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Monthly Archives: June 2017

  • Canine Ehrlichiosis - The Other Tick-Borne Disease Every Dog Owner Needs to Know About

    If you are a dog lover, you probably already know about Lyme Disease, the dangerous tick-borne illness that can afflict your dog and even affect the human members of your family. But there is another danger hiding in that tick bite, and this one is far less well known but no less serious. With climate change, the habitat for ticks is every expanding due to warming temperatures.

    That danger is Canine Ehrlichiosis, and this tick-borne illness can manifest in a number of different ways. Canine Ehrlichiosis can affect both domestic and wild dogs, and it can be transmitted by several varieties of tick, including the common brown dog tick (Rhipicephalus sanguineus). In North America the primary tick carrying the disease is the Lone Star Tick (Amblyomma americanum) and American dog tick (Dermacentor variabilis).

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The illness is passed from one animal to the next through the bite of an infected tick, making parasite control even more important for dog owners.

    Nearly every state in the country is home to one of the ticks capable of harboring Canine Ehrlichiosis, so prevention and parasite control is the best defense. It is also important for dog owners to be on the lookout for the warning signs of the illness, which generally start to develop within one to three weeks of the tick bite.

    Symptoms and Diagnosis for Canine Ehrlichiosis

    The acute phase of Canine Ehrlichiosis typically lasts between two and five weeks, and some of the most common symptoms include depression, eye discharge, pale mucous membranes, lethargy, fever, anemia and shortness of breath and sometimes neurological signs. Many infected dogs also exhibit other signs, like loss of appetite, bruising and stiffness and pain in the joints. It is important for dog owners whose animals exhibit any of these symptoms to contact their veterinarian as soon as possible and schedule a thorough examination.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Canine Ehrlichiosis is diagnosed based on both clinical signs and symptoms and through a special blood test designed to detect the organism that causes the disease. The blood test detects the antibodies used to fight Canine Ehrlichiosis, providing the veterinarian with a more definitive diagnosis and making treatment easier.

    Long Term Effects and Treatments

    Like Lyme Disease, Canine Ehrlichiosis can usually be successfully treated with antibiotics. The most commonly used antibiotics to treat the illness include tetracycline and doxycycline. Treatment generally lasts for a period of three to four weeks, but some owners may notice an improvement in symptoms in a matter of days.

    While more serious and advanced cases of Canine Ehrlichiosis sometimes require intensive therapy and even blood transfusions to treat anemia, the majority of cases are treatable with a simple course of antibiotics. As with any canine illness, early diagnosis is critical to preventing complications and getting the infected animal back on its paws as quickly as possible. In rare instances the disease may become chronic and does not resolve succesfully even with antibiotic treatment.

    As long-term protective immunity does not develop to ehrlichiosis, dogs can unfortunately also be reinfected. Lyme Disease may be more well known, but Canine Ehrlichiosis is also a serious danger. Dog owners who have not already implemented an effective tick control regimen should do so as soon a possible if they want to protect their pet from the many health risk posed by exposure to ticks. Fortunately, there are now a variety of effective natural tick repellents and even ultrasound tick repellents available which, along with manual inspection and removal every several days (especially if you have a short haired dog), can help avoid the use of toxic chemical based repellents. Spot on and chemical sprays have been implicated in adverse reactions and chronic health issues, and are also toxic to family members especially children.

  • Does Your Dog Have Diabetes?

    Like their human companions, dogs can develop Type I or II diabetes, a metabolic condition in which insulin is not available to remove glucose normally from the body. The damage caused by too much glucose can lead to many serious medical conditions, including cardiovascular problems, kidney impairment and problems with vision. Dogs with diabetes are also at higher risk for Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs). Treatments are available to allow your dog to live a normal life even if he or she has this serious medical condition like diabetes. Cranimals also offers home test kits so that you can screen your pet at home in under 2 minutes for dog diabetes.

    Signs of Diabetes in Dogs

     

     

     

     

     

    If you notice your dog exhibiting the following symptoms, you should make an appointment with your veterinarian to have testing done to determine if diabetes is the cause:

    • Increased water consumption -- a noticeable increase in thirst and the amount of water needed.
    • An increase in urination -- whether in the number of times the animal needs to go out or in having "accidents" in the house.
    • Constant hunger -- if the animal seems hungry all the time and needs to eat frequently.
    • Weight loss in spite of increased appetite -- diabetes can cause a change in metabolism that causes the animal to lose weight despite eating well.
    • Weakness, fatigue -- the dog may sleep more, may seem lethargic or may be less active than normal.
    • Thinning hair or dull coat -- diabetes can have this effect on the animal's coat, but it can also be caused by other illnesses.
    • Cloudiness in the eyes, cataracts -- diabetes can cause changes in the eyes and in vision.
    • Frequent vomiting -- advanced diabetes can lead to ketoacidosis as the liver begins to break down proteins and fats, which can cause vomiting.
    • Depression -- depression can result from the metabolic changes of diabetes, leaving your dog listless and uninterested in normal activities.

    How Diabetes in Dogs Is Diagnosed

    Your veterinarian will diagnose diabetes based on reported behaviors, physical examination and lab tests. Diabetes is more common in older dogs (> 8 years age), in dogs that are obese and inactive, in female animals and in certain breeds, such as Australian terriers, Keeshond's, poodles, Samoyeds, schnauzers, pugs, fox terriers and a few others as well those that have previously had hyperadrenocorticism or suffer from Cushing's disease. The incidence of diabetes in dogs has been rising since 1970, with ~0.64% of dogs affected. Dogs at lower risk for diabetes appear to be golden retrievers, boxers, American pit bull terriers and german shepherds.

    Treatment for Canine or dog Diabetes

    Fortunately, good treatment for canine diabetes is available. If the animal is very ill when first diagnosed, it may need hospitalization and care to stabilize blood sugar and determine the right treatment protocol. If the dog is not seriously ill, oral medications and a high-fibre diet can help to restore normal blood glucose levels. Many dogs require regular insulin injections, which owners can be taught to administer for their pets at home. Your vet will recommend a feeding schedule that will help to regulate blood sugar levels. Pet owners are also taught to administer regular testing that can be done at home to monitor glucose levels.

     

     

     

     

     

    Natural supplements formulated with cranberry and spirulina can support your diabetic dog or cat to decrease the risk for UTIs and support kidney and liver health. Spirulina has been shown to have a beneficial effect of in controlling blood glucose levels and a properly formulated cranberry supplement can effectively prevent UTIs.

    Although a diagnosis of diabetes is alarming, most pets can continue to live happy and active lives for many years with proper care.

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