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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Liver Cancer in Dogs

The liver is a major organ that helps in detoxification of the body. Carcinogenic and toxic compounds consumed by dogs pass through it, which can potentially cause primary liver cancer in dogs. Liver tumors in dogs occur in many different forms. Canine hepatic tumors may be primary tumors, derived from the liver itself, or they may be metastatic, derived from another body tissue and spread to the liver from that tissue. Liver tumors may be malignant (cancerous) or benign (non-cancerous).

Causes of Liver Cancer in Dogs

Dog liver cancer can be caused due to ingestion of toxic chemicals, heavy metals and exposure to carcinogens. Examples of possible carcinogens include chemicals in some commercial pet food (food additives, artificial coloring and flavors), certain pesticides, dyes, etc. After the pet dog consumes these toxic chemicals, they pass liver for detoxification process, thus increasing the chances of developing liver cancer.

Symptoms of Liver Cancer

If your dog has a benign tumor the tumor will not spread and he will show no symptoms, unless it has ruptures or bleeds.

If he has a malignant tumor he may show some or all of these symptoms.

  • Lack of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Increase thirst
  • Increase urine
  • Fluid in peritoneal cavity (abdomen)
  • Pale gums
  • Jaundice
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Weakness
  • Ataxia (no muscle control)
  • Seizures
Treatment for Liver Cancer in Dogs

Surgical treatment is recommended for cats and dogs diagnosed with primary liver tumors but not metastasis to the liver. There are not many treatment options for animals who have multiple liver lobes affected.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Raisins and Grapes Poisonous to Dogs

Why are grapes harmful?

As far as grapes and raisins go, no one is sure why they're harmful. It's been confirmed that even grapes grown without fertilizers or pesticides can be toxic to dogs but not to every dog, and not every time. It's also not known whether small amounts eaten over a long time period could have a cumulative effect.

What we do know is that the end result in nearly all reported cases of grape or raisin toxicity is acute kidney failure. (The term "acute" means that the condition is severe and comes on quickly.) The dog ultimately can't produce urine, which means they can't filter toxins out of their systems -- a process essential to life.

During the twelve-month period in which the effects of grapes were studied, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center handled 140 cases involving one or more dogs. Over a third of the dogs developed symptoms ranging from vomiting to kidney failure, and seven dogs died. The ASPCA based their study on reported cases, so naturally there may be cases where a dogs health is entirely unaffected by eating grapes. But until they know all the facts, the Society advises against feeding pets grapes or raisins in any amount.

How Many Would Poison Your Dog?

The minimum toxic dose is approximately 1 grape per pound of body weight.

15 lb dog = 12-14 grapes could be deadly
25 lb. dog = 23 grapes could be deadly
50 lb. dog = 50+ grapes could be deadly
75 lb. dog = 75 grapes could be deadly

Raisins, having lost their water content are considered more toxic at 6 raisins per kg of body weight, or 2-3 raisins per pound of body weight. Think how many raisins are in ONE small snack pack of raisins? Maybe enough to kill your dog.

15 lb. dog = 30-45 raisins could be deadly
25 lb. dog = 50-75 raisins could be deadly
50 lb. dog = 100-150 raisins could be deadly
75 lb. dog = 150-225 raisins could be deadly

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms appear 6-24 hours after the dog eats raisins or grapes (average is 12 hours). Initially, symptoms are gastro-intestinal signs, followed by kidney problems.
Vomiting is usually the primary sign, with diarrhea, depression/lethargy, anorexia, colic, dehydration and sharply decreased urine output. The course of the toxicosis is anywhere from 3 days to 3 weeks. Dogs with kidney problems have a guarded to poor prognosis.

The good news is that it is treatable, if you see any symptoms, take your dog to the vet clinic immediately!!!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Dog Ear Mites

Ear mites are a tiny spider like parasitic mite that infects the ears of dogs and cats. They usually live in the ear canals but can live on other parts of the dog or cat's body. Ear mites are the most common cause of ear infections seen by vets. They are more commonly found in cats than dogs but are a considerable cause of ear infection in dogs too. They cause pain and discomfort as they bite through a dog's skin to feed. This usually causes an allergic reaction in most dogs. Dog allergies can be as severe as in humans but with dog, symptoms show more because of the scratching that that may result in other dog health problems.

How are the mites transmitted?

Ear mites are extremely contagious. They can be passed from the mother animal to her offspring. Additionally, the mites are easily spread to other pets within the household including cats, dogs, rabbits, hamsters, gerbils, mice, ferrets, etc. Humans are not affected.

Symptoms of Dog Ear Mites

Ear mites live inside the ear canal and they feed on earwax. As they stay for a longer time in the ears, their wastes are accumulated in the dog’s ears. It leads to irritation, swelling and accumulation of fluid inside the ear. When these mites bite the skin, it causes pain and discomfort. It gives rise to an allergic reaction in most dogs. There is an inflammatory reaction which swells up the area around dog’s ears. Some signs and symptoms of dog ear mites are frequent head shaking, rubbing the head and ears against objects, persistent scratching around the ears, loss of balance, increased earwax, vomiting, refusing to eat, sensitive ears and hurt when touched, foul-smelling odor coming from the ears and dark brown to black debris in the ears. Frequent scratching causes formation of sores around the ears.

A dog’s ear is generally dark, warm and moist. This environment is perfect for growth of yeast and bacteria. The open sores due to ear mite infestation can increase the risk of secondary bacterial or yeast infections, causing more pain. If left untreated, the ear mites can burst the eardrum. In such situation, the middle ear might be severely infected.

Diagnosing Ear Mites

Many pet owners mistake ear mite infestations for ear infections and embark on a lengthy treatment program using over-the-counter treatments to no avail.

It is therefore important to take your pet to the vet where a proper diagnosis can be made and yeast and bacterial infections can be ruled out. Other symptoms of ear mites include black or dark brown discharge from the ears (this may resemble ground coffee beans), sores or hair loss around the ear.

How Are Ear Mites Treated?

• Ear mites can be treated with products your veterinarian will prescribe that are applied directly in the ear or parasite medications that are applied right to the skin.

• If the ears have infections or build-up of debris, gentle cleaning may be required with cotton and a canine ear cleaner. (This may require sedation, depending on the dog's temperament and the severity of build-up.)

• Your veterinarian may also prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs or an antibiotic to resolve infections.

• A dog will start to feel relief soon after treatment begins, but please complete the full cycle of treatment and remember that all animals in a household need to be treated to ensure full eradication.

How Can I Prevent Ear Mites?

A routine ear cleaning once a month can inhibit the presence of ear mites. If your pet has recently recovered from ear mites, be sure to thoroughly clean his bedding and check your other pets for infection

Friday, October 29, 2010

How to Trim a Dog’s Nails

Nail trimming among dogs are very important because it brings comfort to your beloved pet. Nail trimming also reduce potential pet injuries and damage to your home. Ideally, your dog’s nails should be clipped at least once a month. They say that this is the hardest task the pet owner will do. For many pet owners, lax nail care results from fear of hurting their pet during trimming. Clipping your dog’s nails might be easier than you think, just keep these few easy tips in mind.

• First you need to have the proper equipment in trimming your dog’s nail. It is important to have a special nail clipper just for the dog. You can ask your vet an advice about what types of nail trimmers are best for your dog. Also make sure that the clippers are sharp.

• The mood also matters, it is better to start trimming your dog’s nail when your dog is in the mood. It’s very important that your dog associates the nail clipping with a pleasurable experience.

• After setting all things you can start the actual clipping. Start by asking for your dog’s paw a few times. Praise and treat her. Then take out the clippers and cut the tip of one nail at a 90 degree angle. When you start to see pale pink tissue near the top of the cut edge, stop. You can use a nail file to smooth the edges further. If the tip of the nail begins to bleed, apply pressure using styptic powder or a substitute such as baby powder or cotton. Avoid wiping the blood clot off the tip of the nail once the bleeding has stopped.

• If your dog gives positive reaction give him a treat and praise him a lot. If your dog gives negative reaction put away the clipper and start again when your dog calm down.