Tag Archives: health

5 Interesting facts for Dog Owners

Humans and canines aren’t so different after all, at least regarding what makes us sick. About 6 million dogs are diagnosed with cancer each year, and dogs get canine versions of rare human disorders like the brain-wasting neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis that leads to the inability to walk or control their muscles.

If you have cancer, diabetes, or epilepsy, your dog might be the first to know. Studies have shown that dogs can be trained to sniff out cancers of the lung, breast, skin, bladder and prostate. Researchers suspect the canines are picking up on extraordinarily faint scents given off by the abnormal cells.
Dogs are also being increasingly used as service animals for people with diabetes, whose health can be harmed when their blood sugar peaks or drops. Specially trained dogs can detect the scent of these fluctuations (sweet for high blood sugar, acidic for low) and alert their owners before they even feel symptoms.
Most mysterious of all are scattered reports that dogs can predict an epileptic seizure 45 minutes before it begins. No one knows what the dogs might be picking up on, but theories range from an unknown smell to subtle behavioral changes.

Dogs can be as smart as 2-year-old children, according to research presented in 2009 at a meeting of the American Psychological Association. Border collies are the top dogs in the intelligence category, with some in the breed capable of understanding up to 200 words. Poodles, German shepherds, Golden retrievers and Dobermans round out the top five smartest breeds. (The most popular breed in America, the Labrador retriever, comes in at number seven.)
Older breeds like hound dogs, bulldogs and beagles are among the slow learners of the doggie world, the researchers reported. Unlike newer dog breeds, which are designed for companionship and sociability, old breeds were bred to sniff and hunt, perhaps giving them more brawn than brain.

We’ve all heard the saying that dogs’ mouths are cleaner than humans (they’re not), but in reality, dogs can carry pathogens that harm humans. Rabies, a fatal neurological disease, is the most famous, though vaccines, mandated by law in most states, can stop the spread. In a few cases, dog food has been known to cause food poisoning in humans, thanks to contamination by Salmonella bacteria. Perhaps creepiest of all is a 2003 study published in The Veterinary Record, which found that humans could contract the parasitic roundworm Toxocara canis just by stroking an infected dogs’ fur. The roundworm, which grows in dogs’ intestines, can grow in the back of the eye in humans, causing blindness. They also sometimes take up residence in human livers and lungs.

Roundworm infections in humans are rare, and proper veterinary care can ensure that dogs stay worm-free. Still, British veterinarian and study co-author told New Scientist magazine in 2003, hygiene is important for dog owners. “Wash your hands before meals,” he told the magazine, “and especially after a good cuddle.”

Those puppy-dog eyes your dog gives you when you tell him off for knocking over the garbage can for the umpteenth time aren’t a sign of guilt, researchers say. He’s just responding to your different body language and voice. When dog owners thought their dogs had eaten a forbidden treat and reprimanded them, the pooches looked just as “guilty” regardless of whether or not they had actually eaten the treat. In fact, dogs who were wrongly accused of snack-snatching often looked guiltier than dogs who had really eaten the treat. Turns out those soulful eyes don’t reflect any soul-searching, after all.

The Dangers of Dogs and Chocolate

Written by our vet (Simon Hayes BVM&S MRCVS)

I think most people are now aware of the dangers of chocolate to dogs, unfortunately I don’t think dogs have realised yet.

Recently a little dog called pickles happily walked in wagging his tail. His owner had been out and when she came back, the box of chocolate truffles which had been attached safely to the Christmas tree, was nowhere to be seen. Just a small piece of the cardboard box was left, semi-chewed on the floor. Little did Pickles know that he had actually eaten enough to be a toxic dose that could potentially kill him. Chocolate contains caffeine and in this is a substance called Theobromine. This is what gives us a 10-20 minute rush after eating chocolate, but dogs metabolise Theobromine very slowly and it causes all sorts of problems. Dark chocolate is much more dangerous, but Pickles had eaten enough milk chocolate to be a problem.

We injected him with a drug to make him vomit. And wow did he vomit! If you’ve never had the pleasure of multiple chocolate vomits you’re missing out. It’s enough to put you off (for a few hours anyway!). I felt that hopefully we had got to him in time and the amount of chocolate he brought up should have stopped its absorption. To be safe we administered an activated charcoal solution to soak up the toxins. Poor Pickles – he looked like a chimney sweep with charcoal all stuck to his beard. Imagine the nurse’s joy when he shook his head spraying charcoal and chocolate vomit around the room!!!

Pickle’s heart rate continued to go up and his ECG showed a sinus tachycardia which can be very dangerous so we started him on Beta blockers to slow his heart down. He was put onto intravenous fluids and monitored overnight. Fortunately, his heart stabilised and he never developed seizures. He was one of the lucky ones.

There are so many dangers to dogs and cats at this time of year. Just take a look at the terrible advert Morrisons put out (which they have now withdrawn) showing a boy feeding Christmas pudding to his dog. Raisins and sultanas are also toxic to dogs and can cause fatal kidney failure.

Imagine feeling like you always have grit in your eyes!

Dry Eye is a condition where your dog produces insufficient tears or tears of poor quality that do not provide lubrication and moisture for the surface of the eye. The consequences of this are serious and often lead to blindness.

FACT: Pug’s are one of the at-risk breeds for this condition.

The symptoms are not always obvious but can include:
•    Uncomfortable eyes – your dog may rub the eyes, blink excessively, or keep the eyes closed
•    Red and inflamed eyes
•    Build-up of sticky mucous in the eye
•    Frequent eye infections or corneal ulcers

We highly recommend that you get a specific Dry Eye examination for your dog.

Treatment for this condition is very effective and will prevent damage to the surface of the eye. In addition it will relieve discomfort in your pet’s eyes.

Call our Vet on 020 8360 2020 Village Vet Winchmore Hill (Simon is an eye specialist)

How Pet Owners Can help To Ensure a Pleasurable Experience For Their Pets

  • Allow plenty of time to deliver your dog to the kennels so you are not in a last minute panic and pushed for time. Otherwise, your stress will be communicated to your dog and it is better if he leaves you when you are relaxed and happy
  • Take a written or typed list of your dog’s ailments, medications, food intake and other special requirements
  • Your dog’s up-to-date vaccination certificate
  • Spray DAP in your car (dog appeasing pheromone) at least 15 minutes beforehand, to help your dog feel comforted and settled during the journey (and ask the kennels to spray the sleeping area corners at least 15 minutes before your dog is taken there). If they don’t already use it, leave your spray with them for your dog
  • Take a few day’s supply of your dog’s normal food, together with your dog’s bed (unwashed), favourite toys, chews and treats if the kennel will allow you to do so
  • Take items made of natural fabric that smell of you and will retain your comforting scent for a few days while your dog settles in
  • When you leave, be jolly and matter of fact, rather than consoling, so your dog understands there is nothing to worry about
  • A young dog may benefit from a few days in kennels every so often early in life so they get used to the experience and find it easier to cope with a longer stay

Using DAP at Home and at Elmtree Luxury Pet Hotel

What is DAP?

DAP stands for Dog Appeasing Pheromone.

It is one of the simplest, quickest and easiest ways to calm & reassure dogs and puppies in stressful situations such as leaving the owner, finding a new home, being alone at home, travelling, and going to the vets & boarding kennels.

DAP synthetically mimics natural pheromones that female dogs provide for their puppies, giving them a sense of wellbeing & reassurance.

How does it help kennelled dogs?

It is such an easy way to provide extra care for dogs!

DAP contains an analogue of the natural canine appeasing pheromone which helps comfort puppies and adult dogs in situations they may find worrying, or which make them apprehensive.

Available as a spray, plug-in or collar – the choice depends on the dog’s needs and which environment it’s to be used in.