Any questions or comments should be sent to: dogcatvethelp@gmail.com or entered at the "Comment" icon at the end of this issue.

NON-MEDICAL CONCERNS

Looking to escape your hometown haunts for a wilderness hike? Don't forget your pooch! Dogs love to explore our country's vast natural resources as much their two-legged counterparts—not to mention, hiking is great exercise for all. But remember, a hiking trail isn't your average walk around the block. The ASPCA offers some helpful tips for keeping you and your pet safe and sound on your outdoor adventures.



  • Extending leashes are great for wide open spaces, but if your romp is taking you through wooded areas, it's best to leave the flexi-leads at home. Otherwise, you'll probably spend more time untangling your dog's leash from trees and brush than you will enjoying your walk!


  • If your pup is the trustworthy sort and you want to give him the opportunity to enjoy some untethered time on your hike, first make sure that dogs are allowed to be off-leash in the area you're exploring. Second, be sure that he responds reliably to your recall command—even the most obedient dog might bolt after some fascinating new critter.


  • Hard to believe, but not everyone is as enamored with dogs as we are! Some people get very nervous around unleashed dogs. As a courtesy, have a leash on standby to clip to your dog when encountering other hikers.


  • Whether you're using a leash or not, don't forget IDs, please! Always make sure that your current contact information, including your cell phone number, is attached to your dog's collar or body harness. If for any reason your pet gets lost, a collar and tags and a microchip will increase the likelihood that he or she will be returned to you.


  • You never know what you may encounter on a hike—so before setting out into the wilderness, check your pet's veterinary records and make sure its vaccinations are up-to-date.


  • Training tip: Teach your dog to come to you for treats whenever you pass by other hikers, especially if they have dogs, too. Your dog will learn to not interfere with passersby, and at the same time, you're ensuring it associates new people and dogs with good things, like tasty treats from you.


  • If a poop falls in the woods and no one else sees it, do you get a free pass? NO! There's no such thing as a victimless poop. Please have respect for your surroundings, native wildlife and fellow hikers by scooping up after your dog and toting the baggie back to civilization if there are no trash cans around.


  • Both of you need to stay hydrated, so bring enough water for two. Don't allow your pup to drink from puddles, ponds, lakes or streams—in other words, "nature's dog bowls"—as they may contain nasty parasites or toxins that could cause it harm.


  • When your hike is finished, give your pooch a thorough once-over for ticks and other creepy-crawlies. Pay special attention to its belly, ears, and any skin folds and crevices. If you do spot a tick, treat the area with rubbing alcohol and remove the parasite immediately by slowly pulling it off with tweezers. Be careful when removing a tick, as any contact with its blood can potentially transmit infection to your dog or even to you. Wash the bite area and keep an eye on it for the next few days—if irritation persists, contact your vet.


Enjoy your hiking experiences with your dog, as well as the other canine social activities discussed in the previous section. If you have any interesting tales (tails?) to tell about those experiences, send them to Helpful Buckeye at: dogcatvethelp@gmail.com and we'll share them with our readers.

PRODUCTS OF THE WEEK

1) If you're looking for fashion as well as function in a pet carrier, the folks at http://sleepypod.com/ might have just what you want. You can read a review of this dual-purpose product at: http://www.pawnation.com/2009/10/13/pet-product-review-sleepypod/

2) If you want a luxurious bed for your pet, the web site for you might be: http://www.puppyhugger.com/ A review of some of their offerings can be read at: http://www.pawnation.com/2009/10/13/product-review-puppy-huggers/



GENERAL INTEREST

1) Our regular readers will recall the item last week about dogs that were turned loose with paints and a canvas: http://www.pawnation.com/2009/10/08/painting-pups-when-dogs-let-loose-on-canvas/ Well, Ken, my good buddy here in Flagstaff, and our "resident" entomologist, asked the question, "Just exactly which of those paint colors can dogs see?"

Here is a comparison of the color vision capabilities of dogs and humans:

As you can see, the reds and greens are not part of what a dog can see. The conclusion from this would be that the dogs doing those paintings either picked those colors by accident or were provided them by an "assistant."

2) According to studies done by the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, the trace amount of lead found in pet toys is NOT enough to warrant any concerns at this time: http://www.aspca.org/news/national/10-16-09.html

3) Just in case you weren't aware of how quickly the pet population can explode into huge numbers of unwanted cats and dogs, the SPCA International gives us this statistic: An unspayed cat and her offspring can produce more than 400,000 cats over time. An unspayed dog and her offspring can produce over 6,000 puppies during the same time.

4) "A miniature dachshund, Henry, is walking again after pioneering treatment that took stem cells from his nose and implanted them in his back to fix his damaged spine." So goes the headline from this exciting story from Cambridge, England. Read about Henry's ongoing recovery from paralysis of his rear legs due to a back injury: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/6271043/Paralysed-dog-cured-by-stem-cell-treatment.html

5) The AKC has another poll for you. This one is Part 2 of "Favorite Movie Dog": http://www.pawnation.com/2009/10/12/poll-who-is-your-favorite-movie-dog-part-2/ Helpful Buckeye's favorite from this group is "Einstein"....

6) Just when you thought you had heard all of the possible human jobs that could be done by a dog, along comes Barney, the Basset Hound. Barney has been trained as a "sniffer" of termites, bedbugs, and other insects: http://www.pawnation.com/2009/10/14/bed-bug-sniffing-dogs-from-pet-shop-to-pest-stopping/

7) Imagine your reaction if you were the animal control officer in Idaho who answered the call about an unusual looking animal in someone's back yard...and you found this:

Read the rest of this dog's pathetic story at: http://www.rexburgstandardjournal.com/articles/2009/10/14/news/41.txt and just to make you feel a little better about the dog, here is what it looked like after being trimmed:
SPORTS NEWS

The LA DODGERS split the first 2 games of the NL Championship Series with the Phillies and now are in Philadelphia for the next 3 games. Even though losing 1 of the home games, I still like our chances. We'll either be in the World Series by next week's issue or we'll be kicking back for the winter!

The PITTSBURGH STEELERS beat the Browns today, while the Ravens and Bengals lost...so, we gained a whole game on each of our division rivals.

PERSONAL STUFF

Here's a tip of the "plumed" hat to the Four Musketeers..."Tous pour un, et un pour tous!"



"The reason a dog has so many friends is that he wags his tail instead of his tongue."

-Anonymous



To all of our loyal readers, a sentiment from Roy Rogers, Dale Evans, and "Tinkertown"



~~The goal of this blog is to provide general information and advice to help you be a better pet owner and to have a more rewarding relationship with your pet. This blog does not intend to replace the professional one-on-one care your pet receives from a practicing veterinarian. When in doubt about your pet's health, always visit a veterinarian.~~
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If you need information on how to decrease dog disease in your pet, I recommend visiting DoggedHealth.com. They have information on how to keep your dog living a long, happy life.
 
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