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Archive for January, 2013

PostHeaderIcon What Type Of Fencing For Dogs Is Best?

Which type of fencing for dogs is best?

I once heard a saying that “Fences makes the best neighbors,”  I think this is especially true for pet owners.  Fencing allows your dog the freedom and exercise he craves without worrying about what trouble he may be getting into or causing in your neighbor’s yard.

So when new pet owners decide to get fencing for their dogs their two main choices are  an electric fence or a regular fence.  Some people will prefer electric fences since they usually are less expensive,  and if you just happen to have a million dollar view there is nothing to obstruct it.

While my view is closer to a $29 dollar view rather than a million, I think  the best fence, view or no view, is one that will keep your dogs in and more important keep wild animals and other dogs out.

The reason for my thoughts on fencing today started with my return home from the grocery store.  I pulled in my driveway, opened my garage door and as usual my 3  Pomeranians  started barking.  This normally is not a problem, after all they’re just glad to see me, but today I was unaware that my neighbor’s small dogs were exploring their neighborhood and at the side of my house. They most likely heard my dogs barking which surprised or frightened them, so they decided to run back home.  The problem with this was they lived across the street.  I could only cringe as they jetted out in front of cars.

While I don’t live on a real busy street the cars that travel this somewhat rural road have been known to drive faster than the 35 mph. speed limit. Luckily the car that was coming seen them and stopped so these cute little dogs could make it safely back home.

Since I never introduced myself yet to my new neighbor and her dogs, I thought this would be a good time.  I could say hi and let her know that her babies were crossing the street.  After my introduction and telling her about their narrow escape from being hit  she mentioned that they would soon be getting an electric fence.  Now as I said before, I’ve never been fond of electric fences.

Anyway, I asked her how will an electric fence keep wild animals or even other dogs out of her yard?  She didn’t really have an answer so I also mentioned there were raccoons in our neighborhood.  In fact, one  frequently leaves me a present of a mangled rabbit by our front door.  I’m not sure but raccoons and small dogs can’t be a good thing, can they?

Even if now you are saying to yourself there is no way any wild animals are in my neighborhood,  you surely always find  stray dogs.   Large dogs who might think your small dog needs a little  exercise as he chases him around your yard.

Another thing that should be considered when deciding on fencing for your pets, perhaps you have a  friend or relative who wants to bring their dog over to play with yours.  Without proper training there’s no question that if you put their dog in your yard to play he will get zapped. This could really traumatize the dog along with their owner.

I’m also convinced that if a dog in an electric fence is really determined, which they usually are when chasing a squirrel or something else that interests them, the fence won’t keep them in.  They will be zapped, perhaps yelp and keep on running. This is just what happened to my son’s dog. It was just the first of many escapes his dog made.  His yard was extremely large so they didn’t want to spend the money on a regular fence.

While this may have confirmed the fact that mothers always know best,  I  refrained from saying  I told you so to my son.  Although it did convince me that a regular fence is always better than an electric fence.  Better to spend a little more money to get a fence that will protect your pets against wild animals and stray dogs.

A regular fence will work for children too, whether you want to keep your kids in your yard or your neighbor’s kids out.  After all you can’t put a collar on a two-year old……………or maybe………… what’s that phone number for inventions………..oh, never mind.

Now, I know many pet owners have dogs who can climb,  jump or have been reading up on teleportation and  magically finds himself on the other side of the fence.  For you I can sympathize with because I too once had a dog who could jump fences.  I think if you have a dog like this, I pray for you and perhaps both kinds of fencing will help you.

What do you think?

 

PostHeaderIcon Demodectic Mange In Dogs l Allergies Or Mange?

Just the word Mange has pet owners running for cover. I think most people including me were not aware that there are two types of mange. Demodectic Mange and Sarcoptic Mange. Sarcoptic Mange is highly contagious and can be passed between dogs and humans. I want only to talk about demodectic mange since that has been my experience with my dog.  While it is not contagious it was a long and arduous problem to treat.

Precious, my 14 year Pomeranian who has had many problems with congestive heart failure and coughing, developed what started out as hair loss on her back legs.  She was constantly licking her legs so the vet decided it must be allergies. I had to agree that’s what I thought it might be also since her eyes were frequently watering. Her course of treatment was a steroid shot and we returned home.

In no time we were back at the vet’s, the shot changed nothing and in fact almost overnight her front and back legs were starting to look bare. She was constantly licking them.  I also noticed she was rubbing her face on her blanket a lot. It really did look  like she had some allergies.  I racked my brain trying to think if I changed soaps or fed her anything different.  He still thought it was allergies and continued to treat her with predisone pills.

One day I noticed her nose looked a lot like she had fever blisters around it. By the time we went back to the vet for the third time, I think he knew it was not allergies. To get an accurate diagnoses he suggested we do a skin scraping. The results were she had  demodectic mange.

It was then I learned that Demodectic Mange is a condition that is caused by an overgrowth of Demodex canis mites within the hair follicles of the dog’s coat. What I was shocked to discover is that these mites live on ALL dogs!  That’s right all dogs. It seems dogs have a natural resistance (a healthy immune system) that keeps the number of mites down. Steroids actually depress your immune system which most likely only accelerated her condition at first.

Demodectic Mange – Health Problems To Test For

I learned that dogs who develop this severe condition of mange usually are suffering from a more serious underlying  immune disorder.  So all dogs who develop Demodectic Mange should be tested for underlying ailments such as cancer, thyroid issues or Cushing’s disease.

He tested Precious and determined that she had low thyroid disease. She was given thyroid medicine and Ivermectin a strong medicine to kill the mites. She had to take the medicine for several weeks before she recovered.

Demodectic Mange And Constant Itching

While demodectic mange is not suppose to itch as much as sarcoptic mange it still caused my dog to lick and bite her feet constantly.  She had no hair left on any of her feet.  She developed circles around her eyes which were red, this most likely being the reason demodectic mange is also called red mange.  I guess the mites like to congregate around eyes. This was probably the reason she also developed an eye infection for which she was prescribed eye drops.  She was truly a pathetic sight to see.

By this time all four of her legs were devoid of hair.  If her hair was ever going to grow back I had to do something creative. I found the idea online to buy some baby socks and sew them to a piece of elastic that goes around her back so they would stay up. She had four socks on at all times.

It wasn’t a perfect solution, for every time  I would turn around one of her socks came off.  I tried a rubber band to hold them up and I don’t recommend it.  I put it on too tight once and cut off her circulation. Luckily I discovered it before there was any damage. Her poor hairless leg was twice the size as normal.

Different Forms Of Treatment For Demodectic Mange

The only FDA-approved drug for  demodectic mange is Mitaban which is extremely toxic so my vet suggested we use Ivermectin. After learning that Mitaban dip is only effective in 75 to 80 % of demodectic mange cases  and the many side effects of the drug which include the following:

  • Drowsiness
  • Wobbly gait
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Collapse
I decided that Ivermectin was a better choice for my dog’s mange. Even though it also had side effects I think it was the lesser of two evils.
After several weeks on Ivermectin my veterinarian had to do another skin scraping to make sure the mites were dead. After that she had to continue on the medicine a little longer.
Eventually her hair grew back and she was good as new.  Although I think it’s important to mention before she developed demodectic mange she started having an occasional seizure. It was rare and since she had other issues I didn’t give it much thought. But once we started her on her thyroid medicine she was seizure free. It seems seizures can be the result of low thyroid also.
Since her compromised immune system as a result of low thyroid was the reason demodectic mange developed in the first place, be sure to discuss any seizures your dog has with your veterinarian.

If your pet is experiencing any hair loss,  it’s important to take them to a veterinarian so they can do the proper blood work or skin scraping  needed to diagnose their condition whether it’s demodectic mange or simply allergies.

 


PostHeaderIcon Does Your Dog Suffer From Congestive Heart Failure & Coughing?

This is a story of my never-ending battle with congestive heart failure with my 12-year-old Pomeranian named Precious.  Hopefully by sharing this story it may help you deal with your dogs congestive heart failure.

Precious is  a white Pomeranian that was given to me when she was 6 years old. It seems she was passed around from a few different breeders who decided since she wouldn’t breed they had no use for her. So sad.

At least they gave her a name that fits, she really is precious. Whenever I would take her to the vet he would always say “She is so Precious.” He was even able to clean  her teeth without putting her to sleep since her heart condition would not permit giving her the anesthetic.

She was a great addition to our family. I had another Pomeranian who was much older and I didn’t think he would be around much longer.

Precious was pretty healthy until she turned 12 then it started with a little cough so off we went to the vet. After her examination he said she had a heart murmur and congestive heart failure and needed to be on a diuretic.

I don’t really remember how long the diuretic worked but eventually her coughing returned. On our next visit to the vet he then put her on Enapril.  Like before it worked for a while and then off we went to the vet again.  This time he prescribed Vetmedin along with the Enapril and diuretic and told me to let him know how she does.

I wish I could say that this was the magic combination of medicine and that she didn’t have any more visits to the vets, but it just wasn’t so.  I was there so many times that I no longer had to tell them my name when I checked in.

One time on a weekend she coughed so much I had to take her to the animal emergency clinic. Why do these things always happen at night or on a weekend? They gave her a diuretic shot and some oxygen and we were able to return home after a short while.

They told me to follow-up with my vet and when I did he  increased her diuretic to 2 times a day and  said I could give it as much as 3 times a day if necessary. I wish I had know that before my visit to the emergency clinic.  I really hate taking her there. Not only do you need to take out a mortgage to pay them but I never have any confidence in their ability.

Her next episode of coughing began naturally on another weekend, so I gave her another dose of diuretic and thought I might do some research online.  It was then I discovered that one of the drugs she was taking,  Enapril has a side effect of coughing.

Maybe it was I long shot but I mentioned it to my vet and although I’m pretty sure he didn’t think that was the cause of her coughing he did say I could try not giving her the Enapril.

I didn’t tell him that I already stopped giving it to her after I read the side effects of the drug.  Amazingly she coughed less and it did seem to last quite a while before the coughing returned.

This time when it returned it came back with a vengeance.  She would wake up in the middle of night and cough for what seemed like forever. I felt so helpless knowing there was nothing I could do for her.

I started to think maybe it was time to put her down. When I returned to  the vet I asked him “Isn’t there anything else that I can give her for her coughing, I don’t care if it shortens her life, I think the quality of life is more important.”

I’m think he agreed because he then prescribed hydrocodone for her. Since the majority of her coughing was at night I gave her the hydrocodone before bedtime and this really helped us both sleep. Sure she still coughed but it only lasted a few minutes and she would go back to sleep.

Of course nothing lasts forever and as fate was determined I was to take another trip down the yellow brick road.  I started to feel that the great oz ( my vet) just didn’t have any more magic behind the curtain.

But thankfully I was wrong, he suggested an  x-ray of her heart. I have to admit for a split second I thought what was the point it couldn’t show anything we don’t already know. What it did show was that her heart was only slightly enlarged so maybe her coughing was due to some other problem.

He suggested that we give her shot of predisone (a steroid) and see if that helps her.   He also gave me some predisone pills. I guess the great oz  (no disrespect meant, I really love my vet) had fixed her once again, because her coughing seemed to be under control once more.  At least it was  until the next time.

So now I give her predisone one night the next night I give her hydrocodone. She takes the  Vetmedin, and diuretic twice a day. She also has to take thyroid medicine for low thyroid twice a day. Can you believe all these pills?

This year she will be 15 years old and she still is hanging on. She usually wakes up every night (of course she sleeps in my bed) and has to drink water probably due to the diuretic and steroid and coughs for a few minutes but then is able to go back to sleep.

It’s funny how one problem solved just seems to warp into many others. She recently lost control of her bladder. I began to use a pee pad under her for a while but got tired of washing my bedding almost every night. I then found this cute doggy diaper online. I know there is a medicine that is supposed to help with her loss of bladder control but I just don’t think I can give her any more pills.

If that wasn’t enough problems, recently her seizures have returned. It’s odd she only has one when she gets really excited. That is usually when I leave or come home from somewhere. Whenever I return home, I have to quickly go inside and pick her up to try to keep her from getting too excited.

In the beginning her seizures were short (around 20 seconds) in fact if you never seen a seizure in a dog you probably would not really recognize it as one. Unfortunately,  I’ve seen more than a few with my last Pomeranian who lived to be 17.  Now her seizures have become much worse. She falls down looses consciousness along with loosing control of her bladder.

She has always been a very picky eater but lately she is always hungry. She will eat just about anything I put in front of her.  I suspect Cushing’s disease. Perhaps this is why her seizures have returned.  Seizures seem to have a connection with Cushing’s disease.

I mentioned these latest concerns with my vet and diagnosing and treating Cushings involves more blood work,  possible ultrasound of the adrenal gland and drugs with many side effects. I think we both decided with all her current problems it’s best to hold off and see how she does.

I’m always asking myself if I am being fair to her. Everyone says you will just know when the time comes to put her down, but I just don’t feel it yet.  I can only pray that I am doing the right thing for her.

The following is a picture of Precious in days before congestive heart failure.

 

Jungle Precious 300x225 Does Your Dog Suffer From Congestive Heart Failure & Coughing?

 

Was this article about congestive heart failure in dogs helpful to you?

 



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