The Wet Nose Press Pet Blog

April 26, 2017
by Lynn Merton
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Can Your Grass Kill Your Dog? Here’s What You Should Know

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Dogs are expected to run around the house and explore stuff. One cannot be too careful these days even with necessary protection against harmful natural elements. Harmful animals and disease causing microorganisms can be found aplenty in the yard and around the house, especially in the suburb areas. Grass is one such thing which is completely safe for humans but it can be extremely harmful for your dog. It can even be life-threatening and must be taken care of. Here’s how grasses can be harmful:

Awns

Awns are known by a variety of different names – timothy, cheat grass, foxtails, June grass or Downy Brome. Awns are bristle-like appendages growing on a variety of different grass and attach themselves to animal bodies. Awns travel from one place to the other by clinging to animal coat. However, the relationship is not a symbiotic one as the sharp appendages sometimes cut through the skin and tissue of dogs. It can cause a variety of skin disease and although they are not life-threatening, wounds can sometimes go unnoticed due to their size. Wounds can be exposed to a variety of different disease causing microorganisms.

Animals

Dogs in a city don’t have to worry about different animals invading the backyard. However, those living in suburbs are exposed to different creatures like racoons, skunks, porcupines and squirrels to name a few. These animals may not directly cause any harm but they do spread disease and infections which can be dangerous for your dog. These animals usually take shelter amidst long grasses where they get food and shelter.

Diseases

Fleas and ticks love to stay in dark places where the sunlight doesn’t reach them. It is not surprising to find a population of them near grass roots or in grasses in shady places. Fleas and ticks are a menace and must be eradicated. You wouldn’t want your dog to scratch the skin of his/her back. Keep the grasses trimmed and don’t let them grow everywhere. Additionally, spray chemicals that kill fleas but are safe for your dog.

Conclusion

Grasses might look safe and harmless but there are many dangers lurking within them. Be it lawns, animals or diseases, grasses are not as safe as you might think them to be. Some can be even life-threatening to your dog. It’s best to keep your dog away from areas of long and thick grasses. Keep your grasses trimmed and spray chemicals which are safe for you and your dog. Additionally, take your dog to the vet if you suspect any problem. Look for cuts and bruises on the body as small unnoticeable wounds are thriving grounds for many microorganisms.

April 25, 2017
by Lynn Merton
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The Truth You Should Know About Teacup Dogs

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Ever since Paris Hilton introduced everyone to Tinkerbell, her miniature Chihuahua, there has been a sudden surge in the demand for “teacup dogs”. What are teacup dogs, you ask? Well, teacup dogs are dogs, like Tinkerbell, that have been bred to be really small; small enough to actually fit into a purse. Of course, they look cute and most dog lovers would be tempted to get one of these. However, there is a dark truth behind the whole teacup dog trend.

The Harsh Reality

As mentioned earlier, teacup dogs are bred to be as small as possible. Most of these dogs weigh around 5 pounds and sometimes, much less. Some of the common breeds used for this purpose include Poodles, Pugs, Yorkies, Shih Tzus, Maltese, and Pomeranians. On the outset, it might not sound bad, but, there are actually a lot of problems associated with this practice. Teacup dogs are bred by pairing the weakest offspring from a particular litter. It so happens that, quite often, the runt of the litter is smaller in size because it has a medical condition or birth defect. Naturally, the problems are passed onto the next generation. As a result, teacup dogs are inherently weak.

According to Dr. Judy Morgan, a holistic veterinarian, teacup dogs suffer from significant health risks. These problems are primarily caused due to the unnatural breeding. Breeders are simply exploiting the dogs by indulging in this practice. Unfortunately, since people are willing to pay thousands of dollars for these dogs, there is no way to end the practice. The only way to end it is by educating people about how teacup dogs are brought into existence.

Not Built to Last

They say good things come in small packages. However, that is completely untrue with teacup dogs. Teacup dogs suffer from a range of medical conditions. For instance, their bones are tiny because they are underdeveloped. Due to their size, they are often carried around, which means they do not receive any exercise. This only complicates the matter further.

Apart from that, their organs work overtime and eventually, they die a premature death. For example, they have small hearts that aren’t capable of working for long. In fact, heart failure is one of the common causes of death among teacup dogs. Some of the other common issues include hydrocephalus (fluid collection in the brain), respiratory disorders, and liver shunts.

So, if you’re looking to get yourself a teacup dog, we suggest you think hard and long about it. Not only are you looking at expensive veterinary bills, but, also the heartbreak that is bound to come sooner than expected. If you’re still adamant about getting one, make sure you, at least, find a reliable breeder.

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.