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Worms, Worms and More Worms!

There are many different types of parasites that can invade and harm our fur babies. Here I will talk a little about the different types of worms, their appearance and give some information on them. Worms can be a threat anywhere but you particularly have to be careful in the warmer states and regions.

  • Roundworm (ascarids) they look like spaghetti and can be seen in feces. Symptoms include pot belly, vomiting and diarrhea, belly pain, weakness, dull coat and weight loss. They are transmitted from mom to pups and from eating stool.
  • Heartworms they grow to mature worms in 6-7 months. Symptoms include refusing to exercise, lethargic, pot belly and cough. They are transmitted through MOSQUITOS! This is why I emphasize on extra caution during the summer months, especially in warmer regions.
  • Tapeworms the segments of this worm break off and resemble a piece of rice. They can be seen in the stool and around the anus. They are transmitted by ingesting stool, or an infected flea or small rodent.
  • Whipworms this worm gets its name because it resembles a "whip." Symptoms with a large amount of worms or infection include diarrhea, intestinal wall inflammation and hemorrhage, anemia and weight loss. They are transmitted by infected water, food or stool.
  • Hookworms they only grow to about 1/4-1/2 in. in length. They attack the small intestine and suck the blood. An untreated case of hookworms can be fatal, especially to puppies. Symptoms include anemia, black tarry stool, weakness, hemorrhage, pale ears/nostrils/lips and poor appetite. They are transmitted from mom to pups and pads on feet can be penetrated.
  • Threadworms these worms can sometimes be seen in feces and they look like small pieces of white cotton thread hence their name. Symptoms include weight loss, lethargy, increased appetite with abdominal bloating/discomfort, diarrhea, pneumonia (from traveling down the esophagus to get to the intestines, they can travel into the lungs), cough, skin inflammation and dehydration. They are transmitted through mom's milk to pups, saliva of ticks, stool of infected animals and larvae can even penetrate their host's skin.
  • There are plenty of simple ways to help prevent parasitic infestations in our animals. Always keep living areas and kennels clean and sanitized from stool and urine, clean food and water bowls daily and apply some form of mosquito, tick and flea repellant. Preventative measures can save your dogs life and always remember a healthy pet is a happy pet.

Common Emergencies

The best health insurance you can give your pet is preventative health care. It has been estimated that simply keeping your pet's teeth clean can add 2 years to its life. Preventative health care also includes weight control, parasite control, skin/coat care and being prepared for emergencies.

If you know how to stop bleeding, induce vomiting, administer medications and apply a muzzle, you will probably save Fido's life if it is possible to do so during an emergency. Remaining calm in an emergency situation is most important for a successful outcome. The basic fact is that if Fido is going to die within the first 30 minutes after an accident, he will probably do so regardless of what you do.

A basic emergency first aid kit can be assembled in a Ziploc bag and should include:

  • Activated Charcoal (for coating the gastrointestinal tract)
  • Pepto Bismol (for diarrhea)
  • Dial soap (for washing wounds)
  • Ivory soap (for washing the skin from contact with poisons)
  • Rectal thermometer

Bleeding: Control bleeding by direct pressure to the wound with your hand or a pressure bandage. Place a gauze pad over the wound and then cover and wrap with an elastic bandage. Place the bandage snug for pressure, but not tight enough to cut off circulation. Although some blood may discolor it, the bandage should be tight enough so that blood does not drip through it. Seek veterinary attention for all cuts through the entire thickness of the skin or that bleed excessively. It is best not to apply any medications. Tincture of Iodine, Peroxide and most ointments only irritate the wound more and decrease healing. Do not apply cotton to a wound.

Heat Stroke:

Early signs include heavy panting, high fever (105-108), shock and collapse. Lower the body temperature by hosing or immersing in cold water up to the neck. Apply ice packs to the head--very important to prevent brain damage.

Choking: Attempt to push the lower jaw open and tilt the head up. Using extreme caution try to remove any object with the fingers. If unsuccessful, kneel behind the dog, holding its body below the ribs. Squeeze hard a few times, pressing up. Seek veterinary attention if the object does not pop out. Swallowed objects that do not interfere with breathing are not immediate life or death threats. However, a veterinarian should be consulted if it is possible the object was swallowed. Complications are much less when the object can be removed while still in the stomach rather than in the intestine. Many veterinary clinics now have endoscopes that allow the object to be removed without surgery.

Poisoning (Internal):

Read the label of the product for instructions. Do not induce vomiting of some poisons, such as caustic chemicals, acids, alkalies and petroleum products. Most other cases require vomiting to rid as much of the chemical as possible from the stomach. Ipecac Syrup (5-15cc) is the drug of choice. Hydrogen Peroxide (15-30cc) will also sometimes work, but not always.

Burns: Immerse the affected part in cold water. Keep ice on the area as much as possible. Do not apply any type of medication until veterinary attention is obtained if the burn appears severe. The major complication is infection.


Causes of seizures include low blood sugar, epilepsy, distemper, diabetes and heart failure. The dog WILL NOT swallow his tongue, do not put your fingers in his mouth. Keep him warm, place him in an area where he cannot injure himself and seek veterinary attention. Young puppies should be given a teaspoon of honey or other form of sugar. Do NOT give sugar to older pets if there is a possibility of diabetes.

Shock: Signs of shock include depression, decreased body temperature and grayish gums. Keep the pet as quiet as possible, keep it warm and seek veterinary attention immediately.

Coughing in Dogs: Causes and Treatments

Coughing is a reflex initiated by an irritation in the airway. Coughs are caused by respiratory infections, congestive heart failure, chronic bronchitis, respiratory tract tumors, collapsing trachea, pressure from tight collars, and inhaled irritants such as grass seeds, fumes, and food particles.

The type of cough often suggests the diagnosis:

  • A deep, dry, hacking cough made worse by exercise or excitement is characteristic of kennel cough.
  • A moist, bubbling cough indicates fluid or phlegm in the lungs and suggests pneumonia.
  • A high, weak, gagging cough, followed by swallowing and licking the lips, is characteristic of tonsillitis and sore throat.
  • A spasm of prolonged coughing that occurs at night or while lying on the sternum suggests heart disease.
  • A “goose-honk” cough in a toy breed dog indicates a collapsing trachea.

The diagnostic workup of a dog with a chronic cough includes a chest X-ray and transtracheal washings. Washings are cells obtained by flushing the trachea with saline solution. This can be done with a sterile tube passed down the trachea while the dog is sedated, or by direct penetration of the trachea through the skin of the neck using a needle and catheter. The washings are processed for cytology and bacterial culture. The information usually leads to a specific diagnosis.

Bronchoscopy is particularly useful in the investigation of chronic coughs and coughs with the production of mucus and blood. The procedure requires sedation or general anesthesia. A rigid or flexible endoscope is passed into the trachea and bronchi. This enables the veterinarian to see the interior of the respiratory tract. Biopsies can be taken with accuracy, and washings collected for examination and culture. Bronchoscopy is also the procedure of choice for removing bronchial foreign bodies.

Treating a Cough

Only minor coughs of brief duration should be treated at home. Coughs accompanied by labored breathing, a discharge from the eyes or nose, or the production of bloody sputum should be seen and treated by a veterinarian.

It is important to identify and correct any contributing factors. Eliminate any irritating atmospheric pollutants, such as cigarette smoke, aerosol insecticides, strong cleaners, house dust, and perfumes, from the home environment.

Cough suppressants should be used selectively and only for short periods. Although they decrease the frequency and severity of the cough, they do not treat the condition causing it. Overuse may delay diagnosis and treatment. Cough suppressants (but not expectorants) should be avoided in dogs with bacterial infections and when phlegm is being brought up or swallowed. In these cases, productive coughs are clearing unwanted material from the airway.

Dogs with a dry cough can be helped by keeping them in the bathroom while you shower and not using the fan. The added moisture may loosen secretions. Using a humidifier can also be helpful.

Foreign Body in the Lungs

Grass seeds and food particles are the most common foreign materials inhaled by dogs that are big enough to lodge in the smaller breathing tubes. Most of these are quickly coughed up. If the object becomes fixed in the airway, it causes intense irritation and swelling of the air passage. Mucus collects below the obstruction and forms an ideal medium for bacterial growth and infection. Objects that remain in the lungs for several weeks can cause pneumonia.

Sudden attacks of coughing that occur immediately after vomiting or after a dog has been running in tall grass and weeds suggest inhalation of a foreign body. Lungworms in the bronchi also cause severe coughing spasms.

Treatment: Unexplained coughing should be investigated by a veterinarian. Avoid cough medicines, unless prescribed by your veterinarian, since they delay treatment. Bronchoscopy is usually successful in locating and removing bronchial foreign bodies, particularly if the procedure is done within two weeks of inhalation.

Collapsing Trachea

This condition occurs primarily in older dogs of the toy breeds, particularly Chihuahuas, Pomeranians, and Toy Poodles, and occasionally in young dogs as a congenital defect.

Collapsing trachea occurs because the C-shaped tracheal rings do not possess normal rigidity. As a result, the involved wall of the trachea collapses as the dog inhales. Obesity is a predisposing factor, as is chronic bronchitis.

The principal sign of collapsing trachea is a characteristic goose-honk cough. The cough is made worse by stress and exertion, including pulling against a collar. Coughing may also occur when the dog eats or drinks. Respiratory insufficiency develops as the disease progresses.

Treatment:Examination by a veterinarian is the first step. Diseases of the heart and lungs should be ruled out before making the diagnosis. Dogs with mild to moderate symptoms respond to proper nutrition and a low-stress routine that avoids situations that trigger episodes of coughing. Moderate exercise is beneficial. Using a harness or head halter instead of a collar is important.

Overweight dogs should be put on a weight-loss diet. Eliminate cigarette smoke and other atmospheric pollutants that can trigger coughing.

Bronchodilator drugs such as aminophylline, theophylline, or albuterol are beneficial for many small dogs. Mild low-dose sedatives during stressful periods also are helpful. Cough suppressants and corticosteroids may be prescribed when the coughing is particularly severe. Respiratory infections require prompt treatment with antibiotics.

This article is excerpted from “Dog Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook” with permission from Wiley Publishing, Inc. Feb. 2013.

Laser Therapy for Dogs

Cujo had been diagnosed with hip dysplasia and severe arthritis. He was receiving laser therapy and the results were amazing. I wanted to pass this along for you animal lovers out there that have your aging best friends that may need some pain relief. Please, ask your vet for more information. It could greatly improve your dogs quality of life.

LASER THERAPY is an advanced modality for the treatment

of Inflammatory or Painful conditions in dogs.

Indications for Laser Therapy

The most common Laser Therapy indications are:

  • Arthritis (Degenerative Joint Disease)
  • Back Pain (Intervertebral Disc Disease)
  • Trauma (Skin, Muscle, Bone)
  • Wounds (Trauma)
  • Surgery (Incisions, Growth Removals, Bone Surgery)
  • Inflammatory Conditions:
  • Acute or chronic otitis (Ear problems)
  • Anal Gland inflammation
  • Periodontitis (Gingivitis)
  • Hot Spots
  • Lick Granulomas
  • Idiopathic Cystitis - (Bladder Inflammation)
  • Sinusitis, Rhinitis (Nasal problems)

What is Laser Therapy?

There are basically two types of laser therapy units: Continuous and Pulsed Lasers. Continuous Laser emissions act fast on inflammation, stimulating blood and lymphatic circulation, and inducing fast reabsorption of fluid build-ups; however, they only have a secondary effect on pain, which is diminished after reducing the inflammatory process. Pulsed Laser emissions, on the other hand, have an immediate effect on pain, since they are able to produce analgesia, interfering with the very transmission of the pain impulse to the higher brain centers, but they are less effective at treating inflammation and edema, only achieving results after a long period of application. Until now, no diode laser was able to induce strong anti-inflammatory, anti-edema, and analgesic effects simultaneously and within a short period of time.

The MLS Therapy Laser was developed to overcome the limits of traditional Laser therapy. The MLS Therapy Laser is able to overcome the limits imposed by selecting one of the two emission types, since it is based on the characteristic therapeutic properties of a new Laser Pulse. It uses an MLS Pulse, which combines and synchronizes emission of continuous and pulsed Laser emissions with different infrared wavelengths. This patented control system synchronizes the two emissions and shortens the treatment period for treating pain, inflammation, and edema, and for repairing superficial lesions.

Conventional Laser therapy has been in use for more than 25 years. More than 3,000 scientific publications have been written validating its effectiveness. It has been demonstrated to be non-toxic and to have no side effects.

MLS Therapy Laser

obtained from; Sept.26, 2012

Myasthenia Gravis

Myasthenia gravis is a disease of the nervous system that occurs in dogs and (rarely) cats. Myasthenia gravis in dogs can be present at birth (ie, congenital), but is usually acquired in adult dogs. The most commonly affected breeds include German Shepherd dogs and retrievers. The most common cause of myasthenia gravis in dogs is an autoimmune condition in which antibodies in the blood attack receptors for a chemical called acetylcholine, which transmits nervous impulses to the muscles.

Dogs affected with myasthenia gravis typically show up with stiffness, shaking, and weakness after exercise. The signs usually go away with rest. The muscles in the head and throat may also be affected, leading to a slack appearance in the face and difficulty swallowing. Some dogs will spit up their food and may even aspirate some into the wind pipe, which can cause pneumonia.

Diagnosis is based on signs of illness and several clinical tests. Your veterinarian may give your pet a shot of a chemical similar to acetylcholine, to see if signs resolve. A positive response to this test is suggestive of myasthenia gravis, but a definite diagnosis of acquired disease involves checking for specific antibodies in the blood. Diagnosis of congenital cases requires a muscle biopsy.

Treatment involves daily administration of drugs that replace the missing acetylcholine. Your vet may also prescribe high doses of corticosteroids to suppress the autoimmune response.Because dogs with myasthenia gravis have a poorly functioning esophagus, they need to eat or be fed carefully. Make sure that your dog’s head is elevated during feeding and for 10–15 minutes afterward. Prognosis is generally good, with many cases clearing up on their own. Dogs that develop pneumonia do not tend to do as well.

obtained- Oct. 9, 2012

From my experience with myasthenia gravis with Chopper, the best way to feed them , especially a large dog, is a Bailey's chair.

A dog with megaesophagus cannot eat anything which is lumpy or has bits of things in it. The dog cannot have dog treats or table scraps. He can eat any canned food which is totally smooth, or dry food can be soaked in water overnight and pureed in a food processor with water to ensure a smooth consistency. The smoothness of the food is important, because any lumps are caught in the dog's esophagus and regurgitated later, which can lead to pneumonia. Food preparation is easy and takes a very short time.

Once you have food, determine how you want to feed the dog. A special chair can be used, called a Bailey chair, and plans for this can be obtained through the Megaesophagus Group online. (It can be made inexpensively with ordinary plywood, and at least one person in this group will make it for you if you cannot.) The Bailey chair keeps the dog upright, and lets food slide down into the stomach. It is easiest and neatest to feed the dog with a spoon, although in this position he can eat from a bowl. The other possibility is to have the dog (if large) stand at a counter or any other structure which has him stretched out at his full height when on hind legs. This works well too, but the Bailey chair is easier in that it forces the dog to stay upright. Some dogs may not want to stay "in position" at a counter, and do better in the chair.

It seems to work best to feed the dog three or four times a day, in smaller portions. The dog will eat the same volume of food any dog will. Since most Mega dogs are underweight, it may work best to feed them puppy food or something high in protein. The dog should be kept relatively quiet before and after feeding to avoid problems. In all other respects, Mega dogs are perfectly healthy, and can lead long, normal lives if precautions are taken.

obtained- Oct. 9, 2012.