When Tasha, my one-year old Labrador, first came down with colds, I was almost frantic. I didn't know what to do, and I didn't know how to assess if her ailment was already at its worst. My daughter kept telling me Tasha kept to herself and preferred to stay in bed for most of the day. And so we kept a close watch during the first night, keeping her warm with a blanket and setting clean water nearby.
A good friend also informed me to keep giving Tasha fluids and feed her milk whenever she would feel like eating something. This would enable her to regain her health and energy. True enough, Tasha felt way better when morning came. But just to make sure, we paid a visit to her veterinarian and asked for some vitamins that she could take.
Pet owners' first consideration is their pets' over-all health. Like humans, our puppies also experience health problems that may range from common cold, to injuries, physical ailments and serious diseases like cancer and diabetes. Puppies, like babies, are most vulnerable to common diseases like colds and flu. Also like our babies, our dogs can not completely and clearly communicate the problem. Therefore, it is essential that we provide our puppies the different necessary vaccines and take them on regular trips to the veterinarian to ensure proper health care.
Among the unique dog health problems I have encountered and sought to avert are the following:
- Rabies - At six months old, I took my Tasha to the veterinarian for a rabies vaccine. This would help me protect my little girl and my puppy Tasha from creating complications should any accident occur (like bites or scratches). Rabies is a viral disease that may be contracted from other rabid animals. Vaccines against rabies are available and are suggested to be given for prevention. Should you find your dog involved in dog fights, he may contract rabies from the other rabid infected dogs and it is essential that we spot the first signs of the ailment: minor behavior changes, fever, and slow eye movement. Violent behavior might ensue thereafter, and as there is no cure for the ailment, it is essential to get vaccinated right after any accident.
- Parasites like roundworms and heartworms - Most puppies harbor this parasitic disease of roundworm even upon birth. The condition is diagnosed by examining the puppy's stool and is usually the culprit for the puppy's demise. Roundworms rob the puppy's needed nutrients. According to the veterinarians, the puppies usually inherit the parasites through their mothers. As such, it is important to take your puppy during its first month on a visit to its doctor for a thorough medical check- up. Heartworms are responsible for damaging the dog's heart tissues, often disrupting the blood flow. An annual examination for your dog's general health and any vaccination boosters would help avert the presence of these parasites.
- Constipation - As our dogs get older, their bowel movements have the tendency to become more difficult. Just like us, our dogs can also suffer from constipation. When feces are contained in the intestines more than the usual and normal time, moisture is absorbed thus making bowel movements difficult. It may sound unlikely for dogs to suffer such condition, but you'll be surprised at how common this particular health problem is among dogs. Constipation is primarily attributed to the diet we provide our pets, plus lack of exercise and even stress.
- Dog Joint Pains - Osteoarthritis is a common human illness that is also common to dogs. It is a health problem that affects cartilages and joints, and is considered to be a degenerative kind. This kind of dog health problem does not necessarily come due to old age, some dogs as young as six-months old may manifest the symptoms of the illness. The earliest warning signals of Dog Joint Pains (Osteoarthritis) is your dog's refusal to run around, go up and down the stairs or even walk around the block. The stiffness may even become more pronounced after long stretches of rest. Good and regular exercise helps our dogs steer away from this health problem.