National Mutt Day - July 31

The mixed breed makes over 50% of all the canines found in United States and over 15 million around the world. According to, almost 75% of all the canines who land up in animal shelters are mutts. Pet owners are preconceived with many misconceptions about mixed breeds, which makes them choose a pure bred over the other.

Also known as National Mixed Breed Dog Day, Mutt Day is celebrated to raise the awareness about Mutts’ plight in the animal shelters. It also highlights the important fact, potential pet owners should choose personality over the purity of the canine.

terrier mixed breedNational Mutt Day was first organized in 2005 by pet expert and animal welfare advocate Colleen Paige. She instituted not just one but two different dates for the Mutts’ Day, July 31 and Dec 2, to achieve her goal of getting 10,000 shelter dogs into loving homes and among pet owners.

The Mutt Day campaign mostly works for eliminating the misconceptions about mutts and help save dogs from landing up in shelters.

Benefits of Choosing Mutts

  • Mutts tend to have longer life than pure bred
  • Mutts are generally healthier and tend to be immune to many breed-specific diseases.
  • Every mutt has variety of coat and patterns, hence none of the mutts are alike. The mutt you choose will have unique features among all the available canine.
  • Every mutt adopted from shelter means one less dog from the street.
  • When pet owners choose mutts over pure bred, it will discourage the unnatural dog breeding in puppy farms.
  • It helps to eliminate the prevalent status quo among most upper and upper-middle class pet owners.

As reported by American Kennel Club, Labrador Retriever remains the most popular choice among the pet owners for a pure breed, while German Shepherd makes up the most popular owned breed as both a pure breed and as a component of mixed breed.

The most popular mutts available in United States today are;


Original breeds


Chihuahua & Dachschund


Cavalier King Charles Spaniel & Poodle


Chihuahua & Pomeranians

Jack Chi

Chihuahua & Jack Russell Terriers


Labrador retriever & Great Dane


Labrador retriever & Great PitBull Terrier


ShihTsu & Poodle


Mastiff & Labrador retriever


Pinschers & Chihuahua



Tapeworm in Pets: Symptom, Cause, Diagnosis, Treatment & Prevention

Tapeworms are flat, white worms that attach themselves to the wall of gut using hook-like suckers. They feed there and grow. They typically settle in the small intestine and can grow from 4 to 8 inches. Medical name for tapeworm infestation is 'Cestodiasis'. Tapeworm species that infect dogs are mainly Taenia, Diphylidium Caninum, Echinococcus and Mesocestoides. 


The primary reason of tapeworm infestation is the ingestion of immediate hosts containing larvae. Tapeworm eggs can also be transmitted through adult fleas. Our pets are fond of scavenging, which can result to tapeworm infestation. It can also be transmitted via other animals, such as rabbit and birds. 


Sometimes tapeworm breaks into segments and passes into the intestine. These come out with feces as dried, white to cream colored segments of tapeworms. Some of the segments might also be seen in the fur under the tail.

Some break off into small pieces that are hard to see. Some of these resemble to sesame or cucumber seeds in size and appearance. 

Pets bite or lick the anus and scoot in response to itching. 

Tapeworms, sporadically makes pets vomit. Long, 4 to 8 inch, worms can be seen in their vomit. 

Pets also lose weight in case of heavy infection.


Veterinarians look for segments of tapeworms crawling on dog's body, specially under the fur. They also examine dog's feces for segments or eggs of tapeworms, under a microscope. Not every time the segments come out in feces, so several sample might be needed for examination.


If the veterinarian diagnoses tapeworm infestation, she will prescribe medication. Medication can be oral and/or injection. It is curable. 


Control flea around your pet keeping your home and around clean. You can use flea spray, powder, collars, oral medication or topical liquid. 

Do not allow unsupervised roaming to your pet.

Be careful about other animals' company with your pet. 

Always cleanup after your pet, yard and park. 

Skin Cancer in Pets

It's a new information for many pet parents, but skin cancer is quite common in both dogs and cats. Skin cancers are basically the tumor on skin or subcutaneous tissue (the tissue under the skin). 60 to 80% of tumors in pets are benign, meaning, they are just appear on the body but doesn't affect by any mean. Lipomas (fatty tumors, sebaceous adenomas, papillomas (mole-like growth) are benign tumors. Melanomas, Squamous cell carcinoma and Mast cell tumor are most common malignant tumors in pets that require medical attention. 

Types of Cancer in Pets

There are number of cancers that have been diagnosed in dogs and cats, among which Melanomas, Squamous cell carcinoma and Mast cell tumor are most common and fatal. 


It affects pigmented cells known as melanocytes. This tumor grows fast and and spreads to other organs such as lungs and liver. It is more frequent in dogs but much less in cats. 

Signs and Symptoms

Benign melanomas vary in sizes ranging from very small to 2.5 inches in diameter. It appears in the area of skin covered with hair. It may be black, brown, gray or red in color. In orange cats, freckles on lips and gums can appear which is very normal and harmless. It is known as letingo simplex.

Malignant melanomas appear on the body parts where is less or no hair, such as mouth, lips, toenail pads and/or pads of the feet. It is more common in black dogs. 


First procedure of melanomas treatment is surgery. If surgery is unable to remove the tumor, radiation therapy is applied. 70% times it is successful but recurrence is common. Depending on the severity of the tumor, chemotherapy is also used combining with surgery and/or radiation therapy. In case of oral melanoma, vaccination is a popular practice.

Squamous Cell Carcinomas

The tumor affects thinly furred skin. It doesn't spread but can be aggressive and may lead to destruction of tissue around the tumor. Though the cause of this cancer is still unknown, most of the times it is induced by exposure to the sun. That is why, the best preventive measure for this is to limit the exposure of your pets to the sun. 

All the pets are prone to this tumor, yet pets with short coats, especially with light skin are likely to develop it much faster. It typically appears on the dogs of age 6 to 10 years. 

Signs and Symptoms

This tumor is firm and raised with a wart-like appearance. It appears on abdomen, around genitals and feet. 


Surgical measures are used to remove squamous cell carcinomas. Photodynamic therapy is used to cure this tumor in inoperable locations. Use of a drug called Piroxicam has proven effective in developing immune system within the body of the animal to fight back the tumor cells. 

Mast Cell Tumors

It occurs in the mast cell of the immune system. It is common in both cats and dogs. It sometimes disappears and returns back in few days. This can be confusing for pet parents to predict the disease. Although it is common in most of the breeds, Labrador retrievers, Boxers, Pugs and Golden retrievers are predisposed to develop this tumor. 

Signs and Symptoms

Mast cell tumors are slow growing, rubber-like tumor. It is unusual skin masses, specially raised, hairless pinkish-yellow masses. These appear on trunk but 25% times it is on the legs. Itching, swelling and redness occurs in unbearable amount. 


Like other tumors, first attempt of cure is through surgery for mast cell tumors, too. That may include radiation or may be not. Depending on the severity of the case, surgery might be accompanied by chemotherapy and/or steroids.


Veterinarians diagnose pet cancer using either of the two methods: biopsy or needle aspirate cytology. Biopsy involves removing of small amount of tissue from the tumor and testing. Whereas, in Needle aspirate cytology, a needle is used to remove a microscopic amount of cells from the tumor in order to examine cell structure. 

Cancer is curable in pets if promptly identified. Take your pets to the veterinarian as soon as you seen any sign of cancer, do not ignore any. If it not cancer then it is a good news, but if it is, your pet will be cured in early stages.

Heart Disease in Dogs - Symptoms, Prevention, Diagnosis & Cure

Only a few pet owners realize that animals, alike humans, can suffer from heart disease. Since there have been less research and studies in animal health, many of the reasons and cure for animal heart disease are still unknown.

Statistics show that 10% of all dogs in the US have heart disease. Sometimes it can be mild but most of the time it is deadly. It's more common in small breed dogs of over 5 years of age. 13% of heart disease patients are suffering from heartworm disease.

Heart Disease and Heart Condition in Dogs

Heart disease, also known as cardiovascular disease, is a common form of illness in canine. Though heart disease can include many different types of conditions, most or every form of heart disease can ultimately lead to heart failure.

Heartworm is one of the common heart diseases among most dogs. Known as Dirofilaria Immitis, the heartworm or dog heartworm is a parasitic roundworm that looks like a small thread-like creature. It spreads from the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no simple way to tell if the mosquito is infected, hence, every dog must be prevented from heartworm.

Heartworm disease causes 13% of heart disease even though it is entirely preventable.

There are mainly two main types of heart conditions in dogs.

Chronic Valvular Disease is caused by a leaking heart valve which reduces the quantity of blood supplied or pumped throughout the body.

Myocardial Disease is a condition leading to weakness or thickening of the heart muscle. A dog’s heart is less efficient to pump out blood.

What Causes Heart Disease in Dogs?

Heart disease in dogs can be caused by numerous physiological reasons. Nutrition, age, fitness, and breed type, all play an important role. The onset of heartworm can also lead to heart disease which can be cured by medication.

Some of the common factors of heart disease in dogs are;

Fitness: An overweight or obese dog is more likely to develop congestive heart failure (CHF) and other forms of heart disease.

Age: An aging dog is more likely to encounter heart conditions compared to a younger dog. Nutrition and fitness play an important role in aging dogs.

Breed: Chronic valvular disease is more common in small dog breeds such as miniature poodles, cocker spaniels, Pomeranians, and schnauzers. It makes up 70-75% of heart disease in dogs. The myocardial disease remains common in large and giant breeds like Great Danes and Irish wolfhounds. Also known as dilated cardiomyopathy, it makes up 8% of heart disease and primarily affects large breed dogs of all ages

What are the Symptoms of Heart Disease in Dogs?

The signs or symptoms may vary depending on the type of disease and severity in dogs. Eventually, heart disease progresses to congestive heart failure.

  • Fatigue
  • Fainting or collapsing
  • Frequent coughing
  • Difficulty in breathing, including shortness of breath
  • Reduced ability to walk or exercise
  • Reduced appetite and/or noticeable weight gain or loss
  • A distended abdomen
  • Trouble sleeping

What Breeds of dogs are More Prone to Heart Disease?

Some breeds are more prone to heart disease than others. The list includes;

  1. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels
  2. Dachshunds
  3. Miniature and Toy Poodles
  4. Doberman Pinschers
  5. Boxers
  6. Golden Retrievers
  7. Miniature Schnauzers

How long can Dogs live with Enlarged Heart?

Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is a disease of the heart muscle that is characterized by an enlarged heart that does not function properly. In general, dogs with an enlarged heart can give for 6-24 months unless they are treated on time.

Can a dog live with heart disease?

If the disease is caught at an early stage, dogs with heart disease can be treated and often will live for many years after the diagnosis. If the disease is at a severe level that a pet's quality of life is no longer satisfactory, then they may not be able to survive a long time.

Stages of Heart Failure in Dogs

Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a term that refers to the heart's inability to pump adequate blood to the body. The stages of heart failure in dogs begin from signs of early heart failure onset. The age, nutrition, and fitness will define the early stage. The other stage includes the onset of heart failure. The final stage includes the advancement of heart failure that may lead to the death of the dog.

Prevention from Heart Disease for Dogs

The prevention of heart disease basically includes

  • Whole-body screening
  • Checking nutritional value
  • Regular exercise
  • Checking for any heart-related diseases such as heartworm.

dog arterial circulation

Diagnosis of Heart Disease in Dogs

The diagnosis will help to catch the chances of heart disease at its onset. It's mandatory that you take your dog to the Vet immediately.

The diagnosis of heart disease include;

  • Auscultation or listening to the heart is the first step in diagnosing heart disease includes listening to an abnormality in the heart such as heart murmurs. The location of the murmur and heart rhythm is assessed followed by palpating or feeling the pulse to determine its strength and rhythm.
  • An electrocardiogram (ECG) measures the electrical activity of the heart and allows accurate determination of both heart rate and rhythm.
  • The lungs are checked to look for evidence of changes associated with heart failure.
  • Next, the chest X-rays are taken to evaluate the size and shape of the heart and look for lung changes such as the presence of fluid.
  • Blood and urine tests are performed to ascertain any other disorders in the body. Liver and kidney function is often impaired in patients with heart disease.
  • Ultrasound examination (echocardiogram) uses ultrasound waves to evaluate the heart. The size and thickness of each heart chamber are evaluated, and the effectiveness of the heart's contractions is directly observed.

What are the cures for Heart Disease in Dogs?

Dogs with heart disease are treated in either of the two ways: Conventional therapy or Pimobendan. The method of treatment may depend on the practice of the vet.

A study, however, has shown that Pimobendan cures the heart better than conventional therapy. It is a veterinary medication, a calcium sensitizer and a selective inhibitor of phosphodiesterase 3 with positive inotropic and vasodilator effects. Pimobendan is used in the management of heart failure in dogs

The treatments for heart failures include;

  • Medications to help the heart work and correct irregular heartbeats
  • Medications to slow fluid build-up in the lungs
  • Surgery to correct a torn valve or to insert a pacemaker to correct the heartbeat
  • A commercial or prescription low-salt diet to help decrease fluid build-up in your dog's body
  • Limited activity or exercise to manage weight without putting too much strain on your dog's heart

 In fact, it is estimated that 7.8 million dogs in the United States have heart disease. That means approximately 10% of all dogs in the United States have heart disease.

Urban Pet Hospital & Resort is a premier pet hospital in Des Moines specializing in diagnosing and treating heart diseases in pets. If your dog or cat seems to show any sign of heart disease and heart failure, you must immediately consult with pet medical service in Des Moines.