"Bully Breeds", which is defined as any dog having bulldog lineage. All of these breeds, and then some, as well as predominant breed mixes
are known as bully breeds. They are strong, stubborn and wonderful. They come in all colors and sizes. And when
treated right with the proper training they are fabulous companion animals. Most only want the love and attention of
their human friend.
Spaying and Neutering
Spaying and neutering yet another controversial issue is imperative. The plain and simple is, there are too
many animals in this world! There are not enough homes and unless you are willing to care for all the puppies your
animal produces you are just adding to the problem. One un-neutered male can produce 67,000 puppies in on year. Yes
I said 67,000 puppies, that's one hell of a responsibility.
On top of over population, dogs
"are companions not commodities" - don't think your going to make some big bucks and buy a mansion breeding.
It is irresponsible to breed! You will not get one just like your little Cookie who is the best dog in the world -
what you will get is health problems and a damn hard time finding homes for them all. Research has proved that early
spay and neuter will decrease the animals chance of certain cancers by 80%. And unless you are breeding for show,
can prove the lineage of your dog and are working closely with a vet you will breed problems into your dog.
Any Vet worthy of his degree will advise you to spay and neuter. You can often get this done for free or at low
cost by doing a little research. Here in Richmond it is approximately $50—60 at Prevent A Litter, and if you qualify free.
Health & Wellness
I suppose now is a good time to talk about health. Dogs need 4 sets of shots starting at 6 weeks of age. The schedule
is 6, 9, 12 and 15. At 12 weeks they get a rabies shot and are started on heartworm prevention.
Heartworm prevention is one of the most important things you can do for your animal. Heartworms are passed through
mosquitos - all it takes is one bite from an infected mosquito to doom your friend to a painful sad death.
Yes it is true heartworms can be treated, but the cost to treat is usually $700 and up and the treatment
itself can kill the animal. And even if treated, the dog may have irreversible damage done to his heart.
All of this can be changed by giving your dog a monthly heartworm prevention for the life of the dog.
You should however still get a yearly heartworm test done when he is getting his vaccination, nothing is 100%.
Parvo, or Canine Parvovirus, is a viral disease that attacks dogs and if left untreated, kills them within days,
primarily due to dehydration. Parvo virus initially lodges and multiplies in the lymph nodes of the throat.
Three or 4 days later it spreads to the bone marrow and gastro intestinal tract, which both contain rapidly
multiplying cells, which is just what the virus needs. In the bone marrow it kills the young immune system cells,
and because of this, a low white cell count is the first clinical sign of possible parvo virus infection.
Having a low white cell count also means that the host cannot fight the infection. Simultaneously the
parvo virus is attacking the gastro intestinal tract, killing the new cells of the intestine walls before they
have a chance to grow. The result is an inability to absorb nutrients, causing acute diarrhea.
The gastro-intestinal wall becomes so damaged and thin, that bleeding occurs, allowing bacterial infection to start.
So parvo puppies can die from either severe dehydration and shock, or bacterial infection... or more commonly, both.
Demodex' is a kind of mange that is transfered from mother to puppy within the first 3-5 days of life. It is not
contagious to other dogs or people. It is easily treatable with a simple skin scraping, oral and topical
medications. It takes some time to fully recover (1-3 months). Demodex can re-occur throughout the dogs
lifetime whenever their immune system becomes compromised, but it easily corrected once diagnosed.
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Submissive urination is a behavior some dogs exhibit when overly excited or anxious . The simple way to correct this behavior
is to simply ignore it. This behavior becomes worse when you try to correct it, the dog thinks it is not peeing
"good enough" and tries to do better the next time. So in this situation just ignore the behavior it stops.
Remember though that this is not the same as house breaking or crate training these are totally different behaviors.
"A torn cranial cruciate ligament is one of the most common orthopedic disorders among dogs," says Dr. Harari. Dogs knees
are very similar to humans knees, and the cranial cruciate ligament is the same as the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL)
in humans. Like human athletes who tear their ACLs, dogs tear their cranial cruciate ligaments during athletic activities."
Ring Worm in Dogs
By Marcus Peterson
Ringworm is one of the most common diseases in pets, especially dogs. Unlike its name, Ringworm is not a worm but fungi called Dermatophytes that thrives on dead tissues present on skin surface and follows circular path to spread infection.
Ringworm is an infectious skin disease and your pet usually picks it up from his surroundings like kennels, rodent burrows or from other animals who are already infected. There are about 35 species of ringworm that can affect dogs. The most common is Microsporum Canis, which accounts for majority of ringworm cases.
One symptom of ringworms in dogs is a lesion on the skin that looks like a rapidly growing circular patch of broken hair. The patch may look inflamed and may appear to have dandruff-like flakes on it. The most common areas where it can occur are face, ear tips, tails and paws.
If you find any of these symptoms, take your pet to the veterinarian. He may diagnose the disease by plucking hairs from the infected area and examining it under ultra violet light. On finding fungi traits, he may advise some anti fungal pills or topical medications for your pet.
Humans need to take some precautions since ringworm is an infectious disease. Be sure to keep kids away from an infected pet, and adults should wear gloves when handling any items that have come in contact with the animal. Also keep your dog neat and clean and clip his hairs short since longer hairs promote unhygienic conditions.
Although, ringworm is a mild disorder the problems due to its infectious nature and slow recovery time can be problematic.
Heartworms in Dogs
What is Heartworm Disease?
Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal condition caused by parasitic worms living in the arteries of the lungs and occasionally in the right side of the heart of dogs, cats and other species of mammals, including wolves, foxes, ferrets, sea lions and (in rare instances) humans. Dogs and cats of any age or breed are susceptible to infection.
Dogs or other animals harboring adult worms are the recognized reservoir of heartworm infection. The disease is spread by mosquitoes that become infected while taking a blood meal from an infected dog. When the mosquito then bites another dog, cat, or susceptible animal, larvae are deposited on the skin and actively migrate into the new host. For about 2 months the larvae migrate through the connective tissue, under the skin, then pass into the animal's venous blood stream and are quickly transported to the arteries of the lung. It takes a total of approximately six months for the infective larvae to mature into adult worms that begin producing offspring. Adult heartworms can live for five to seven years in the dog.
How is Heartworm Disease Prevented?
A heartworm prevention program is effective and simple, and consists of three parts:
- Regular Blood Testing - This ensures your pet is free from heartworms before he begins or continues on his preventive medication. Your veterinarian will advise you as to the frequency of regular blood tests.
- Preventive medication - This means administering a heartworm preventive to your pet for at least six months to a full year depending on the mosquito season. Prevention for dogs includes monthly oral preparations.
- Reducing your pet's exposure to mosquitoes - This means making your pet's environment less hospitable to mosquitoes. This decreases the risk of your pet being infected with heartworm in the first place.
Heartworm prevention is safe, easy and inexpensive compared to treating a dog or cat after worms have matured into adults. While treatment for heartworm disease is possible, it is a complicated and expensive process, taking weeks for infected animals to recover and there is usually permanent damage to the heart. By investing in a preventive medication, you will spare your pet from this deadly disease and its complicated treatment. Talk to your veterinarian today to start a prevention program for your pets.
How is Heartworm Disease Treated?
Although heartworms can be fatal and treatment for the disease involves risk, the condition is usually curable. Treatment requires careful medical care and complete rest at home afterwards.
The first thing your vet will do is evaluate your dog's health, performing a physical examination, laboratory tests and chest x-rays to evaluate the condition of the heart and lungs. They might find other problems that need attention first, or if the heartworm infestation is very severe, they might want to adjust our treatment plan.
Adult heartworms are about six inches long and live mostly inside the heart. Baby heartworms are microscopic and live within blood vessels throughout the body. Each stage must be treated separately. First, your vet will eliminate the adult worms by giving a series of injections spaced out over a two day period.
When treatment is finished your dog's heartworms will be dead or dying. That's good, but the heart is still full of worms. The worms gradually break into smaller and smaller pieces until the fragments are tiny enough for the body to eliminate them. The critical period is when worm fragments are small enough to disperse into the body but still large enough to plug small arteries in the lungs. Vigorous activity makes the heart pump faster, pushing bits of dead heartworm out into small blood vessels where they can cause trouble, so vigorous activity must be avoided.
After treatment, your dog will need significant rest and follow-up visits to the vet to ensure all of the worms have been eliminated. Please consult your veterinarian for detailed treatment arrangements.
Heart conditions: Arrythmia
What can cause these abnormally rapid heart rates?
Some dogs have abnormally rapid heart rates, which can be caused by an extra connection between the upper chambers (the atria which receive blood from the body) and the pumping chambers (ventricles), by an abnormally firing focus within the upper chambers, by an abnormal electrical circuit within those upper chambers, or by an extra pathway within the normal conduction system. The abnormally rapid heart rate does not allow the pumping chambers to efficiently fill with blood; therefore, less blood is pumped to supply the needs of the tissues. If the abnormal rhythm is sustained, heart failure and secondary heart muscle disease can result. Both of these complications are potentially reversible with adequate rhythm control.
Another problem can occur if an extra connection (accessory pathway) is able to conduct in a forward direction. The heart's normal conduction system imposes a delay in the passage of an impulse from the receiving chambers to the pumping chambers. If the upper chambers develop a rapid rhythm, the normal conduction system will not allow the ventricles to go as rapidly. An accessory pathway typically does not have this built-in mechanism to slow conduction. The pumping chambers could therefore be driven rapidly by an abnormal atrial rhythm.
What is an electrophysiology study?
General anesthesia is used throughout the study and ablation so that your animal experiences no discomfort. Your dog will be shaved over the neck, both groins, and back to prepare them for a sterile procedure. Small squares on each limb and a section across the chest will be shaved for application of ECG electrodes to monitor their electrocardiogram throughout the procedure. The neck and groin sites will be prepared with antiseptic solutions. Catheters will be introduced through the large veins in the neck and groin. These catheters will be positioned at key locations within the heart to "map" the abnormal rhythm. In order to do this, we must induce the rapid rhythm in your dog during the procedure. Various areas of the heart will be paced through the catheters in order to start and stop the abnormal rhythm. Drugs will also be given to try to induce the arrhythmia before and/or after ablation. If the abnormal connection lies on the left side of the heart, we will need to introduce a catheter through the artery in the groin.
What is radiofrequency catheter ablation?
Radiofrequency energy for this procedure is delivered through a special cardiac system with special frequencies and characteristics for the heart. When a site believed to be the accessory pathway is found, energy is delivered through a special ablation catheter for a short period. If the abnormal rhythm is disrupted and no ill effects are observed, energy delivery is continued. After what appears to be a successful ablation, we test for 1 hour to make certain that the abnormal rhythm does not reappear during this early follow-up.
When is it best to do an ablation?
Early in the process after your dog has been diagnosed with an abnormal, rapid heart rhythm is the best time to do an electrophysiology study and ablation. We have certainly done these procedures in dogs who have had rhythm problems for years and failed multiple medications. The risk of anesthesia, however, is notably higher in those animals that have gone on to develop heart muscle disease.
What are the benefits of the procedure?
This procedure is unique in that it offers a cure for certain abnormal rhythms, rather than simply trying to decrease the number of episodes of rapid rhythm. All rhythm medications can be stopped if the ablation procedure is successful. Dogs who have heart muscle disease and heart failure secondary to their rapid rhythm are typically able to be weaned off their heart failure medications over the first 2 months after successful ablation. This procedure has the highest success rate in dogs for accessory pathways. The success rate for atrial tachycardias is considerably lower, due to the lack of safe accessibility to a large portion of the left atrium in the dog.
What are the risks of the procedure?
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Complications during this procedure are rare, but can occur. Electrophysiologic studies are performed under general anesthesia, which carries the risk (albeit small) of airway irritation and even death. The likelihood of poor tolerance to anesthesia increases the worse the heart's mechanical function becomes. Hematomas (bruises) can form at the sites where catheters are introduced into large vessels. This is more likely if the artery must be used. Excessive blood loss, which has been reported in rare human cases, could be life-threatening. If an accessory pathway or abnormal focus in the upper chamber lies near the normal conduction system, there is the possibility that the normal conduction system may be damaged during radiofrequency energy delivery. If the conduction system is damaged, a pacemaker may be needed, if permanent damage occurs. Every possible precaution is taken to avoid this complication; however it remains a possibility of which you should be aware. Other potential complications encountered very rarely in human ablation cases (not seen to date but a very rare potential in veterinary cases) are: perforation of a part of the heart with a catheter, damage to a coronary artery (resulting in the equivalent of a "heart attack"), and clot formation within a portion of the heart.