Tuesday, May 24, 2016

PET HEALTH TIP #21- Heat Stroke

Heat stroke is (unfortunately) a common problem during the hot summer months, especially when temperatures soar into the 100's.  Two of the most important things you can do to protect your dog from the heat are to make sure your dog has lots of shade and plenty of water.  It is easy to forget how fast water can evaporate in extreme heat, so make sure you re-fill the water dishes often.

Outdoor dogs with thick coats of fur, even if it is relatively short, should be shaved.  The thick fur is just like you wearing your winter coat out in the heat!  Another great idea is to add water misters to their pen to act as an air conditioner.  And lastly, do not leave your dog in a vehicle, even if the windows are cracked!

Symptoms of heat stroke include: Excessive panting; recumbency (lying on side); pale mucous membranes (gums and inside of cheeks); and unresponsiveness.

Emergency treatments: It imperative to get the dog's temperature down as quickly as possible.  Heat stroke dog temperatures can rise above 105 degrees.  The best thing you can do is get your dog to a veterinarian, so he can be started on IV fluids and the vet can work on lowering the dog's temperature.  However, if you are unable to get to a vet clinic, there are some treatments you can try.  First of all, you don't want to lower the temperature too quickly.  One of the best ways to lower a dog’s temperatures is to pour rubbing alcohol along his spine.  Rubbing alcohol evaporates more quickly than water, thus acting as a coolant.  Also, a room temperature water enema works well.  You don't want to use cold water as the dog's temperature is already well above room temperature and cold water would be too much of a shock to the dog's system.

Even with proper treatment, a heat stroke victim's chances of survival are minimal. So, the best treatment is prevention.  Please be aware of our four-legged friends during the warm summer months and do what you can to keep them safe and comfortable.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

PET HEALTH #20-Cystitis

Cystitis refers to inflammation of the bladder wall.  Several underlying medical issues can cause cystitis.  The most common cause of cystitis is a bacterial infection.  This is especially true for female dogs and cats.  Bacterial infections in dogs and cats happen the same way they do in people, and pets will show similar symptoms.  These symptoms include: increased frequency of urination, straining to void the bladder, and blood in the urine.  Antibiotics are used to treat bladder infections.

Bladder stones (uroliths) can also cause cystitis.  Bladder stones are mineral deposits that form into rock-like substances.  These stones can be as large as golf balls!  The symptoms are exactly the same as with bladder infections.  Occasionally, a small stone may become trapped in a male dog’s or cat’s urethra causing a blockage.  This is a serious condition that requires emergency treatment.

During the early stages of stone development, the pet will have crystals in the urine.  Dogs may or may not develop symptoms of cystitis during the crystal phase.  Cats will typically start to show symptoms during this phase.  As I stated earlier, these crystals and stones are caused by mineral deposits.  These deposits are created by the urine either being too acidic or too alkaline.  The treatment is a change in diet, which will either raise or lower the pH of the urine.  Some bladder stones will dissolve in response to the diet change.  However, surgery is usually needed to remove the stones.

A less common cause of cystitis is a bladder tumor.  These usually develop in older female dogs. The tumors are typically benign.

There are other less common causes of cystitis.  All causes create the same symptoms.  Therefore, if your pet is showing symptoms if cystitis, you should take him or her to a veterinarian in order to get an accurate diagnosis.