The Six Most Common Dog Health Issues

Your dog is your best friend, and we all want to keep our friends in the best of health so they can spend as much time with us as possible. There are many health issues that can effect your dog, and here are the six most common health issues:

1. Ear Infections: This is probably the most common health issue in dogs, and is generally caused by yeast, bacteria, ear mites or hair growth deep in the ear canal that causes itching and a resulting infection. It is important to take your dog to the veterinarian if they have an ear infection because there is a good chance that permanent damage can occur if your dog is left alone scratching their ears. Many dogs will scratch until damage has occurred to the skin and ear canal, and shaking their head can also rupture blood vessels. Untreated bacterial and yeast infections can result in permanent deafness.Things to look for if you believe your dog might have an ear infection are:

Shaking their head or tilting it
Odor coming from ears
Scratching ears
Poor balance
Unusual eye movement
Redness or swelling of ears or ear canals
Any discharge from ears.

2. Tapeworms, Hookworms, Roundworms or Whipworms: These parasites are internal and cannot be noticed by looking at your dog. If left untreated, worms can be fatal in puppies. The best thing to do if you expect that your dog might have worms is to take them to a veterinarian for treatment. Typical treatments include an oral medication and a follow up. Do not try to treat worms yourself. Here are symptoms of worms:

Diarrhea
Loss of weight
Appetite changes
Dry or rough coat
Scooting
Poor appearance

3. Fleas: Fleas are very uncomfortable for dogs, and a single flea can breed to over 1,000 fleas in less than three weeks. Fleas can cause a severe allergic reaction in dogs and even anemia from blood loss. Scratching the areas of flea bites can lead to skin damage and infection. Symptoms of fleas include:

Scratching, licking, or biting skin
Hair loss
Hot spots
Allergic dermatitis
Tapeworms (these are carried by fleas)
Flea dirt on skin(this looks like small black dots)

4. Hot Spots. These are areas that are very itchy for dogs and will generally produce vigorous scratching as they attempt to get rid of the itching feeling. Hot spots are generally caused by moist allergic dermatitis, which is an acute skin infection. Hot spots can also be caused by flea bites and other conditions. The treatment for hot spots usually involves shaving the area and treating with topical ointments or anti-inflammatory drugs.

5. Vomiting. If your dog is vomiting repeatedly, get them to the veterinarian immediately as it can quickly lead to dehydration and can be fatal. It is also generally a signal of a deeper condition which is causing the body to shut down and not be able to hold food or water. Vomiting is usually caused by infection or intestinal parasites to pancreatitis, kidney failure, heatstroke, or poisoning. If your dog is lethargic, vomiting or acting uncomfortable, a trip to the vet immediately is necessary.

6. Diarrhea: Diarrhea in dogs can also cause dehydration quite quickly and can be fatal if untreated. It is also generally a sign of a deeper underlying condition such as stress, infections like parvo virus, intestinal parasites, and food problems. If your dog has liquid or loose stool for more than 1 day, take them to the veterinarian for an examination.

Limited Ingredient Diets For Pets

Limited ingredient diets have become more popular in recent years with regards to dogs and cats who have allergies and have issues with digestion, skin or eye irritations. Pet foods themselves are most likely to blame for ingredient allergies, but if left undiagnosed they can cause your pet extreme irritation, infections and hair loss from scratching. In extreme cases, food allergies can be quite dangerous and unhealthy for your pet. This is the main reason that we suggest avoiding cheap dog and cat food in all cases, and moving to more limited ingredient diets in cases where a food allergy has been found.

Food allergies in pets are usually diagnosed after the pet has either had a change in food and developed issues with skin or itching, or animals who have shown poor health for quite a long time and who have never been diagnosed with potential allergies to food. In many cases, the per food is the last thing that people consider, first attempting to self-diagnose the issues by bathing the animal more, avoiding certain areas or plants, or eliminating human treats. Many animals will continue to suffer even after the pet parent has tried multiple attempts at finding out what is causing the itching or poor health, only to find out later that their pet is actually allergic to an ingredient in their food.

Pets will usually have only limited choices with regards to food, consisting of what the parent feeds them. This will most likely be a dry or wet version of dog or cat food, and the assumption that all pet foods are created equal and provide all of the necessary dietary elements that an animal needs to thrive is not true. Many cheap pet foods are made with fillers and organ meat that is left over after human cuts have been produced. This poor quality meat is then mixed with filler agents like ground up bone and cartilage, old vegetables and chemicals. Your pet can be allergic to any one of these elements, and even in pet foods that are considered higher quality they still can be allergic to a specific ingredient. This is the point when your veterinarian will generally start to experiment with putting your pet on a more limited ingredient diet of specialty food, attempting to find the source of the allergy by eliminating the commonly known ingredients that cause allergies in some pets. The timeframes with regard to diagnosing food allergies is usually long, as the food must be administered gradually and over time so as not to upset the pet’s system with quick dietary changes, and then the results are observed over more time to look for improvements to health. If one limited ingredient food is found to not produce better health, it will then be the choice to try another food until a good result is found. The ultimate goal is to provide a complete nutritional scope to the animal while eliminating ingredients that they may be allergic to.

If you believe your pet may be food allergic, ask your veterinarian for suggestions on limited ingredient diets.

Las Vegas Veterinarian

In Las Vegas, there are many veterinarians. We feel we are the best choice for your pet, and we feel that if you come by our animal hospital to take a tour and see our facilities, you will feel the same way. However, for those who do not have the time to come by and meet us in person, here are a few reasons that we hope you consider when you are deciding which facility in Las Vegas should provide the medical care for your best friend.

Dr. Beerenstrauch (Dr. B to his patients) has been practicing the art of veterinary care for many years, and is not new to Las Vegas. He worked for many years as the lead veterinarian at another animal hospital in town, and developed a reputation for being one of the most knowledgeable and caring doctors available. When he made the decision to leave that clinic and start his own practice, he began a journey into developing what he feels is the best of the best as far as animal care, putting many of the philosophies of traditional human medical care into practice in his new facility. For nearly a year while the clinic was being constructed, Dr. B hosted a weekly radio show broadcasting from here in Las Vegas involving the care of animals, and over the course of that time had many specialists and visionaries within the animal community on the show as guests to help educate the public on the appropriate care of their pets. The show grew quite popular, but ceased broadcasting once the new facility was opened, due to a lack of available time. Since that point, Dr. B has dedicated his time to creating the Pet Health And Wellness Programs for Dogs and Cats, whereby specific breed and age conditions are considered in order to provide preventive health programs which are followed by pet parents from the time they first adopt their pet to it’s final days. These programs are designed after human health and wellness programs which serve to avoid disease and injury through inexpensive, preventive treatments and vaccinations. The point is to avoid the health issues that are known to be specific for different breeds and animals in order to provide them with healthier and happier lives.

Pet Health Hospital is a different kind of veterinarian in that we do not only concentrate on healing animals when they suffer injuries or health issues, but instead we provide our customers with the plan to prevent the conditions we know effect each breed. The Wellness Programs are mapped out the first time your pet visits us, giving us a blueprint to follow of regular maintenance that will help prevent many known issues. Just like human beings are being provided with ways to improve their health and therefor avoid disease, we apply that same philosophy to pets. The Wellness Programs are of no additional charge, and are simply a series of reminders beyond the simple vaccination schedules that are sent out, giving the pet parent the ability to take charge of keeping their pet healthier.

If you would like more information about our clinic or our Wellness Programs for pets, stop by and say hello.

Separation Anxiety In Dogs

One of the more difficult conditions to deal with in many dogs is separation anxiety. This is exhibited by the dog acting out when they are not round humans or other dogs, and are left alone for periods of time. Typical separation anxiety behaviors will include incessant barking and howling, scratching doors and windows, destroying furniture and bedding or urinating on carpets. The dog will probably only act this way when left alone, and training is necessary, combined with exercise, to break the habits.

Dogs that act out when they are left alone will generally have learned this behavior from the times when they were puppies. When they are first brought to a new home, it is probably the first time they have ever been away from their pack and naturally they are feeling stressed out by a new and unfamiliar environment. Our first reaction to attempt to help the new puppy cope with being alone for the first time in their lives is to shower them with attention, and to socialize them as much as possible. Sooner or later this same animal is going to have to be left alone, and the learned behaviors are going to come back. When the puppy cried or howled when left alone, you probably came back and showered them with attention because you feel bad that they were sad. What you have actually done is reinforce that if the puppy howls loud enough they will get attention. Even if you verbally reprimand them for acting out, they will probably view this as reinforcement that they will get attention if they act this way. In addition to this, a dog who is left unsupervised has nobody instructing them on what to do, and a lack of training in this environment allows the dog to make their own decisions, which are probably not the best ones. They will amuse themselves by destroying things or barking incessantly, which is not corrected on the spot and therefor is never taught to be wrong.

Exercise and training are the best way to deal with separation anxiety in dogs. Making sure that you walk them as often as possible, especially before you are going to leave them alone, will get rid of a lot of the pent up energy that becomes frustration when they are left alone. Making sure they are trained that the bad behaviors that they have been exhibiting when you are not around are actually not a way to get praise and attention is accomplished by not showering attention onto your dog the moment you walk into the house. Even though you want to say hello, the dog is assuming that their acting out has brought you back and causes them to get affection…it is the wrong lesson to teach. Leaving your dog alone in a crate for longer and longer periods of time after walking them will be the best way to train them to be alone. It is going to be a slow process, but eventually the dog will understand that he should remain calm while you are gone.

The difference between simulated and true separation anxiety in dogs

When left alone, many dogs will act out. They will begin barking or howling, destroy bedding and couches, whine and possibly urinate on carpets even though they are housebroken. When a dog is left alone it is stressful for them if they are not used to it, and when a puppy is first brought home it may be the very first time in their lives that they are separated from the pack they were born with, naturally causing stress. Our immediate reaction is to provide them with lots of attention and affection, socialize them with other dogs and play with them. However, this may actually be contributing to a problem later in life known as “simulated separation anxiety.” The difference between simulated separation anxiety and true separation anxiety is that simulated anxiety is a learned behavior brought about by incorrectly providing affection to dogs. One of the most common mistakes is to reward the dog with extra affection when you come home after being away for a while. This extra bit of affection over and above the normal amount reinforces that if the dog was howling and carrying on while you were gone, he is being rewarded for this behavior upon your return. His crying and acting out was a cry for attention, and if he receives that attention after performing this action for some time he then believes it is a reward. It has been noted that some dogs even interpret reprimanding as a reward due to the fact that they are given attention. The best method of dealing with simulated separation anxiety is continual reinforcement of rules and boundaries, as well as ongoing training. Gradually getting the dog used to being alone for longer and longer periods of time without affection or reinforcement of their behavior, as well as longer periods spent in a crate each day if you are crate training them.

True separation anxiety is actually a condition where the animal feels panic and depression when they are alone, leading to behaviors like howling, barking and destroying things. While many veterinarians will prescribe drugs in order to deal with the behaviors of these dogs, the drugs are not a solution and will only prolong the problem. A dog with separation anxiety must we worked with as regularly as possible, providing calm environments and further extending times spent in a crate or isolated area while you are gone. One of the major factors that comes into play with separation anxiety in dogs is exercise, and dogs who have not been tired out will tend to act out more when left alone. Once again, a combination of healthy diet, exercise and ongoing training from the time they are puppies is the best solution.

Separation anxiety in dogs can be stressful for both you and your pet, and the temporary solutions of drugging them to calm them down or isolating them in a locked room or crate without training them to be in that environment will have little chance of helping the dog deal with his anxiety. Ask your veterinarian about their suggestions on how to cope with this common issue.

Protecting Your Dog In Your Yard

shutterstock_144178672When you got your dog, you probably went through a process to enclose your yard as much as possible to keep your dog from running away. While this is certainly a positive thing to do, it is also important to monitor your yard for changes that could potentially result in harm to your pet. There are several things to specifically look for, but it is a good idea to walk around in your yard every few days looking for any changes that may have risks associated with them. Dogs are curious, and will interact with nearly everything in their environment, especially if they view it as in intruder into their space. Here are a few things to scan your yard for regularly:

1. New plants. Recently “The Rock” Johnson made news when he found that his French Bulldog had been poisoned and died. Upon scanning the area where his dog was allowed to run free, he found that his dog had eaten poisonous mushrooms which had grown. Animals cannot tell which types of plants are poisonous and which are not, and many times if they find a plant that was not there previously they will eat parts of it. Mushrooms are quite dangerous in that they grow quite quickly and have many poisonous variations. A mushroom can grow quite large in less than 48 hours, so when you scan your yard keep in mind to watch for strange growth of mushrooms in shaded areas. In addition to mushrooms, many plants have flowers and leaves which can be poisonous to dogs. When planting anything in the same space that your dog will occupy, always remember to research if it is poisonous to animals. Even though it may seem out of the ordinary that your dog would eat these plants for any reason, always assume that your dog will eat anything in the yard.

2. Fertilizer. When landscaping and gardening is being done, many times people will use fertilizer to strengthen their plants. Many of these fertilizers are poisonous to dogs and many can cause sever vomiting, seizures and other health problems. Dogs are quite attracted to the smell, and will many times go as far as to rip open sealed bags to eat the fertilizer. Always store fertilizers away from your dog’s reach, and water them into the ground after they are applied.

3. Insects. You may not see any insects in your yard while you are walking around, but they are there. Keep a close eye out for increasing activity from ants, wasps, scorpions, spiders and cockroaches. Always maintain a pest service that uses safe chemicals to reduce the insect population, and therefor reduce the amounts of dangerous insects that prey on these other insects. Also remember that insects will eat dog poop, so clean up after your dog as often as possible. It is nearly impossible to eliminate the insect population in your yard, but keeping down the things that attract them can help. If your dog is bitten or stung seek veterinary help immediately.

4. Signs of attempted escape. Your dog will attempt to escape, especially around mating times. Even if the yard is fenced, look for areas around fences where your dog may be showing interest or digging, as there is a good chance that they are targeting that area as a way out of the yard. If you notice signs of attempted escape, immediately create a barrier that the dog cannot get through, as they will continue to attempt to dig under or go over any fenced areas that they perceive as weak.

By keeping an eye on changes in your yard, you will be able to potentially head off unsafe elements before they become a problem. It is best to never have the situation occur by preventing it, instead of dealing with sickness or injury that could have been prevented.

Spay And Neuter Your Pets

We are all familiar with the discussion that happens so often with regards to owning an animal, and we see the television commercials and ads that always remind us that it is important to spay and neuter your pets, but there are far fewer people that actually understand why this is important.

Homeless Pets:

There are an estimated 10 million pets that will end up in shelters and pounds every year for a wide variety of reasons. Many of them are lost or have been abandoned, and some are homeless and were born on the streets. These animals are picked up by animal control or turned in to the shelters due to the fact that they are not able to be cared for in a loving home, however we must realize that they are being produced by animals that are generally members of a loving home. If a cat is left out at night and is not spayed or neutered, there is a good chance that this pet is seeking other cats to mate with, which produces more cats that do not have homes. If a dog manages to escape from a yard, as they often do when they are seeking a mate, they are attempting to produce more dogs. These animals will generally be born on the streets or potentially within the owner’s home, only to have the owner desperately seeking others to give the puppies or kittens to. When homes cannot be found they end up in shelters.

Healthy Pets:

In addition to the homelessness problem, many people are unaware that it has health benefits to your pet if they are spayed or neutered. Many types of cancers that are common in dogs and cancers can be reduced through spaying and neutering. Additionally, most injuries and losses occur when an animal escapes and roams. Their desire to escape and roam is generally increased when they want to mate or are in heat, which are both eliminated when the animal is fixed. If we reduce the animal’s urges to escape in order to find a mate, we significantly reduce their propensity to be hurt while they are outside the yard and loose on the streets.

Even though many people will delay spaying and neutering due to “feeling bad” or “taking away their manhood” it is important to understand that it is completely safe to spay and neuter your pet as young as 1 year old. The health benefits and reductions to the pet population are worth the effort it takes, and the feelings that you get about the procedure are not shared by your animal. They will not notice that they are spayed or neutered, nor will they be “changed” as a result of it. They will still be your loving pet who wants to take walks, spend time cuddling and enjoys your company. They will just be a little safer and healthier after the procedure. Do not delay and wait until something bad happens to spay and neuter your pets, make it part of their regular health care.

A New Type Of Animal Hospital

animal hospitalThere are many animal hospitals in Las Vegas, and many fine veterinarians working within those facilities. We strongly encourage you to choose the best facility that you can afford, which is convenient to your home as well as being a caring and knowledgeable facility that has your pet’s best interests in mind. Convenience to your home is very important in that if it is not convenient there is a good chance that you will not take your pets in to see the vet for regular checkups as much as if it were closer, so we encourage you to find the clinic that is not only convenient but that makes you feel the most comfortable that your pet is in good hands. As long as you are willing to drive a few extra miles, sometimes the better choice may be a little less convenient, but in the end choosing the veterinarian that you will make the regular visits to is key. We are a different and new type of animal hospital in Las Vegas, in that our clinic was built on the philosophy of keeping your pet healthy, instead of just treating them when they are sick. We feel this makes us a better choice for your pet, even if it is a little less convenient for you.

Most veterinarians are in the business of treating sick or injured animals, or preventing major diseases through vaccinations or dental cleanings. At Pet Health Hospital, we believe that the practice of medicine goes beyond that point, to a place where we believe that if we an prevent an illness and will make less money from a customer in the process, we want to prevent that illness. Too many animals are put down or given up for adoption each year due to the fact that the owners either cannot or will not pay the high prices associated with treatments and surgeries when the animal is sick, and nothing is worse than knowing that an inexpensive treatment or checkup could have prevented that illness. We built our practice with this in mind, that the ongoing maintenance procedures that guard against the known illnesses of individual breeds of animals should be the first though with regards to medicine, and the treating of the illness should be the second. If there is a way to prevent the illness from happening in the first place, we believe that pet owners should understand how to do it and be presented with the ability to perform the low cost procedures that might be able to prevent the high cost ones that force decisions that nobody wants to make. We practice “wellness care” in the same way that it is practiced for human beings, and we believe that animals can benefit from being healthy the same way people do.

If you are seeking a veterinarian or animal hospital in Las Vegas, come by our facility and ask to be given a tour. We would be happy to discuss with you how we can help your pet lead a healthier and happier life, free of injury and disease. We will take the time to tell you why we are different, and why we feel we are the best.