Sunday, June 21, 2009

Common Canine Parasites

Common Canine Parasites

External Parasites:

Fleas are the most common type of external parasite for dogs.  Dogs suffering from a flea infestation can have blood loss and itchy skin.  A dog may even contract tapeworms if fleas are left untreated.  Many dogs and human get allergic reactions from fleas.  Symptoms can include hair loss and intense scratching.  Although fleas can be treated with over the counter products, please use caution as some of these products can be very toxic.  Ask you veterinarian for advice.

Ticks can cause anemia, paralysis, and Lyme disease.  If your dog has been in an area where ticks may be prevalent, always check you dog's coat over at the end of the day.  Your veterinarian can prescribe your pet proper prevention, like Frontline.  These medications are usually applied once monthly.
To remove a tick from your dog can be somewhat challenging for some people.  There are many suggested ways to do so.  The easiest way I have found is to run a cotton ball in soap like dish or hand soap, apply the cotton to the area where the tick is attached.  The soap will make the tick release his grip and you can then remove and dispose of the insect.  I like to flush them down the toilet...just to be sure.

Mites come in many different types, and sometimes people recognize this parasite as "mange."  Ear mites are very common.  If your dog appears to be shaking his head or scratching his ears a lot, take a look inside.  Ear mites will look as though the dog's ears are extremely dirty and black, and may have an odor.  You must take your dog to your veterinarian to resolve this type of parasite problem.

Scabies is actually caused by a microscopic mite that burrows beneath the skin.  This condition spreads very rapidly and can also be spread to humans.  Symptoms include hair loss (especially near the face, ears, legs, and elbows), and intense itching.  Immediately seek veterinarian help if you suspect your dog has Scabies.

Internal Parasites:

Heartworm is caused by a bite from and infected mosquito.  The parasite enters the bloodstream and works its way into the heart, where it will mature.  Heartworms can reach lengths up to 12 inches.  Dogs infected with this parasite will suffer from coughing weight loss and will tire very easily.  This parasite can be fatal if not treated.  Monthly preventive pills are available through your veterinarian and are highly recommended.

Tapeworm, Hookworm, Roundworm
These internal parasites are most commonly found in puppies, but can occur in dogs of any age.  These worms may cause weight loss and diarrhea and will be detectable in the dog's stool.  Talk to your veterinarian about prevention.  

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Brush your teeth

Did you know your vet recommends that you actually brush your dog's teeth?  Part of keeping your pet happy and healthy is also keeping your pet's mouth healthy.  You veterinarian will usually have some free samples of tasty dog tooth paste for you to try, it's meat flavored.  Dogs like meat, they like the flavor of meat toothpaste, which is both helpful and hurtful.  Although your dog will not fight as much when you attempt to brush their teeth, they tend to lick to try and get the flavor.  But as with any dog, they more you do something, the less sensitive your dog will become to it.


Hey, what you got there?

I can't lick it when it keeps moving!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Breed of the Month--Great Dane

Great Dane

Color:  Black, blue, brindle, fawn, mantle, harlequin
Height:  Males:  30 inches/  Females:  28 inches
Weight:  Males:  119 lbs/ Females:  101.5 lbs
Life Span:  7-10 years

Breed Health Concerns:  Hip dysplasia, cardiomyopathy, bloat, cervical vertebral instability, osteosarcoma, and lymphoma.

Coat:  Thick, short, and glossy
Country of Origin:  Germany

Visit the American Kennel Club for breed standards and more information.

The origins of this breed are not exactly known, but believed to have been descended from a type of mastiff and possibly Irish Wolfhound.  Danes originally served as boar hunters, war dogs, and bull baiters.  The Germans refined the breed and declared it the national dog of Germany in 1876.

Today the Great Dane is more of a lover than a fighter.  The Dane retains a powerful protective instance for his family, but is very playful, affectionate, and patient.  The Dane enjoys children, but sometimes his size can be dangerous when leaning affectionately towards small children.  Great Dane's are very people oriented.

Although the Great Dane is quite large, he does not require a lot of exercise.  The Dane is happy with the normal walk twice per day.  The Dane is happy indoors and enjoys just hanging out with his family.

The Great Dane is an average shedder, and will require regular brushing, but the short coat is easy to care for.

The Great Dane can be somewhat of a challenge to train.  The Dane is intelligent, but was bred to be an independent thinker.  Holding the Dane's attention requires creativity and high rewards in training.  Socialization is very important to start as a young puppy with Great Danes.