Every dog deserves a happy tail!

SASKATOON DOG RESCUE

Click here to edit subtitle

Blog

view:  full / summary

A PET SAFE HALLOWEEN IS A HAPPY HALLOWEEN

Posted by saskatoondogrescue on October 24, 2015 at 3:40 AM Comments comments (0)

A PET SAFE HALLOWEEN IS A HAPPY HALLOWEEN

 

It’s that time again. For goblins and ghosts, pumpkins and pranks, and things that go bump in the night. But as responsible pet owners, please ensure that your dogs and cats aren’t innocent victims of Halloween’s fun and frolics.

 

Consider the following suggestions to keep your pets safe not sorry.

 

1. Keep candy out of reach of your pet. Chocolate, especially dark or baking chocolate, can prove toxic for both dogs and cats. Candy containing the artificial sweetener, xylitol, can also cause problems. If you suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, please call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.

 

2. Although pumpkins and decorative corn are considered relatively non-toxic, they can still produce an upset stomach if nibbled on by your pet.

 

3. Keep wires and cords from lights and other decorations out of reach of your pet. If chewed, your pet might be cut or burned or receive a potentially life-threatening electric shock.

 

4. Although festive, carved pumpkins with candles inside can be easily knocked over by your pet and a fire started. Curious kittens in particular run the risk of being singed or burned by a candle flame.

 

5. Keep costumes for your children and away from your pets unless you’re certain they’re comfortable being decked out, not stressed out, by putting on the “glitz”. Or opt for a Halloween-themed bandana draped round your pet’s neck.

 

6. Keep all but the most social dogs and cats in a separate room when “trick or treaters” come to call. Even then, take care that your pet doesn’t dart outside when the door first opens.

 

7. Should your pet “pull a Houdini” and vanish, ensure that he/she has either been micro chipped or is wearing a collar and tags for proper identification and a swift return to your anxious arms.

 

With some strategic planning beforehand, you and your pet can be assured of spending the safest and happiest of Halloweens together.

Bloat in Coonhounds

Posted by saskatoondogrescue on August 14, 2015 at 4:05 PM Comments comments (0)

BLOAT IN COONHOUNDS

 

 

 

Coonhounds, like other deep-chested breeds, are at the greatest risk for bloat or gastric dilatation volvulus (GDV), which is second only to cancer as the main killer of dogs.

 

 

There are many theories as to why GDV happens, but there are still no clearly defined causes for the condition, which can occur in two stages: the first being gastric dilatation and the second being gastric torsion. Dilatation occurs when the stomach suddenly fills with air, placing severe pressure on the diaphragm and surrounding organs. Not every episode of stomach bloating automatically results in gastric torsion or volvulus– a twisting of the stomach. Your coonhound’s stomach can fill up with gas and air and yet remain in position.

 

 

In bloat, gas or food stretches the stomach beyond its normal size, pinching off both sides of it, causing your dog excruciating pain and leaving no room for the trapped gas to escape.

 

 

The earliest signs of bloat include a hard and swollen abdomen; repeated unsuccessful efforts to belch, retch or vomit; restlessness, pacing, and increasing anxiety. In full GDV, your dog can rapidly go into shock. His gums will be pale, his breathing rapid and shallow, and he can lose consciousness. All within 20 to 60 minutes.

 

 

If your dog exhibits any of these symptoms, transport him IMMEDIATELY to your vet or to an emergency animal clinic. Every minute is crucial and none can be wasted. If your dog has been suffering for an hour or more, the damage may be so severe that he CANNOT be saved. Even with timely surgery, up to one-third of all dogs will die.

 

 

As soon as your dog is seen, an IV line will be established in an effort to both regulate his blood pressure and administer medications to combat the pain and shock. A vet will then try to release the air in your dog’s stomach -- either with an esophageal tube inserted through into his mouth, or with a long, sharp needle inserted into his stomach to relieve the pressure and keep the stomach from rupturing.

 

 

X-rays will determine whether your dog’s stomach is simply bloated or if there’s full GDV. If his stomach is indeed twisted, once he’s stable, he’ll require surgery to repair the twist and attach his stomach to the body wall (a procedure called gastroplexy) to prevent a recurrence of the condition. Studies show that, without this procedure, over 50 percent of dogs with bloat will bloat again within three months, while 76 percent will bloat again in their lifetime.

 

 

As a preventive measure, many owners of predisposed dog breeds such as coonhounds will opt to have gastroplexy performed when their dog is either spayed or neutered.

 

 

Other preventive measures include feeding your dog two or three smaller meals a day, training him not to gulp his food, giving him small amounts of water afterward, and only allowing him to exercise an hour after eating. Providing him with fresh water throughout the day or pre-soaking his kibble can help to prevent bloat as well.

 

 

Choose your coonhound’s food very carefully. Most commercial dry dog foods contain carbohydrates like corn, wheat, rice, soy and oatmeal, which are highly fermentable. And because fermentation produces gas, the more carbohydrates your dog consumes, the more gas will be produced.

 

 

To slow down your dog’s eating, spread his food out on a cookie sheet or purchase a bowl designed specifically for that purpose. A slower, more even rate of food consumption will help reduce the amount of air your dog swallows and reduce the chance of bloat occurring.

 

 

Two other preventive measures? Minimize your dog’s stress level by ensuring he gets enough daily physical exercise, and reduce the amount of chemicals you put INTO and ONTO your dog.

 

 

By taking these risk factors into consideration and modifying your coonhound’s diet and lifestyle, you and the dog you love can, hopefully, be spared the nightmare scenario of GDV.

 

Hemangiosarcoma in Golden Retrievers

Posted by saskatoondogrescue on August 7, 2015 at 8:35 PM Comments comments (0)

Hemangiosarcoma in Golden Retrievers

 

 

Hemangiosarcoma, a common form of cancer arising from the lining of blood vessels, mainly affects older, large breed dogs, with Golden Retrievers being one of the more vulnerable. Of the three basic forms of hemangiosarcoma: dermal (skin), hypodermal (under the skin) and visceral (splenic or cardiac), visceral is the most common and the most deadly.

 

 

A disproportionate number of Goldens suffer from hemangiosarcoma of the spleen, and because this highly malignant cancer develops slowly and without symptoms in its early stages, by the time Goldens are symptomatic, they are usually in an advanced stage of the disease. Unknown to either pets or pet owners, small ruptures in the tumors can develop, allowing blood to escape into the abdomen, chest or the sac around the heart. This blood loss causes some dogs to show intermittent symptoms uncluding: lethargy and weakness; decrease in appetite; mild anemia, and if tested, a slight elevation of liver enzymes. Signs of a life-threatening internal hemorrhage may include: weakness; pale colour to the tongue; panting; rapid heart rate and a weak pulse; distended, fluid-filled abdomen and finally, collapse.

 

 

Sadly, there has been no significant advancement in the treatment of splenic hemangiosarcoma in decades, and the standard treatments only moderately extend the affected Golden’s life. Removing a healthy spleen to prevent the development of the disease is unlikely to provide any benefits, because this type of cancer cell originates in the bone marrow, and it will simply find another organ to invade. And although dogs can function without a spleen, removing it will have other, negative impacts on their health.

 

 

Once the disease is diagnosed, the standard treatment is surgery to remove the infected spleen, followed by aggressive chemotherapy -- providing the cancer has not spread. The average survival time for dogs undergoing surgery alone: 1 to 3 months. The average survival time for dogs both undergoing surgery and receiving chemotherapy: 8 to 9 months. Chemotherapy slows the growth of new tumors and, despite the silent progression of the disease, affords the Golden a high quality of life during those added months.

 

 

Some veterinary experts find that one of the most important tools in the early detection of splenic hemangiosarcoma is an ultrasound, because of how easily the spleen can be seen. They recommend starting regular ultrasounds on Goldens at 5 years of age, with testing repeated at least once a year. However, ultrasound equipment is expensive and not all veterinary offices offer the procedure, and for those that do, the cost to Goldens’ owners can be significant.

 

 

Other tools in the preventative arsenal are vet checks on older Goldens every six months for careful palpation of their abdomen to check for any abnormalities or changes. Complete blood counts should also be done every 6 months, because mild

 

anemia often points to a more serious underlying issue that may require further exploration.

 

 

In their search for ways to make their beloved Goldens as comfortable as possible, many owners will add alternative treatments to conventional ones. But they must first find an experienced holistic veterinarian or a western vet who is open to alternative medicine. Along with various high potency vitamins, supplements and natural herbs prescribed in the appropriate amounts, a specific cancer diet is recommended, as are ongoing sessions of acupuncture.

 

 

Although nothing can alter the inevitable outcome of this dread disease, if Goldens can enjoy the time left to them with a minimum of discomfort, that is what matters most – for them and for the people who love them.

 

DO YOU KNOW YOUR SHIH TZU?

Posted by saskatoondogrescue on July 27, 2015 at 1:25 PM Comments comments (0)

 

DO YOU KNOW YOUR SHIH TZU?

 

 The Shih Tzu may have several names, including Chinese Lion Dog, Lion Dog and Chrysanthemum Dog, but they all add up to the same thing. One very adorable, personable, often stubborn but always loyal and loving companion.

 

 With his sweet-natured temperament, the Shih Tzu is less demanding and less yappy than most toy breeds. Although solidly built and lively, his exercise needs are few – some short walks each day or some brief romps in the yard. Primarily a lover of comfort and attention, what this breed enjoys most is cuddling on laps and snuggling into soft pillows.

 

 Friendly and feisty, these small, flat-faced, silky coated sweethearts are usually trustworthy around older children, but their small size puts them at risk for unintentional injury around toddlers and very young children.

 

 Shih Tzu are generally healthy dogs, living to 15 years or more, but like every dog breed, they have their own distinct temperament and are prone to certain conditions and diseases.

 

Because a Shih Tzu is difficult to housebreak, consistency is key, and crate training an essential aid. Never let a puppy roam your place unsupervised until completely housetrained. 

 

A Shih Tzu seems particularly prone to eating his or other dogs’ feces. Monitoring your dog’s behavior and cleaning up his poop promptly will prevent this from becoming a habit. 

 

The dense, double coat of a Shih Tzu should be combed or brushed daily to keep shedding and matting to a minimum.

 

 The Shih Tzu tends to snore, wheeze and reverse sneeze, and the flatness of his face makes him susceptible to heat stroke (the air entering his lungs isn't cooled as efficiently as in longer-nosed breeds). It’s wise to keep your Shih Tzu indoors in air-conditioned rooms during hot weather. And walk him in a Y-shaped harness that wraps around his chest, not his throat. A collar puts pressure on his windpipe and makes it harder for him to breathe.

 

 Reverse sneezing can occur when a Shih Tzu suffers from allergies, becomes overly excited, or gulps food too quickly. Nasal secretions drop onto the soft palate, causing it to close over the windpipe, creating that wheezing sound. Some experts suggest the fastest way to stop this is to pinch your dog’s nostrils closed, thereby forcing him to breathe through his mouth.

 

Because of their undershot jaws, Shih Tzu are prone to dental and gum problems, such as retained baby teeth, missing and misaligned teeth, and must have their teeth brushed and vet checked regularly.

 

The drop ears of the Shih Tzu create a dark and warm ear canal, leaving them prone to infection. To help prevent this, check and clean your dog’s ears weekly and keep him on a grain-free diet. 

 

 Eye problems are not uncommon among Shih Tzu because of their large, bulging eyes. These disorders include keratoconjunctivitis sicca, or dry eye (a dryness of the cornea and the conjunctiva), distichiasis (abnormal growth of eyelashes on the margin of the eye, resulting in the eyelashes rubbing against it), proptosis (the eyeball is dislodged from the eye socket and the eyelids clamp shut behind the eyeball), keratitis (inflammation of the cornea that can lead to a corneal ulcer and blindness), and progressive retinal atrophy (degenerative disease of the retinal visual cells leading to blindness). 

 

 Also common are bladder stones and bladder infections, hip dysplasia (abnormal formation of the hip socket possibly causing pain and lameness) and patellar luxation, (dislocation of the kneecap), in which the knee joint slides in and out of place, causing pain and again, possible lameness.

 

 Health concerns aside, the Shih Tzu simply doesn't care where he lives, as long as he's with you. A highly adaptable dog, he can be equally comfortable in a small city apartment, a large suburban home or a cozy country cottage.

 

 If you want a dog who lives to love and be loved, whose primary characteristic is affection, and whose favorite destination is your lap, look no further than the Shih Tzu cuddled next to you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Being Cautious is Cool This Summer

Posted by saskatoondogrescue on July 15, 2015 at 2:10 AM Comments comments (0)

Picture yourself on a sweltering summer day wearing a long winter coat.

 

Are you hot yet? Itchy? Thirsty? Looking for shade?

 

Now picture your dogs on that same summer day. And you’ll have some idea of how THEY feel.

 

Protecting them from the hot sun, air and ground is essential to keeping them safe outside. All it requires is common sense and some advance planning.

 

Here are some suggestions:

 

For dogs with particularly thick or heavy coats, have a groomer lightly trim them back.

 

Guard against sunburn by applying either a child’s SPF 45 sun block or a specially formulated animal sunscreen to the tips of your dog’s ears, the nose and the belly.

 

Whether on a porch, patio or lawn, create a shaded area using planters or shrubbery.

 

Set up a makeshift canopy using a blanket draped across two chairs.

 

Limit your dog’s outdoor exercise. Take your walks early in the morning or when the sun is setting. If the day’s particularly hot and humid, forego your walks altogether.

 

Turn on a garden sprinkler and let your dog run through it or fill a small wading pool with water

 

Keep your dog’s water bowl filled, cool, and free of floating debris.

 

Avoid hot asphalt, which can quickly burn the pads of your dog’s paws. Place the back of your hand to the sidewalk or pavement. If you can’t keep it there for seven seconds, then it’s too hot for your dog. If possible, walk your dog on the grass instead.

 

Never leave your dog unattended in the car. Whether in the shade with the windows cracked or with the motor running and the air conditioning on, your car can become a deathtrap within minutes.

 

Watch your dog for signs of heat exhaustion. Because dogs don’t sweat, their only way of cooling down is by panting or releasing heat through their paws. Warning signs include exaggerated panting, excessive salivation, a vacant expression, restlessness or listlessness, trembling and skin that’s hot to the touch.

 

If your dog is exhibiting any of these signs, get him into the shade as quickly as possible. Give him cool water to drink and either hose him down, cover him with cool, damp cloths or put him in a bathtub filled with cool water. If your dog’s condition worsens, seek immediate medical attention.

 

To be a responsible pet owner is to be an informed pet owner.

 

The list of safety rules may seem long, but the hot days of summer are even longer.

???It Was Just For a Minute???

Posted by saskatoondogrescue on July 3, 2015 at 2:15 AM Comments comments (0)

Sadder words were never spoken.

 

 

Because an errand meant to take that proverbial minute is 60 seconds too long when a dog is left unattended in a car in the heat.

 

 

Why? 

 

 

Because, even on mild summer days, with a car parked in the shade and the windows cracked, the INSIDE temperature can rapidly reach dangerous levels.

 

 

Why?

 

 

Because a car acts like a greenhouse, trapping and magnifying the sun’s strength and heat. Both the air and upholstery temperature can rise so rapidly that a dog can’t cool down.

 

 

Why?

 

 

Because a dog’s normal body temperature is about 102 F. Raise it briefly by only two degrees, and heat exhaustion, brain damage, even death may occur.

 

 

Why? 

 

 

Because dogs don’t sweat. They can only cool themselves by panting and releasing heat through their paws.

 

 

Despite repeated warnings in the media, flyers distributed by animal welfare groups, and word of mouth, countless animals still die needlessly each year from heatstroke. Despite the axiom that one person can’t make a difference, in this type of situation, one person can make ALL the difference. And that person may be YOU.

 

 

If you see a dog in distress inside a car parked on the street or in a parking lot, note the make and model of the car, as well as its license plate number. Call the police, your local ASPCA branch, Humane Society or animal control immediately.

 

 

Watch the dog closely for the more obvious signs of heatstroke: exaggerated panting (or the sudden stopping of panting); an anxious or staring expression; restlessness; excessive salivation, tremors and vomiting. While waiting for help, you maywherever possiblechoose to act on your own.

 

 

If a window is opened or a door unlocked, extricate the dog cautiously and carefully -- either alone or with assistance. Then, get him into an air-conditioned car or nearby building. Otherwise, lay him down in a cool, shady place. Wet him with cool water, but never apply ice to his body. Fan him vigorously to speed the evaporation process, which, in turn, will cool the blood and reduce his temperature. Give him cool water to drink or even ice cream to lick.

 

 

Hopefully, by now, help will have arrived, and you may have saved some neglectful owner’s family pet.

 

 

A gentle reminder: don’t YOU become that same neglectful owner.

 

 

Remember there’s no such thing asjust for a minute.“

 

ALLERGY ALERT! ITCH THAT TIME AGAIN

Posted by saskatoondogrescue on June 10, 2015 at 12:25 AM Comments comments (0)

 

Has your dog suddenly started scratching herself or biting certain areas of her body? Chewing on her feet? Rubbing her face back and forth across the carpet?

 

If so, she may be suffering from seasonal allergies. These reactions to an obvious, but invisible, itch is her body’s way of responding to molecules called “allergens.”

 

The major culprits: trees, grasses, pollens, molds and ragweed. The main cause: inhaling these irritants through the nose and mouth.

 

Unlike humans, most dogs’ allergies manifest themselves as skin irritations or inflammations known as allergic dermatitis. Left untreated, your dog’s constant scratching can lead to open sores and scabs, hair loss and hot spots. Ear infections, running noses, watery eyes, coughing and sneezing may also occur.

 

To determine the source of your dog’s allergy, ask your vet to conduct a series of tests: intradermal, blood or both.

 

Once a specific allergen has been identified, you can try the following:

Avoidance: for pollens, keep your dog away from fields; keep lawns short; keep her indoors when pollen counts are high; vacuum and wash floors with non-toxic agents instead of regular household cleaners containing chemicals.

Topical therapies: frequent baths with an oatmeal-free shampoo; foot soaks to reduce tracking allergens into the house; topical solutions containing hydrocortisone to ease the itching.

Diet: one low in carbohydrates like grain, or low in fat; put omega-3 fatty acids and/or coconut oil in her food; add a combination of the naturopathic supplements quercetin, bromelain and papain to her meals.

Drugs: antihistamines, cyclosporine or steroids.

 

As always, consult your vet before starting any form of treatment. Monitor your dog’s behaviour closely and report any improvement or worsening in her condition.

 

It may take several attempts before the proper treatment is found. But when it is, your dog will be much more comfortable — and so will you.

 


 

Has your dog suddenly started scratching herself or biting certain areas of her body? Chewing on her feet? Rubbing her face back and forth across the carpet?

 

If so, she may be suffering from seasonal allergies. These reactions to an obvious, but invisible, itch is her body’s way of responding to molecules called “allergens.”

 

The major culprits: trees, grasses, pollens, molds and ragweed. The main cause: inhaling these irritants through the nose and mouth.

 

Unlike humans, most dogs’ allergies manifest themselves as skin irritations or inflammations known as allergic dermatitis. Left untreated, your dog’s constant scratching can lead to open sores and scabs, hair loss and hot spots. Ear infections, running noses, watery eyes, coughing and sneezing may also occur.

 

To determine the source of your dog’s allergy, ask your vet to conduct a series of tests: intradermal, blood or both.

 

Once a specific allergen has been identified, you can try the following:

Avoidance: for pollens, keep your dog away from fields; keep lawns short; keep her indoors when pollen counts are high; vacuum and wash floors with non-toxic agents instead of regular household cleaners containing chemicals.

Topical therapies: frequent baths with an oatmeal-free shampoo; foot soaks to reduce tracking allergens into the house; topical solutions containing hydrocortisone to ease the itching.

Diet: one low in carbohydrates like grain, or low in fat; put omega-3 fatty acids and/or coconut oil in her food; add a combination of the naturopathic supplements quercetin, bromelain and papain to her meals.

Drugs: antihistamines, cyclosporine or steroids.

 

As always, consult your vet before starting any form of treatment. Monitor your dog’s behaviour closely and report any improvement or worsening in her condition.

 

It may take several attempts before the proper treatment is found. But when it is, your dog will be much more comfortable — and so will you.

 

Tick Alert: Pet Owners Beware

Posted by saskatoondogrescue on June 1, 2015 at 2:15 PM Comments comments (0)

With the arrival of summer comes the arrival of an annoying and possibly fatal pest: the tick.

 

What was once considered a nuisance found only in the wooded countryside has been persistently and increasingly invading cities both large and small. Now ticks can be as close as your neighbourhood park or your neighbour’s backyard.

 

What, precisely, is a tick? A tick is a fairly common, external parasite that embeds itself in the skin of both animals and humans. Once it lands, it inserts its mouthparts into the skin and feeds on the blood. And that single tick has the potential to pass on multiple diseases.

 

Deer ticks and Western Blacklegged ticks can carry Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever, which animals (and humans) can contract.

 

Prevention and early detection are the best ways of protecting your pets against Lyme disease. The intent is to stop it before any symptoms appear. Should the disease progress, symptoms can include stiff, painful and swollen joints, and a limp that comes and goes, often appearing to switch sides. Some dogs have an arched back and a stiff walk. More serious, however, are fever, difficulty breathing and kidney failure. Heart and neurological problems are rarer.

 

To help protect your pet, there are several preventatives available – such as K9 Advantix – which stops ticks BEFORE they bite, killing, not only all of the major tick species, but acting as a flea treatment as well. A product meant only for dogs, K9 Advantix must NOT be applied to cats.

 

Such preventatives are particularly important for high-risk animals such as hunting dogs, cottage dogs, and dogs hiking through fields. But it’s important to remember that dogs (and cats) can pick up ticks in the city as well.

 

When bitten, the skin of some pets may become red and irritated around the site, while others may not even notice the parasite attached to them. It is imperative then, that you inspect your pet thoroughly when returning from areas known for ticks.

 

Should you find a tick on your pet, it must be removed very carefully to ensure that the mouthparts are fully removed. If left behind, they can abscess and cause infection. Kill the tick by placing it in a zip-lock bag and pouring rubbing alcohol over it. For the uncertain owner, special tick removal devices are available, while the squeamish can have their vet remove the tick instead.

 

Some experts now advise that when your pet is tested annually for heartworm, the same test include screening for Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis and anaplasmosis (both bacterial infections). A positive test result enables you to start treating your pet early -- before the onset of any symptoms.

 

Never was the expression “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” more true.


Article written by Nomi Berger

 

 

 

MIND YOUR CANINE MANNERS

Posted by saskatoondogrescue on May 11, 2015 at 1:20 PM Comments comments (0)

The lure of the dog park is inescapable. That wide expanse of grass. Trees, shrubs and rocks dotted about. Perhaps a metal fence for added protection.

As inviting as the scene may be, it’s essential that both you and your dog pass the test in proper dog park etiquette before you even enter the grounds.

There may be no signs posted stating “BAD MANNERS WILL NOT BE TOLERATED,” but every well-informed dog owner knows what they are.

For those first time owners who have absolutely no clue, the following is a list of the most essential DO’s and DON’T’s of playing safely at the dog park.

DO keep your dog under control at all times and DO make certain that he always comes when called. Pity those poor owners standing helpless and hoarse, leashes dangling, treat bags drooping, while their own dogs dance off disobediently into the distance.

DO make certain that your dog has been properly socialized beforehand. What’s worse than watching an aggressive dog going after a timid dog, resulting in punishment for one and pet therapy for the other?

DO ensure that your dog is up to date on all of his vaccinations, is heartworm negative and parasite protected. Think about all of those tiny, unseen menaces like fleas and ticks lurking about in the grass.

DON’T bring an intact male or female dog to the park. Picture the pandemonium that would ensue. Not to mention the potential for a passel of unplanned pups.

DO monitor the behavior of the other dogs in the park and be alert to possible signs of trouble. Step into referee mode and start dropping penalty flags on the field if loose packs are forming, playing is getting too rough or bullying has begun.

DO be prepared to leave the park if it means avoiding a potentially unpleasant or dangerous situation. Whether it’s your dog’s fault or someone else’s dog, finger pointing is preferable to finger biting. But both should be studiously avoided.

DO be considerate of the other dogs and their – hopefully -- considerate owners. Stoop and scoop up carefully after YOUR dog. If you don’t appreciate your dog’s nose sniffing at, or your feet slipping on, another dog’s droppings, you’re certainly not alone.

Forewarned, as they say, is forearmed.

Now, go play!


Article written by Nomi Berger

 

 

 

KEEPING YOUR DOG HEARTWORM SAFE

Posted by saskatoondogrescue on May 5, 2015 at 3:10 PM Comments comments (0)

 

A single bite from a single infected mosquito can cause an otherwise healthy dog to develop heartworm disease and potentially die.

 

A heartworm is a parasitic worm (Dirofilaria immitis) that lives in the heart and pulmonary arteries of an affected dog. The worms travel through the bloodstream, damaging arteries and vital organs as they go, before arriving at the lungs and heart approximately six months after that initial mosquito bite. Several hundred worms can live in a single dog from between five and seven years, and if left untreated, can prove fatal.

 

The best protection against this insidious disease? Prevention. Prevention is both safe and effective, whereas treating the disease itself is complicated, costly, and can, like the disease, have serious, even fatal, effects on the stricken dog.

 

Preventives work by killing the heartworm larvae before they can grow and mature into adult heartworms. Although a variety of preventives are now available to conscientious pet owners everywhere, the first step in the prevention process is a visit to the vet.

 

Most vets recommend yearly testing for heartworm in dogs older than 6 months, usually in late spring. If your dog is heartworm negative, inexpensive, chewable pills are available with your vet’s prescription. The pills, which are palatable to most dogs, must be given to your dog monthly, and are manufactured by several companies. These pills can also be given to dogs under 6 months of age without a blood test.

 

Besides pills, there are specially designed, chemical preventive products that you apply directly onto your dog’s skin. Application of these topical preventives should begin June 1st and continue for six months. Some heartworm preventives contain additional ingredients that will control other parasites, such as roundworms or hookworms, while the topical preventives prescribed by your vet will protect your dog against fleas and ticks as well.

 

If you choose the vet-prescribed pill, you can opt to give it to your dog only during mosquito season (from spring through the first frost), but the most recent recommendation from the American Heartworm Society is to keep giving them all year round. And remember, although your dog may not go outside, mosquitoes can still get INside.

 

For those preferring to NOT use either the pill or the topical preventive, homeopathic

veterinarians advise testing your dog for heartworm twice yearly.

 

In short, consult with your vet. Protect the dog you love against these invasive, potentially fatal parasites, and this summer, all of you can rest, assured.


Article written by Nomi Berger

 


Rss_feed