Common Dog Health Problems
What Are Tear Stains?
Tear stains are reddish-brown facial stains, usually around the eyes, on dogs. They are particularly noticeable on some dogs, mainly those with lighter coloured fur.
Often dogs who suffer from extreme tear staining, with also have stains on the hair around their mouths, known as beard stains.
What Causes Tear Stains?
Excessive tearing is usually caused by a build up of bacteria or yeast growth, particularly an organism called red yeast, which can be accompanied by an unpleasant odour. The tear ducts in the eyes provide ideal conditions for the damp loving bacteria.
Tear staining can also be due to food allergies or environmental intolerances, particularly if the occurence is seasonal. The dog's drinking water can also have an effect, if the dog has staining on a widespread area of its face it can be due to their drinking water having a high mineral content, as moisture remains on a dog's face after it drinks and can be spread to eye level by the dog trying to lick itself clean.
Some breeds will be genetically predisposed to tear staining, particularly those with short noses and longer facial hair. The shallow eye sockets and close hair growth to the eyes in breeds such as Shih Tzus, Pekingese and Pugs, can make them more prone to tear staining. Blocked tear ducts will also escalate staining around the eyes so breeds which have eyelids prone to turning inwards or prone to infection or injury, leading to build ups of scar tissue, will be affected by this.
The success of treatments is greatly affected by the reason why that particular dog has excessive tear staining. Minimising irrititation of the eyes, particularly in those breeds with shallow eye sockets and dogs with allergies, will reduce the amount of future staining. Keeping hair around the eyes clipped at a short length, and treating eye infections at early stages will also help. For certain eye problems, surgical intervention may be the only route to providing normal tear drainage.
Diamond Eyes is an excellent product for removing old tear stains and preventing future build up. For old, stubborn cases, apply up to three times a day for at least 1 week. For less stubborn cases, apply every day with damp cotton wool. It is much more effective if you part the coat and apply the Diamond Eyes at the base of the follicles. Treatment should continue until stains are gone - improvements will be seen within weeks.
Regular, gentle washing of the face with eye wipes and warm water will help to reduce irritation and future tear stains. Beaphar Eye Lotion can be used to reduce inflammation around the eyes.
How Do I Know If My Dog Has Arthritis?
Canine Arthritis often goes undiagnosed because owners often attribute their dog's slowness and discomfort to normal old age.
Veterinary diagnosis of arthritis is important so the dog can receive appropriate treatment, particularly pain relief.
Symptoms of Canine Arthritis include stiff and sore joints, difficulty standing up or sitting down (particularly in cooler weather), hesitancy to jump, run or climb stairs, decreased activity, behavioural changes, weight gain, favouring a limb, and an increase in time spent resting.
If an adult dog shows dramatic behaviour changes, such as bites unexpectedly, owners must consult a vet as soon as possible, as this will often be due to pain.
Changing the dog's food to one which contains Glucosamine or Chondroitin will often provide relief for the dog after a couple of weeks, as these are important parts of a normal, healthy dog's cartilage.
Overweight dogs will benefit from losing weight, reducing the pressure on their joints.
Glucosamine, Chondroiton and MSM are available in tablet form and supplementation will improve the dog's condition.
Orthopedic beds provide support for the dog's joints when resting, and make it easier to stand up and lay down.
In advanced cases, veterinary medications will be necessary for pain relief and to avoid joint inflammation. Ramps can be used so the dog does not need to climb into or out of cars, or up and down steps into their home.
Larger breeds are much more prone to canine arthritis than their smaller counterparts. Supplementation with Glucosamine and Chondroitin from a young age will only benefit your dog in the future, as will providing a high quality food so your dog has all the nutrients essential for excellent growth and bone structure maintenance.
Flax Oil and Cod Liver Oil will also provide the essential amino acids for your pet to provide good, overall health and joint care.
What Is Colitis?
The colon is the last part of the large intestine extending from the caecum to the rectum. Inflammation of the colon is referred to as colitis and is a relatively common condition in dogs. The first sign many owners will see of colitis in their dog, will be fresh blood in the stool, caused by straining to pass faeces. It is very important that owners do not try to diagnose health conditions in their own dogs. Many symptoms of colitis also match those seen in Parvovirus, so immediate veterinary attention is necessary.
Other common symptoms of colitis include mucus or jelly like substances contained in the stool, small stools being passed very frequently, diarrhoea, varying stool consistencies, straining throughout passing stools, flatulence or, in extreme cases, weight loss, vomiting, fever and abdominal pain.
Many cases of colitis are idiopathic in origin, meaning that the root cause is not discovered. However, food allergies, stress and parasites can all be the cause of colitis in your dog.
A large percentage of dogs who suffer from colitis turn out to have a sensitivity to wheat gluten. As a first step, the dogs diet should be changed to a wheat gluten free food. To ascertain if this is the cause, the dog should be put on an exclusion diet - no other food should be fed (including treats) except a wheat gluten free food. If wheat gluten is the cause, improvements will be seen within a very short time. Significent improvements will occur within 3 weeks. Appropriate foods include Burns, Pet Connection Super Premium and Pet Connection Grain Free. If an exclusion diet has not worked, the dog should be taken to the vet for further investigation.