Eye infections are not uncommon in dogs. The most common causes are foreign bodies, for example dust particles, smoke or drafts. If the puppy's eye hurts, it is rubbed against it with the paw rather unguidedly, which unfortunately aggravates the symptoms even more. Frequent blinking and watery eyes also indicate eye problems.
An inflammation of the conjunctiva (conjunctivitis) occurs most frequently. Especially when small blisters form on the back of the third eyelid, called the nictitating membrane, they rub against the cornea and hurt the puppy. The vesicles can be surgically removed, it is a small attack.
Eye care, such as regular wiping with a damp cotton pad, serves as an effective prophylaxis of eye inflammation. Eye drops from human medicine or eye creams can also provide effective relief in the case of a lighter inflammation.
Some eye problems are caused by entropion, a curled eyelid. In this case, the eyelashes permanently rub against the cornea, which leads to chronic inflammation. In a severe case, the eyelashes must be surgically removed.
Finally, it should be noted that dog breeds with googly eyes such as Pugs or Pekingese suffer more often from eye problems and often get severe corneal injuries. Breed-specific is also the so-called Collie eye anomaly, a hereditary disease that can lead to detachment of the retina.
Earache in dogs
Ears are a sensitive part of the dog's body, earache really hurts the four-legged friend. The first sign that there is something wrong in this area is constant scratching behind the ears. Unfortunately, this can only make the problems worse for the puppy, because with the claws inflicts abrasions on his sensitive ears. Another pretty sure sign of earache is frequent shaking and tilted head position.
Admittedly, it happens to every dog that he sometimes holds his head at an angle for a while and scratches behind the ears. If this behavior pattern is observed only for a short time, you should not worry. If, however, the puppy scratches for hours, shakes and holds his head at an angle, there is something wrong with his ears. Unpleasant odors in the ear area are also a sign of irregularities. Often too much earwax accumulates in the ear, which can be removed with a dry cotton swab or with a special cleaning fluid.
It can also happen that there is a foreign body in the ear. If you discover this, try to pull it out with the utmost care using tweezers. By the way, you can also shine a flashlight into the ear. Colds, deposits of earwax or injuries can also lead to otitis (ear infection). Inflammation can occur in the outer ear canal as well as the middle ear and inner ear. In the worst case it comes even to a bone marrow inflammation. Otitis should be treated by a veterinarian. So, if you do not discover significant amounts of earwax and no foreign objects in the ear, it may be otitis. A trip to the vet's office becomes urgent.
Dog coughs, what can it be? A puppy can swallow. Cough a few times. Otherwise, coughing in the dog is always a sign of disease. Just like a human, a puppy can catch a cold, although admittedly a cold is a rarity in dogs. Cough, discharge from the nose, increased temperature indicate a cold. Against it help warm tea (chamomile, fennel), shorter walks, in the cold season with short-haired dogs with a dog coat. It is recommended not to give the puppy dry food during this time, but to give pureed food instead.
If the health condition of the animal does not improve after two-three days, a visit to the veterinarian is due. If left untreated, a mild cold can result in severe bronchitis or even fatal pneumonia. These diseases are then treated with antibiotics intravenously. Moreover, any respiratory disease can cause laryngitis. This manifests itself in frequent rattling and retching without really vomiting. The laryngitis is treated just like a cold with heat, pureed food and teen and usually disappears by itself after a few days.
Skin diseases and injuries in dogs
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The most common symptoms of a skin disease are "hot spots" (inflamed, reddened, hairless areas from the skin). The causes for the formation of such spots can be quite different.
Wounds and injuries probably occur most often on the paw pads. Whether a sharp stone or a shard of glass -. A wound gapes in the ball of the foot. Sometimes the puppy can stop the blood quickly by licking vigorously, the wound heals after a few days. In any case, it is worthwhile to examine the wound at home and check whether there is a foreign body in it. This is to be removed carefully with tweezers.
Note: The operation hurts the quadruped, it can behave aggressively and restlessly. Therefore it is best to act in pairs: One person holds the dog in a headlock, another examines the wound. To treat a wound with a 1:1 water-hydrogen peroxide solution. Then apply an anti-inflammatory cream and dress the wound. If it is a minor wound, it is often sufficient to wash it with boiled water. As a rule, the injuries heal quite quickly in dogs.
The problem with licking the paws has already been mentioned above. Another possible cause of skin irritation are insect bites or parasite infestation. This will be discussed in detail below. Relatively rare, but not always to be excluded, allergies are the cause of skin problems. Some info on allergies can be found in the article on feeding puppies and also further down in this guidebook.
Gastrointestinal upset in dogs
Diarrhea or constipation can, as we have seen above, have a harmless cause, but can also be a symptom of a serious poisoning, an infectious disease or even the dreaded gastric torsion. In addition, a feed incompatibility can be present.
After the purchase, please accustom your puppy only slowly to the new food, especially if you plan to barf the little one. In any case, too radical a change may leave permanent damage. Lead to persistent digestive problems. It is not difficult to get used to the new food, it is enough to mix it with the usual food. After a few weeks, most four-legged friends adjust to the new food. It can also be that the new food, which you consider to be of very high quality and recommended, does not agree with the little one or simply does not taste good. Therefore, look for an alternative, then possibly the irregularities in digestion will stop.
If the puppy suffers from mild gastrointestinal upset, give him lukewarm tea (chamomile, fennel, highly diluted black tea) to drink. For diarrhea, rice boiled with plenty of water and boiled chicken breast helps. In addition, the four-legged friend needs a lot of rest. Against constipation help besides the teen also chicken broth, pureed vegetables and more exercise.
In addition to diarrhea, the general poor condition of the animal also indicates poisoning. If the puppy is suddenly breathing heavily, often sits down on the way, chokes – with these signs you should immediately call 911, every minute counts!
Bloody diarrhea is also a concern, it may be an infectious disease or an internal injury.
Grass eating in dogs
You will certainly soon discover that your puppy likes to eat grass. In any case, most dogs do. Some often, some now and then. The grass tastes sweet, so puppies and adult dogs find it delicious. But grass serves the quadrupeds not only as a delicious appetizer, but also as a stomach cleanser. Not coincidentally, your little one will start gagging soon after eating grass. Vomit the lump along with the yellow stomach fluid. Of course, not all dogs do this, some can digest the grass and excrete it with feces. Vomiting after eating grass is healthy, so don't worry about it. It may also happen that a puppy has difficulty defecating after its grass meal. You will then discover undigested grass in the feces. If this situation repeats itself, simply try to stop your pet from eating grass.
Stomach rupture – immediate help necessary
Torsion of the stomach often ends fatally, especially large breeds are at risk. Although it is not a typical puppy disease, it happens that puppies also get gastric torsion. Most of the affected dogs are over four years old. Interesting fact: gastric torsion happens most often in the evening. When a dog sleeps quietly at home.
General restlessness, a bloated abdomen, rapid, shallow breathing may indicate gastric torsion. If the dog does not get a quick remedy, it is threatened with an agonizing death. The causes of this disease are not well known, it is believed that they are partly hereditary and partly related to feeding dry food alone.
In gastric torsion the esophagus shifts and closes the stomach. The air and gases can no longer escape, the stomach inflates. The stomach presses on the diaphragm, affects the function of several organs. Blood back up leads to necrosis of the stomach wall and rupture of the intestine.
If you suspect gastric torsion, drive to the vet immediately, dial 911 and do not hesitate, otherwise you will lose your furry pet! A gastric puncture can help, where an indwelling vein cannula is inserted into the stomach, where it sounds hollow when tapped. This allows the air to escape from the stomach. About half an hour gained. As a rule, only emergency surgery can save the animal.
HD, ED and other musculoskeletal disorders in dogs
Hip dysplasia (HD) and elbow dysplasia (ED) are two hereditary conditions that cause a lot of grief to all breeders and those who want to be, among others. The problem is: dogs suffering from HD and/or ED in a severe form (usually from grade D) are unfit for breeding. However, even outside the dog breeding scene, these two diseases of the musculoskeletal system are considered serious.
In both cases it is a malformation of the corresponding joint, so that the joint span and the joint head do not fit together optimally. The malformation causes pain when standing up and walking, but it can also lead to inflammation, abscesses and severe arthritis.
In the puppy age neither HD nor ED are recognizable, only with one year an X-ray examination can be determined whether the young dog suffers from one or even both of these illnesses. However, the first signs of HD. ED already noticeable a little earlier. In addition to the above-mentioned difficulties in getting up, the occasional limping can also indicate a possible disease. Also, if the puppy has problems climbing stairs and jumping and takes only short steps, if his buttock muscles are obviously underdeveloped on both or only one side, or if his buttock muscles are underdeveloped on both or only one side. if he tries to spare one of the paws, these symptoms can indicate HD or ED.
Veterinarians are not sure what factors besides inheritance can contribute to the development of these diseases. By the way, a high-energy diet is suspected with the puppy food. Although it makes sense to provide the puppy with a lot of energy for several reasons (see our guide on "Feeding"), you should not limit the feeding exclusively to the puppy food. Give the puppy rice and vegetables, cooked (or even raw) meat, and switch to adult dog food earlier than manufacturers recommend. Pay attention to the quality of the food and whether the chosen variety is designed for "your" breed of dog. On the market are namely puppy food types for large, small or even giant breeds available. Depending on the severity, HD. ED different treatment. In the mild degree, usually no treatment is necessary, however, strenuous sports such as agility or dog frisbee are not for a dog with HD or ED.
Good remedy is physiotherapy with massages, heat treatment and muscle building training. Alternative medicine, such as gold acupuncture, is also shown to be successful in treatment. Surgery may be necessary only if the degree is high, but rest and gentle therapy can allow the dog to live a long symptom-free life.
While HD and ED are the most common musculoskeletal disorders in dogs, a four-legged friend can also suffer from arthritis, a herniated disc or osteochondrosis. Within the framework of this guide, it is unfortunately not possible to deal with all diseases.
Endo- and ectoparasites in dogs – What to do against the unwanted co-inhabitants?
Among the endoparasites, i.e. those that settle in the body of their host, worms are probably the most widespread. Apart from the heart and lung worms, as good as all other annoying co-inhabitants are to be met in the intestine of a dog. Unfortunately, puppies are particularly susceptible to worms. The worm infestation for them highly dangerous.
Tapeworms and roundworms are among the most common endoparasites in dogs. While a minor worm infestation usually remains symptom-free, a severe infestation can lead to bad gastrointestinal upset, including the bloated "worm belly," as well as massive heart problems.
A puppy is often infected when walking, for example, through contact with other dogs, eating feces or dead animals (a "bad habit" that unfortunately many dogs are hard to break) or drinking from a puddle. All in all, an infection is hardly to be avoided, so that a worming cure is due regularly.
When you receive a puppy from a reputable breeder, it has already been dewormed several times. However, according to the recommendations of the European Scientific Counsel Companion Animal Parasites (ESCCAP), deworming should be carried out four times a year for puppies and adult dogs that have supervised exercise and contact with other dogs.
Hunting dogs and dogs that have exercise without supervision need to be wormed monthly.
A wormer is a medicine, usually in the form of a tablet, which is mixed with the food. It remains active in the quadruped's body for 24 hours and kills all worms and their stages. A worming treatment also helps in case of severe worm infestation, after four weeks the puppy should be presented to a veterinarian for a check-up.
Not all dog owners have their dogs dewormed regularly. One reason is that a minor worm infestation does not cause serious damage to health, nor is it even noticeable. On the other hand, many want to avoid additional exposure to chemicals. Alternative medicine and herbal medicine also have in their arsenal effective remedies against worms, especially if it is not an extremely severe infestation. In our special we go into the alternative treatment methods of various dog diseases. Flea is a common. Annoying ectoparasite. Even very young puppies can be infested by fleas, if left untreated, the situation will quickly worsen. It is mainly the cat flea ("Ctenocephalides felis") that causes trouble for dogs. But also dog fleas "Ctenocephalides canis" are also found in dogs.
The transmission usually occurs from animal to animal. But also contaminated environment leads to infection with fleas. By the way, the flea can jump up to one meter high.
The most common symptoms of a flea infestation include intense scratching, because flea bites cause intense itching. This creates so-called hot spots on the skin. The flea can further transmit tapeworms. In the worst case transmit infectious agents. In addition, quite a few dogs develop a strong flea saliva allergy, which is why they react to every flea bite with enormous itching.
Fleas can by no means be eliminated by treating the affected puppy alone, because upholstered furniture and carpets in particular provide shelter for the parasites. If flea infestation is detected, the puppy should be examined by a veterinarian and a flea powder or spray should be used, for example, with the active substance Spinosad. The entire home environment should be treated against the flea just like the animal. By the way: Do not forget the dog transport box and the trunk of your car!
It is recommended to act at the slightest suspicion of flea infestation and take the puppy to the veterinarian and consistently carry out the entire treatment plan. If fleas or their stages remain alive, they multiply rapidly (a female lays up to 50 eggs per day), the success of treatment is then lacking.
Ticks in dogs
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Although other tick species have migrated from southern Europe as a result of the generally mild weather, the wood tick (Ixodes ricinus) remains the most widespread tick species in this country. These bloodsuckers lurk at the tips of the grass at a height of 20-30 centimeters, they bite into the skin and suck their fill of blood. A fully sucked, round tick (wood tick) drops down. It has several molts and egg-laying to do. The dog is left with swollen, itchy sores, and in the worst case the quadruped contracts Lyme disease.
The wood tick is mainly active in the transitional period, i.e. in spring and autumn. Sometimes a puppy brings back several ticks after a walk in the woods. Unfortunately, they are difficult to detect, especially in long-haired dog breeds, because the parasites "dive" into the fur quite quickly.
If a tick that has already attached itself has been discovered, it must be removed as quickly as possible. Experienced dog owners manage it with their bare hand, "screwing" the tick out of the skin with slightly twisting movements. However, a tick may be pulled out without the turning. Otherwise a tick pliers, tick card or tick loop are still available.
The most important thing is that no tick head is stuck under the skin, because on the one hand this place will quickly become infected and on the other hand the wood tick vomits in its death throes and thus transmits even more various pathogens.
However, manual removal of ticks is usually not enough – there are simply too many and they are poorly detected. That is why dog owners resort to different prophylactic agents, which all work more or less on the same principle: The active ingredients (insecticides) they contain keep the ticks from biting. The following tick defense is widespread:
– Spot-ons – liquids applied to the skin on the nape of the neck and the base of the tail. The well-known product Frontline contains the active ingredient Fipronil, Exspot – the substance Permethrin, Advantix – Permethrin and Imidacloprid
– Tick collar (mostly also effective against the flea) with the active substance Delthametrin
The effectiveness of anti-tick drugs varies, especially since the ticks are quite adaptable and often become immune to the preparations after a few years.
Notice: Not all preparations are approved for use in puppies! Therefore please pay attention to the package insert!
In any case, high caution applies to the application, because some dogs react allergic to the active substances. In case of gastrointestinal upset or skin irritation obviously caused by the anti-tick medication, the collar should be removed or the puppy (when using a spot-on) should be washed thoroughly with dog shampoo. As a precaution we would advise against the use of Bravecto© tablets in very young puppies under 12 weeks of age, although the preparation is actually approved from the age of 8 weeks. About alternatives to the chemical tick protection inform in our guide on the subject of alternative treatment methods in dogs.
If it comes to Lyme disease
Lyme disease is the generic term for a number of infectious diseases, all of which can be traced back to bacteria of the Borrelia family. Especially ticks transmit these bacteria by their bite to humans and all mammals. Dogs are also frequently affected by Lyme disease. Lyme disease challenges veterinarians and science because it is not easy to diagnose due to the variety of symptoms and is just as difficult to treat. Also, not all ticks are infected with borrelia, and not all borrelia are dangerous for dogs.
In many infected dogs, Lyme disease is asymptomatic for a long time. After the tick bite, a round reddening of the skin can indicate a possible infection, this is also called wandering redness, but the redness does not appear with every infection.
Symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs
By the time symptoms appear, months have often passed and no one is thinking about one or the other of what may be many tick bites. In addition, the manifestations remain non-specific and very general.
In summary, the symptoms are regularly painful inflammation of the muscles and joints, fever or enlarged lymph nodes, all signs of an immune reaction, as they can also occur in other contexts. Later, disorders and damage to the heart and kidneys can occur, as well as sudden paralysis in different areas of the dog's body.
A specific blood test can provide information about the presence of a Lyme disease infection. However, the result is often uncertain or false-positive.
Lyme disease is treated with antibiotics for at least 4 weeks. Anti-inflammatories and painkillers can relieve the symptoms. If the infection is not treated, there is a risk of chronicity and severe progressions. Dogs can suffer greatly from the disease.
One should remember in view of the described problems with Lyme disease: dogs can be vaccinated against Lyme disease in the meantime. In addition, effective repellent tick protection is equally the best protection against the infection. Because natural immunity to the infection does not develop, even if an infection has been passed through. Smart dog owners preserve pulled ticks in alcohol, so that in case of doubt it can be examined in the laboratory whether the arachnid was infested with Borrelia bacteria. This is especially true when the wandering redness occurs. The faster Lyme disease is treated, the better the chances for a complete cure.
Dog allergies – versatile, dangerous, persistent
The first sign of a possible allergy is extreme itching with scratching, licking and biting into the already inflamed wound. The absolute majority of allergies are due to three causes (ordered by relevance):
– flea-saliva allergy; – environmental antigens (mostly allergies to house dust mites or pollen; – food allergy.
In itself, an allergy is nothing more than an overreaction of the immune system to actually common, harmless substances. These substances become the allergens for the specific animal. The more often the body is confronted with allergens, the higher the probability that an allergy will develop – the body becomes sensitized to the allergen. An allergic reaction is thus the formation of antibodies in the organism on contact with the allergen.
If a puppy is diagnosed with an allergy, its cause should be eliminated if possible. Thus, in the case of flea-saliva allergy, it is enough to eliminate the flea. In the case of food allergy, a slow groping through an elimination diet to the one or two allergens is in order. Once these have been discovered, a change in diet can be quite easy to make. In the case of a pollen or other environmental allergy, on the one hand, the annoying symptoms are combated. On the other hand, desensitization by ingestion of allergens is often prescribed. A treatment with cortisone against pain may remain only as the last resort, if no other treatments help.