In Line Dog Training
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Based in Nottingham - we offer dog training courses and dog related seminars
Health & Information
Pyometra - a reason to spay
By Kind permission of Arnwood Veterinary Clinics Ltd - Winchester street, Sherwood, Nottingham, NG5 4AJ 01159621010
What is pyometra?
Pyometra is a not uncommon condition that can affect the uterus of middle aged and older pet bitches that are not regularly bred. Following any normal oestrus, ('heat' or 'season') levels of the hormone progesterone remain elevated for approximately 8-10 weeks. The purpose is to increase the lining of the uterus in order that foetuses can be nourished during pregnancy. If pregnancy does not occur and the level of progesterone does not return to its original pre-oestrus level, the likelihood is that the hormone level will continue to rise resulting in thickening and ultimate cyst formation within the uterine lining. The cysts in turn produce fluid, usually sterile initially. Bacteria enter the uterus via the bitch’s dilated cervix during oestrus, the cyst fluid acts as an excellent substance for the bacteria to grow, leading to development of an acute uterine infection which can quickly become life threatening if undetected and untreated.
Pyometra has thus become a true infection, pyometritis.
Are there other situations that cause the changes in the uterus?
Progesterone and also oestrogen based drugs are used to treat several conditions of the reproductive system. On occasions these drugs can encourage the signs of pyometra.
When does pyometra occur?
Although it can occur in young bitches, it is most common in middle-aged to older dogs and is, of course, more common in those pets that have had no puppies or perhaps have had only one litter. Typically the condition becomes apparent usually about 4–8 weeks following oestrus.
What are the clinical signs?
These depend on whether or not the cervix is open. If it is open pus will drain from the uterus through the vulva to the exterior. This is open pyometra and usually the first sign is the vulval discharge and the fact that the dog is attempting to continuously clean herself. Fever, lethargy, inappetence and general depression may or may not be present.
If the cervix does not relax, pus continues to accumulate within the uterus. The abdomen is then often distended and the dog can become very ill, extremely rapidly.
The usual signs are lack of appetite, listlessness and depression. The dog usually is very thirsty and may have vomiting and diarrhoea.
How is it diagnosed?
The condition can always be suspected in any bitch that has an increased thirst and has an enlarged abdomen or copious vaginal discharge 4–8 weeks after a season. Urine tests may be used to aid diagnosis.
Diagnostic imaging, (x-rays or ultrasound scans) may also be used to confirm the diagnosis.
What is the treatment?
Surgery is the treatment of choice. Because of the acute nature of closed pyometra in particular, the patient often has to be admitted for stabilisation involving intravenous fluids and antibiotics. Once stabilised surgery to remove the infected uterus and the ovaries is performed.
My dog is only three years old and we were hoping to have a litter. Is there any alternative treatment other than ovariohysterectomy (spay)?
Medical treatment using prostaglandins is theoretically feasible. Prostaglandins are hormones that reduce the circulating blood level of progesterone. They also relax and dilate the cervix and encourage contraction of the uterus which acts to expel the infected contents.
However they do have limitations:
1. They often cause the bitch to show signs of distress including restlessness, panting, vomiting, defecation, salivation, and abdominal pain.
2. It is usually at least 48 hours after commencement of treatment that any clinical improvement will be noted with the patient.
3. If the bitch is severely ill at outset of treatment this may result in death from toxaemia (blood poisoning) before the prostaglandins have brought about any improvement.
4. In cases of closed pyometra the prostaglandin induced uterine contractions could result in a ruptured uterus and associated acute peritonitis (infection in the entire abdomen).
Statistically this form of treatment is most successful for treating open pyometra when it is considered to be over 75% successful. However, the rate of recurrence is at least 60% and the chances of subsequent successful breeding only around 50-60%.
The top picture is a normal uterus during a routine spay operation and the lower picture is an emergency pyometra operation
Trevor Turner BVetMed MRCVS FRSH MCIArb MAE.
Used and/or modified with permission under license. ©Lifelearn, The Penguin House, Castle Riggs, Dunfermline FY11 8SG
Kennel Club supports campaign to tackle tick-borne disease in dogs
The Kennel Club is supporting the tick-borne disease charity Borreliosis and Associated Diseases Awareness UK (BADA-UK) by helping to raise awareness of the growing risk to dogs of tick-borne diseases.
BADA-UK, which recently teamed up with Merial Animal Health at Crufts 2013, are making education for dog owners and veterinary professionals a major focus of the charity’s annual awareness platform, Tick Bite Prevention Week, which runs this week (24th – 30th March 2013).
Wendy Fox, Founder and Chair of BADA-UK, said: “Ticks are an increasing problem for both pets and owners. Tick bites can cause allergic reactions, abscesses and transmit harmful diseases to pets which may be difficult and expensive to treat. Yet with a few simple precautions, these could be avoided.”
Nick Sutton, Health Information Officer at the Kennel Club, added: “If your dog is unfortunate enough to contract a tick-borne infection, then being aware of the warning signs will allow him to receive vital early veterinary treatment. It is important that people realise the risks that ticks can pose to both themselves and their dogs and this is why the work carried out by BADA-UK is so important.”
BADA-UK has produced a range of bite and disease prevention information resources for pet owners and health professionals, which can be found at www.tickbitepreventionweek.org and www.bada-uk.org.
The charity is also issuing a call to pet owners to help them raise awareness of tick-borne diseases and raise vital funds for BADA-UK by holding a sponsored ‘Walk ‘n’ Wagathon’ in aid of the charity during 2013.
26th March 2013
Mystery Illness Being Investigated
It's that time of year again when the seasonal canine illness (SCI) strikes.
The Animal Health Trust is continuing to investigate the mystery illness which has affected dogs walked at Clumber Park, Sherwood Forest, Thetford Forest & Sandringham Estate in the past few years.
The disease comes on very quickly, usually within 24-72 hours of having walked in a woodland area. The most common clinical signs reported are:
•Diarrhoea (which can vary from watery to bloody)
•Tummy (abdominal) pain
•Lethargy (or reluctance to move)
•Loss of appetite
•Shaking or trembling
•High temperature (fever)
The most common clinical signs are sickness, diarrhoea and lethargy. If you suspect your dog is showing symptoms of SCI then please contact your vet immediately.
A seasonal canine illness fund has been set up by the Animal Health Trust charity to assist funding towards the cost of the investigation into the disease.
For progress and updates on the investigation, or to make a donation towards the special fund, visit www.aht.org.uk
Kennel Club concern about slug pellets
19-Jul-12 - taken from The Kennel Club website www.thekennelclub.org.uk
As we are set for the wettest summer on record, the Kennel Club has issued a reminder to dog owners about the danger posed to dogs by the use of slug pellets.
Nick Sutton, Kennel Club Health Information Officer and former veterinary toxicologist said: “Around this time of year, we regularly see a spike in cases of dogs and cats with slug pellet poisoning. Since it has been so wet recently, there are likely to be more slugs and snails around, meaning that people are more likely to use slug and snail pellets, which in turn increase the chances of dogs coming into contact with them. The substances used in these pesticides can be toxic to mammals and they can cause severe illness and sometimes even fatalities.”
Pesticides are formulated to be toxic and a consequence of this is that they may affect animals other than their target species. Metaldehyde-based slug pellets are very dangerous to pets - even small amounts of pellets can cause significant poisoning, and severe signs can develop within an hour of consumption.
Nick recommends that if a pet is suspected of ingesting slug pellets, owners should seek immediate veterinary attention: “Even small amounts of metaldehyde can cause a sudden onset of effects, such as twitching and fitting and so rapid intervention can save an animal’s life. Intensive therapy may be required, involving heavy sedation, control of convulsions and associated life support measures if needed.
“If you do suspect your dog or cat has eaten slug pellets, then try to remember to take the packet it came in along with you to your veterinary practice, so that they know which pesticide they are dealing with. Accidents do happen, but try to minimise this by always reading and following the instructions for any pesticide.”
Pain in the neck! – By Marie Holt
Well I’m the first to admit that this hands on touchy feely stuff is a bit farfetched for me...........OK yes I agree that a hug or the touch of a hand makes you feel different at times emotionally and physically but I’m medically trained so the thought of somebody rubbing an area and all of a sudden you get a relief is surely all down to mind over matter isn’t it?
Well I now stand 100% corrected. After Moss my Weimaraner was given the Bowen Technique following her working test by a friend, she has been a different dog! So much so that I have just driven the 3 hour round trip to have her done again. We arrived and Jennifer felt her neck, and in fact all her muscles, and said that she wasn’t as knotted up as before but she was still tense and hot. She set to work, using gentle moves working over specific muscle groups and to be honest I thought you would have to push and press like you see them do with people, using elbows to break muscle tension, and walking over the dogs back to have any effect but no, none of that. She just uses a very gentle technique, which is specific to Bowen, getting the dog to look in different directions and works on different areas. She does it at the dogs pace and they are able to walk away if they want. Not Moss she just stood there and looked very put out when Jennifer stopped the manipulative therapy to give Moss’s brain time to catch up with what was happening. At one point I was holding Moss’s head and she relaxed so much I had her full weight resting in my hands. You could see the dog relax and by the end of the 60 minutes Moss was fighting to stay awake. It’s amazing to see the difference and have booked to go back in just over a week to have the second treatment. Moss slept all the way home, and was so relaxed I had to turn the Sat Nav up so I could hear it over the snoring.
The therapy that is used is on veterinary referral only but can be used on people and animals. It can be used for many different reasons including behaviour. I have copied the information for you to have a read and check out the websites if you think it may help you or somebody/animal you know. There are many people who do it all over the country but I have to say I would only go to Jennifer as she has worked wonders on Moss.
The Canine Bowen Technique
The Canine Bowen Technique is based on the principles of the Bowen Technique developed by Tom Bowen. Its adaption in the UK for use on dogs was started in 2001 by Bowen therapists Sally and Ron Askew, who integrated it into their own dog behavioural and rehabilitation work. In 2003 they founded the European Guild of Canine Bowen Therapists.
Typical areas that respond well to Canine Bowen include:
•Acute injury – sprains and strains
•Chronic conditions and degenerative disease – helping to improve the dog’s quality of life
•Rescue / re-homed dogs – relaxation of tension caused by earlier stress and trauma
•Pre and post – operative surgery – assisting recovery times
The Canine Bowen Technique is complementary to, and not a substitute for veterinary care, and is only available on veterinary referral.
The European Guild of Canine Bowen Therapists (EGCBT) was set up to train, promote, represent and regulate a network of properly skilled and experienced Canine Bowen Technique therapists who are able to work alongside other professionals in the canine world to help dogs - vets, trainers, behaviourists, rescue centres, hydro therapists, nutritionists.
The Bowen Technique is a gentle, non-invasive, light-touch, holistic modality that promotes healing, pain relief, and general body rebalancing. It aims to support and boost the natural healing capabilities of the body. It was brought to this country from Australia in 1993 as a complementary human therapy.
When used on dogs, Canine Bowen Technique is regarded as a manipulative therapy covered by the Veterinary Surgery (Exemptions) Order 1962 of the 1966 Veterinary Surgeons Act, allowing qualified practitioners to work on the animal on referral from the dog’s veterinarian.
Canine Bowen is a complementary therapy used in conjunction with, not as an alternative to, proper veterinary care. Owners should have their vet’s written approval prior to commencing a Bowen session. Under no circumstances do we prescribe or alter any medication or veterinary recommendations.
Therapy is never forced on the dogs and this is an important part of the Canine Bowen Technique.
For further research on the Canine Bowen Technique or Human Bowen, please look up the following websites: www.caninebowentechnique.com
The lungworm Angiostrongylus vasorum is a parasite that infects dogs.
The adult of this particular lungworm lives in the heart and major blood vessels supplying the lungs, where it can cause a host of problems. Left untreated, the infection can often be fatal.
The lungworm parasite is carried by slugs and snails. The problem arises when dogs purposefully or accidentally eat these common garden pests when rummaging through undergrowth, eating grass, drinking from puddles or outdoor water bowls, or pick them up from their toys.
There are two main problems caused by dogs becoming infected with lungworm:
•Infection with lungworm can cause serious health problems in dogs, and is often fatal if not diagnosed and treated.
•Dogs infected with lungworm spread the parasite into the environment, as the larvae of the parasite are expelled in the dog’s faeces. This increases the chances of other dogs becoming infected.
Dogs of all ages and breeds can become infected with lungworm. However, younger dogs seem to be more prone to picking up the parasite. Dogs known to eat slugs and snails should also be considered high risk.
Lungworm infections can result in a number of different signs which may easily be confused with other illnesses. If your dog is displaying any of the signs below, consult your veterinary surgeon immediately.
Poor blood clotting
•Excessive bleeding from even minor wounds/cuts
•Bleeding into the eye
•Anaemia (paleness around the eyes gums)
Changes in behaviour
There are some dogs which don’t initially show outward signs of lungworm infection. Your veterinary surgeon can perform tests which may help detect if your dog is infected with the lungworm parasite, if you are concerned.
Prevention and Treatment
Thankfully, treatment of lungworm infection in dogs is widely available and easy to administer. Once diagnosed and treated, most dogs make a full recovery. The key to successful treatment is taking action early.
If you are concerned your dog has picked up, or is at risk from, picking up a lungworm infection, speak to your veterinary surgeon without delay.
Your vet can prescribe a specific spot-on solution to treat this parasite, which is applied to the back of the neck.
Applied monthly this product can also prevent the establishment of infection with Angiostrongylus vasorum. Speak to your veterinary surgeon for further advice.
European tick established in UK
By Victoria Gill
Science and nature reporter, BBC News
A species of blood-sucking tick native to continental Europe has become established in the UK, scientists say.
Researchers found five European meadow ticks in south-east England and west Wales during a search of the UK's dogs.
This involved 173 veterinary practices, which collectively checked more than 3,500 dogs and sent any ticks they found to a lab for identification.
The species is known to carry tick-borne infections that are not yet found in this country.
Faith Smith from the University of Bristol led the study, which was published in the journal Medical and Veterinary Entomology.
"We asked the vets to check dogs totally at random; to check any dog coming in for any reason," she told the BBC.
"That gave us a broad sample of dogs, and in many cases their owners weren't aware that they had picked up a tick."
As well as identifying the European meadow ticks (Dermacentor reticulatus), this search showed that almost 15% of dogs in the UK had ticks attached any one time during the summer.
Gundogs, terriers and pastoral breed groups were most susceptible to picking up ticks, which often wait in long grass for animals to brush past. Longer-haired dogs were also more susceptible.
The researchers think a changing climate and "increased global movement of people and companion animals" have assisted the spread of ticks.
"Studies have been done to show that the distribution of Ixodes ricinus (the sheep tick) has shifted northwards in continental Europe in the past few decades, and that the species has been found at higher altitudes," said Miss Smith.
"So it is possible that climate change will affect certain species of ticks."
There is concern that the European species could spread infections that do not currently occur in the UK, including tick-borne encephalitis.
"The longer the tick is on, the higher the chance of a tick-borne disease," said Miss Smith.
"Ticks don't actually start to transmit infections until 24-48 hours post attachment.
"So the sooner it is removed cleanly, the smaller the risk of getting a disease it might be carrying."
Mystery Illness Being Investigated
The Animal Health Trust is continuing to investigate a mystery illness which has affected dogs walked at Clumber Park, Sherwood Forest, Thetford Forest & Sandringham Estate.
A seasonal canine illness fund has been set up by the charity towards the cost of the investigation.
For progress and updates on the investigation, or to make a donation towards the special fund, visit www.aht.org.uk
**Update October 2011**
New cases of Seasonal Canine Illness have been recorded in Norfolk, Nottinghamshire & Suffolk, visit the Animal Health Trust website above for further information
Information about the most common Canine Infectious Diseases
•Canine parvovirus-1 has been known for many years and is associated with mild diarrhoea
•Canine parvovirus-2 is a relatively new disease (1978) and is thought to have mutilated from the feline strain
•It can survive in the environment for 1 year
•It is resistant to many disinfectants but can be destroyed by Hypochlorite and Formalin
•Dogs are infected by the ingestion of the virus following direct or indirect contact with infected faeces
•Incubation period is 3 – 5 days
•Can cause Myocarditis (uncommon) which is inflammation of the heart muscle
•Can cause Enteritis which is inflammation of the small intestines
Bloody and watery diarrhoea
Death within 72 hours if left untreated
Canine Distemper (Hard pad)
•Has a high death rate depending on the immune system of the dog
•Seen in greater numbers in high density populations like cities, housing estates etc
•Common in dogs between 3 – 9 months old
•Virus unstable in the environment and is susceptible to disinfection, UV light, dry heat
•Dog can contract the virus by inhalation of the aerosol droplets between close contact from contagious dogs. Ingestion is not common
•Virus is shed from animal to animal by nose or eye discharges or in vomit, urine, faeces and saliva
•Incubation period is 7 – 21 days
•Can cause mild signs which are rarely diagnosed
Slightly raised temperature
Secondary bacterial infection
•Can cause acute signs which are more severe
Discharges from nose and eyes
Thickening and hardening of the skin (hyperkeratosis) especially on nose and pads
Skin pustules (spots)
•Can cause nervous diseases
50% of cases develop nervous signs
Can take weeks or even years to show nervous signs
Commonest cause of fitting in dogs less than 6 months of age
Recovery is unlikely and euthanasia is the only option
Canine infectious hepatitis
•Once called Rubarths disease
•High death rate in puppies (this rate decreases with age)
•Can survive off the host for up to 10 days
•Disease is susceptible to heat and most disinfection agents
•Two types of virus CAV-1 and CAV-2
•Spread by ingestion of the virus following direct or indirect contact
•Virus shed in urine, faeces, vomit and saliva
•Recovering animal can still spread the virus for up to 6 months in the urine
•Incubation period 5 – 9 days
Sudden death in puppies
Most common form
Small bleeds seen under the skin (tiny red spots)
Slightly raised temperature
•20% of cases blue eye (oedema) will be seen
Canine Contagious Respiratory Disease
•Lots of different types of disease under this heading some include
•kennel cough (Bordetella bronchiseptica)
•Very common disease
•Low death rate
•Not exclusive to kennels or rescue centres
•Route of infection is by inhalation following direct or indirect contact with an infected animal via its aerosol droplets
•5-7 day incubation period
Most dogs remain bright and alert
Dry harsh cough
Most dogs recover within 3 – 7 days
•Worldwide disease affecting many species
•Humans can contract this disease
•High death rate
•Sudden death within a few hours can occur
•Destroyed by disinfectants and UV light
•Can be spread by direct or indirect contact with infected urine or water contaminated by urine
•Penetrates the skin through mucous membranes or the gastrointestinal or respiratory tract, can enter through cuts and abrasions to the skin
•Incubation period is 5 – 7 days
Sudden death in young puppies without any signs
Bleeding under the skin seen as small red spots
Death if untreated
Rarely diagnosed due to vague signs
Lyme disease (borreliosis)
•Not common in the UK except in Cumbria and the New Forest
•Infected from deer ticks
•Humans can become infected too
•The tick bites a deer then falls off, it then bites either a human or dog and that animal becomes infected
•Tick can carry the disease for 2 – 3 years
•Incubation period is variable depending on the dog
•Many dogs show no clinical signs
•Some clinical signs which may be seen
Rash around the tick bite
Enlarged lymph nodes (glands)
Blood in urine
It is recommended that dogs should be routinely vaccinated and boostered yearly to reduce the risk of the disease. Not all of the above are covered by vaccinations but other preventative methods should be considered for example flea, worm and tick remedies or not allowing your dog to swim in rat infested water. Consult your veterinary surgeon for more advice and treatment especially if your dog becomes unwell, early treatment and diagnosis reduces the death rate in infected animals.
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