The Wet Nose Press Pet Blog

February 3, 2017
by Lynn Merton
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All You Need To Know About Addison’s Disease in Dogs

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Addison’s disease, also known as hypoadrenocorticism, is a disease caused by the lack of corticosteroid secretion from adrenalin glands located near the kidneys in dogs. Glucocorticoids and mineralocorticoids are two important hormones released by the adrenal glands that maintain healthy functioning of the body. Both hormones have an important role to play in fat, protein and sugar metabolism, influencing sodium and potassium levels, and triggering fight or flight response in dogs. Any imbalance in these hormonal levels create complications and symptoms of Addison’s disease in dogs. Hypoadrenocorticism is rare in dogs, but when it occurs, it affects mostly middle-aged and female dogs.

Symptoms of Addison’s disease in dogs

The symptoms of the disease vary greatly depending on its duration. Fatal symptoms are observed when the disease reaches an acute stage. However, the common symptoms observed are as follows:

  • Lack of appetite or anorexia
  • Diarrhea and vomiting
  • Lethargy and depression
  • Frequent urination (polyuria)
  • Excessive drinking (polydipsia)
  • Low body temperature
  • Faint pulse rate
  • Blood discharge in feces
  • Pain in abdomen

Diagnosis

In order to diagnose Addison’s disease, a veterinarian performs a thorough examination of the dog’s physical symptoms with the help of laboratory tests, complete blood count testing, biochemistry profile testing, and urinalysis. The blood count test reveals signs of anemia, which is characterized by abnormal levels of eosinophils and lymphocytes.

The biochemistry profile testing reveals higher potassium levels and an accumulation of urea in the blood. The test also reveals lower blood sugar, sodium and chlorine levels and higher calcium levels and liver enzymes. The urinalysis shows low urine concentration.

However, detecting the cortisol levels in the body is a definitive test for diagnosing Addison’s disease in dogs. Generally, the adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) produced by the pituitary gland stimulates the release of cortisol by the adrenal glands. In ACTH test, the dog is injected with ACTH; if it does not show increased cortisol levels, then the diagnosis of Addison’s disease is confirmed.

Treatment

An acute episode of hypoadrenocorticism requires immediate hospitalization and treatment. The treatment for Addison’s disease in dogs is largely dependent on the severity and type of symptoms. The common treatment for the disease involves the replacement of glucocorticoids and mineralocorticoids in the body using fludrocortisone. The drug is administered twice a day after monitoring the potassium and sodium levels in the blood. After the dog’s electrolyte imbalances are regulated, it is brought down to two to three times a year.

DOCP is a relatively newer treatment option where the injection is given once every 25 days. This options is seen to provide better regulation of electrolytes than fludrocortisone. However, some dogs on DOCP treatment may require a low dose of prednisone.

February 2, 2017
by Lynn Merton
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Is Abortion Possible in Dogs?

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Just like humans, unwanted pregnancies in dogs is common. Unplanned mating, known as mismating, can produce unwanted puppies. The mating process in animals happens naturally. There are many cases of dog owners encountering their unspayed female dogs mating with unneutered male dogs. As a result, they have a huge litter of puppies to take care of, which may not always be wanted. Spaying and emasculating is one option to curb mating, but what happens if your dog is already pregnant as a result of mismating?

Abortion in dogs

Yes, abortion in dogs is possible. If you are a dog owner and your dog has become pregnant, you may decide to terminate the pregnancy only after consulting a veterinarian, who evaluates risks and performs the procedure. The first step to take is diagnosing your dog’s pregnancy.

There have been cases where the dog presented for abortion were not pregnant. It is important to diagnose your dog’s pregnancy before administering any treatment. Some dog abortion drugs have several side effects, and you surely don’t want your dog to be subjected to something so perilous unnecessarily. In order to diagnose your dog’s pregnancy, you need to consider the following facts:

  • Heat in the dog, which can be tested with a vaginal smear.
  • Mating time, which is usually is between 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Mating, which is done tested using swab tests for sperms, fetal heartbeats, ultrasounds, or pregnancy test using a kit.

Abortion treatment

The following treatment options are available for abortion in dogs:

  • Estrogen injections
    A veterinarian may administer an estrogen injection soon after mating. However, in recent years, the use of estrogen injections is reduced owing to their side effects such as anemia and bone marrow suppression.
  • Oral estrogen
    Although a potential treatment option, oral estrogen is considered ineffective. It is not recommended by vets because it causes infection of the uterus (pyrometra).
  • Dexamethasone
    Dexamethasone is also a plausible option to terminate pregnancy. It is also administered by a vet, but it has side effects such as excessive thirst (polydispia), excessive urination (polyuria), and panting.
  • Prostaglandin F2 Alpha
    This a natural hormone administered by vets to terminate pregnancy safely. It is however seen to have mild side effects such as vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, panting, trembling and excessive drooling.

    Side effects are unavoidable in any type of dog abortion treatment. Discomfort, pain and vaginal bleeding are common in both planned and spontaneous abortion treatments. You need to monitor your dog’s behavior carefully for such side effects. You can also consider pain management techniques to alleviate the discomfort. In order to manage future pregnancies, consider spaying you dog by going to a veterinarian.

February 1, 2017
by Lynn Merton
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5 Signs of Dog Dementia You Should Observe

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The fact that cognitive dysfunction only occurs in humans is a myth. Your senior pooch is equally susceptible to the condition. If your dog forgets the route you take every day from the neighborhood park to your house, or does not enjoy the things it used to, then your dog may be suffering from canine cognitive dysfunction (CCD) or the doggy form of dementia.

Dogs suffer from dementia for a number of reasons such as accumulation of excessive proteins in the brain, a situation which builds up plague and damages nerves. Such destruction of nerves in the brain causes your dog to suffer from brain malfunctioning, which affects its memory, behaviors and motor functions. Behavior Clinic at the University of California at Davis showed that it an age-related disorder, affecting 28 percent and 68 percent of dogs in the age bracket of 11-12 and 15-16 years respectively.

Knowing your dog has dementia

Dr. Denise Petryk, a former veterinarian working with Trupanion pet insurance, founded the DISHA acronym for helping dog owners understand the symptoms of canine cognitive dysfunction, which are as follows:

  • Disorientation
    Despite being in its familiar or normal environment, dogs with dementia feel disoriented. If your dog uses a wrong door or wrong side of the door to get back into the house from your backyard, then it is a sign of disorientation. Lack of spacial awareness and loss of their much-known sense of timing is a sign of disorientation in dogs.
  • Interactions
    Lack of social interaction in dogs is yet another symptom of dementia. Your once sociable and popular pooch may start growling at other people. Social withdrawal is an early sign that something is wrong with your dog and requires your attention. Instead of barking and growling, it may also show lack of interest in greeting visitors or running out on unleashing it.
  • Sleep-wake cycle changes
    Your dog that slept soundly before may pace the living room all night. Many dogs with CCD reverse their routine by sleeping all through the day. It may irritate and tire you all night to be let out in the backyard.
  • House soiling
    House-trained dogs with dementia may urinate and defecate in the house. With seniority, your dog loses the ability to control expulsion voluntarily or even let you know that they want to go out. Dementia causes them to lose the understanding that they need to poop outside.
  • Activity level
    A decreased desire to explore and participate in activities is a sign of dementia in dogs. They may also show repetitive and restless motions. They may become sedentary and show no interest in playing as it used to before.

January 31, 2017
by Lynn Merton
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Say Goodbye to Cat Dandruff

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Fluff is fine in felines, but not dandruff! If your fur ball is scratching away incessantly, it could be dandruff. Dandruff in cats may be a temporary annoyance or the sign of a more serious health condition like diabetes.
It’s time you armed yourself with some tips and tricks to get rid of the itchy irritant. If you notice it getting worse, a consultation with the vet may be prudent.

Tips to get rid of the flakes

Get set to say goodbye to the flakes with these pointers:

  1. Comb and groom: Regular brushing and cleaning of the furs can make all the difference. Besides being rewarded with some purrs, you might also be getting rid of the flakes! The action of brushing helps stimulate the oil glands in the skin. However, be gentle with the brush as excessive pressure may actually dry out the skin.
  2. Fleece the fleas: Many times dandruff can be due to ticks and fleas that lodge themselves in the neck, tail or hip areas. Give your pet a thorough visual inspection to spot these irritants. Specks that are black or brown indicate presence of fleas. Launch a full scale spring cleaning for carpets, sofa and all regions where fleas tend to breed. Vacuum and air the carpets and furnishings as sunlight can kill most fleas. Using flea combs and baths regularly for your pet feline may get rid of the fleas.
  3. Note the nutrition: Dandruff and skin problems can usually be a result of inadequate nutrition. Include fish of all kinds to ensure your cat gets the benefit of all the different types of fats. Tuna may be your cat’s personal favorite, but gorging only on tuna may in fact be counterproductive. Excessive tuna can in fact lead to vitamin E – a skin health vitamin- deficiency. Also ensure the cat gets a balanced diet that includes other meat as well.
  4. Watch the water: The flaky itchy skin could also be the result of lack of moisture in the skin. The affiliation between felines and water is legendary but drinking enough water is important for the cats to avoid a dry and flaky skin.
  5. Skip the stress: Feline stress is a reality. Cats get upset emotionally with sudden changes in the living environment as they tend to be territorial. Psychological stress can also lead to the persistent dandruff. Try and calm your pet in distress!
  6. Rule out allergies: The very fish that the cats love may also cause skin allergies. Besides, seafood of all kinds is high on mercury, a heavy metal that can be toxic. If your cat eats nothing but fish, it’s time to give its meal a makeover.

January 30, 2017
by Lynn Merton
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The Lowdown on Pet Anesthetics

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The ultimate goal of a veterinarian while administering inhaled and injected anesthetic agents is common: reducing the awareness of pain and discomfort for the dog so that the necessary procedure could be accomplished without too much stress to the animal. It is obvious that the doctor would need the patient to be immobile during surgery.

Further, certain diagnostic procedures like CT scans and radiography are also dependent on anesthesia for accuracy and data collection. If the dog is not absolutely relaxed, comfortable and immobile, it would be difficult to carry out important surgical and diagnostic procedures.

Before Anesthesia

Prior to administering anesthesia to your pet, the veterinarian will go through the complete medical history of the animal including any current ailments. This serves as valuable information in analyzing the physical condition of the pet. For instance, an inability to undertake physical exercise might be indicative of abnormal lung or heart function and this is a critical consideration in the planning of any anesthetic procedure. If abnormalities of the lungs or heart are revealed in a physical examination, then the vet may have to perform additional tests like a chest x-ray, ECG (electrocardiogram) or a heart ultrasound before administering general anesthesia.

Your vet may also recommend pre-anesthetic blood tests for your pet. These tests help reveal any problems that might require prior attention (tired kidneys, mild dehydration etc.) Such problems could lead to anesthetic problems and need to be addressed first.

Pre-Med Injection

Before administering anesthesia, certain blood tests are done for the animal. These act as a guide for the vet who then decides on the pre-med injection’s drugs and dosage. This injection is part pain-relief and part sedative and helps in reducing the quantity of anesthetic required. It also lends greater stability to the procedure. When the pet surgery is highly painful, additional pain relief is provided at this point for preventing the onset of pain.

Advancements in Pet Anesthesia

According to modern day veterinarians, the first big revolution in pet anesthesia came when certain blood tests began to be performed before the procedure to ensure the safety of the animal. The second major revolution was patient monitoring with instruments like a pulse oximeter. This device is used for checking the blood oxygen levels and the heart rate of the patient. Sometimes ECGs are also used for checking heart parameters as another level of security monitoring.

Pet owners need to give up on the false idea that it is age alone which decides whether an anesthetic-required surgical procedure should be considered or not. It is actually the overall health status of the animal, evaluated on the basis of various pre-anesthetic tests that helps decide the suitability of the procedure.