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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Pet Care Library > Articles > Frequently Asked Questions About Dog Health

Frequently Asked Questions About Dog Health

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How often should my dog visit the vet?
Once per year is usually enough unless the dog has chronic medical problems that require more frequent attention. It would be ideal for geriatric dogs to be seen every 6 months.

Why do my dog's eyes discharge?
Dog's eyes may discharge for several reasons. Tearing may be from an irritant in the area, such as dust. Allergies, viral diseases, and problems with tear drainage can cause runny eyes. Thick, colored discharge can be from bacteria, or viruses that unable a dog to make enough tears. The bottom line is that you should have your dog's eyes examined by your vet to determine the specific cause and treatment. 

What can I do about my dog's turned-in eyelids?
This condition is called entropion. A fancy name for eyelids that are rolled inward so that the eyeball itself can be rubbed by the nearby fur. If your dog is very young, sometimes stapling the eyelid in a rolled out position will fix the problem, with the staples being removed after several weeks. Alternately, or if stapling is not successful, you can consult your vet about surgery to correct this problem. 

Why are my dog's eyes getting cloudy?
I would definitely bring her to your vet. Dogs certainly can get cataracts which impair vision. They can also get something called "nuclear sclerosis" which is a normal age-related change and does not significantly impair vision. Please have her checked out by your vet. 

What exactly is kennel cough and how long does it last?
Kennel cough is usually caused by a bacteria, Bordetella bronchiseptica, and the parainfluenza virus. In animals with a healthy immune system, kennel cough is usually short lived (5-7 days). In young animals it may last much longer. In some cases, the condition can worsen into pneumonia and then requires intensive and prolonged treatment. 

Can first signs of parvo be diagnosed as kennel cough?
Parvo's most common clinical signs are vomiting and diarrhea. There should be no cough with parvo. Kennel cough produces a deep, hacking cough. This can make the pet gag at the end and they may bring up white, foamy saliva. This saliva may be mistaken for vomiting, and thus wrongly diagnosed as parvo. In some cases, dogs with parvo feel very lethargic and dogs with kennel cough usually are still energetic. 

Is it possible for puppies from the same litter were fathered by two different dogs?
Yes. If the female has "relations" with two different males during the critical time, each male can fertilize different eggs. 

Should I be worried if my dog swims in very cold weather?
Certain breeds tolerate extreme weather very well and their coats are usually insulating. Often, the skin doesn't become wet. Unless your dog seems to be cold afterward, I wouldn't worry. 

What causes yellow vomit in a dog? Is it serious?
The yellow in your dog's vomit is bile. Dogs vomit more easily than you or I because of the way they have evolved. It is thought to be a protective mechanism because they will eat anything and that is not always good. Vomiting up to once a week may be normal for some dogs. If it occurs more often, please see your vet. 

What do you recommend for chronic ear infections?
Ear infections can be very difficult to treat. The first thing we recommend is anesthetizing your pet for an ear flush (thorough cleaning). This is too painful to be done well when the animal is awake. At-home care is very important, though very time consuming. Those ears need to be cleaned and treated daily. If the infection subsides, the ears must still be cleaned for the animal's lifetime. For infections that do not respond to medical treatment, surgery is the only option. Depending on the damage to the ear, either a lateral ear resection or a total ablation is performed. It may be the only way to keep your pet comfortable.

My dog has pancreas enzyme insufficiency and is doing well on Viokase. What signs should I look for that she is having trouble?
After the initial diagnosis we hope that the stool normalizes within days and your pet gains 1-2 lbs per week until she has reached her ideal weight. Appetite is often a good indication as well. If the appetite is normal, rather than ravenous, then your pet is correctly absorbing the nutrients.

What is Cushings disease and is it treatable?                 
       Cushing's disease is the same as hyperadrenocorticism. That is, the adrenal gland is over producing. Usually the corticosteroids are over produced and this causes your pet to have increases in appetite, drinking and urinating, muscle wasting and panting. It can be treated, however it depends on whether the condition is primary or secondary. It may be the adrenal gland itself that is a problem or the hypothalamus, which regulates adrenal output. Depending on the condition, the treatment of choice is either medical pills or surgery. More often than not, medical treatment is instigated. Consult your vet for an accurate diagnosis.

Can I purchase vaccines online and administer them myself?
We do not recommend pet owners purchasing and administering vaccines. We would not do that for ourselves. Vaccines need to be handled in a certain manner and injected in a certain manner. Most people do not know where their vaccines came from (i.e. all vaccines are not manufactured equally). You rely on veterinarians to provide you with their expertise. Having your vet administer the vaccine is worth the knowledge that the vaccine is well-handled and given correctly. 

  1. I recently found a stray, adult dog. What vaccinations does he need?
    We recommend, assuming that the dog has not been vaccinated, Rabies 1 X and 2 sets of distemper/parvo/corona virus given about 3 weeks apart. Not knowing if the dog is vaccinated is a big worry and there are big problems associated with not having your dog vaccinated. Please consult with your vet to find out what's best for your dog.
  2. Which wild animals are dangerous to pets?
    Raccoons, bats and skunks are the most dangerous animals as far as rabies transmission. Also, typhoid fever is transmitted in rat fleas, which are also the same type of fleas as cat fleas. Keep the fleas off your pets to prevent typhoid fever in people in your home.
  3. What tests are available to detect deafness in dogs?
    The most definitive test is usually only available at veterinary teaching hospitals. The easiest test is clapping your hands sharply while your dog is not looking and checking for a response. The fancy test is called a "Brain Auditory Evoked Response Test" and it involves using electrodes in the skin over the head and monitoring brain activity after an electrical impulse is delivered.

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20 Feb 2010 8:42 am

jflashman1 said:

What is the best over the counter decongestant/antihistamine for dogs? How is the dosage determined? Our dog os only 4-5 ilbs.

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