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Posts Tagged ‘canine’

Lungworm – How to prevent this parasite

Milton Keynes Veterinary Group
In recent weeks, we have diagnosed a dog with lungworm who sadly passed away as a result of the damage this parasite can cause. Lungworm otherwise known as Angiostrongylus Vasorum in dogs is a parasite that resides in the heart and pulmonary arteries and can therefore be fatal. Lungworm is increasing in the UK however is still less common than other parasites such as fleas, ticks, roundworms and tapeworms.

Dogs can become infected by this parasite through ingestion of an infected slug or snail. When your dog if off the lead or roaming the garden you may not necessary see your dog ingest any slugs or snails, as they may do it accidentally when eating grass or drinking from outdoor water bowls.

Symptoms of this parasite can vary between cases, however the most common symptoms may include; coughing, lethargy, weight loss, poor appetite, vomiting, diarrhoea, excess bleeding from minor wounds or seizures. Diagnosis of this parasite can be determined through either a faecal test or blood test.

Prevention is key with lungworm and can be prevented through monthly prescription only worming treatment, contact us if you have any concerns via email at questions@mkvetgroup.co.uk or wish to order your pet’s preventative treatment visit www.mkvetgroup.co.uk/repeat-prescriptions/. Our Healthy Pet Care plans include covers against this parasite as well as many other parasites and diseases through a simple monthly direct debit.

It is also important to clean up after your dog has passed faeces as this helps to prevent the spread of the parasite. Picking up toys that have been left outside, and outdoor food and water bowls helps to minimise exposure to slugs and snails.
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Is your dog at a healthy weight?

Our canine friends come in all shapes and sizes, so their ideal weight will differ depending on breed, sex and age.

How do I assess my dog’s weight?

When assessing your dog’s weight without a set of scales, you can get an indication by running your fingers down the side of their rib cage. At an ideal weight, you should be able to feel their ribs under a slight fat covering. If their ribs are felt too easily, they may benefit from gaining a little weight, and if their ribs are difficult to feel, they may benefit from losing a little weight.

Another thing that will give us an idea if the dog is at ideal weight, is by running our fingers down their spine. For a dog at ideal weight, you should be able to feel the spine under a slight fat covering. If the spine is prominent then they may benefit from a little weight gain, and if the spine is difficult to feel, they may benefit from losing a little weight.

Lastly, a good indicator is to assess your dog whilst standing up. For a dog at ideal weight their tummy will gather in just slightly after their last rib. If this is not noticeable on your dog, then they may benefit from losing a little weight.
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Health Issues in Older Dogs: Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome

Ever walked into a room and wondered why you went in there in the first place? I know I have, and at 50 years old it seems to happen more and more! This is part of normal ageing, along with creaky knees and my silver fox hair. Not every person (or dog) ages the same way & sometimes we see changes that are more severe than those of normal “healthy” ageing. One of the more common questions I get asked by the owners of geriatric dogs is “do dogs go senile?” The answer is yes they can, although we call it cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS). Cognition is the mental process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience and the senses, dysfunction simply means it is going wrong!

The age at which a dog becomes geriatric will depend on the individual, and factors such as breed, but is generally about eight years of age. It is important to realise that geriatric dogs will be less active and rest more, this is normal healthy ageing. What we see with CDS are behavioural issues which may affect the pet’s welfare and the human-dog bond.

Possible symptoms include disorientation (sometimes the dog doesn’t seem to know where he is even though he is somewhere familiar) and reduced interaction with the family, which may lead to fear or irritation. Disturbed sleep, for example becoming restless at night and sometimes crying at night for no apparent reason. You may see loss of housetraining and an increase in anxiety levels. In severe cases these changes strongly resemble senile dementia in old people, and can be very distressing for the dog and owner.

What can be done to help? It is important to realise there is no such thing as a cure for CDS. However a number of things can help.
  1. Drugs – the most commonly used drug is Selegiline .This is an enzyme blocker which increases levels of helpful chemicals in the brain such as serotonin and dopamine
  2. Diet- there has been a lot of research into “healthy brain” diets. As the brain ages it becomes less able to use glucose as fuel. By suppling diets that are rich in certain fats called medium chain triglycerides, we can fuel the older brain more efficiently. Also correct levels of Omega 3 fatty acids, vitamins B C & E and other ingredients such as Arginine can improve blood flow to the brain, reduce inflammation and help reduce free radicals which damage the brain.
  3. Enrich the environment – It is important to give plenty of attention and interaction to geriatric pets. Most older dogs will still enjoy walks and play, although maybe not so energetically as they did in their youth. Make sure beds are comfy and warm as older dogs will spend more time in them. Puzzle type dog toys can also be useful just as Sudoku and crosswords are helpful in keeping our human brains active
Remember growing old is a natural process which comes to us all (hopefully) and the vast majority of dogs enjoy their geriatric years despite the occasional “senior moment”. Now where did I put my car keys?
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Canine Distemper Virus

Canine Distemper virus is a viral disease where puppies and unvaccinated dogs are most at risk. It is spread through droplets in the air which contain body fluids such as faeces, vomit, urine or respiratory excretions. The droplets are inhaled or ingested by an individual, where then the virus invades the lymphatic system and spreads through the body.

The incubation period for this virus is approximately one week and once infected most dogs will develop the disease to some extent.

Symptoms can vary with some dogs showing minimal signs including pyrexia, nasal discharge or upper respiratory signs e.g. sneezing. More severe cases may also include vomiting, depression, diarrhoea, wobbliness, seizures, paralysis or thickening of the foot pads or nose.

Unfortunately there is no specific cure or treatment for Distemper and infected cases will be provide supportive therapy to control the effects of the disease.

Vaccination is available in order to prevent this disease, this being one of the diseases routinely vaccinated against within the UK.
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