Hot spots are localized areas of skin inflammation and infection. The infection can be superficial or deep. Other common names for this condition include: moist dermatitis, and acute moist dermatitis.
redness, oozing, pain
highly agitated mood
sensitivity when touched
external parasites (fleas or mites)
insect sting or bite
allergies (food, inhalant, contact)
injury (skin wound, scrape, etc)
boredom or stress-related psychological problems
shave area & get air to the infected area
cleanse with cool water & gentle skin cleanser
cool compress the area 2-4 times/day with cool washcloth
vet prescribed antibiotic topical drying sprays or medications
prevent licking, biting, and scratching area
Hookworm is typically invisible to the unaided human eye. They are about ½ inch long and incredibly thin. They are “bloodsuckers,” 300 adult worms can drain 10% of the pet’s blood per day. This can cause extreme stress or even death of the pet. The goblet-shaped mouth is very hard and resists collapse as the worm sucks. The hookworm grasps onto the inner surface of the small intestine with the teeth and then pierces a blood vessel. Anti-coagulant saliva-like substance is released which prevents the blood from clotting. Each hookworm can suck 0.1cc of blood per day. If they release, the wound continues to bleed.
Puppies may be born with hookworms.
Hookworm larva is tiny enough to migrate through placental blood supply to fetal lungs.
Soon after birth, juvenile hookworms are coughed up and swallowed.
They then mature in small intestine; attach to intestinal wall and begin sucking blood and laying eggs.
Second source of infection is through the mother’s milk
Hookworm larva gains entry into mammary glands and passes to puppies as they nurse.
The larva then matures in intestine to form blood-sucking adults.
Third possibility is if pet swallows hookworm larva found in environment, e.g., on blade of grass, toy and/or water/food dish.
Hookworm larvae mature to adults in intestine as above.
Soon after feeding on blood hookworm adults begin laying eggs, which pass with feces.
Under favorable conditions (moisture, warmth) eggs hatch within 12-18 hours and a tiny juvenile hookworm emerges.
This larva is encased within a sheath that offers protection against desiccation and ensures long life in the environment.
Larvae reside in moist areas of the soil and overlying vegetation.
Larva can live for many weeks without food.
These free-living larvae are able to penetrate the intact skin of dogs passing by or as a pet lies on the ground, the heat excites larva and they go right through thin skin of ventral abdomen.
dark black (tarry) diarrhea
poor or no appetite
pale mucous membranes in the mouth
emaciation and poor growth
give any effective oral wormer
blood transfusions & supportive care (in severe cases)
Canine heartworm is a dangerous disease, which has spread to virtually all parts of the United States. It is spread by mosquitoes; thus, areas heavily populated by these insects are at greater risk.
What is Heartworm?
Parasite that lives in the blood of a dog’s heart and adjacent blood vessels.
Adult heartworms living in a dog’s heart produce offspring called microfilaria that circulate in the infected dog’s blood.
It can take 3 months for the heartworm to reach a mature length of 9-14 inches.
At this time the female heartworm begins to produce microfilaria.
It takes about 6 months from the time the dog is bitten by an infected mosquito until adult worms produce microfilaria.
In some cases, up to 200 worms can be found in the heart.
lack of stamina
rough hair coat
In many cases, these are advanced symptoms. Some dogs do not appear to have symptoms in the early stages.
If not detected & controlled with proper treatment, heartworms can lead to congestive heart failure and death.
Prevention (Also see next bullet point)
Heartworm disease is easy to prevent if you follow precautionary measures.
Take pup to vet early and talk to them about which medications are right for your dog.
Follow medication’s directions and you won’t be concerned with this dangerous disease.
Some medication available
once a day chewable (Filarabits)
once a month chewable (Heartgard, Advantix)
6 month injectable (ProHeart6)
mosquito repellant that does not contain DEET
Diagnostic Testing and Preventative Medication
Highly effective diagnostic testing and preventative medications have been developed.
It is necessary to have a heartworm test prior to using a preventative medication if the dog is over 4 months.
Severe or fatal reactions may occur if they are given to dogs with heartworm disease, or may create diagnostic confusion at a later date.
Testing is usually done in the spring (March-April) when mosquitoes develop.
A small amount of blood is necessary for a heartworm test, which is very accurate in detecting the disease.
If the dog tests negative, he/she is put on preventative medication from April-December.
The preventative medication kills the immature larvae before they become adults. It does not kill the adult heartworms.
New Medication Available
Heartworm treatment should be much safer for dogs now that a new medication, Immiticide, is available to veterinarians.
This medication has fewer side effects and kills a higher percentage of heartworms than Caparsolate.
When the heartworms are killed by medications, a danger of embolism results if the dead worms block the flow of blood to the lungs.
This is a common cause of death during a heartworm treatment.
This risk still exists with Immiticide, but to a much lesser extent, due to differences in the timing of heartworm deaths.
Immiticide does not appear to damage the liver or kidneys.
Following treatment, complete rest is needed.
Excitement and exercise should be avoided for at least a month, followed by gradual return to normal activity.
Giardia is a protozoan parasite that lives in the intestine of affected animals. It is unclear whether there are several species of this parasite or whether there is one species that affects several different animals, including people. These small parasites are easy to miss on a fecal exam and may not be present in the stool of animals infected with the organism. Repeated fecal exams may be necessary to identify this parasite. Not all infected animals demonstrate clinical signs. This leads some people to believe that the parasite may not cause disease. Most vets think that there may just be other factors, like the animal’s immune response to the parasite that cause some animals to develop disease and not others.
inability to gain weight appropriately during growth
lack of appetite
greasy appearing stool
Organisms come from the environment and live in moist/wet areas.
Susceptible to quaternary ammonium disinfectants, Lysol and dilute chlorine bleach.
Keeping the dog’s environment dry helps a lot.
Disease may be contagious to people from infected dogs, so good sanitary practices, like washing your hands, are very important.
Metronidazole (Flagyl) most common medication
Fleas make pets’ lives miserable. Vets are often asked what pill, drop, dip, collar or shampoo works best to get rid of these persistent parasites. The answer is that there is no single method or insecticide that will completely eradicate a flea problem. Understanding the life cycle of the flea is necessary in order to control it.
Life cycle of a flea
The flea has several stages to its life cycle.
Adult fleas spend most of their time on the dog – they must be dislodged to leave since they will not do so voluntarily.
When the flea population on the dog becomes excessive, humans tend to be an acceptable alternative to the flea.
The average life span of an adult flea is probably about 6 weeks, but fleas can live as long as a year under certain conditions.
A female flea can lay 20-30 eggs a day.
She may lay several hundred over her life span.
These eggs fall off the pet and develop where they land.
They are small and can even develop in the cracks in wood floors or other small crevices.
Larvae hatches from the flea egg.
It takes as few as 9 days to as long as 200 days to go through its growth stages.
At this time it forms a pupa and waits for the right time to hatch.
Fleas prefer temperatures of 65-80 degrees and humidity of 75-85%.
This range determines the period of time that fleas are a problem in your particular area.
For some of the country, this is all year.
In others, the flea season is relatively short.
It is estimated that for every adult flea found on the pet, there are about 10 developing fleas in the pet’s environment.
Because of the life span and the variations of the life cycle, it is important to remain vigilant, even when a flea problem is thought to be under control.
Dog Warts (Canine Papilloma Virus) are small round skin tumors caused by certain viruses. There are many types of small round skin growths and it is important these are examined as some growths may not be innocuous viral warts. Most growths must be removed and biopsied before they are identified, though in some cases the viral papilloma has an obvious appearance and is identified visually. Dogs can get viral warts, but not from the same viruses that cause human warts. Dogs do not get warts from people, and people cannot get warts from dogs. In dogs, we do not call these “warts;” we use the more formal term “viral papilloma.” These are benign skin tumors caused by the canine oral papillomavirus.
Viral papillomas are round but often have a rough, almost jagged surface reminiscent of a sea anemone or a cauliflower.
Occurs usually on the lips and muzzle of young dogs (usually less than 2 years of age).
Less commonly, papillomas can occur on the eyelids and even the surface of the eye or between the toes.
Usually occurs in groups rather than as solitary growths.
The infection is transmitted via contact with the papillomas on an infected dog.
The incubation period is 1-2 months.
This virus is only spread among dogs.
It is not contagious to other pets or humans.
To become infected, the dog generally needs an immature immune system, thus this infection is primarily one of young dogs and puppies.
These papillomas are not really dangerous and go away on their own as the dog’s immune system matures and generates a response against the papilloma virus.
There have been two cases published where viral papillomas progressed to malignancy but this is extremely rare and by no means the usual course of the infection.
Typically, it takes 1-5 months for papillomas to regress with oral growths tending to regress sooner than ocular growths.
Occasionally, some papillomas will stay permanently.
Sometimes, oral papillomas can become infected with bacteria of the mouth. Antibiotics are needed in such cases to control the pain, swelling, and bad breath.
In most cases, treatment is unnecessary; the papillomas simply go away on their own.
Some dogs have a huge number of tumors; so many that consuming foods is a problem.
Tumors can be surgically removed or frozen off cryogenically.
Sometimes crushing several growths seems to stimulate the host’s immune system to assist in the tumor regression process.
In humans, anti-viral doses of interferon have been used to treat severe cases of warts and this treatment is also available for severely infected dogs.
Sometimes some of the warts can be removed and made into a “vaccine” which is felt to stimulate the immune system in removing the tumors, though such vaccines do not seem to be as effective as one might want.
A veterinarian should perform all such treatments; do not attempt freezing, cutting or crushing of growths on your own.
The American Veterinary Medical Association considers canine distemper the single greatest disease threat to the world’s dog population. Canine distemper virus is fatal to 80% of the puppies and 50% of the adult dogs that contract it.
As the disease progresses, it attacks the nervous system, often causing partial or complete paralysis & seizures
through the air
by direct contact with urine
by direct contact with feces
mucus secretions from infected dogs
contact with kennels, bedding, toys, etc. that may hold the virus
Once the dog is infected, there is no cure.
The disease must run its course.
Dogs that recover from distemper may develop hardened foot pads, nose leathers, and/or vision/nervous system problems throughout their lives.
Distemper is only prevented by vaccination.
According to AVMA, some veterinary medical scientists estimate that practically every dog that lives to be a year old has had contact with the virus at some time.
Distemper is so prevalent and the signs so varied that any sick young dog should be taken to a veterinarian for a definite diagnosis.
Most distemper cases appear in dogs less than 6 months of age and in old dogs that have not been routinely vaccinated.
Bordetella (Canine Cough)
Bordetella (Canine Cough)
Bordetella (ITB-Infectious Tracheo-Bronchitis) is the most common respiratory infectious disease in dogs. Similar to the common cold in humans, the organisms that cause canine cough are airborne. Dogs can catch this debilitating, persistent disease simply by being close to other infected dogs. It is spread by human handling, through cages and food/water bowls. This is why it is common wherever dogs are housed or confined together.
loud “honking” cough
loss of appetite
It generally takes a week or two for it to completely run its course.
The dog will suffer no permanent damage.
The vet can prescribe a cough suppressant to minimize the amount of coughing episodes.
There is no cure for Bordetella; the best defense is prevention.
The vaccine only protects against 64% of Bordetella strains.
Currently there are two types of vaccines for Bordetella, intranasal and injectable.
The intranasal vaccine has a fast onset of action, so it is better to use if the dog is being boarded or planning on attending daycare.
It is best to have the vaccination done at least one week before the dog comes to camp so that the vaccine can actually work.
Doses given immediately before kenneling are not protective.
Unfortunately, the intranasal does not last very long.
Dose recommendations range from every three weeks to every six months.
The injectable vaccine is better for long immunity duration, but current reports suggest that it produces only a very low level of immunity.
Vaccination does not 100% guarantee that the dog will not get an infection, but it may lessen the course of the disease.
Click Here to download additional information on Canine Cough
Bloat is the second leading killer of dogs: It is a canine medical emergency. Bloat occurs in two forms: Swelling of the stomach from gas (gastric dilation) or Torsion (gastric dilation with volvulus) which occurs when the stomach twists on its axis. Often, both forms of bloat occur in a single episode. When this happens, bloat can be fatal in minutes. The disease progresses in minutes or at most hours. The only treatment is emergency medical attention. In its two advanced forms, the only treatment is surgery.
Extreme restlessness/ pacing
Unproductive attempts to vomit/ defecate
Evidence of abdominal pain
Rapid breathing/ panting
Extreme swelling of the stomach
170% increase for each unit increase in chest depth/width ratio
110% increase associated with using a raised food bowl
63% increase associated with having a 1st degree relative with Bloat
20% increase for each year increase in age
15% increase for speed of eating (for dogs weighing 49-100lbs)
Important tips for prevention:
Raised food bowls: Pet Suppliers & manufactures have made claims that raised feeder/bowls aids a dog's digestion and prevents bloat. No scientific research supports these claims. Some studies found that a raised feeder actually increases the risk of bloat 110%. Approximately 20-50% of bloat cases were attributed to a raised food bowl.
Gulping food: When a dog gulps food, the dog ingests air with the food. Air ingestion causes gas that may in turn cause the dog to bloat. This is especially the case in dogs that weigh more than 49lbs.
Exercise after eating: Allow at least 1.5 hour of rest after eating. The worst activity a dog can do after eating is rolling onto its back.
Feed multiple meals: Studies have shown that feeding in the morning and evening greatly reduces the risks of bloat.
Changing food: It is extremely important to introduce new food slowly; it can take several weeks for a dog to adapt. New food not introduced slowly can cause extreme gas in the stomach and in some cases bloat.
IMPORTANT - If you think a dog has bloat don't hesitate, RUSH to the closest veterinarian. In this circumstance every minute counts, if left untreated there is a 100% fatality rate!