The Wet Nose Press Pet Blog

April 24, 2017
by Lynn Merton
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All You Need To Know About Brain Inflammation In Dogs

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Brain inflammation in dogs happen when the immune system of a dog attacks the brain. It is also known as encephalitis. It may either happen exclusively or your dog will suffer from encephalitis and also meningitis. The latter is inflammation of the meninges. Encephalitis generally occurs in an adult dog or a younger dog. Some dog breeds are more vulnerable than others, like Chihuahua, German Short-Hair Pointers, Pug and Maltese.

Encephalitis or brain inflammation symptoms

Brain inflammation symptoms vary as per the brain area affected. Symptoms start suddenly and progress happans extremely fast. The list of symptoms include pain, decreased pupil size, behavioral changes, balance loss, blindness, tilting head, uncoordinated movements, fever, seizures, unequal pupil size, depression, stumbling, decreased responsiveness, face paralysis and excessive circling.

Causes of encephalitis in dogs

Most dogs suffer from encephalitis from non-infectious causes. A few are idiopathic. This means the cause remains unknown. All of them are autoimmune diseases, where immune system goes on a warpath with itself. Infectious causes, however are much less common. These include fungal infections, viruses, bacteria, parasitic infections, protozoa and rickettsia.

Diagonizing encephalitis in dogs

An exhaustive reporting of onset and the extent of the symptoms of the dog will help in aiding diagnosis. Do not forget to include any kind of incidents or recent injuries which could offer an alternative explanation when your dog behaves differently than usual. The veterinarian may complete a comprehensive physical examination, complete blood count, urinalysis and chemical blood profile. Results of such tests could reveal the possible reasons for inflammation of the brain. This will begin with fewer blood cell count. If this occurs, it means infection.

The brain structure of the dog and its functions will be examined with CT scans and MRIs. There could be a sampling of cerebrospinal fluid which will then be checked by experts for further analysis. Such tests will be adequate to evoke a positive diagnosis when it comes to brain inflammation. In a few cases, analyzing a sample of brain tissue could be the sole way to confirm such a diagnosis.

Treatment

Initial aim will be on reducing the symptoms severity. There is a good chance that the dog will need intensive care and hospitalization. If an infection is responsible for brain inflammation, the cause will be treated on an individual level. This is usually done through customized antibiotics. To treat brain inflammation, medication given is designed to decrease the inflammation and also to suppress the immune system. The list of medicines used in treatment include prednisone, procarbazine, cytosine arabinoside, leflunomide, azathioprine and cyclosporine. The cost of treating brain inflammation varies from a couple of hundred dollars to more than a couple of thousands.

April 21, 2017
by Lynn Merton
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Your Dog May Suffer a Brain Injury, Here’s What You Should Know

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As dogs are extremely active animals, it’s possible for them to suffer from brain injury due to accidents with vehicles, getting stepped on, getting hit by swings or blunt objects, and fights with other animals. As the rate of mortality is high when a dog has a brain injury, it is important to know when your dog has one and what you can do to save its life.

What is a brain injury?

A brain injury occurs when there is trauma to the head which will result in neurological dysfunction. It commonly happens due to accidents and there are two types of brain injury.
Primary brain injury is when there is direct trauma and secondary brain injury is a change in the brain tissue that takes place after a primary injury. Secondary injuries can be prevented, managed, and can be made better with proper care and treatment.

What causes a brain injury?

A brain injury is caused by but not limited to the following:

  • Forceful trauma (car accident)
  • Decreased blood flow to the brain
  • Hypoglycemia or low blood glucose
  • High blood pressure
  • Toxins
  • Immune-mediated diseases
  • Parasites in the brain
  • Brain tumor
  • Extreme hyperthermia or hypothermia
  • Infections in the nervous system

Symptoms of brain injury

The signs of brain injury may be blatantly obvious or it might not be apparent. Unless you were there to witness the accident that caused the injury, it can get difficult to know whether your dog is hurt or not. If you see any of the following symptoms, take your pet to the vet immediately.

  • The pupils differ in size
  • Seizures
  • Rigid/flaccid limbs
  • Bleeding from the ear canal or nostril
  • Bleeding inside the eye
  • Rapid or heavy breathing
  • The skin has bluish discoloration
  • Loss of consciousness

Treatment of brain injury

The main aim of the vet will be to stabilize the dog by normalizing the temperature, blood pressure, and oxygen levels in the brain to prevent hypoxia. In order to aid the breathing process, a tube may be inserted to supply oxygen. Fluid therapy will be done to restore the heart rate and maintain blood pressure. The head of the dog will be elevated and medication will be administered to reduce swelling in the brain. The dog will also be turned every two hours to avoid further complications. Within 24 hours, the dog should show improvement. Surgery may be required if the condition is critical.

Recovery from brain injury

The recovery of your dog depends on the extent of brain injury, age, and physical condition. Physical therapy will be provided as a part of the recovery regimen, which includes swimming, supported walking, and extension of limbs. With the help of your vet, your dog should show significant improvement but there are chances that they may not recover fully. The entire process will be stressful for your dog so be involved as much as possible so that they are comfortable. It may take weeks or months but you will notice significant improvement.

April 20, 2017
by Lynn Merton
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All You Need To Know About Birth Difficulties In Dogs

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When our four-legged friend is about to give birth to puppies, we tend to worry more than the dogs. It’s natural to be concerned as we want the whole birthing process to go smoothly. The majority of the time, she will be able to handle things by herself, but it’s a good thing to keep an eye on her in case something was to go wrong. How will you know when your dog is facing difficulty in giving birth? Don’t worry because here is everything you need to know about birth difficulties in dogs.

Stages of Labor

There are three stages of labor in dogs. In the first stage, the uterine begins to contract, the cervix relaxes and the water breaks. The female dog might become nervous, restless and will keep herself occupied in nesting.

During the second stage, the puppies get pushed out by the contractions. The average time between the onset of stage two and delivery of the first puppy is less than four hours. The time between deliveries is usually 20 – 60 minutes and may take as long as 2 – 3 hours.

In the third stage, the fetal membranes are delivered. The dog may alternate between the second stage and third stage when there are multiple deliveries to be made.

Dystocia

The medical term that is used for difficult birth is called dystocia. Veterinarians and breeders made the following generalizations about dystocia.

  • Fat females, older females, and those dogs that deliver a large number of puppies have the greater chance of dystocia.
  • Breeds with large heads and short-legged breeds tend to face more problems while giving birth.
  • Breeds with long legs and larger breeds have lesser problems when they are delivering puppies.
    Symptoms
    Here are a few common signs which suggest that the birthing process isn’t proceeding normally.
  • Labor hasn’t started within 68 days after breeding which is too late.
  • Labor started before 57 days after breeding which is too early.
  • Labor doesn’t start within 24 hours after the rectal temperature drops below 99°F (37.2°C).
  • There is more than a 3-hour gap between each puppy.
  • Greenish black pigment that gets discharged from the vagina before the first puppy comes out by more than two hours.
  • Bloody discharge before the birth of the first offspring or in between births.
  • Extremely low number or no contractions which indicate uterine inertia.
  • The dog cries, trembles, hyperventilates or shows any sign of pain and constantly licks the vulva area while contractions are taking place.
  • Extreme lethargy or weakness.

Treatment

Dogs that are facing dystocia or any of the above symptoms should be taken to the vet immediately. The vet will take care of the dog till all the puppies have been delivered and the dog is stable.
If you are aware that your dog faces dystocia due to family history or medical conditions, ask your veterinarian about scheduling a cesarean section before your furry friend goes into labor. Don’t worry too much if your dog is having difficulties in giving birth, your vet can take care of it.

April 19, 2017
by Lynn Merton
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How Pollen Season Impacts Your Pets?

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The pollen season begins when the climate starts to get warmer. If you suffer from pollen allergies, you will know how irritating it is. Even if you don’t suffer from pollen allergies, you would have come across people who are and you can see how much they dread it. Don’t be quick to assume that only humans are prone to pollen allergies as even pets are vulnerable to them.

Pollen Allergy Symptoms

Unlike us, they won’t be constantly sneezing or coughing when they are allergic to pollen. Pets resort to scratching, biting, or licking themselves more than usual because the pollen would have fallen on their ears, the pads on their paws, and their fur. The pollen gets absorbed by the skin and in order to alleviate themselves, they scratch, bite, or lick the affected areas which will lead to scab formation, ear infections, and hair loss if left unchecked. Here is a list of symptoms to look out for which will tell you when your dog is suffering from pollen allergy.

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Itchy and runny eyes
  • Red, itchy, scabbed, or moist skin
  • The base of the tail is itchy
  • Swollen paws/ Paw chewing

They also may tend to rub themselves against floors, walls, or furniture to alleviate the itch. It’s normal for pets to behave this way but if you notice that they tend to be lethargic or if they excessively indulge in these activities, your dog may be suffering from pollen allergy.

Preventive measures to help fight pollen allergy

You can follow these simple steps to effectively fight against pollen allergy.

  • Whenever you go for a walk with your dog, make it a point to wipe their paws and their coat with a damp cloth, baby wipes, or any other pet wipe to remove any pollen that is clinging on to their fur and paws.
  • You need to keep your dog well groomed for the pollen season. If your dog has long hair, visit the vet to get it trimmed. Give them baths on a weekly basis and brush their coat every day. You can use specific soaps, shampoos, and conditioner to remove any lingering pollen.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids are extremely useful for pets. Add them into their diet as it will decrease inflammation throughout the body. You can also use coconut oil as it reduces production of yeast.
  • Clean the beds and surfaces that your pet comes in contact with on a regular basis. Even if you take all the preventive measures to keep your pet healthy, your pet might still fall sick as pollen easily sticks onto such surfaces.

If your pet is suffering from severe pollen allergy, visit the vet for consultation as there are a variety of medicines available. Keep your pet healthy by following the above steps.

April 18, 2017
by Lynn Merton
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The 5 Things You Shouldn’t Ignore about Dog DewClaws

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Popularly known as the thumbs of dogs, dewclaws are the vestigial digit that is found on the foot of most birds, mammals, and reptiles. Unlike the rest of the dog toes, the dewclaw is found up, on the leg of your four-legged friend. The dewclaw may look like an extra digit but it is actually useful to dogs. They use their dewclaws to provide more traction and stop the legs from twisting or getting injured when they are making sudden turns while sprinting. Dogs use their dewclaws to grasp onto objects so that they can gnaw them to their heart’s content. They also use their dewclaws to reach difficult-to-reach spots when they need to get rid of an itch. Here are 5 things you shouldn’t ignore when it comes to a dog’s dewclaws.

  1. Long nail

    For a majority of the dogs, the dewclaw is located higher than the rest of toes which means that the nail doesn’t get worn out as the rest of the toenails. This will allow the nail to grow unhindered if the length of the nail isn’t checked; there is a possibility that the nail might get embedded in the paw pad. Always trim the nail of the dewclaw to stop it from happening.

  2. Swollen look

    If the dewclaw looks bigger than usual, you should get it take a look at it. As dogs are active animals, there is always a chance of their dewclaw getting injured when they are running about. On top of that, the dewclaw may not be properly attached to the leg of the dog, which will make it weaker than normal. Take your dog to the vet if it looks swollen.

  3. Looks out of place (dislocated)

    There are chances of the dewclaw getting dislocated as the nail can get stuck onto a surface due to its location. This will cause severe discomfort and the dog may stop you from touching the dewclaw. If the dewclaw looks like it is out of place from the leg of the dog, it probably got dislocated.

  4. Bloody surrounding

    If there is blood surrounding the dewclaw, you need to get it checked immediately. The dewclaw tends to be loosely attached to the leg which makes it easy for dogs to hurt it. If the dewclaw gets cut, it’s possible for it to get infected which can spread throughout the body if left unchecked.
  5. Abnormal color

    Dogs love digging up sand and making holes in the ground. At times, your dog may get over excited and it can hurt the nail of its dewclaw. This can be due to the ground being harder than usual or if there is a stone that the dog digs up by mistake. The nail can get damaged due to the impact which will result in discoloration. Check with the vet to see what you should do to treat it.

The dewclaw is small and can go unnoticed by the owner as it is easy to overlook. Remember that even the smallest things matter so always keep an eye on how the dewclaw looks so that your dog can live a life that is pain-free.