Posts Tagged ‘Canine Health’
Friday, November 19th, 2010
If you are the type of owner who is committed to doing everything they can to ensure that their guard dog is completely healthy, it is very important to learn about worm control. Worms, which are also known as parasites can be very detrimental to your dog and can cause many different health problems. There are many different types of worms such as roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms, whipworms, and heartworms. Roundworms are the most common type found in dogs, they affect the intestines and cause a pot-belly. Hookworms and whipworms, hook to the inside of the intestine and sucks blood from the dog, causing anemia and possibly death. Tapeworms also infect the intestines and can cause abdominal pain, nervousness, sever itching, vomiting, and weight loss. There are many different causes of dog worms, these are good to know to help prevent the worms in anyway you can. One way is through infected soil, that your dog comes in contact with. The worm eggs often live in this type of environment and can easily stick to human hands, clothing, or the dog itself. A way to prevent this if by having yourself and your family wash their hands each time before coming in from outside. Worms can be transmitted to puppies from their mothers uterus, while milking.
It is important the symptoms of dog worms, so that you know can detect the worms early enough to treat them. Symptoms will vary between each dog, so it is always a good thing to seek help from a veterinarian who knows how to properly take care of worms. Acting quickly is very important when it comes to worms because they will start to take a toll on your guard dog’s immune system, and possibly lead to more health problems. Some worms can be seen visually if a piece of the worm breaks off and you could find it (possibly still moving) around the dog’s anus, its bed, or in its feces. However, many worms are not visible, so it is extremely important to take your guard dog to a regular check up and have the vet test its feces. Over the counter prescriptions are effective but not on all types of worms, other will have to be treated with a dewormer that is given as a oral medicine or injected by the vet. Some basic guidelines for worm prevention are: flea control, keeping your dog from eating feces, avoiding exposure to stray animals, and cleaning its bed or crate with a saltwater solution. Worms are an extremely serious matter and it is important to know what you’re up against to protect your guard dog.
Tuesday, October 12th, 2010
As with any mammal, there are a wide range of illnesses and diseases that could potentially affect your protection dog. While most dogs will live their lives in relatively good health, there a number of common health problems that can occur in dogs, and should be watched out for. Remember that your protection dog is relying on its health and wellness in order to keep you and your family safe, so it is always in your best interests to ensure that your dog is in peak physical condition.
According to animal health insurance agencies, ear infections are the single most common health problem among canines. This is followed by skin problems, such as pyoderma, and gastrointestinal problems such as vomiting and diarrhea. While none of these may seem immediately serious, these health problems can negatively affect the performance of your protection dog. Also, if left unchecked, they can eventually lead to life-threatening complications. Luckily, all three are fairly easy to spot. It’s inadvisable to examine the ears of your dog closely without the help of a veterinarian, but you should be on the lookout for excess wax buildup or discharge that could signal an infection. Also be aware of your dog’s behavior. Dogs with ear infections will show their discomfort by rubbing their ears against carpeting or furniture, scratching their ears excessively, or shaking their heads as if there was water in their ears. To spot skin allergies, or other health problems, you should examine your dog’s skin regularly for lesions or sores. This is also helpful in detecting the presence of certain parasites, such as ticks, which are another very common health problem among dogs. Finally, vomiting and diarrhea will be immediately obvious, but you should pay attention to your dogs eating habits, as changes in appetite may signal less obvious gastrointestinal problems.
Aside from the health problems that are common amongst all breeds, specific breeds sometimes suffer from certain health problems more than others. Due to the size of common working breeds, and the intense physical activity that they’re expected to perform, joint problems are a common occurrence. Hip Dysplasia is a particularly common disorder that occurs often in working breeds such as the German Shepherd or Belgian Malinois. In most cases, hip dysplasia won’t become obvious until your dog has aged significantly, but you should always be on the look out for changes in your dog’s stride, and any indications that your dog may be experiencing pain in the hips and joints.
Remember that if you are ever in doubt about the health of your personal protection dog, you should never hesitate to contact your veterinarian. With knowledge and perseverance, you can help ensure that your dog will live a long and healthy life.
Thursday, July 8th, 2010
Despite the best efforts of a handler to keep his or her protection dog clean, infestations of fleas, ticks or lice are sometimes inevitable. Luckily, lice is fairly uncommon among dogs in North America. However, the possibility of infestation still exists, and it is important to know what to look for, and what steps to take in the event that your dog does get lice.
While lice is commonly known as a human affliction, the type of lice that affect dogs is different, and cannot live off of humans. Just like fleas and ticks, dog lice can cause intense skin irritation and often carry serious diseases. However, unlike energetic fleas, dog lice move slowly and cannot jump or fly. While dog lice is different from the lice that affects humans, the symptoms and methods of treatment are largely the same. A dog with lice will scratch noticeably often, and will often be distracted by the irritation of its skin. Upon parting the dog’s fur, you may find small white particles attached to the strands. These particles are eggs, and are the tell-tale sign of a lice infestation.
Luckily, lice in dogs is fairly easy to treat. An insecticide spray or bath is often enough to rid your protection dog or guard dog of the infestation, although your veterinarian may recommend that you dog have its fur shaved. If you have a German Shepherd puppy, or Belgian Malinois puppy, you should consult your veterinarian for treatment advice before using insecticide sprays or baths. Finally, your dogs bedding and brushes should be replaced in order to prevent risk of reinfection.
Tuesday, July 6th, 2010
Despite the name, ringworm is actually caused by a form of fungus. Over 35 different species of this fungus exists, but only about four can cause ringworm in dogs. Of these four, Microsporum Canis is the most common. Ringworm is very contagious, and can be passed from dogs to humans. The risk of catching ringworm is especially high in young children. Infection can be spread by direct contact with an infected animal, or by contact with the spores which can live in sheets and carpeting for several months.
Ringworm can take as much as two weeks to develop into visible lesions after initial infection. The fungus grows within hair follicles in the skin, and causes hair in the infected area to break off at the root. As a result, ringworm infections often manifest in dogs as circular patches of missing fur. Many cases of ringworm can be identified by examination under ultra-violet light. However, only two of the four species of fungi that cause ringworm will fluoresce. The most accurate test is to have your veterinarian perform a hair culture on fur from the infected area, although this form of testing can take 2-3 weeks to perform.
If left untreated, ringworm will spread and cause painful sores, but once identified, infection can be treated fairly easily through anti-fungal medications. Unfortunately, ringworm is much more difficult to remove from the home, and reinfection will occur until remaining spores are dealt with. After an infection, it is recommended that you destroy and replace your dog’s bedding, brushes, and other objects which frequently come into close contact with your dog’s fur. Items that cannot be destroyed can be soaked in a mixture of hot water and iodine, and rinsed with water and diluted bleach. Clean the house thoroughly, and have carpets and upholstery steam-cleaned.
While ringworm is not often a dangerous or life-threatening illness, its persistence can make it difficult to deal with. In a guard dog, the skin irritation caused by ringworm can have a detrimental effect on concentration and overall performance. Weather you have a German Shepherd, Belgian Malinois, or Dutch Shepherd, it is important to check your guard dog regularly for signs of ringworm and other signs of skin irritation. Do not hesitate to contact your veterinarian if you detect any signs illness.
Thursday, July 1st, 2010
It is believed by many that a cold and wet nose is a sign of good health in a dog. While this is true to an extent, the health of your dog is not so black and white that it can be determined from a simple touch of the nose. A protection dog cannot speak, so it is up to the handler to look for other signs of good or poor health.
Concerning a dog’s nose, it is not necessarily true that a dog with a warm or dry nose will always be sick, nor is it true that a dog with a cool and wet nose will always be healthy. In many mammals, humans included, the purpose of the nose is to help clean and condition the air we breath in order to reduce the stress on our lungs and passageways. To a certain extent, the moisture from a dog’s nose helps humidify the air that they breath in. However, this humidifying effect has much more to do with the inside of your dog’s nose than the outside. Truthfully, the primary reason that a dog’s nose will be wet is because dogs frequently lick their noses.Certain breeds of dog, such as the bulldog, often have dry noses due simply to the fact that the dog’s tongue cannot reach its nose. Similarly, your own dog’s nose may be dry during certain times of the day when less licking occurs, such as while it sleeps. Neither of these cases indicate a dog that is sick or unhealthy.
However, many dogs avoid licking their noses when they become ill. While a dry or warm nose by itself is certainly no indication of sickness, it may be one symptom accompanying a number of others, such as lethargy or difficulty breathing. As a general rule, you should always consult your veterinarian if your dog shows any other signs of illness, regardless of whether its nose is wet or dry. In rare cases, your dogs nose may not only become dry, but will begin to crack or produce sores. Excessive dryness lasting more than a day, or the appearance of sores on the nose should both be examined immediately by your veterinarian.
Whether you have a German Shepherd, Belgian Malinois, or Dutch Shepherd, knowing the signs and symptoms of sickness in your protection dog is the most important step in ensuring it a long and healthy life. When in doubt, you should never hesitate to seek the advice of a trained and licenced veterinarian.
Tuesday, June 15th, 2010
Healthy growing pups normally have incredible appetites for their size, so when your puppy stops eating, it can be cause for great concern. Knowing what to look for and how to respond is the first step in ensuring a strong and healthy German Shepherd puppy with a strong appetite.
As a general preventative measure, it is good to maintain a strict feeding schedule and build proper eating habits with your pup. Try to feed your puppy at consistent times from day to day, don’t feed it scraps from the table, always place the food in your pup’s dish, and remove the dish after 20 or 30 minutes have passed in order to help condition your puppy to eat at the proper times.
Assuming you’ve been maintaining a good schedule, and your puppy has been eating regularly, there are a number of reasons why your puppy may suddenly stop eating. One of the most common reasons is due to teething. Do what you can to reduce the discomfort from teething and ensure meals are eaten.
Unfortunately, other reasons your pup may stop eating could much more severe. Digestive illness, injury to the abdomen or parasites may all prevent your puppy from eating properly. As well, regardless of the cause, lack of food for extended periods of time can be fatal. Whether you have a German Shepherd puppy, Dutch Shepherd puppy, or Belgian Malinois puppy, you should always consult the expertise of your veterinarian if your puppy has gone more than 24 hours without eating, or shows any symptoms of illness.
Thursday, June 3rd, 2010
In German Shepherds, standing ears have been a staple of the breed’s appearance since the very first were bred in the early 1900′s. Unlike other breeds whose ears must be painfully cropped, the German Shepherd has been bred for ears that stand naturally, without the need for unnecessary surgery. Not only do standing ears give the appearance of alertness, but they more effectively channel sound, and are less prone to dirt and infection.
Many people take it for granted that a German Shepherd’s ears have always stood erect. However, German Shepherd puppies go through a process of growth in which the cartilage in their ears firms up, allowing them to stand. When the puppies are first born, their ears are much too soft to stand on their own. In the majority of puppies, the ears will naturally begin to stand between about 3 to 6 months with no extra help. Unfortunately, some puppies are born with softer ears than others, or cartilage that does not firm up enough for the ears to stand. The process of taping ensures that their ears will set properly, in the shape which was intended for the breed. It should be stressed that the majority of pups will have ears that stand naturally. Ear taping should only be used on pups who have shown no signs of standing ears after about 5 or 6 months.
The process of ear taping should not be left too late. In many cases, starting taping at 7 or 8 months may already be too late. It is important to monitor the growth of your dog’s ears, and how they react to noise. Making noise and giving commands will encourage the pup to work the muscles around their ears, and encourage standing. If, by the 5th month, your pups ears have not shown signs of beginning to stand, you should consider taping. While it is recommended to have a vet tape the ears, it can be done at home as well. The most important consideration is to make sure that the right type of tape is used. Only clean surgical tape should be used. Any other type of tape, such as duct tape or scotch tape, can seriously damage your dog’s ears. It is also important to purchase a safe adhesive, specifically designed for use on skin. The process of taping the dog’s ears is fairly simple. You will need some form of soft cylindrical form to place in the ear-flap. The foam inside of hair-rollers, with the hard plastic parts removed, often work well. Apply the skin-bond glue to the foam, being careful not to apply excessive glue, allow the glue to contact your own skin, or allow the glue to drip into the ear of the dog. Gently place the foam along the inside flap of the ear, in an upright fashion. Leave space between the foam and the ear canal. Tape the ear around the foam in a cylindrical fashion, starting from the bottom. Be careful not to tape too loosely or too tightly, and you should be done.
Whether you have a police dog, a guard dog or a personal protection dog, healthy ears are an important part of your German Shepherd puppy‘s development. If, at any time, you are in doubt about the health your puppy, you should never hesitate to contact your veterinarian for advice.
Tuesday, June 1st, 2010
Sensitivity to environmental substances is incredibly common among human beings. While severe reactions to substances occur in many people, mild allergies to pollen or dust mites are much more prevalent. However, humans are not the only mammals affected by these strange sensitivities. Canines are just as likely to have allergies as humans are. However, the way in which these allergies present themselves can be very different. It is important to know what signs to look for in your protection dog, and what actions to take if you suspect your dog may be having an allergic reaction.
Unlike in humans, where mild allergies to pollen or mold manifest as a stuffy nose, or watery eyes, dogs with these types of allergies often suffer from skin irritation, especially around the ears, paws, flanks and groin. While this is often nothing to be overly concerned about, excessive licking and scratching can create sores in the skin that may become infected.
It is also possible for your dog to have a food allergy. In severe cases, vomiting, diarrhea or even seizures may occur, but often the symptoms are harder to spot. Flatulence, sneezing, and general irritation of the mouth, throat, or intestinal tract may all result from a food allergy.
Finally, canines can sometimes be sensitive to certain types of insect bytes. This is especially true of dogs who have previously had very little contact with this type of insect. A dog with an allergy to flea bytes may suffer from irritated skin and itchiness in the area for as long as a week after the byte.
Detecting and pin-pointing allergies can be a very difficult task. It is common for allergies to develop over time rather than being present for birth, which makes the task of narrowing down possible allergens even more difficult. In all cases, you should make an appointment with your veterinarian if your German Shepherd or Belgian Malinois is suffering from any of the above symptoms. Every case is different, so it is up to you and your veterinarian to pin-point possible allergies. Of course, knowing what symptoms to look for is the first step in keeping your personal protection dog happy and healthy.
Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010
While many people simply choose the veterinary clinic closest to their homes, the quality of the service they receive can vary greatly between veterinarians. Even if the location isn’t ideal, finding a good veterinarian is just as important to the health and comfort of your protection dog as finding a good doctor would be to you. It goes without saying that your veterinarian should be fully licensed. However, there are a number of other factors that make the difference between a comfortable, efficient and productive visit, versus a difficult and time-consuming experience.
Your first step should be to gather information on surrounding clinics. Word of mouth is not always reliable, but asking around the neighbourhood is a good starting point. Introduce yourself to other dog owners in the area to see if they have any recommendations. Doing research online is also a good way to gather information and read client testimonials. Not every opinion online will be accurate or trustworthy, but large numbers of negative reviews may help you steer clear of a poorly run clinic.
Once you have assembled a list of potential clinics in the area, you should call each one. It is good to ask questions regarding the facility and services provided. Ask if the veterinarian is on-call for emergencies, or if the clinic has an ultrasound machine. If these services are not provided, it does necessarily mean that it is a poor clinic. However, you will need to know the location of the nearest animal hospital that can provide these services in the event of an emergency. While most veterinarians practise on a wide variety of animals, it is beneficial to try to find a veterinarian who is especially experienced in dealing with dogs, or better yet, working breeds such as the German Shepherd or Belgian Malinois. Just as a professional athlete would look for a specialist in joint and muscle stress, you will want to look for a veterinarian who has experience dealing with the stresses that are put on the joints and muscles of working dogs.
Finally, your should narrow your choices down to only a couple of clinics. Make appointments for a first-time visit, and take not of the experience. Watch for cleanliness in the facility, the veterinarians ability to communicate problems clearly, whether or not the experience is rushed, and professional service at reception. During the examination, try asking the veterinarian to explain some of what they are doing. A good veterinarian should answer your questions clearly and professionally.
Thursday, March 18th, 2010
Considering the reputation of dogs and their willingness to eat just about anything, it seems unlikely that your protection dog would be a picky eater. However, sudden changes in the main source of your dog’s diet can produce unexpected health problems.
Whether you are switching from one brand of dog food to another, upgrading to a better quality of dog food, or putting your dog on an entirely raw food diet, the introduction of a new diet should always be done as gradually as possible. Switching over abruptly from one diet to another often causes problems with digestion such as stomach cramps, heartburn, indigestion or, in rare cases, vomiting and diarrhea.
Switching over from one diet to another can be accomplished in about a week. However, the more gradual the change is, the easier it will be for your dog’s digestive system to adapt. The new food can be gradually introduced by mixing it with the old food. Start with about one quarter of the new food mixed with three quarters of the old. After no less than two days, you can switch to a mixture of about half and half. Continue in increments of two or more days for the half and half mixture, followed by three quarters new with one quarter old, and finally a diet consisting entirely of the new food.
No matter what diet you choose for your German Shepherd, Belgian Malinois or Dutch Shepherd, it is important that you keep it consistent. While some owners may be tempted to pick up different brands of dog food on sale, your personal protection dog will not appreciate the sudden change. You should only switch the diet of your protection dog if you feel that it would benefit your dog’s health, or if a change of diet is recommended by your veterinarian.
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