Cherry Eye In Dogs

All dogs have a special protective third eyelid on the inside corner of their eyes that is often not visible. This eyelid provides protection to the eye and also contains a gland that produces about 35% of the eye’s tears. The tears from this gland are responsible for lubricating the cornea. When the gland comes out of its position, the condition is called cherry eye in dogs. Cherry eye can occur in one eye or oftentimes in both eyes.

Many reasons can cause cherry eye in dogs. The most common reason is thought to be a genetic weakness in the tissue that connects the third eyelid to the surrounding structures of the eye. A small ligament that holds in the gland can stretch or break down for an unknown reason. Dog breeds such as Boston terriers, cocker spaniels, bulldogs, and beagles are commonly affected by this disease.

A pink mass that extends from the inside corner of the dog’s eye is the most noticeable symptom. Sometimes a thick, watery discharge can also be seen from the affected eye. After the gland is prolapsed, it may swell due to the lack of blood circulation to the area. Cherry eye can be irritating for dogs and they may begin to scratch or rub at their eyes, which has the possibility to create more damage to the eye. Therefore, an affected dog must be seen by a veterinarian as soon as the owner notices such symptoms. The longer that the gland is exposed, the less it will be functional.

A diagnosis by a veterinarian can often be made based upon a physical exam. A veterinarian will examine the dog visually in order to see if the gland has prolapsed. Even though symptoms may only be present in a single eye, both eyes should be examined carefully to make sure that other eye is not affected. After the diagnosis is made, the veterinarian can recommend a treatment.

The best treatment for cherry eye is surgical replacement of the gland. There are different types of surgical procedures that are available to correct cherry eye in dogs. All treatments should begin with anti-inflammatory medications to reduce the size of the gland and to make the surgery easier to perform and less traumatic on the dog. Previous surgical correction involved removing the entire gland that was prolapsed. Since a large portion of the eye’s tears are produced by the gland, these dogs are at an increased risk of developing dry eye. Removing the gland in no longer considered a good option because of this complication.

Heat Stroke And Heat Exhaustion In Dogs

The “dog days of summer” are not always the most ideal time for dogs to be outdoors. As summer temperatures soar, so do the incidents of heat exhaustion and heat stroke in pets. Although the terms heat stroke and heat exhaustion tend to be used interchangeably, there are some key differences. Both are potentially dangerous situations for your dog, and it is important to take immediate action to prevent permanent damage or death.

Signs of Heat Exhaustion:

Dogs do not have sweat glands to cool their bodies in the way humans do. When their body heats up, they rely on panting to reduce their body temperature. If they become too warm, or they aren’t panting quickly enough, their body temperature can rise to dangerous levels. Heat exhaustion comes from dehydration, and begins in the early stages of overheating. Early recognition of symptoms may allow for you to take steps to prevent the more deadly heat stroke. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include vigorous panting, elevated heart rate, nausea, vomiting, weakness, staggering, diarrhea, thick or excess saliva, gasping, lying down and unwillingness to get up, and very dark red, purple, or blue gums. At this point, it is imperative that you take steps to reduce the pet’s body temperature immediately. Get them indoors or to a cool area, soak their fur with water, and provide fresh water to drink. This should be sufficient to bring down their body temperature and prevent further escalation into heat stroke.

Signs of Heat Stroke:

Heat stroke sets in after attempts to cool the dog’s temperature are unsuccessful, or help has arrived too late. Normal body temperature in dogs averages between 101 and 102 degrees. Heat stroke sets in after their body temperature exceeds 105 degrees, and if sustained above this temperature, major organ damage to the brain, heart, kidneys, and liver may occur, and possibly death. In addition to excess body temperature, signs of heat stroke may include confusion, drooling, lethargy or loss of consciousness, rapid heart rate and weak pulse, rapid but shallow breathing, dry gums, refusal to drink, rectal bleeding, and dry hot red skin. At this point, the dog may begin to suffer seizures, and they may slip into a coma. If you discover a dog has heat stroke, try to first reduce the body temperature by bathing or hosing them down with cool water. Take care not to use ice cold water, because this may cause their temperature to plunge too rapidly. While still wet, get them into an air conditioned car and rush them to the vet. You may give small amounts of water to drink, but too much may cause vomiting. If possible, try to keep them in a sitting or standing position to avoid blood clotting. It may be necessary that your pet remain under veterinary care for up to three days, to be sure that all major organs are functioning and the pet has fully recovered.

Once you learn to recognize the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke, it will be much easier to prevent them from happening in the first place. Just remember to come prepared for outings, so you can enjoy summer fun safely with your canine companion.

Saving Your Pet With CPR

Emergency techniques such as CPR may help pet owners keep their pets alive until they arrive at their veterinarian or emergency center. Here are some tips on CPR for pets:

Check for breathing and pulse. Using your middle and index fingers, check below the pet’s wrist, inner thigh at the femoral artery, or below the ankle where the left elbow meets the chest.

If there is no breathing and no pulse, administer CPR immediately.

Look for other warning signs. Check the gums for color. They should be reddish or pinkish. If they are gray or pale colored, this may be a warning sign. Check the pupils. If they are dilated or unresponsive to light, this may be another warning sign.

If the pet is not breathing, give breaths. With cats and small dogs, place your mouth over its nose and mouth and blow air in. With medium to large dogs, place your mouth over its nose to blow air in.

If breath will not go in, check for blocked airway. Turn pet upside down, with its back against your chest, and wrap your arms around them and clasp your hands together just below their ribcage in the abdomen area. Using both arms, thrust the abdomen sharply five times. Check the mouth or airway for any foreign objects, and remove them. Follow this with two additional rescue breaths.

If pet has no pulse, begin chest compressions. Place animal on its right side and place your hands over its ribs where the elbow meets the chest. Begin giving compressions. Do not give compressions if the pet has a pulse.

Procedure for CPR:

Cats/ Small dogs: compress chest ½ to 1 inch, alternating 5 compressions with each breath of air

Medium to large dogs: compress chest 1 to 3 inches, alternating 5 compressions with each breath

Dogs over 90 lbs: compress chest 1 to 3 inches, alternating 10 compressions with each breath

While giving CPR:

Continue to repeat procedure, alternating breaths and compressions

Check pulse after first minute, and then once again every few minutes

Continue CPR until the pet has a pulse and is breathing, or until help arrives

Discontinue administering CPR after 20 minutes

Frostbite In Dogs

Many people believe that since their pets (especially dogs and cats) are covered in fur that they must be able to be out in the cold for extended periods of time. While it is true that certain breeds of dogs have the ability to be out in the cold longer than others due to thicker coats and adaptations that their breed has made to combat cold weather (Bernese Mountain Dogs, Huskies and Malamutes) the truth is that no dog can be out in the cold weather indefinitely, and most breeds are not able to be out any longer than a typical human being. Dogs with compromised health and issues such as old age and diabetes are even less able to be out in the cold. Frostbite is damage to the tissues that are exposed to cold weather, and begins at 32 degrees or lower. The amount of damage that occurs can very from mild and superficial to major depending on the length of exposure and the extremity of the cold.

As defined by the Encyclopedia Britannica frostbite is “cell damage, tissue dehydration, and oxygen depletion caused by freezing and thawing can lead to blood-cell disruption, clotting in capillaries, and gangrene.” Essentially, the animal is freezing from the extremities inward, resulting in extraordinary amounts of pain and tissue loss. Frostbite occurs in three identifiable stages, ranging from the least to most severe. Stage One frostbite is actually difficult to see, and usually is identified by a pale look to the skin on the extremities such as the ears, lips, tail, face, feet, and scrotum. The area may also be cold and hard to the touch. Examination should be conducted with extreme care, due to the fact that if the circulation is badly effected the tip of the extremity can rub off. As the dog is warming, the area will become red and swollen, before becoming scaly and painful.

Second degree frostbite will be illustrated by skin blisters forming on your dog. Once again, careful examination is necessary as extreme damage can result from touching the area or rubbing it.

Third degree frostbite is identified by the flesh on the dog’s extremities turning dark colored or completely black over a period of several days. There will be a clear and noticeable difference between the effected area and the un-effected area. Many times, third degree frostbite will result in gangrene and necessitate an amputation of the limb.

Treating frostbite should always be done by a veterinarian, so getting your dog to the animal hospital as soon as possible after you suspect frostbite is crucial. The main reason that people should not attempt to treat frostbite at home without first consulting a veterinarian is that more damage can be done if it is improperly treated. Warming your dog gradually with luke-warm water without rubbing the effected areas can calm the dog down until you can get them to the doctor. Never use hot water as this can cause sever pain, and never rub the area as this can release toxins into the dog’s bloodstream. It is important to stop the dog from scratching or licking the effected area, as they can damage skin and tissue that potentially could be saved. As you are traveling to the vet, do not turn the heat up in the car too far in an attempt to warm the dog as this can cause further distress, warm or slightly cool temperatures are best. Your dog will probably need pain killers and antibiotics to combat infections.

First and foremost, pet owners should attempt to avoid frostbite by keeping their dogs inside on cold days, as well as providing adequate and heated shelter outside. Food and water supplies should be kept fresh and unfrozen, and special attention should be paid to your dog in the form of examination if frostbite is suspected.