Just like us, dogs can suffer from a wide range of health problems. Our dog health problems guide offers information about dog symptoms, dog illness, dog health problems, dog care and more. From congestive heart failure in dogs to parvo and hip dysplasia, you’ll find information – and hope – here at the Dog Pages.
Are Beagles a Healthy Breed of Dog?
Beagles in general, are a very healthy and long lived breed of dog. However, like all purebred dog breeds, they can be prone to certain hereditary health problems. That is why choosing a responsible Beagle breeder from which to purchase your puppy is very important. Responsible Beagle breeders will be well educated about the breed and carefully screen their breeding dogs for disorders that can affect these dogs.
Some health issues that may affect the Beagle include, but are not limited to:
- Patellar luxation
- Intervertebral disc disease
Further Reading about Beagle Health Issues:
The Causes, Signs and Treatment of Canine Parvovirus
Canine parvovirus, also known as CPV-2 or parvo, is a highly contagious viral infection that can be lethal to dogs. It first appeared in the late ‘70’s, probably a mutation of the feline distemper virus. Dogs had no natural immunity to the virus and vaccines were not yet available. Many dogs succumbed to the virus but modern veterinary vaccinations, treatment, and the natural antibodies most dogs have developed today make the disease less insidious, and when treatment is begun at the onset of symptoms many dogs will recover.
CPV-2 infection is characterized by severe vomiting and diarrhea, often containing blood. The feces have a telltale odor. The dog will be lethargic and feverish, have abdominal pain, and may refuse to eat. Dehydration and electrolyte imbalances will result from the loss of body fluids, and hypoglycemia from lack of eating may cause electrolyte imbalances (electrically-charged chemicals necessary for normal cell function). The main cause of death is from septicemia when toxins from the bacteria attacking the intestinal system are released into the circulatory system and travel throughout the dog’s body. Dehydration and electrolyte imbalances may also cause shock and eventually death.
Newborn puppies have a natural immunity to CPV-2 when they receive antibodies from their mother’s milk in their first 24 hours. This immunity gradually diminishes over the first two to five months of the puppy’s life. Vaccines given while the puppy still has a high level of natural immunity will be ineffective, and the puppy may have a period of several days or weeks, before vaccinations will be effective, when it is vulnerable to infection. Vaccinations are usually given in a series to lessen the puppy’s risk of infection during this window of susceptibility.
Many adult dogs who come in contact with the virus will show few if any symptoms but may become carriers of the disease. It is unusual for an adult dog who is current on his parvo vaccine and yearly boosters to contract the disease. Puppies less than six months old are the majority of parvo cases. Doberman Pinscher Dogs, Rottweiler Dogs, German Shepherd Dogs and other black and tan breeds seem to be more susceptible to the virus. Diagnosis is made by the dog’s age (usually less than six months), a physical exam and the symptoms present. Parvo symptoms resemble other diseases and are often misdiagnosed. Canine parvovirus is positively diagnosed through a lab test of the sick dog’s blood or feces. A dog showing signs of severe or bloody diarrhea and vomiting should be examined by a veterinarian as soon as possible. Early treatment is vital to the dog’s recovery.
The virus is eliminated in the dog’s feces and is transmitted when another dog orally contacts the virus. CPV-2 is hardy, resistant to high heat or freezing temperatures, and will live in the environment for five months or more. It will live on inanimate objects and can be brought into a home or yard on shoes, clothing, hands, visiting pets, or an automobile. It may also be transmitted by rodents and insects. Household bleach is the only chemical that is able to deactivate the virus.
When a dog comes in contact with the virus, it begins multiplying in the lymph tissue of the nose. The virus moves into the bone marrow where it inhibits the production of white blood cells which fight infection. In the small intestine, the virus attacks the villi, the small projections that absorb fluid and nutrients, and the lining of the intestines may slough off. Dogs with weakened immune systems or intestinal parasites are especially susceptible to intestinal system damage.
The incubation period of the virus is seven to ten days, and the dog will begin excreting the virus in his feces three days after exposure. Dogs suffering from CPV-2 should be isolated from other dogs and their quarters should be cleaned with a bleach solution of one-half cup bleach to a gallon of water. Any gowns or gloves used should be disposed of and shoes should be cleaned with the bleach solution. Treatment consists of replacing the fluids lost through vomiting and dehydration. Severe cases will be given an electrolyte solution intravenously, and milder cases may be given subcutaneous or oral fluids.
Antibiotic therapy may be given to treat secondary bacterial infections, and drugs to control vomiting may be administered. If vomiting continues despite the drug treatment, blood transfusions may be needed to avoid an anemic condition. Prompt professional veterinary care is necessary; home treatment of canine parvovirus is very difficult and does not have a good prognosis. Any other dog in the household should be current on its parvo vaccine and kept away from the sick pet and any contaminated areas.
Parvo still continues to be a common illness that kills many puppies. Despite safe and effective modern vaccines, puppies still have several days or weeks when they may be at risk of infection. Avoid exposing your puppy to other dogs or their feces, or places where dogs congregate, such as dog parks and kennels, until the series of vaccinations is complete, and have the puppy examined by a vet at the first sign of symptoms so that prompt, lifesaving treatment may begin if necessary.
Deborah Moore – Dogs and Puppies Central
Heartworm Disease in Dogs – The Signs, Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention of Canine Heartworm Disease
Heartworm infestation can be prevented! Ask your veterinarian what you should be doing to keep your dog or puppy healthy and heartworm-free.
Heartworm disease is an entirely preventable condition that can be fatal to your pet. The dog may have no symptoms until the disease becomes severe and a blood test indicates infestation. Hundreds of dogs die needlessly every year from this disease. Heartworm is most prevalent in the South and in subtropical climates but exists everywhere there are mosquitoes. You can reduce your dog’s chance of contracting Heartworm disease with preventive medicines, avoiding exposure to mosquitoes, and routine Heartworm testing.
Heartworms are parasitic nematodes, one of a species of roundworms. The mosquito is vital to the intermediate stage of the life cycle of the heart worm. Adult worms bear live young which circulate in the host animal’s blood system. When a mosquito bites the host, the young worms (microfilariae) are ingested. Within the insect the microfilariae go through a series of molts to the larvae stage then migrate to the mosquito’s mouth and are passed on to their next host through a mosquito bite. This stage takes two to six weeks depending on the warmth of the climate.
In the new host the larvae remain at the site of the bite for a week or two, then move to the abdomen and chest regions where they grow into immature adults. In three or four months they begin to enter the bloodstream and lodge in the heart, lungs and pulmonary arteries. They will grow too up to fourteen inches long and will live five to seven years in the dog’s body. In about seven months the male and female Heartworms begin to mate and produce microfilariae. A dog may have only a few Heartworms or may become severely infested.
There are no early signs of infestation. Dogs that have heavy infestations may show symptoms such as coughing and exhaustion when exercising, lethargy, and loss of appetite. In more advanced cases the dog may cough up blood, faint, or experience severe weight loss. Fluid may accumulate in the abdomen causing it to distend. The worms will cause obstructions and blockages requiring the heart to work harder to pump blood through the dog’s circulatory system. If untreated, the infestation will result in liver damage, congestive heart failure and death. Some cases may be so severe that they are beyond treatment.
When diagnosed early, Heartworm disease may be treated effectively. Blood tests can identify the antibodies the dog body produces in response to the worms. The treatment can be taxing on the dog’s heart, lung, and kidney function and the dog’s health must be evaluated by a veterinarian before treatment begins. Adult worms are usually killed with an arsenic-based compound. Immiticide is the currently recommended brand of Heartworm medication. It is more effective and has fewer side effects than earlier formulas and is safer for dogs in the late stages of the disease.
After treatment the dead worms will be absorbed by the dog’s body. His exercise must be restricted for a month or two so dead worms don’t break free and travel to the lungs possibly causing respiratory failure and death. Several weeks later the dog will undergo treatment to kill the microfilariae in his blood stream. Blood tests will be taken to determine successful treatment. Once treatment has been deemed successful, the dog should be given preventive medications.
Microfilariae can live for up to two years in the dog’s system. If they are not picked up by a mosquito they will eventually die. Pregnant female dogs may transmit the microfilariae to their unborn puppies. The puppies won’t develop adult Heartworms from these worms since the mosquito plays a role in the Heartworm life cycle but they will be carriers of the parasites.
Preventive medications will also remove most adult Heartworms from dogs but it takes 18 months for the adult worms to die. This method is reserved for dogs whose health may not tolerate the harsher treatment or whose owners may not be able to afford the more expensive Immiticide.
In advanced cases with substantial heart involvement, the Heartworms may be removed surgically.
There are a number of veterinary drugs for the prevention of Heartworm disease. Dogs should be given preventative medication year round. Any dogs more than seven months old should be evaluated for Heartworm disease by a veterinarian before preventive treatment begins.
Cats may also become infested with Heartworms but often rid themselves spontaneously of the infestation. Cats who do develop Heartworm disease may also be treated with drugs. Humans rarely become infested. The microfilariae die shortly after entering a human lung. Granulomas will form around the dead worms which may show up on a X-ray resembling lung cancer, and a biopsy will rule out the life-threatening condition.
More Information about Heartworm Disease in Dogs
Deborah Moore – Dogs and Puppies Central
Ahhh those hot, humid, lazy days of summer! You’ve stocked up on sunscreen, Popsicles, bottled water, a new bathing suit or two… now what did you forget? Your dog! Many people don’t realize that dogs need special care during the summer months just like we do, and Dogs Central would like to offer the following dog summer safety tips to help ensure that your dog has a cool summer:
General Dog Summer Safety Tips
Car Safety: Never leave your dog unattended in direct sunlight or in a closed vehicle – even for a few moments. This can cause heatstroke and possibly death. The best place for your dog on a hot day is in the shade in your back yard with a great big bowl of fresh water to drink.
Exercise Safety: Avoid strenuous activities, like jogging, with your dog during extremely hot periods of the day. Plan your running for the early morning or evening hours when the temperatures cool. Both you and your dog will have a much better time.
Garden Safety: Be careful of what you leave around when you’re planting your flowers or tending to the lawn. Many lawn and garden products contain chemicals that can be harmful, or even fatal to your dog if swallowed. Keep any toxic substances well above snout level where you dog can’t reach them, and be sure to wait at least 24 hours after any chemical application (ie. pesticides, weed killers and fertilizers) to let your dog out on the lawn.
Watch out for bugs! Not only do they bug you – they can also bug your dog. Dogs can be allergic to bee and wasp stings, mosquito bites as well as other insect bites, so be sure to have a first aid kit on hand that has Benadryl, an antihistamine, in it. If your dog does sustain a severe insect bite, be sure to take him to the vet immediately.
Hydration: Make sure there is always a source of fresh, cool water available for your dog to drink. Imagine wearing a fur coat on summer’s hottest days and not being able to take it off! A bit warm, perhaps? Make sure your dog has a cool spot to rest in the shade or indoors with the air conditioner or fan on when the summer sun blazes with plenty of water to drink.
Identification: It can be great fun to take your dog on summer vacation – but that fun can easily be turned into tragedy if your dog should go missing in unfamiliar territory. Make sure that your dog has an up-to-date ID tag on his collar so that you can be contacted if he should go missing. One excellent pet ID tag is Pet Angel ID Tags, which features a 24 hour answering service to help reunite lost pets with their owners.
Beach Summer Safety For Dogs:
Taking a swim in the ocean or lake is a great way for dogs to cool off in hot weather, but be sure to check with the lifeguard about water conditions first. Dogs make wonderful targets for jellyfish, sea lice and other interesting creatures.
Watch out for sunburn! Those harmful UV rays can burn your dog’s nose and ears. Apply sunblock 30 minutes before going outside, and reapply if your dog takes a swim. Limit your dog’s exposure to the sun, too.
Take care of tender tootsies! Your dog’s feet will burn if he spends too much time on hot sand or sidewalks. Imagine going without your sandals on a hot day…. Ouch!
Don’t let your dog drink sea water. Cool ocean water is a tempting treat for a hot dog on a scorching day. Make sure he has plenty of cool, fresh water to drink at all times.
Summer is a wonderful season to enjoy the great outdoors with your dog. If you follow these dog summer safety tips, both you and your pet will have a happy, healthy summer.
A canine form of influenza that has caused illness in numerous dogs in Illinois is reported to be spreading throughout the midwestern USA, according to Dr. Jose Arce of the American Veterinary Medical Association. The virus, thought to have originated in Chicago, IL, has already spread to 12 surrounding states.
The H3N2 flu can cause serious illness in some dogs, while others will experience mild to moderate upper respiratory symptoms. Veterinarians can now diagnose this dog flu using a test offered by IDEXX industries, where, according to Tracie Hotchner, most diagnostic testing and research on canine diseases is performed.
How is Canine Influenza Spread?
Just like with human influenza viruses, the dog flu can be deadly for vulnerable pets. If your pet is very young, very old, has a health condition such as cancer or other immune-affecting disorder, the dog flu can make them very ill or even cause death.
How is Canine Influenza Treated?
If diagnosed early, supportive health care can help, but the best measure is to prevent your pet from contracting this very contagious disease. If you have a young puppy, older dog or dog with health issues, avoid coming into contact with other dogs in large numbers. Dog parks, boarding kennels, doggie daycare centers and even veterinary clinics are potentially hazardous locations for vulnerable pets.
Pet owners should watch their dogs for symptoms such as unusual tiredness (lethargy), cough, excessive panting, vomiting and diarrhea, irritability and lack of appetite. A visit to your veterinarian is essential for any dog showing flu symptoms, since early health care measures can prevent the development of secondary infections and pneumonia.
Dogs with flu should be kept away from other dogs, and be provided with a safe, quiet and comfortable area in which to recover. Fresh, clean water should be available at all times, and they should be supervised carefully for signs of worsening illness.
If you work with dogs, take care to protect your own pet at home by washing your hands frequently and changing clothes on returning home.
You can learn more about Canine Influenza at:
Debbie Moore – Dogs and Puppies Central
Caring For Your Elderly Dog
Your dog has trouble getting up; he can’t make it as far on your every night walks; his face has become peppered with white hairs. As much as you wish it weren’t so, your dog is aging. But how do we ensure our dog’s health, comfort and happiness once they’ve reached the milestone of old age? What important facts do we need to know about senior dog health?
Your dog needs and deserves tender, loving care during this crucial time in his life. With the right knowledge and protection, your elderly dog can live out his golden years in happiness and comfort.
Food and Diet for Senior Dogs
One of the most important changes you will make in caring for your older dog is in his diet. Look around for a good, premium senior dog food. Try to find a brand whose main ingredients are meat and one source of carbohydrates, such as rice. Corn-based foods can irritate the stomachs of elderly dogs, they can develop diarrhea and obnoxious gas. Likewise, as they age many dogs develop an intolerance for wheat products which can result in gas and bloating. These ingredients can cause discomfort for your dog as well as you.
Dog foods for elderly dogs should incorporate fewer calories per serving than the commonplace adult or puppy varieties. This compensates for the lowered activity levels of senior dogs. While they may have been able to run and jump like athletes in their peak, many older dogs need more rest and get much less exercise as they age. It is extremely important that you keep track of your senior dog’s weight. Extra fat puts a painful amount of stress on those old joints and bones. If you look at your dog from above , your elderly dog’s waist should tuck in behind his ribcage, making his waist and hip area a great deal more trim than his rib area. From the side , you should be able to see a hint of rib when he is moving, but no ribs when he is standing still. Not only is a slender older dog healthier, but his joints cause him less discomfort and his quality of life will vastly increase.
Arthritis in Senior Dogs
Most senior dogs suffer from bone and joint problems or other painful conditions as they age. You can tell if your dog is one of them by watching him as he gets up, lies down, and walks. Target areas to keep an eye on are the hips, knees, and elbows. Does your dog bend his knees normally, or does he hold his leg straighter or more stiffly than usual? When he lies down or stands up does he come to his feet with relative ease , or does it take him a little longer than before? A dog with knee and elbow problems will move gingerly and carefully. He is more likely to choose not to get up readily for people he is unfamiliar with and barking his head off at people walking past your home may no longer hold interest for him. He’ll probably climb or descend the stairs with trepidation, pausing at the top or bottom to decide if he can make it.
If you notice these changes in your senior dog, he may need your help. Many dietary supplements can help with joint pain; Chondroitin and glucosamine can help joints to stay healthy, and your veterinarian can order Rimadyl or another painkiller to help him with his discomfort. A word of warning here: Medicating an older dog with a painkiller often causes them to forget that their joints ever hurt. They will run harder, jump more easily, and more often than not act like they are much younger. This can cause serious damage to their joints as well as causing them severe pain later, when their original aches are compounded by the punishing exercise they have done that day. If you choose to give your dog medicine for his aches and pains, it is your duty to limit his movement in spite of the fact that he feels fine.
Whether on pet medication or not, a senior dog with joint problems should never be permitted to jump up or down from a bed, couch or vehicle and activity should be limited. Walks and recreation are fine, but pay close attention to your dog’s comfort level. If he loved five-mile runs in his prime, he will probably still want to run them now, but a responsible owner will know he can’t. Instead, make your walks slower-paced and shorter. Let him do some serious sniffing and peeing on trees , and go home when he starts to show signs that he is running out of steam, such as lagging behind or wanting to sit down.
Lumps and Bumps in Senior Dogs
Many owners are very anxious when they start to bumps and growths on their senior dogs. Depending on the dog breed, you may never see a lump or your dog may be completely covered in them. Some breeds that are more susceptible are Cocker Spaniels, Labradors, and Golden Retrievers. Usually these lumps are benign tumors and are not a threat to your dog’s health. For the most part they do not affect your dog’s activity or appetite. Some, like histiocytomas, will actually eventually fall off. Your veterinarian can verify the nature of any suspicious lumps your dog may develop.
Senior Dogs Skin and Hair
Older dogs usually show their age in their coat; it can become less glossy, and show gray or white hairs, especially around the eyes and snout. Older dogs can have drier skin and more dandruff than puppies and younger dogs. With these problems comes increased itching and possible rashes if the dog licks or worries his paws or belly due to the dry condition of his skin. One solution to this problem is salmon oil or fatty acid supplements, which will increase the overall condition and shine of the coat. However, don’t think that a simple fatty acid pill will solve the problem if your dog’s overall diet is of poor quality. The best way to avoid skin problems is to feed your dog a high-quality food. In addition, canned salmon and raw eggs can add healthy proteins and fats to your senior dog’s diet.
If your dog has upset his skin to the point of redness or swelling, it’s time to intervene. You may need an e-collar from your veterinarian for a week or two so that his sores can heal. You can also treat him with hydrocortisone and Neosporin, as long as he can’t lick the medicine off. Treat him each day for up to two weeks while he’s wearing the collar, and then keep track of him afterward. Some allergens such as grass can increase his discomfort, so be careful how much time you allow him to be outside if he is having skin problems.
Vision and Hearing Loss in Older Dogs
Many older dogs can have problems with sight and hearing, which can make communicating with them more difficult, and they can become disoriented in different surroundings. You might notice your dog fails to come when you call, or he may develop cloudy areas in his eyes. If this happens, routine is your friend. Dogs still retain their amazing sense of smell, and they know their own homes and yards (as well as their usual walk routes.) Just because some of their senses are weaker doesn’t mean they can’t have a fulfilled life. You will need to be close to them in new situations to reassure them, and have patience with them as they navigate their world.
Senior Dogs and Children
While many senior dogs have been patient family companions for years, for the sake of your elderly dog, you need to make sure they are not put in a painful or unpleasant situation with toddlers. Of course, supervised and respectful children can be a wonderful experience for your dog. But an elderly dog with stiff joints and aching muscles , who is partially or completely deaf , or who can’t see wellis much more likely to snap at a child. He may have never given you a moment’s worry all this life, but this is no reason to leave him unsupervised with small children. Their curiosity and clumsiness can be pure torture for an older dog. Instead, consider this his golden years. He’s been a faithful family dog, reward him for his faithful service by ensuring his comfort and reserving him a quiet sleeping area wherever he can sleep undisturbed.
Dogs and Puppies Central offers a ton of dog health information, including senior dog health issues, dog breed health issues, common dog health conditions and more. From preventative health articles to dog health advice, you’ll find a wealth of dog health information on our site.
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All About Joint Health Dog Food
Dog food companies are becoming pro-active where your dog’s joint health is concerned. More and more premium dog food manufacturers are offering joint health dog food formulas with natural Glucosamine, which helps prevent the breakdown of cartilage, which is what keeps your dog’s joints mobile.
Active dogs have a lot of friction on their shoulders, knees, hips and other joints. As they age, the cartilage which protects, cushions and lubricates these joints can wear away. By adding Glucosamine to the diet, your dog can stay active long into their senior years.
How does Glucosamine Work?
Glucosamine is a naturally occurring substance that is found in meat and poultry, as well as being produced in a dog’s body. This substance feeds the cells contained within your dog’s joint cartilage, helping it draw in water and remain spongy and healthy.
It is now recommended that dogs of all ages can benefit from Glucosamine supplementation in their diet. Studies have shown that this special dietary supplement can extend the mobility and activity levels for your dog as they age. This can help your dog remain playful and comfortable as they age.
Joint Health Dog Food Comparison Chart
Wellness Super5Mix Dry Dog Food, Complete Health Whitefish and Sweet Potato Recipe, 30-Pound
Dilated Cardiomyopathy in dogs is a number one killer of Great Danes. It is a degenerative condition of the heart, that causes the heart to gradually loose it’s ability to pump blood effectively. If your Dane does develop cardiomyopathy, medication will relieve pain and make the dog comfortable for some time. This condition is always fatal.