Latest Articles by wishbone Articles at Pets Animals Lovers Information World en-us Melanomas in Dogs - Learn and Prevent Wed, 04 Mar 2009 22:56:15 -0800 Melanoma is a form of cancer in which the pigment-producing cells of the skin (dogs with pigmented dark skin) known as melanocytes multiply in an erratic fashion eventually invading the tissues that surround them. As a group, melanomas can be either benign or malignant and this tumor may grow rapidly, ulcerate, or bleed. In general, skin melanomas tend to be benign, and those in the mouth, toes, or eyes tend to be malignant melanomas. Melanomas can occur in areas of haired skin, where they usually form small, dark (brown to black) lumps, but can also appear as large, flat, wrinkled masses. In dogs mouth, toes of the paw or behind the eye is where Melanomas can usually occur. These dog breeds are observed to be more at risk with Melanomas: Airedales, Chow Chow, Boston Terrier, Irish Setter, Cocker Spaniel, Boxer, Miniature Schnauzer, Doberman, Chihuahua, Scotish Terrier, Golden Retriever and Springer Spaniel. Approximately 25% of dogs diagnosed with oral melanoma will survive for one year; 75% will not survive even this long.

Benign cutaneous melanomas of dogs are usually seen as round, firm, raised, darkly pigmented masses from one-quarter to 2 inches in diameter.  They occur most often on the head, digits or back. Clinical signs of malignant melanomas in the mouths of dogs and cats include lack of appetite, drooling, bleeding in mouth, facial swelling, Halitosis or bad breath, or difficulty eating. A lesion with irregular borders and variable colors. The lesion may be brown or black and it may also have shades of red, white or blue. Early recognition of melanomas can lead to more successful attempts at removal and identification of the grade or stage of cancer.  The risk of metastasis for benign forms of melanoma is not very high but these can be locally invasive.  Malignant melanomas can metastasize (spread) to any area of the body especially the lymph nodes and lungs and present very challenging and dangerous prospects for the dog.  Cats seem much less susceptible to melanoma tumors than dogs. Presence of malignant melanoma may be first discovered in the lungs where diffuse pulmonary infiltration of tumors will be displayed throughout the lung tissue on a radiograph (x-ray).  Lymph node swelling or enlargement may be a clinical sign of malignant spread of a melanoma.  Some melanomas do not display the characteristic darkly pigmented color of most melanomas.  The pigment called melanin is a hallmark of these tumors and usually is present in large amounts in melanomas.

Primary treatment for the melanoma in dog and cats is surgical removal of the lump.  Melanomas on a pet's digit usually require amputation of the toe.  A biopsy of the mass is needed to grade the tumor, ie, to determine its aggressiveness. Veterinarian may also recommend blood work, x-rays, ultrasound, and examination of lymph nodes to help determine a prognosis.  Other treatments are chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or immunotherapy may be recommended to cure this tumor. If the melanoma has arisen from the oral cavity and has invaded the jaw, your veterinarian may recommend that part of the jaw bone be removed as well. Radiation to promote shrinkage of the tumor. Combination chemotherapy, including dacarbazine, has helped some patients. Commonly used drugs include carboplatin or cisplatin while a new vaccine called Canine Melanoma Vaccine has been given a conditional license for the treatment of stage II or stage III oral melanomas in dogs. The future does hold promise that genetic therapies directed at stimulating the dog's own immune system to attack and destroy tumor cells may be developed. Aggressive and radical surgery greatly increases survival times and decreases reoccurrence rates.

Epulis - Mouth/Oral Tumor in Dogs Wed, 18 Feb 2009 22:49:40 -0800 Epulis is the most common type of benign or non-cancerous tumor in dog's mouth. A benign tumor is one that does not spread to other parts of the body. However, an epulis can be "locally invasive," which means that it can grow into the tissues surrounding its initial location. This tumor of the periodontal ligament, which is the structure that holds the dog's tooth in place. Epulides are the most common benign oral tumors in dogs; cats rarely have benign oral tumors. These tumors occur in dogs of any age, but they are generally found in middle-age dogs over six years old.

Epulides have three types and are recognized, grouped by tissue origin. The first is Fibromatous Epulis, they are pedunculated (on a stalk or stem) and non-ulcerating (no interruptions on the outside of the growth). Fibromatous is the most common non-cancerous oral tumor of dogs. These firm, pink tumors arise from the gums. Even a non-cancerous, Fibromatous may become quite large and completely envelop one or more teeth. also may not be possible to tell whether an oral tumor is an epulis or one of the less common, malignant tumors that may occur in the mouth. These growths may become inflamed and ulcerated, causing pain on chewing. They are most common in dogs over 8 years of age.

Other types of Epulis are Ossifying Epulis and Acanthomatous Epulis. Ossifying Epulis includes fibruous tissue and also contains bone cells and these may transform into a cancerous tumors. Ossifying has a greater abundance of hard tissue, osteoid, bone and cementum than fibromatous epulides. Fibromatous and ossifying epulides are now considered to be peripheral odontogenic fibromas, while Acanthomatous epulis is now called canine peripheral ameloblastoma or canine acanthomatous ameloblastoma. Acanthomatous (also called Oral Adamantinoma) is a locally invasive, sometimes recurrent, tumor of the gums of dogs and sometimes cats. These routinely aggressively invade local tissues including bone and they generally do not metastasize, but due to their locally aggressive nature surgical excision must include a full 1-cm margin of clinically normal tissue to prevent recurrence.

An epulis is usually first noticed as a growth on the gum line of the dog's mouth. In rare cases, teeth may be moved from their normal position because of the growth of the epulis. Your pet is initially unaffected by the epulis. However, if the growth becomes large, it could bleed, cause problems with eating, or affect the teeth or jawbone. An epulis is treated by surgically removing it, including a broad margin around the growth. Sometimes, especially with larger tumors, teeth adjacent to the epulis have to be removed. In other cases, portions of the jawbone may need to be removed to cure the condition, for if a portion remains, it will often regrow. Radiation treatment is sometimes used in addition to or instead of surgery for treating large tumors. The prognosis is good if the entire epulis can be removed, so it's best to avoid delay of surgery that would allow the epulis to grow. After surgical removal, the prognosis can be very good depending on the type of epulis removed. A subtype of epulis called an "acanthomatous" epulis can cause more bone problems than the other types, and can be more difficult to completely remove.

Acute Renal Kidney Failure in Dogs Wed, 21 Jan 2009 23:14:56 -0800 Acute renal failure or ARF is characterized by a rapid onset of renal insufficiency/failure, reduction in glomerular filtration rate and renal plasma flow, and the clinical and biochemical aftermath of the excretory failure. This is a serious form of kidney disease where the dog's kidney quit working all of a sudden and that can leads to death. The kidneys have an abrupt decrease in the GFR due to a toxin or loss of adequate blood supply (called ischemia). The excretory failure is identified by rapid (hours to days) increases in BUN, serum creatinine and phosphate, and variable hyperkalemia and metabolic acidosis. Acute renal failure is a tenuously reversible state, which must be diagnosed quickly and aggressively treated. Failure to initiate therapy may result in irreversible parenchymal damage or death. Acute renal failure is frequently a complication of other surgical or medical diseases and must be recognized within the clinical features of these associated disorders.

Common clinical signs of kidney failures in dogs are loss of appetite, depression, vomiting, diarrhea, very bad breath, pale gums and ulcers in the mouth. While the consistent signs of severe ARF include the sudden onset and rapid development of listlessness, depression, anorexia, vomiting, and diarrhea. Oliguria and less frequently anuria were at one time considered signatures of ARF and discriminators for chronic renal failure. Some causes of ARF are due to low blood pressure or a decrease in blood volume, lack of blood supply to the kidneys, a urninary blockage or dogs in-take of some poisonous plants or toxins, most notably the antifreeze ( 95% ethylene glycol) which are catastrophic to the kidneys. Antifreeze is very sweet tasting and is readily licked by both dogs and cats if it spills on the ground when car antifreeze is changed. Ethylene glycol is converted in the liver and kidney to a toxic metabolite that changes the pH of the bloodstream and destroys the kidneys by depositing calcium oxalate crystals in the renal tubules. It is a medical emergency and requires specific and immediate measures if the kidneys are to be saved. Unfortunately, unless a pet owner actually observes their pet licking antifreeze, they don't bring their pet in for care until it is very ill.

Treatment of renal kidney disease is aimed at preventing or slowing further kidney damage. One phase to treat kidney is to "restart" it. The large quantities of intravenous fluids are given to "flush out" the kidneys. This flushing process, called diuresis, helps to stimulate the kidney cells to function again. If enough functional kidney cells remain, they may be able to adequately meet the body's needs for waste removal. Fluid therapy includes replacement of various electrolytes, especially potassium. Other important aspects of initial treatment include proper nutrition and drugs to control vomiting and diarrhea. The possible outcome of these treatment, the kidneys will resume functioning and continue to function for a few weeks to a few years. Also the kidneys will resume functioning during treatment but fail again as soon as treatment stops or maybe the kidney will not return.  Another phase of treatment is to keep the kidneys functioning as soon as possible. First method, the dog will undergo a speical diet which the food contains low in protein, low in phosphorus, and not acidified. Another method is a phosphate binder where phosphorous is removed from the body by filtering through the kidneys and once the filtration process is impaired, phosphorous begins to accumulate in the blood. Another process is giving a drug to regulate the parathyroid gland and calcium levels. Calcium and phosphorus must remain at about a 2:1 ratio in the blood. The increase in blood phosphorus level stimulates the parathyroid gland to increase the blood calcium level by removing it from bones. Once the dog is stabilized, fluids can be given under the skin (subcutaneously). This serves to continually "restart" the kidneys as their function begins to fail again. This is done once daily to once weekly, depending on the degree of kidney failure.

Another option is kidney transplants and dialysis and becoming more accessible for pets today, but due to the high costs, aren’t practical for most pet owners. Many cases that the dogs with renal failure are successfully managed and live long happy lives. Common prevention of such dog diseases it to have a regular laboratory testing preformed with the yearly vet visit can help to detect early stages of renal failure before they appear, and starting early treatment can help to slow or halt loss of kidney function to improve the pet's quality of life.

Dilated Cardiomyopathy - Heart Failure In Dogs Wed, 07 Jan 2009 00:00:00 -0800
Dilated cardiomyopathy is by far the most common type in the dog. There is dilation of the chambers of the ventricles of the heart with some increase (hypertrophy) in the heart muscle mass, and a loss of the normal contracting abilities of the ventricles. Dilated cardiomyopathy, or DCM, occurs when the heart muscle is thin, weak, and does not contract properly. DCM most commonly affects large or giant purebred dogs, but it also can be seen in smaller breeds such as cocker spaniels, and in mixed breed dogs. The condition can lead to congestive heart failure, in which fluid accumulates in the lungs, the chest or abdominal cavities, or under the skin. Because of reduced blood flow to the rest of the body, DCM also can result in weakness, fainting, and exercise intolerance. Abnormal heart rhythms, or arrhythmias, frequently accompany DCM, and can complicate the treatment of dogs with this disease. It is also common for dogs with DCM to show signs of both right and left heart failure. These signs can include weakness and exercise intolerance, and difficulty breathing with increased activity. Weight loss is common in dogs with DCM that do not retain fluid. Some animals exhibit signs due to reduced blood flow to tissues, including pale mucous membranes, bluish color to the mucous membranes, and cold feet and legs. Fainting may occur if abnormal heart rhythms are present, or if the heart's output is severely reduced. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a form of cardiomyopathy, there is a tremendous increase in the mass of the heart muscle in the ventricles, with a resultant decrease in chamber size. Relatively few cases of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in dogs have been reported, and no significant breed predisposition has been identified. Most of the dogs affected have been male.

Blood and urine tests do not give direct information about heart function, but they allow an understanding of other disorders in the body that may impact on heart function and treatment of heart disease. Chest radiographs (x-rays) provide the best look at the lungs and a view of the size and shape of the heart. In most cases, dilated cardiomyopathy causes tremendous enlargement of the heart. These changes are usually very apparent on x-rays.lectrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) is an assessment of the electrical activity of the heart. It accurately determines the heart rate and to more accurately identify any arrhythmias which might be present. Ultrasound examination (Sonogram, Echocardiogram) uses sound waves which bounce off the structures of the heart and are read on a TV-like monitor. It gives the most accurate determination of the size of each heart chamber, and permits measurement of the thickness of the heart walls. This is seen on the monitor in actual time so the contractions of the heart can be evaluated. Certain measurements can be taken which allow the actual strength of the heart's contraction to be measured as a number and compared to the normal animal. Ultrasound may not be available in all private veterinary practices because of the additional training needed to learn how to perform the examination and because of the cost of the equipment.

If the dog has a sudden onset of heart failure, rapid administration of the proper drugs is essential to survival. The following drugs may be used at various stages of treatment. Diuretics drugs stimulate the kidneys to remove excess fluid from the body. Furosemide is most commonly used, although others will be selected in certain circumstances. Nitroglycerin drug is called a venodilator; it dilates the veins throughout the body, especially the ones going to the heart muscle. It decreases the amount of blood returning to the heart by allowing some of it to pool in the veins. This takes some of the workload off the heart. This drug can be very useful for treating pulmonary edema, but it is only effective for a few days. Digitalis drug improves heart function in several ways. It regulates excess hormones that have been released, slows the heart rate, and strengthens each contraction of the heart. Enzyme blockers is a relatively new class of drugs which can directly block the compensation system that has gotten out of control. Vasodilators drugs dilate the arteries and/or the veins of the body so that the heart doesn't have to generate as much pressure to eject blood. They may be used long-term because they continue to be effective, as opposed to the short-term effects of nitroglycerin. Dogs treated with these drugs should be carefully watched for toxity and needs enough rest on pet beds. Loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy should be reported to the veterinarian immediately.
Craniomandibular Osteopathy Dog Bone Disorder Tue, 16 Dec 2008 00:00:00 -0800
The cause of Craniomandibular osteopathy is believed to be hereditary and Terriers are prone to the disorder. It is not cancerous or caused by inflammation. The disease is inherited as a simple autosomal recessive trait. This means that both parents must have at least one gene for CMO (i.e. they are defined carriers). In this disease, the production of an affected puppy provides the only method of identifying carriers. The most commonly affected breeds are West Highland White Terriers, Scottish Terriers and Cairn Terriers. It has been recognized in other terrier breeds and in Boxers, Labs, Great Danes and Dobermans. There is no sex predilection, with males and females affected equally. Neutering and spaying seems associated with reduced risk of the disorder. It usually occurs between the ages of 3 and 8 months, but it can occur as early as 3 - 4 weeks and rarely as late as 9 - 10 months. Experienced breeders and veterinarians usually recognize it earlier than 4 months of age by clinical signs or by palpation. The disorder is usually self-limiting, but may require medication to make the dog comfortable.

Symptoms include firm swelling of the jaw, drooling, pain, and difficulty eating and pain on opening the mouth; sometimes there is actually an inability to open the mouth. Dogs may drool and be depressed. Often the body temperature will fluctuate over time, with fever occurring in phases every 10-14 days. In severely affected dogs, the masticatory muscles (those involved in chewing) may atrophy and there may be lymphadenopathy (swollen glands). Canine distemper has also been indicated as a possible cause, as has E. coli infection, which could be why it is seen occasionally in large breed dogs. The disease is most often diagnosed by clinical signs and palpation with definitive confirmation by lateral and/or ventral/dorsal radiographs of the skull, depending on the location of the specific lesion. All board-certified radiologists can diagnose the disease, as can many other experienced veterinarians.

Craniomandibular osteopathy is treatable in almost every case, except the most severe. The amount of medication and length of treatment varies greatly depending on the severity of the disease, and needs proper petsafe. Many puppies with CMO will need to be on some dose of cortisone until they are 10 months old or longer. Therapy is usually targeted at making the dog more comfortable through the use of pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs such as prednisone. Proper nutrition must be provided, and in severe cases, it may be necessary to place a gastrostomy (stomach) tube. X-rays are the main method of confirming the diagnosis. Both sides of the jaw are usually affected, although some dogs are affected only on one side. A biopsy may be necessary to confirm the diagnosis in breeds for which this disorder is uncommon, especially if only one side of the jaw is affected. The disorder usually resolves on its own, although anti-inflammatory drugs may help reduce some of the clinical signs. Occasionally, a dog is euthanized because of inability to relieve the extreme discomfort.

The disease is usually self-limiting, with the progression of the disease slowing down at around 11 to 13 months of age. Sometimes, it is followed by a slow regression of the disorder, although radiographic abnormalities or impaired function may remain. Several drugs have been tried, however, with good response. There are no specific preventive care measures. People seeking purebred terriers, especially West Highland white terriers, should question breeders carefully about the occurrence of the disorder in any lines, as CMO is inherited in Westies, and is believed to be inherited in Scottish terriers as well. Optimal treatment for your pet requires a combination of home and professional veterinary care, with good rest on comfortable dog crates. Follow-up can be critical, especially if your pet does not rapidly improve. Administer all prescribed medication as directed. The disease often stops progressing around 11 to 13 months of age, and then may regress partially or completely.
Panosteitis Dog Bone Disease Wed, 03 Dec 2008 00:00:00 -0800
Panosteitis is commonly associated with large breed dogs and usually occurs in dogs 5 to 12 months of age, although it has been found in dogs as old as 5 years. Pano most commonly affects males by a ratio of 4:1. Females are most often affected around their first heat. These disease can be considered partially genetic since so many German Shepherd Dogs are prone to it. However, many other factors have been associated with pano: diet, viral diseases, autoimmune problems, hyperestrogen, and vascular problems. Other possible causes include nutritional derangements, immunologic disease, metabolic disease, and other viruses. In other words, no one knows what causes it. Some clinical signs were long bone pain, shifting leg lameness, fever, anorexia, lethargy. The common symptoms of Pano are Lameness that may shift from limb to limb, pain, fever, and loss of appetite.

Like many problems, pano may be difficult to diagnose. The dark patches may not appear on the x-rays. The lameness may not shift to another leg. It can be extremely frustrating with many bouts of radiographs. Assuming that the limping is caused by pano can help delay diagnosis of other more severe problems. Never assume that limping is caused by pano without having it properly diagnosed. This can be very scary to an owner who up until this point has had an agile giant puppy who loves to lope about the house at a full run! Pano is an inflammation of the bone itself and through radiographs (x-rays) a vet can often determine if this is indeed the problem a dog is experiencing. The dog normally limps on the affected limb and only rarely holds the limb to prevent any weight from being placed on it. It is often easily diagnosed with an x-ray; the lesion shows as the tell-tale dark patch on the bone. Pressure applied on the bone elicits a pain response. Currently, treatment consists of reduction of the percentage of protein in the dog's diet and pain management through the use of buffered aspirin, Ascriptin, or Rimadyl, or steroids in severe cases. Restricting the dog's activity has not been shown to have an effect on the healing process. Panosteitis is treated symptomatically. Rest on comfortable dog crates, exercise restriction, and pain medication are prescribed. Pain medication is usually a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, or NSAID, such as aspirin, etodolac, or carprofen. Rarely, severely affected dogs may need more potent pain relief such as narcotic drugs.

Panosteitis is treated symptomatically. Rest, exercise restriction, and pain medication are prescribed. Pain medication is usually a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, or NSAID, such as aspirin, etodolac, or carprofen. Rarely, severely affected dogs may need more potent pain relief such as narcotic drugs. Currently, a common rumor is that low protein, low calcium diets may prevent this condition. It should be noted that the energy level of low protein/calcium diets is often lower as well. If this is the case, a puppy will eat much more of the diet in order to meet its energy needs, resulting in higher total calcium consumption. It may be preferable to feed a puppy diet and restrict total quantity to keep the dog lean than to use a low protein/low calcium adult dog food. Some vets recommend supplementing dogs with high doses of MSM, glucosamine and vitamin C, others provide anti-inflammatories to keep them comfortable. Whatever route you go, keep exercise to a minimum and know that if it is indeed Pano, your dog will grow out of it and will soon be back to his limber self again! Because of the potential genetic link, breeding animals should be screened to ensure that they are not potential carriers of the disease. Despite the numerous puppy foods catering to large breed dogs, there is no current evidence that confirms that these foods will lower the incidence of the disease when compared to standard commercial puppy food. If an animal shows symptoms of the disease, they should be promptly diagnosed and treated and exercise and activity should be reduced until the symptoms have gone away.

There is also known method of preventing Panosteitis; however, many veterinarians believe the disease is made worse by calorie-dense diets and over-supplementation with calcium and phosphorus. Thus, a diet change to an adult formula, or a large breed growth formula, is recommended. The dog should be fed an amount that does not promote obesity or overly rapid growth. Calcium and vitamin supplements should also be avoided.
Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy Bone Disease on Dogs Sun, 16 Nov 2008 00:00:00 -0800
There is currently unknown or no agreement on the cause of Hypertrophic osteodystrophy. Possible causes maybe considered are; bacterial infections, canine distemper virus infection, vaccination with distemper virus or any other viral infections. Also Vitamin C deficiency is also speculated, hence the decreased uptake of Vitamin C and/or increased uptake of other vitamins and minerals other than vitamin C. The excessive calcium supplementation is also included as one possibility. There may be a link to recent vaccination with a modified live vaccine, but no specific vaccine has been implicated. on Weinmaraner dog breeds, it is recommended for them to receive killed virus vaccines instead of modified live or separate vaccines for canine distemper, parvovirus, and adenovirus to prevent the possibility of vaccine-induced HOD.

The signs and symptoms of HOD strict in often to be mild to moderate painful swelling of the growth plates in the leg bones of dogs. It most commonly affects the ends of the radius, ulna (the long bones from the elbow to the wrist) and tibia (the long bone from the knee to the hock). Lameness may vary from mild to sever, reluctance to stand if multiple limbs are affected. Fever, anorexia, loss of appetite and depressions are noticed. Swelling and heat are commonly present over the affected bones. Some clinical signs also includes diarrhea, discharge from the eyes, tonsillitis, thickening of the foot pads, pneumonia, and abnormal development of the enamel of the teeth. Dogs suffering really proper petsafe and care.

X-ray signs of HOD are more clearly noticed. A line of lucency where the bone has been destroyed is usually found to be parallel to the growth plates of the affected bones. X-rays show a dark line at the metaphysis, which can progress to new bone growth on the outside of that area. This represents microfractures in the metaphysis and bone proliferation to bridge the defect in the periosteum. Some signs seen on microscope are also clear. The growth plate is normal, but blood vessels adjacent to the growth plate are frequently dilated. Bleeding in the bone adjacent to the growth plate and extensive death of the bone adjacent to the growth plate. Adjacent to the line of lucency is a zone of increased density of bone that corresponds to collapsed of layers of dead bone. The outer layer of the bone (periosteum) is thickened with new bone formation.

The treatment for HOD is generally supportive since this is a very painful condition and these disease is usually self-limiting which can last a few weeks. Treatment includes intravenous fluid therapy, anti-inflammatories and painkillers such as buffered aspirin or carprofen (Rimadyl) are given and needed enough rest on their comfortable pet beds. In addition, the animals are usually given a broad-spectrum antibiotic since bacterial infection is suspected. Since the dog might be too irritable and uncomfortable, strict rest on a comfortable warm bed is recommended. Feeding a nutritious, highly palatable food will help to encourage some dogs to eat. In severe cases steroids may need to be given to control the pain, but because of the possibility of this being a bacterial disease their use may be contraindicated due to their immunosuppressive qualities. Supplementation of Vitamin C is contraindicated due to an increase in calcium levels in the blood, possibly worsening the disease. Permanent skeletal deformity can occur, recurrence can be a problem until the dog reaches maturity and dogs usually do not die of the disease rather are euthanatized if recovery is poor or if clinical signs are severe.
Osteochondritis Dissecans: Dog Bones Disorder Sun, 02 Nov 2008 00:00:00 -0700
This disorder seems to be spontaneous and not so easy to predict. OCD often cause of rapid bone developments and usually found in puppies between ages four to eight months of age. OCD also occassionally found in older dogs and small dog breeds, and the male dogs are more often affected almost five times than female dogs. OCD can be hereditary from any or both parents who had the condition. Other common cause of OCD are; too much stress on dogs young bones also, restricted blood flow to the cartilage, overweight problems, trauma, developed cracks on growing bones and weight bearing bones, or poor diet and nutrition. Proper petsafe is needed to ensure good health and wellness of dogs.

Every time this dog would move the joint or bear weight on it, the flap would irritate the underlying tissue and create pain and discomfort. That's why a dog limps with this condition. Injury to the surface cartilage may lead to the separation of the cartilage from the bone or cause a decrease in blood supply that leads to cartilage flap formation. Common signs of OCD are; limping dog leg, favoring one paw or leg while walking or even when lying down, swelling at the shoulder or, more rarely, the elbows and knees, pain and discomfort when trying to extend a swollen joint.

Osteochondritis Dissecans can be treated, one treatment method called "conservative treatment" requires the dog to be confined to pens or dog crates for number of weeks where activity and jumping will be kept to a minimum. After four to ten weeks of confinement there is about a sixty percent chance that the cartilage defect on the humeral head will heal and the dog will return to normal activity. The most direct approach and the one that returns the pup to normal activity the soonest is the surgical approach. In surgery the veterinarian makes an incision over the shoulder and accesses the shoulder joint. Opening the joint space the surgeon inspects for any loose cartilage pieces and rotates the humerus to expose the back side of the head of the humerus where the defect comes into view. For growing puppies, it has been recommended that animals that are susceptible to the disease be fed a diet that is lower in protein and fat, or that they are fed in a limited manner to allow steady even growth during the first year of life. This theory may have merits, but more specific studies need to be done before any general recommendations can be made. Some people believe that an overweight growing dog will be more likely to develop OCD, but there isn't much evidence yet. Protect a young pup's limbs from unnecessary physical impact, such as repeated jumps off a deck or out of a car. Proper diet certainly play a role, choose healthy, natural and balanced puppy diet that promote healthy bone growth and may reduce your dog's odds of getting OCD.
Patellar Luxation - Kneecap Disease on Dogs Tue, 21 Oct 2008 00:00:00 -0700
Clinical signs of medial patellar luxation are lameness that is often intermittent, and may be unilateral or bilateral; thick, swollen stifles; pain on range-of-motion; crepitus; palpable luxation; inability to jump or walk normally; medial displacement of quadriceps muscle group; lateral bowing of the distal third of the femur. Common symptoms are intermittent or consistent lameness; bowlegged stance; reluctance to walk or jump; occasionally holding a rear leg out to the side when walking.

Medial patellar luxation, or MPL, is a very common disease of small or toy and miniature breeds in which the kneecap occasionally rides on the inside of its normal groove. Primarily congenital, although occasionally acquired through trauma, MPL causes lameness in one or both rear limbs. The degree of lameness is determined by the severity and duration of the disease, as well as the extent of existing arthritis. Patellar luxation is graded on a scale from I to IV, with IV being the most severe. The disease can progress from the less severe to more severe grades over time. The more severe forms are often accompanied by malformation of the femur and tibia, as well as varying amounts of arthritis.

Some veterinarians and medical experts can identify dogs with these condition as early as eight weeks of age. They explain that the problem is a genetic defects so they are not advisable to be bred. On treating this condition, when the problem occurs only due to my manipulation or only occasionally on its own, no surgery is necessary and no medicines need to be administered. When the knee locks up frequently or the dog exhibits pain it its knee surgery is required. There are a number of surgical techniques that attempt to fix this problem. Some veterinarians relocate the patellar ligament and a small portion of bone (the tibial tuberosity) where it attaches to the tibia or shinbone. Others remove a portion of the medial patellar ligament and reinforce the lateral patellar ligament with suture. Often, the groove in which the patella rides is deepened. Because it is impossible to cleans and maintain an animal as aseptically as a human being, the vet begin all orthopedic cases on a broad-spectrum antibiotic several days prior to surgery. They continue this medicine for a week following the surgery. The affected leg or legs are bandaged for three days following the surgery and the pet is limited to short leashed walks for an additional two weeks. Because the surgery is relatively straight forward, few post surgical complications occur. Vet will try to do both legs at the same time even if the current problem is confined to a single leg. This is because left unattended, problems with the lesser-affected knee or sub clinical problems will lead to arthritis of that knee.
Dog Dry Skin - Tips and Treatments Wed, 08 Oct 2008 00:00:00 -0700
Is your home dry in the winter? If so, this could be causing dry skin itch. Use a room humidifier to moisten the air. Also, try a moisturizing shampoo from the pet store. Do not bathe your dog too often; keep his coat clean but that is all--this will help with the scratching and, also, keep them from being uncomfortable during winter months. Water and winter do not mix well with your pet. When you must bathe your dog, be sure to use a dog shampoo. A dog's ph level is different from our own and human shampoos can be harsh on their skin. Instead, buy a dog shampoo that can offer moisturizing effects. Besides providing moisture, many shampoos can also offer flea and parasite protection, which can also help lessen scratching. Some of the more promising cures are herbal extracts such as horsetail, dandelion, spirulina, and fucus, which can help maintain skin and fur health, improve digestive health, and promote general well-being in dogs and cats. Brush your dog often to remove dead hair and dander; if possible, a quick brushing every day will help your pet immensely. Healthy skin, ultimately, reflects a dog's lifestyle. By using quality foods and adding fatty supplements to their food (oil, etc), you can guarantee your dog to have a flake-free coat.

But when your dog skin is flaky, red and irritated or some noticeable bumps, rashes or other unusual inflammations, this could be a sign of something serious. Others see some open sores in dog body or dog's hair is falling out excessively, your dog needs to see his vet. He could just be allergic to his fleas or something in your home. It’s important to get some sort of flea control. Your vet can help you determine and eliminate any other allergens that are causing your dog trouble.

Also dog hotspots are very common, they are typically a bacterial infection. They might have started out as just an allergy, but as the dog scratched, he broke open the skin and introduced bacteria into the sore with his dirty paws. The bacteria grows and causes further irritation to the skin. The vet will want to clear up the initial allergy as well as treat the new infection. He may also prescribe a pain reliever. Most of the time, your dog’s skin troubles can be solved using a variety of treatments. Some are topical like creams and shampoos. Others are pills or injections. Be patient though, not all dogs respond similarly to treatment. It may take a while to find what works.

Common tips to prevent and treat dog skin allergies is to give the right and healthy food. Premium dog foods like Wellness, Royal Canin and Science Diet are balanced nutritionally, with less grain and more meat. One way to determine the quality of a dog food is to look at the first few ingredients, which should be a meat, rather than a grain. Fresh foods like meats and vegetables are high in nutrients and vitamins, which will help to improve a dog's skin and coat by improving overall health. Consider adding fresh meats, and vegetables and fruits like carrots, celery, broccoli, apples (with no seeds), and greens like kale to each meal. Always introduce new foods gradually to avoid stomach upset. A dehydrated dog is going to be prone to dry skin, among other health problems, and some dogs simply don’t drink what they should. Provide extra fluids by serving wet food or by hydrating dry food. Add hot water to kibble, allow the kibble to sit for about ten minutes – this should cause the kibble to swell with water, providing extra fluid with each meal. Fresh vegetables also have high water content, aiding further in providing moisture to the dog's body. Oils can greatly improve the condition of a dog’s itchy or dry skin. So once daily, soak one or two pieces of bread with olive oil and serve with each meal. Or add the oil directly to the dog’s meal by providing a teaspoon of olive oil for each 15 pounds of body weight.