Saturday, 28 July 2012

Ticks in Puppies and Dogs

Ticks are blood sucking parasites that are common in many parts of the Irish countryside. They are classed as anthropods. Your pet may come in contact with ticks while running through long grasses and wooded areas. Ticks are revolting. They attach themselves onto your pet with their mouthpiece and stay attached until they have their fill of your pets blood. The tick may stay attached for several hours to days. You usually will find ticks around your pets ears, inside of their legs, where there is little hair and their toes.
 Your pet can get ticks and be fine but there is also the threat of disease with ticks. The quicker you remove the ticks from your dog the better as it reduces the risk of disease transmission. Ticks start off tiny but if they get to suck of your pet uninterrupted they swell pea size and bigger with a hard shell. They then fall off and lay their larvae. In Ireland lyme disease is carried by the Irish ticks in USA lyme disease and Rockey mountains disease are most common tick diseases.

If you are concerned that your pet has ticks you should take a close look at your dogs skin. Rub your hand around your dog to feel for any lumps or raised areas. Pay special attention between their toes, ears hairless areas and armpits.You might find red lumps. Ticks will start off as small as pencil tip and increase in size over time. Lots of dogs display no sign of been bitten by one or more ticks. Some dogs will find the ticks very irritating which leads to them licking and scratching them. Others are very allergic to them. An over infestation of ticks can cause anaemia in dogs. Ticks can move from dogs to people.

Lyme disease is transmitted by ticks.Lyme disease can be serious. It can lead to kidney failure and death. Puppies are more prone to lymne disease than adult dogs. Symptom's in dogs are difficult to detect and may not appear until months after infection. A dog with lyme disease may not show any symptom's if they do they will suffer fatigue, not wanting to move and spontaneous leg lameness for 3 to 4 days with failure to eat and depression. This lameness may reoccur 3 days to a week later. The dog may be stiff with an arched back. The dog may have swollen painful joints. Lyme disease can be often misdiagnosed. Sometimes mistaken for arthritis. The kidneys can be severely damaged.
The quicker you remove the tick from your dog the better. If you have access to a vet and the money get them to do the horrid job. Ensure that you wear gloves when dealing with ticks. Infection can be transferred to humans from the ticks.
When searching for ticks run your hands over the dog paying special attention around the ears, between the toes, hairless areas and under their armpits. Look and feel for any raised areas lumps and bumps. Remember the size of the tick will be an indicator of how long it has been on your pet. From the size of a pencil tip to the size of a bean.

  • Make sure the objects you are using to remove the ticks are sterile
  • Do not use your fingers to remove the ticks
  • Use a tweezers or specially made devices for removing ticks 
  • Ensure that you get the tweezers as close to the head of the tick as possible
  • You do not want to leave the head of the tick behind as it can cause an abscess
  • Apply steady gently pressure pull the tick straight out do not twist 
  • Apply antiseptic ointment
  • Do not squeeze the body of the tick as it can release disease 
  • Dispose of the tick straight away best to burn it, remember its a disease carrier
  • You can apply topical ointments that kill off the ticks 
  • You can also apply special tick killing shampoo

Prevention is better than cure. Its best to stay out of lyme disease prone areas and tick infested areas if possible. Remember humans can get ticks also. If you are going to the countryside its best to apply a topical ointment that prevents ticks and fleas to your dog. I use frontline. You should apply once a month topicals for peace of mind. There are tick collars, sprays, powders and dips. When you come in from your walks check your pet for ticks. Its best to catch them before they attach.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Heatstroke in Puppies and Dogs

Heatstroke can kill your puppy within 15 minutes. Puppies are more prone to heatstroke than humans. Unlike humans dogs do not have sweet glands all over their body. Dogs sweat through their paws and they have their fur all year round. They regulate their body temprature mostly through panting. Panting brings in cool outside air into their body and releases the excess heat from their body. But when outside air is a higher temprature  than their body temprature heatstroke strikes.
A dogs normal body temprature is 100.5 to 102.5 degrees fahrenheit. At 105 degrees fahrenheit your dog will start to show the signs of heatstroke and suffers the effects of it. At 106 degrees and above it gets very serious and irreversible damage begins.
The signs of heatstroke

  • Rapid Heavy Panting 
  • Increased Drooling
  • Hyperventilation\Gasping for Air
  • Deep red hemorrhages on gums and skin
  • Rapid Pulse
  • Vomiting
  • Diarhea
  • Dizzy
  • Dry Gums
  • Bleeding
  • Staring Glassy Eyes
  • Warm
  • Weakness
  • Fever
  • Pale Gums
  • Increased Heartbeat
  • Weak
  • Collapse
  • Seizures
  • Coma

Treatment of Heat Stroke

  • Get puppy to a cool room with fan/air conditioning.
  • Apply cool water but not ice cold water, if you cool the pup down too quickly you could cause bloating and heart attack. You should use a hose. Apply water first to inner thighs and stomach where there are larger blood vessels. Wet the foot pads as well.
  • Don't submerge the puppy in a bath of water or pool as this will cool the pup down too quickly causing heart attack or bloat. 
  • Don't cover the dog with a wet towel. The water needs to evaporate. Don't enclose the pup there needs to be free flowing air.
  • Get them to stand up and  walk around as this will increase the blood circulation and cool the puppy down quicker.
  • Give them cool water to drink.
  • If the puppy's temperature is above 107 degree's give them a cold water enema. 
  • When you get their  temperature down to 104 bring them to the vet.

Prevention of Heat Stroke in Puppies and Dogs

  • Avoid vigorous exercise with your pet on warm days best to play in the shade
  • Easy access to fresh cool water. 
  • Never leave you puppy/dog alone on a warm day in a car even if you have the windows down. A car can heat up very quickly even if its not very warm outside. Dog's been left alone in cars is one of the most common causes of heatstroke.
  • Short nosed dogs such as pugs and bulldogs are more at risk to get heatstroke. Puppies under 6 months. Obese dogs. Dog's with existing medical conditions such as heart and airway problems. Older dogs.
  • They should have access to a shady spot if outside.