Can Dogs Get The COVID-19?

Although there are thousands of cases of COVID-19 infection among humans, there have been fewer or none cases in pets such as dogs and cats. Simply put, your pets are less likely to contract COVID-19, however, they are prone to different types of coronaviruses, but that has nothing to do with the current outbreak of COVID-19.

Coronavirus disease 2019 or popularly known as COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS coronavirus 2 or SARS-CoV-2).

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, no animals in the US have been identified with the virus, and there is no evidence that dogs or other pets can spread COVID-19.

How worried should a pet owner when the pet gets infected?

Dr. Andrew Pickerstein from Stamford, Connecticut clarified that,

“Dogs do not get this novel coronavirus, COVID-19. Although a couple of dogs in Asia did test positive on a surface swab, they weren’t actually infected with it.”

There aren’t any concrete cases of COVID-19 infection in pets; hence, until there is any information, the experts suggest that the pet owners can feel confident that the virus won’t spread between pets. However, there is a greater likelihood of certain bacteria on animals spreading between owners and their pets, so diligent hand washing is recommended.

What about the dog in Hong Kong?

The news of a Pomeranian contacting COVID-19 hit the news on February 28. This sent a caution to the pet owners around the world. Hong Kong health authorities announced that a dog belonging to a woman sick with COVID-19 also tested “weakly positive” for the new coronavirus, the virus that causes the disease.

Experts called it a “low-level infection” –suggesting it was surface contamination, with the dog picking up traces of the virus in its nose and mouth rather. Although this was likely to be the first reported case of human-to-animal transmission of the disease, the experts nullified any chances of serious illness in the dog.

What does that test result mean for the pet owners and family members?

Although pets are prone to other types of coronaviruses, pet owners can be relieved that their pets are safe from the novel coronavirus.

Previous experience with SARS suggests that cats and dogs will not become sick or transmit the virus to humans.

Experts from the University of Hong Kong, City University and the World Organization for Animal Health had been consulted, and all “unanimously agreed that these results suggest that the dog has a low level of infection and it is likely to be a case of human-to-animal transmission.”

Pet owners should practice caution whenever around an animal such as regularly washing hands before and after petting the dog, covering mouth with a tissue or a mask, and distancing oneself from the pet if there are any signs of infection.

How Pet owners keep their animals and family’s safe?

The preventive measures for COVID-19 are as follows:

a. Wash your hands frequently

To keep yourself and your pets from contracting COVID-19 or any other form of Coronavirus, you should thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Washing your hand prevents easy transmission of the infection.

b. Maintain Distance

If you have any symptoms such as coughing or sneezing, maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance between yourself and your dog. Sneezing or coughing often sprays small liquid droplets that may contain the virus.

c. Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth

To ensure the safety of your family and pets, do not fidget with your eyes, nose, and mouth before or after petting your dog. Most infections occur when a person incessantly touches their nose, mouth, and eyes.

d. Practice respiratory hygiene

Make sure to cover your mouth or nose when sneezing or coughing. Use disposable tissue and mask whenever around your pets

e. Seek medical care early

Stay home or indoors if you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. It’s essential to quarantine yourself and keep your pets away from you.

f. Stay informed

Stay informed on the latest developments about COVID-19. Follow the advice given by your healthcare provider, your national and local public health authority or your employer on how to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.

 

What about the reports that an animal was the source of the virus?

A research team investigating about COVID-19 outbreak said COVID-19 may originate in bats. The genome sequencing of the novel coronavirus is as high as 96 percent identical with a type of coronavirus from bats, the team said, adding that the new coronavirus enters the receptor using the same cells with SARS virus.

Many experts suggested that the COVID-19 originated in the Wuhan’s Seafood market in China. Analysis of genomic data from 93 samples of the novel coronavirus suggests it was imported from elsewhere and the Chinese seafood market boosted its circulation and spread.

What should I do if my animal came in contact with someone who is later diagnosed with COVID -19?

Animals spread viruses between one another that are genetically distinct from human viruses. The genetic distinction makes it extremely difficult for humans and their pets to pass diseases on to one another including COVID-19.

There isn’t evidence that COVID-19 can spread through pets, so don’t worry. If your pet gets sick after interaction with someone with COVID-19, first call your veterinarian.

What if I or someone in my family develops COVID-19 or I am placed in quarantine because of close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19? What should I do about caring for my pet?

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend limiting contact with pets or other animals if you develop COVID-19. In such a case, you should appoint someone else in the household to care for your pet if you are sick.

If you are in quarantine, but not sick, technically, your pet is in quarantine also, and you should find some way to care for the animal in the confines of your home, says veterinarian McKenzie.

Animal Rescue Foundation in Walnut Creek and the East Bay SPCA recommend that

  • Take precautions similar to common flu prevention.
  • Seek out reliable sources for updated information. The Centers for Disease Control, www.cdc.gov; World Health Organization, www.who.int; and World Small Animal Veterinary Association, www.wsava.org, are good places to go for information on the virus.
  • If you are diagnosed with COVID-19, the CDC recommends you minimize contact with your animal companions. Identify a family member or friend who can care for your pet.
  • Have crates, food, and extra supplies, including medications, on hand for quick movement of the pet. Two weeks’ worth of food, medicine, and other supplies is recommended. A pet first-aid kit is also good to have for any unplanned situation.
  • Ensure your animal’s vaccines are up-to-date in case boarding becomes necessary.
  • Document all medications with dosages and administering directions, including prescriptions from your veterinarian if a refill becomes necessary.
  • Pets should have identification such as an ID tag on their collar and a microchip. But remember, a microchip is only as good as the contact information registered to it.
  • Follow CDC and WHO guidelines: Wash your hands with soap and water for the time it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” twice; avoid touching your face; stay home if you are sick; cough or sneeze into your elbow; wash your hands before and after handling pets.
  • Pets don’t need masks.
  • If your companion animal has been exposed to someone diagnosed with COVID-19, contact the public health worker involved with the patient’s care. They will contact state veterinarians and direct you from there. If you are told to bring your pet to your veterinarian, call first so they can prepare isolation areas.

Choosing a doggy daycare

Doggy Daycare or pet daycare is the one-stop pet care center for canines. Like a nursery for small kids, doggy daycare is designed to cater to pets when the owners are away for work or travel.

Doggy daycare isn’t only a place to board your pets but a place for them to learn essential social skills, enjoy different games and explore different kinds of mental and physical stimulation.

Benefits of choosing a doggy daycare

  • Socialization
  • Exercise
  • Teaching Learning Center
  • Peace of mind for the owner
  • Safety
  • Relieves boredom and anxiety
  • Relieves loneliness
  • Lots of affection
  • Provides routine
  • Affordable

But daycare is not a one-size-fits-all solution, and daycares vary considerably in quality. You must choose the right daycare. But how do you know which daycare is right for your pet? Let’s take a look at how daycare differs from others.

Choosing a Doggy Daycare

How do you choose the best daycare for your pet? The list is endless. Although every doggy daycare may advertise as one of the premier institutions, you must be wary about what’s best for your pet.

Here are some of the criteria that you must seek to fulfill to find the best doggy daycare.

A. Tour the Facilities

The first thing you should do as a concerned pet owner is to look around the facility first-hand. Nothing else can give you’re a better impression of the facility than visiting the place. It's essential to ascertain if the environment your dog will be hanging out in is clean and properly sanitized. You'll also want to learn about the safety precautions the owner has put in place.

Dog Daycare safety features should include:

  1. Ventilation –Ventilation is important in any building. The weather outside can hugely impact the weather inside the building. Make sure fresh air is getting to the dogs, whether it's through open doors or the Air Conditioner.
  2. Proper fencing –Animals are a curious being and can escape the compound without the staff ever noticing. Check the facility for proper fencing that is strong enough to resist the weight of a dog and high enough to keep adventurous dogs from jumping over. Double gating provides a space for the dog to get acclimated to the play area before it joins the other dogs inside, which can improve safety.
  3. Safe floors –Rubber and epoxy floors provide better grip and friction than slick linoleum or cold concrete.

B. Separate units for large and small dogs

A doggy daycare should split the dogs into groups and keep a different unit for large and small dogs. Along with the size, temperament and play style of the dog should be taken into account while splitting the group.

Keeping all the dogs in a single room can be a bad idea as it may cramp the space and create hostility between the dominant and passive canines. Unlike outdoor parks, daycares are the confined space. Dogs should be separated according to their temperament to avoid any trouble.

C. Ask About the Staff-to-Dog Ratio

Some states have a set dog-to-human ratio for dog daycares, and others don't. Ask the dog daycare owner about possible state guidelines. The experts suggest a ratio of 15 dogs per human as a safe standard. The IBPSA also notes that allowances are often made for more active groups, where a ratio of one staffer per 10 dogs is desired, or less active groups, where 20 dogs per staffer are adequate.

D. Pick a Daycare with Guided Activities

The dog owners should ask about the activities the dogs will do throughout the day. The activities can range from training, grooming, socializing, physical and mental stimulation, games, etc. Daycare activities should focus on improving your dog’s behavior. The behavioral skills instilled in your dog will help carry it throughout its lifetime.

E. Check the Toy Policy

Some dogs can be very aggressive with other dogs, particularly when they are protecting a toy they think is theirs. If you know your dog isn't going to get along with another dog or dogs with toys, dog owners should bring the issue to the attention of the daycare managers—they will keep a careful eye on your pup.

F. Ask about the Daycare’s Treat Policy

Some dog daycares use treats to reward good behavior, and some don't. Ask the daycare manager about their use of treats and be sure to tell them if your dog displays aggressive behavior around food or if he’s on a special diet of any kind.

G. Does your daycare provide Boarding?

Sometime, you may need to board your dog overnight in the facility. Ask if the daycare has boarding options available because it's always going to be easier for a dog to acclimate to an environment if he's already been there playing.

H. Affordable

A doggy daycare doesn’t need to expensive to become one of the best daycares. Many dog owners avoid expensive daycare because of the limited pet budget. When you assess a daycare, always ascertain the services and their prices. Depending on your area and how often your dog will attend, the cost of daycare can add up quickly. (Typical rates are around $15 to $30 per day.)

Urban Pet Hospital & Resort

Urban Pet Hospital & Resort is the best doggy daycare in Des Moines. One of the premier doggy daycare in Des Moines we specialize in both daycare and boarding facilities.

We offer a home away from home experience. Our luxury suites available with TV/DVD and/or webcams, along with playtime, indoor counter-current pool and daily walking and exercise will guarantee optimum comfort, security, and professional care.

What do we care about?

a. Fun

We offer both indoor and outdoor play area for pets of any age. We focus on interactive games to keep them occupied and mingle with other dogs. Spending time with fellow pet proves to boost oxytocin in animals.

b. Attention

We take a certain number of pets at a time, so we can dedicate needed attention to every pet. Providing special attention helps in preventing solitary and odd behavior in pets.

c. Exercise

An optimum portion of the daycare focuses on physical and creative exercise to keep them healthy and smart. Treating them after every game boosts their spirit.

d. Rest

An average pet sleeps 12-14 hours a day. An active pup may need 18-20 hours of sleep, hence, we ensure that your pet takes enough rest and in a homely environment in the daycare.

e. Socialize

It’s important for pets to learn to socialize with other pets and humans, hence, we encourage the inclusive facilities to let dogs sit with their likes and help them interact with owners.

8 Common Dog Paw Problems

Unlike humans, dogs walk around in their four. The dog paws comprise of a thick layer of pads that help to hold its weight and protect from minor scratches.

Composition of Dog’s paw

Along with bones and cartilages, the dog’s paw includes skin, tendons, ligaments, blood vessels and connective tissue. The digital and metacarpal pads work as shock absorbers and help protect the bones and joints in the foot. The outer layer or carpal pads work like brakes, of sorts, and help the dog navigate slippery or steep slopes.

The feel of their pads differs according to their surrounding. Dogs that are outside a lot and exposed to rough surfaces have thicker and rougher paw skin while those who stay indoors have softer pads.

A dog’s paw isn’t free from problems. Get in touch with doggy daycare in Des Moines to ascertain common dog paw problems.

8 common Dog Paw Problem

A dog’s paw can attract different kinds of problems. The weather and climate, daily diet, lifestyle, and hygiene may determine the condition of dog paws.

a. Allergies

Dogs are prone to allergies. The allergic condition can make their paws very itchy. They will typically bite, lick, or chew on them to attempt to relieve the itching. In some cases, excessive licking of the paw can cause irritation or injury and can make it more susceptible to secondary fungal and bacterial infections.

b. Fungal and Bacterial Infections

The fungal or bacterial infection is common in canines. Many different species of bacteria and fungi normally live on your dog’s paw however they only become an issue when these organisms can grow out of control and cause infection. Signs of an infection include redness, swelling, pain, itching, and drainage. Yeast and ringworm are the most common fungus that may infect your pets’ paws.

c. Nail issues

Long toenails are common and can have a lot of negative consequences for your dog. Long nails can make it more difficult for your dog to walk.

Ingrown nails that those which are not trimmed properly or naturally worn down by walking outside can become painful ingrown toenails.

Torn or fractured nails occur when your dog catches their toenail on something. Fractured nails are generally caused by accidents.

d. Dry and Cracked Paw Pads

Warm weather, exposure to the rough surface, winter, chemicals, dry air, and excessive licking can cause dry and cracked paw pads. Dry and cracked paws can be painful and put your dog at a risk for infection.

e. Burns and Blisters

Dogs can suffer burns or blisters in the hot weather! The hot pavement or asphalt road can cause your dog to suffer a burn. If it is too hot for you to walk outside barefoot, it is too hot for your dogs, too! Always feel the pavement with the bottom of your bare hand before letting your dog walk on it. If you cannot comfortably hold your palm to the asphalt for 10 seconds or more, it is too hot for your dog’s paws.

f. Cuts and Abrasions

Cuts, abrasions, or lacerations are caused by walking on sharper objects such as broken glass, small rocks, and sticks, burrs, etc. You must be careful when you allow your dog to play outdoors. Keep them off of any surface you aren’t familiar with.

g. Parasites

Dogs who roam around outdoors can easily get tick infection. Ticks hideout between a pet’s toes where they can cause all sorts of problems, including pain and infection. You must consult a vet to remove the tick. If you remove it yourself, be prepared to use tweezers or special tick removal tools to grip the tick from the head and gently pull it out.

h. Cysts and Growths

Cysts are the sac of tissues that are filled with another substance, such as air or fluid. Cysts, lumps, and growths can commonly occur on paws or in-between your dog’s toes. Contact your veterinarian if you spot one and they can treat and remove if necessary.

How to protect your Dog’s paws?

Always consult with doggy daycare in Des Moines to diagnose dog paw problems. Here is what you can do to prevent serious paw infections and injuries.

i. Keep your dog's nails trimmed

Long nails for the dog are always problematic. They can unnecessarily spread their toes when they walk and the empty spaces between their toes will accumulate dust or snow. Untrimmed nails can also affect your dog's weight distribution, pushing their overall weight onto the back of their feet. Keep your dog’s nails trimmed and short all the time. If your dog often wanders outside, you must take extra precautions with their nails.

ii. Trim the fur between Toe pads

By trimming the fur between their toe pads you’ll level the pad fur with the pads themselves. This prevents snow, salt, and grit from accumulating between the toes. Compacted snow salt on your dog's feet makes walking difficult for them and can also affect their ability to stay on their feet.

iii. Lubricate paws before heading outdoors

Cold weather, ice, and salt can cause your dog's pads to dry out and crack. You can prevent this by wiping his paws with Vaseline or cooking spray before you take him out for a walk. Be sure to keep him off slick surfaces inside the house, such as tile, and outside the house, such as ice.

iv. Consider dog booties

Dog booties are a great way to keep your dog's feet safe and in good condition, particularly when the ground is hot, wet, or snowy. Dog booties are like human shoes that provide optimum protection dust, heat, snow, and other forms of dust. Wearing booties can be difficult for dogs. Try a gradual approach and let them sink into it for a while. Let them wear booties inside the house for short periods of time and offer them a prize or treats

v. Check your De-icer

De-icer is used during winter to de-ice the icy particles on cars. It can produce salt and other ice-melting granules or chemicals that can irritate your dog's paws when contacted. It can also cause stomach ailments if ingested. When choosing a De-icer you should consider buying non-toxic options, such as sand, gravel, and non-clumping cat litters. If you do use salt or chemical deicers, choose to buy "pet safe" brands. Keep the chemicals inside the shelf all the time.

vi. Wash your dog's paws after walks

After roaming outside, consider washing their feet with warm water. This helps to warm up their cold paws. It will also wash off any salt or deicing chemicals residue formed between their toes.

vii. Apply Vaseline on Dog’s Paws

The snow, ice, and salt can cause your dog's pads to dry out and crack. You should consider wiping their paws with Vaseline or cooking spray before you take them outdoors. Consider keeping them off slick surfaces inside the house, such as tile, and outside the house, such as ice.

 

Urban Pet Hospital & Resort is a premier doggy daycare in Des Moines specializing in pet care, pet health, and diet.

Mentally and Physically Strong: Work Ethic Carries Military Veterinarian

Mentally and physically strong: Work ethic carries Army veterinarian

It isn’t unusual to hear about a random act of kindness. We have seen instances where a person went to a great length to save the life of another being.

A military veterinarian saved the lives of two dogs at New Hampshire following a usual event. Here is the story about the night she saved two lives.

Work ethic carries Army veterinarian

Danica Goodheart is a Military Veterinarian. She graduated from Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine in 2016 and proceeded to work for 2 years as an ER veterinarian in a 24/7 Emergency and Specialty Hospital.

One cold night in 2016 at an emergency veterinary clinic in Concord, New Hampshire, she encountered two fatally wounded dogs. She had completed working the overnight shift when a middle-aged couple emerged from the winter cold carrying a bleeding pit bull. Moments later another man walked in clutching a wet and injured golden retriever.

The two dogs had grappled with another dog on a frozen lake. Police fired at the dogs in an attempt to break up the fight however ended up hitting a bullet to one of the dogs.

Goodheart continuously worked on the pit bull for two hours. She treated the bullet wound after the projectile had torn through its abdomen. She treated the pit bull for hypothermia and bite wounds.

After saving their lives, Goodheart approached elderly couples. They were ecstatic to learn that their pet would survive.

She later mentioned in the interview:

"I will never forget the look on their faces."

Goodheart’s co-worker Capt. Chelsi Blume mentioned:

"She will put 110 percent effort into whatever she's doing,"

A Fitness Freak

A fitness junkie since her teen years, she has continued to train and keep in peak shape. She spends up to 25 hours a week in the gym.

She was placed first in her first bodybuilding competition at the Jay Cutler Classic in Richmond, Virginia in August 2019. She won the overall figure championship for women.

She had only trained for four months as a bodybuilder. She hired strength coach Nic Wightman shortly after arriving at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

She has always been an athlete and a fitness freak. She even competed in Division I track at the University of New Hampshire.

In addition, she has built meal plans for fellow Soldiers and friends to help them get in shape.

She has been active in the military as a veterinarian since 2016. She is assigned to the 248th Medical Veterinarian Medical Detachment at Fort Bragg. Along with a seven-person staff, she is charged with the medical care of military working dogs deployed on the field to detect drugs and explosives.

She explains that it takes resiliency to meet the demands of the position, which requires veterinarians to constantly train and prepare for a variety of duties, including providing preventive medicine, outpatient care and disease control for pets at military installations.

Even before joining the military, she had understood how to work under duress, having already dealt with the pressures of working in the ER. There she tended to injured dogs and cats and even injured animals found by roadsides.

This April, Goodheart will take part in Defender 2020 a multi-national joint military exercise that will test the Army's ability to project its capabilities from the U.S. to Europe.

In her early life, she grew up in the sprawling 100-acre farm on the eastern shore of New Hampshire’s Lakes Region.

"I was always around animals," Goodheart said. "My mother has a very strong passion for animals and instilled that in us girls."

While attending high school, Goodheart learned of the importance of military working dogs, who often must go into harm's way when searching for explosive devices. That helped spur her toward a career as an Army veterinary doctor.

Veterinary Careers in the Military

If you’re willing to become a Military Veterinarian you will uphold the highest form of service.

The military vets are not only assigned to treat military canines but also provide veterinary services to military family pets at bases all over the world.

The military vets may perform a wide range of medical services including pet surgery. Along with the military animals and family pets, veterinarians in the military also play a big role in supporting the public health mission for the community. They extensively work with physicians and preventive medicine experts to develop zoonotic disease prevention strategies, especially focusing on rabies on rabies-prone areas.

They also supervise and inspect food items supplied to military service members and their families. This includes traveling abroad to perform audits on food and beverage manufacturing facilities to make sure that they are following the proper food safety standards.

The US Military offer appealing options for veterinarians considering serving a full 20-year career. Through the Long-Term Health Education & Training program, the military will pay for veterinarians to go back to school for an MPH, Ph.D., or any number of clinical and research-oriented residency programs.

Requirements to Be a Military Vet

Veterinarians looking to enter the Military must meet the same standards and physical fitness requirements as all other soldiers.

They will be subjected to an evaluation of your medical history and an intense medical exam before even being accepted as the military vet.

They also have to take a physical fitness test 4x per year that measures their ability to meet certain minimum requirements for pushups, situps, and a two-mile run.

Finally, their height and weight are measured at each of these tests to ensure that they meet the standard. The requirements are different for men and women, and they also change based on your age.

You must understand the importance of veterinary before considering to be enlisted in the military as the veterinarian. The most important thing that Military veterinarians must comprehend is that they are not ultimately in control of their lives and careers during their time in service. The deployment and active service area are designated by seeing where you fit the best.

The Activists who saved 1000 pets from Syria’s war zones

It is uncommon to hear about many great souls who risked their lives to rescue their pets. Jumping inside the burning house, jumping in front of the car or inside the well, you name it. People have gone through unimaginable situations to rescue their pets.

Here is the story of the activities who managed to save a thousand different pets from the frontline in Syria.

The Activists who saved 1000 pets from Syria’s war zones

Cat Connect, a charity that works to reunite animals with their Syrian owners, has managed to save thousands of pets from Syria’s war zones. Rawaa Kilani, an animal activist from Damascus joined hands with other animal lovers from Germany, Netherlands, and other countries to form Cat Connect.

They came together when the war intensified in 2013 and 2014. Many people had to leave the war-stricken zone for their life leaving their pets behind. Without their primary caretakers, cats and dogs often ended up on the street, abandoned or abused.

The locals who helped rescue pets and provide shelter were heavily affected by the war. Ernesto’s Sanctuary in Aleppo was destroyed in November 2017, killing several cats and a dog.

The activists go through a complex process to rescue animals. Often the situations are risky and fraught with danger. Kilani and her team have occasionally dived into active conflict areas to retrieve animals. They had to work to get through the red tapes and checkpoints.

Getting animals out of Syria is a complicated and expensive process. To extract animals from Syria, the pets are issued a passport and driven across the border to Lebanon. The animals are examined for diseases, vaccinated and microchipped by a local vet. From Beirut city in Lebanon, they are then flown as cargo to various locations in Europe, and sometimes to North America.

The estimated cost for rescuing an animal runs up to the US $1,000. The entire rescue has been conducted through donations.

Kilani claims,

“We have resettled pets in the U.S., the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, France, the U.K., Dubai and soon, for the first time, Italy.”

She further explains

“Life now, after the war, has become worse than during the war. There is no food or medicine, and many pets that were left behind have become strays. “

Similar examples are followed in other middle-eastern countries. In Afghanistan, soldiers have set up nonprofit and crowdfunding efforts to bring rescued street dogs and cats to the U.S. and the U.K. Dozens of imperiled zoo animals in Syria, Gaza and elsewhere have been transported to safer countries in recent years.

Like Cat Connect, Animals Syria has been helping rescue pets from war-stricken zones. Irma heads the Animals Syria foundation. After the owners settle in their new asylums, Animals Syria helps reunite owners with their pets by organizing the medical procedures and documents required for transportation.

Like humans, the animal suffers from psychological trauma. Thousands of pets have been killed or displaced during the Syrian war.

A 2018 study on veterans and dogs published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology posited that

The addition of trained service dogs to usual care may confer clinically meaningful improvements in PTSD symptomology for military members and veterans with PTSD.

Animals Impacted by the War

Many regions in Africa, Middle-East, Europe, and Asia are plagued by human conflicts. Although the greater cost is paid by humans, animals often end up paying the cost by giving up their lives.

In Africa, we can see the effect of conflict on many exotic animals such as Northern White Rhinos.

Many case studies have demonstrated that war can affect the survival of local populations, sometimes threatening entire species. But the research is mixed: In some cases, conflict actually seems to aid animals.

An organization like Nowzad has helped rescue many animals from the war-stricken zone and rehabilitate them. They arrange for the animal to safely get to the safety of the Nowzad clinic. They then provide shelter for the animal as well as vaccinations.

They also spay/neuter all animals and provide any required medical attention. Afterward, the process is to get them to their owners.

According to Nowzad,

We carry out all necessary checks and paperwork to get the dog or cat to their loving forever home – wherever it is in the world. Our amazing family of supporters never ceases to amaze us how they rally to reach the target necessary to get the much-loved dog or cat home to their new life.

Nowzad has rescued animals from active war-zones in Afghanistan, Iraq, Ukraine, Syria, and Libya. They have helped move animals into the USA, UK, Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Holland, Italy, Spain, Jordan Thailand, and South Africa.

All the animals go through a psychological evaluation. They are then provided the necessary medical and physical needs. Most of these dogs are adopted by organizations.

Why is a veterinarian important to the community?

Veterinarians help save animals. They go through every difficulty to help cure, medicate, and rehabilitate animals.

  • They help animals get better by applying medical and surgical treatments.
  • Animals depend on them to get a rock out of their stomach or an object out of their paw. Vets are very serious about saving animals' lives.
  • They offer preventive pet care such as vaccination, spaying, neutering, heartworm medicine, etc.
  • They help people understand what to do to help animals.
  • They help an animal's owner understand what is wrong with the animal.

Urban Pet Hospital and Resort

Urban Pet Hospital and Resort is a premier veterinary in Des Moines. We have been in operation since 2007.

We have a current remodeled facility with more than 10,000 sq. feet of indoor space boasting a full-fledged veterinary hospital with state-of-the-art medical and therapeutic equipment. We are proud to be the only facility in central Iowa that offers an indoor counter-current pool from the endless pool and an underwater treadmill.

Our DMV and staff have been in the trade for the last 15 years, and some of our staff are experienced for over 40 years in specific care units.

We offer luxury pet boarding services. Some premium suites also include a webcam that allows you to keep an eye on your pet from anywhere around the world. The resort also provides a big indoor play area for pets. As part of the luxury accommodation service, the pets are walked three times a day and monitored closely with cameras.

Some of our services include

  • Pet medical services such as dental, spaying, neutering, vaccination, preventive medicine, and surgery.
  • Therapy such as canine massage, laser therapy, motion exercises, underwater treadmill
  • Training
  • Grooming
  • Boarding and Resort
  • Daycare

How the pet Hospital Helps fight Rabies?

Rabies is a viral disease that causes inflammation of the brain in humans and other mammals. It is transmitted from infected animals to humans through bite or saliva. Rabies vaccination is the best way to avoid rabies infection in the future. Early symptoms can include fever and tingling at the site of exposure.

More than 55,000 people in poor countries die from rabies every year – a rate of one person every ten minutes. Africa and India still bear the highest burden of total annual rabies deaths.

How does the pet hospital help fight rabies?

The cases of rabies are commonly seen in Asia, Central Asia, Middle East, Africa, and Caribbean Countries. These cases are mostly reported from the bites of rabid dogs, and wild animals such as bats and monkeys.

The animals infected with rabies secrete large amounts of virus in their saliva; the disease is primarily passed to dogs through a bite from an infected animal. It can easily transmit through a scratch or when infected saliva makes contact with mucous membranes or an open, fresh wound.

rabies worldwide map

Human deaths from rabies; B: Death rates per capita (per 100 000 population); countries shaded in grey are free from canine rabies (TRS 3rd report, 2017)

Canines tend to suffer more from rabies than humans, as they are exposed to wild animals. The most common carriers of the rabies virus in this country are bats, raccoons, skunks, and foxes.

In the United States, rabies is reported in cats more than in any domestic species. If there are also cats in your household, it’s important to make sure they are vaccinated and kept indoors.

Pet Hospitals and veterinaries in the U.S. are committed to eradicating rabies. They have initiated and supported programs to help supply rabies vaccinations to areas at most risk for disease. Today, there are only fewer cases of rabies in dogs throughout the U.S.

The commonly used drug for treating rabies is Nobivac®, Canine 1-DAPPv vaccine is a modified live virus vaccine for the vaccination of healthy dogs as an aid in the prevention of disease caused by canine distemper virus, adenovirus type 1 (hepatitis) and adenovirus type 2 (respiratory disease), canine parainfluenza virus, and canine parvovirus.

dog saliva rabies

According to MERCK Animal Health,

“It is an effective 1-year vaccine to prevent rabies in dogs, cats, and ferrets. It is approved for the vaccination of healthy dogs, cats, and ferrets as an aid in preventing rabies. It is recommended for use in healthy dogs, cats and ferrets 3 months of age or older.”

Do rabies shots prevent dogs from getting rabies?

The only remedy for rabies is the proper vaccination. Dogs and cats are first vaccinated for rabies between 3 and 6 months of age. They need a booster one year from that date. They are then generally vaccinated every three years.

Some states still require annual rabies vaccinations for dogs and/or cats. So far, regular vaccination is the only method to effectively protect canines from getting rabies. However, you should still bring your dog to a veterinarian if you suspect it was bitten by a rabid dog or a wild animal. The veterinarian will recommend a booster vaccine and monitor the vital sign of your dog for any sign of infection.

It is false that the animals will clearly appear rabid and unwell if infected with the rabies virus. While most animals demonstrate some signs of illness such as aggression or lack of balance, some may not have noticeable symptoms.

Rabies the Disease vs. Rabies the Vaccine

It is the only vaccination required by law in the United States to curb rabies. The other main concern is that it is a zoonotic disease.

Zoonotic disease or zoonoses are terms used to describe an infection or disease that can be transmitted from an animal to a human being. In general, these diseases normally exist in animals but can affect humans through different forms of contact.

The zoonotic disease can be caused by a range of pathogens such as viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites. Of 1,415 pathogens known to infect humans, 61% are zoonotic in nature.

There is no possible cure for rabies; however, vaccinating your pet will help an animal mount an immune system response to protect against rabies.

How Long Do Vaccines Offer Protection?

Some experts suggest that a single shot of vaccine is enough for three years, however, many states in the U.S. demand that the owner take their pet for a vaccine shot every year.

How long a vaccine, rabies or otherwise, is "good" for, in terms of actual disease protection is still debated. The vaccine, the health of the individual and their immune system, the disease agents, all of these factors come into play.

zoonotic disease infographic

Do veterinarians need a rabies vaccine?

Veterinarians are at the front line when it comes to dealing with rabid dogs, infections, and treating other zoonotic diseases, hence they must be prepared beforehand to prevent any occupational hazard.

The rabies vaccine is equally effective in veterinarians to ward off chances of getting rabies.

Pre-exposure Rabies Vaccine

Pre-exposure rabies vaccination is provided as a precautionary measure. It provides additional protection for at-risk veterinarians, vet techs and other staff. Although it helps to ward off rabies, it but does not replace good preventive measures such as personal protective equipment, and safe animal and specimen handling procedures.

According to the National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians’ Compendium of Veterinary Standard Precautions for Zoonotic Disease Prevention in Veterinary Personnel, all veterinary staff with animal contact must be vaccinated against rabies, followed by periodic titer checks and rabies vaccine boosters, in accordance with the ACIP recommendations.

The ACIP recommends titers on a schedule of every two years to assess protective immunity, with a single-injection booster vaccination recommended if the titer level is below 1:5 serum dilution (0.1-0.2 IU/mL).

rabid dog

Urban Pet Hospital & Resort is a premier veterinary in Des Moines specializing in pet care, pet health, and training. We have conducted and participated in community programs to rescue homeless pets. We carefully follow the state guideline regarding rabies vaccination. Our staffs are well-equipped to demonstrate rabies prevention.

Can your dog become a canine blood donor?

Dog giving blood to another dog is as common as a human giving blood to another human. Unlike human blood, the shelf life of a dog’s blood is only 30 -35 days. It means that dogs would need to donate frequently to keep the blood bank functioning.

There are fewer blood banks for dogs around the country, whereas the canine accidents are way more common. When dogs (and cats!) have an injury, become ill, or need surgery, a blood transfusion could save their lives. Thanks to the generous blood donors, many of those pets have survived the worst.

Can a dog become a canine blood donor?

Dogs most certainly can become a blood donor for other dogs. In almost every case of blood transfusion, the blood is donated by another dog. In a few cases, the blood of feline (cat) is also used.

The dog’s blood type is distinguished by the antigens and antibodies. This can be classified into four categories.

DEA 1.1, 1.2, and 1.3, also known as A-type

DEA 1 was formerly known as A and consists of four alleles: negative, 1.1, 1.2, and 1.3. DEA 1.1. It is the most common blood type for most dogs. DEA 1.1 and DEA 1.2 are the most important antigens and together occur in about 60% of dogs, however, DEA 1.2 dogs, which make up 7% to 29% of dogs, will develop potent anti-DEA 1.1 antibodies once transfused with DEA 1.1 cells.

Dogs that are DEA 1.1 positive or A-Type are considered universal recipients. They can receive the blood of any type without expectation of a life-threatening hemolytic transfusion reaction.

Dogs that are DEA 1.1 negative are considered universal donors. They can donate blood to any other dog.

DEA 4

DEA 4 occurs in up to 98% of dogs, and dogs with this type alone are considered universal donors. Only about 75% of Doberman pinschers are DEA 4 positive. Naturally occurring DEA 4 antibodies are not known to exist; however, hemolytic transfusion reactions can occur after sensitization with DEA 4 positive blood transfusions in dogs lacking that antigen.4

DEA 3 and 5

DEA 3 and 5 are expressed in lesser proportions of the dog population, but DEA 3 occurs in 23% of greyhounds, and 30% of greyhounds are DEA 5 positive. Naturally occurring antibody is present in 20% of DEA 3 negative dogs and 10% of DEA 5 negative dogs in the United States.2

DEA 7

DEA 7 is present in 8% to 45% of dogs. Naturally occurring antibodies have been observed against DEA 7, with a delayed transfusion reaction causing the decreased lifespan of transfused cells but no hemolysis.

A single canine blood donation can be used to save up to 4 dogs’ lives!

Can Any Dog Give Blood?

The veterinarian society has specified certain requirements for canine blood donation.

  • A dog must be healthy, weighing 35 pounds or more, and must be between the ages of 9 months and about 9 years old
  • The dog must have been spayed or neutered, with no history of pregnancy in the case of female dogs
  • Must have no history of the disease and not taking any medications
  • Must be taking a heartworm preventive
  • Must have followed with veterinarian’s preventive health and vaccination schedule.
  • Must be well-behaved and friendly to avoid the need for sedation.

Blood Donation Process

The blood donation process includes relaxing the dog, taking out blood, replenishing the donor, and preserving the donated blood.

A typical donation takes about 10 to 30 minutes. The donor is placed on a table and relaxed. A small patch of fur on the dog’s neck is shaved, and a tiny needle is inserted to collect the blood.

As soon as the blood is drawn, the dog’s body begins to produce more to replace it. The donors are replenished by offering water and snacks immediately after donation. While some dogs may be sluggish or weak after donating, others have no reaction at all.

How big does a dog have to be to donate blood?

Only a fully grown canine is used for blood donation. There are many requirements that a dog must pass before begin assigned a donor.

Every blood donation program has slightly different requirements for its donors, taking into account the health and size of the animal.

According to the National Canine Cancer Foundation, there are two types of blood donation programs:

  • Full Pint
  • Half Pint

While dogs of various sizes and breeds can meet donor requirements, their weight determines which donation program they will be placed into once they meet the basic behavioral and health criteria.

The potential donor dogs must be in generally good health. The veterinarian will then ascertain if donors meet their required vaccinations, including distemper, parvovirus, parainfluenza, hepatitis, and rabies.

They must be free of any medications other than flea, tick, and heartworm preventative.

Dogs who have received blood transfusions or those with heart murmurs or other cardiac issues aren’t ineligible to donate blood.

The dogs must be spayed or neutered, with no history of pregnancy for female dogs.

Age and weight requirements vary slightly from across programs, typically ranging from one to nine years of age and thirty-five to fifty pounds or more without being overweight.

Adult Greyhound dogs represent the bulk of the blood donors in the U.S. They typically have a universal blood type that any dog can receive. They also have big neck veins that make drawing blood easy.

Where do vets get blood for dogs?

The vets get blood for dogs from other dogs. Most of the time, they use the nearest blood center to get the Blood for transfusion. Other times, a dog is brought in for direct transfusion.

In many instances, blood is collected from a donor at the time it is needed from an animal that is nearby.

Dog blood is available from blood banks that centralize the collection of blood from pet dogs through larger facilities which are then able to separate blood into different components and prepare it for storage. Be wary that the shelf life of a dog’s blood is only 30-35 days.

Wherever possible, cats and dogs should receive blood from a donor of the same species and blood type. In some cases, a different animal such as a cat can give blood to the dog.

 

Urban Pet Hospital & Resort is the best veterinary in Des Moines specializing in pet care, pet health, and training. Get in touch with Veterinary in Des Moines to learn more about safe blood transfusion in dogs and cats.

Can Dogs be Autistic? Major Symptoms and Treatments

Although autism has been linked to canines, it hasn’t been yet proved that it is the case of autism. Veterinarians prefer to call this condition “canine dysfunctional behavior.”

The study of autism in dogs has been going since 1966. It involved extensive DNA analysis of different dog breeds. Studies like this one indicate that autism could very well occur in dogs. However, nothing can be proved until more research is done.

Can dogs be autistic? Major symptoms and treatments

Autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech, and nonverbal communication.

A medical condition is always a possible underlier when dogs experience severe behavioral issues like aggression or obsessive licking, however, this can’t be directly linked to autism.

The important fact to understand is that autism is congenital, meaning that dogs or humans cannot suddenly become autistic, they are born with autism.

Early research concludes that these syndromes in dogs could be linked to a genetic condition called fragile X syndrome. Fragile X syndrome is the prevalence of concurrent autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Diagnosing Autism in Dogs

For a dog to be tentatively diagnosed with autism, it should exhibit atypical repetitive behaviors and some degree of impaired social interaction with dogs and people. A veterinarian must rule out every other condition that might be responsible for the observed autistic syndrome.

Dogs with tendencies of autism onset may entail such signs:

a. Challenges with social skills

If dogs tend to avoid socializing with other dogs, animals, or humans, this may be a sign of underlying problems. Dogs are social animals; hence, lacking social skills can be a sign.

b. Repetitive behaviors

Repetitive behavior refers to repeating certain behaviors or actions, such as grinding teeth, chewing, or walking.

c. Speech and nonverbal communication

Due to difficulties in code processing, emotions and interactions, communication and language development is a challenge for animals with autism.

Possible causes of autism in dogs

The two tell-tell causes of autism in dogs are as follows:

  • Scientists believe that it is caused by underdevelopment in certain brain circuits and the over-development of other sensory circuits.
  • It is also suggested that it could be a condition inherited from parents or forebears.

Symptoms of Autism in Dogs

The major symptoms of autism in dogs include:

i. Lack of Social Interaction

Lack of socialization or social interaction is common in dogs showing the signs of autism. The lack of socialization is common with both dogs and humans. Dogs with poor socialization skills will often ignore your call. It doesn’t usually engage in everyday activities such as playing, eating and even going for a walk.

ii. Behavioral Issue

The peculiar behavior exhibited by autistic dogs doesn’t necessarily involve violent behavior but unusual behavioral issues, such as staring at stuff, avoiding people and objects, running or staying still without any reason. They entail a lack of excitement with new places, new toys, or other pets.

iii. Mental condition

The mental condition of an autistic dog can only be diagnosed by an experienced veterinarian. It is important to rule out every other mental issue before you can tell that your dog has autism. Such dogs cannot exhibit emotions correctly; therefore they can get scared randomly, making them avoid places and people that don’t present any threat to them.

iv. Physical

The physical activity and gesture are less or none in dogs with autism. They will not behave normally. Although you may get the signs of illness, they just do not show any interest in physical activity. Autistic dogs can be tagged as lazy as they don’t want to play or do anything fun.

v. Sensorial

Like autistic children, dogs with autism feel everything differently. They link physical and sensorial stimuli to wrong emotions, and that makes them react in off the wall ways as if they were hurt just by the gentle touch of their owners. This behavior can be disheartening as you don’t know the cause of this sad reaction. It’s important to know that the dog is not acting correctly and it doesn’t mean the owner is doing something wrong.

Possible treatment of autism in dogs

The diagnosis of any canine problems should be carried out by an experienced veterinarian. It’s important to ascertain the underlying emotional or physical problem with the dogs before diagnosing any medical condition.

If you think your dog might have autism, one of the most important things you can do is determine what his or her triggers are (what causes atypical behavior to flare-up) and avoid those things.

For instance, if your dog becomes fearful and aggressive when approached by a stranger, you can avoid taking it to the public places

a. Medicine

There is no definite treatment for autism or autism-related issues. The treatment with medications doesn’t mean your dog will stop having autism, but it can help to curb the symptoms and provide relief. The veterinarians may prescribe Fluoxetine which is already being used to treat OCD and autism problems in people and dogs. Medicine would help to tranquilize your dog and prevent aggressive behaviors.

b. Secure and safe environment

Ensuring a safe habitat for dogs with autism-related issues is a must. Autistic dogs might be afraid of almost everything. If your dog gets nervous and anxious around other people, dogs or animals, and an unknown environment then you should ensure to provide a neutral environment for your dog.

Build a quiet, safe space just for them so they can hide every time they need to.

c. Anti-stress life

Avoid situations that may give stress to your dog or that could cause your pet any stress or anxiety. If the dog doesn’t like to be petted, don’t pet it. If she or he doesn’t like to meet people or dogs, let it be. Learn to be gentle with both and humans who are suffering from autism.

d. Exercise

Exercise can be a good idea to preoccupy their mind. If your dog has plenty of exercise, it will have less stress and anxiety. Dogs can also be trained to do “heavy work” such as pulling a loaded wagon or carrying a doggy backpack filled with soft weight. These sorts of activities are known to help many people with autism.

e. Diet

Learn more about the appropriate diet for dogs with behavioral issues. You must consult with your vet about possible changes in their food regime.

f. Positive Reinforcement

Work with trainers or therapists who specialize in positive reinforcement. Find a trainer who has experience working with dogs who have behavioral concerns; a good trainer should be part of the treatment team for any dog who may be exhibiting autism-like behaviors.

Urban Pet Hospital & Resort is a premier dog daycare in Des Moines specializing in pet care, pet boarding, training, and therapy services. We are also a reliable veterinary in Des Moines and offer both medical and alternative pet care services.

Water Therapy Service for Dogs

Like humans, a pet is often prone to physical ailments. Arthritis and hip dysplasia are common in many canines, while Obesity remains common in both canines and felines. Therapy has been proven to reduce physical pain and ailments in pets.

Water therapy service for dogs is specially designed to treat obesity and different forms of bone ailments in dogs.

Pet therapy service

Not to be mistaken with Animal Assisted Therapy, Pet therapy service is specifically designed for the pets. Pet therapy is a human-assisted treatment designed for pets as an intensive therapy session for various ailments, weight loss, physiological diagnosis, and treatment.

According to a study by the Association for pet obesity prevention, 56% of the pet dogs in the USA are overweight in 2017. Among them, 19.6% are suffering from obesity. Overweight is not only the problem in itself but also the cause of many problems in both humans and animals. Well planned diet, proper exercise, and regular health checkup is the key to healthy pets.

Every veterinary and pet hospital should be equipped with therapists and water therapy services for dogs.  They should be well prepared to rehabilitate major pet problems such as:

  • Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD)
  • Obesity
  • Arthritis
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Elbow Dysplasia
  • Gait Abnormalities
  • Bone and Joint Injuries

Importance of pet therapy service

Pet Therapy service has both physical and mental benefits for pets. From reducing physical pain to gaining confidence, pet therapy has larger implications on pet health.

  • Depression and anxiety are common in pets with arthritis. The difficulty in movement often reduces endorphin (any of a group of hormones secreted within the brain and nervous system and having a number of physiological functions including happiness). Intensive therapy can help dogs move freely which can certainly improve their mood.
  • Along with increasing endorphin, pet therapy can help decrease feelings of isolation and alienation. They will be encouraged to communicate with other animals and humans.
  • The decrease in anxiety, boredom, and increase in exercise can improve the overall health of the dog.
  • In the case of obesity, water therapy can help reduce the unnecessary weight by intensive underwater exercise. This has proven to be helpful to many overweight dogs and cats.

Water therapy service for dogs

Water therapy, also known as hydrotherapy, is a technique of reducing weight within a short duration. Water therapy implies two different methods of reducing weight: exercising in the swimming pool and the underwater treadmill.

Water induced therapy in the swimming pool helps dogs to play and engage in an exercise in the swimming pool, whereas, the underwater treadmill is a focused therapy applied to reduce weight or treat physical ailments such as hip dysplasia and arthritis.

Hydrotherapy originally began as a treatment for humans in ancient times. It later expanded to include animals too. The first instance of the therapy saw benefits among racehorses as well as racing Greyhounds.

Various therapies used in the present-day treatment employ water jets, underwater massage and mineral baths (e.g. balneotherapy, Iodine-Grine therapy, Kneipp treatments, Scotch hose, Swiss shower, and thalassotherapy)

About pool therapy

The pool tends to be smaller than a human swimming pool and is heated. A dog's muscles benefit from the warming effects of the heated water. Most pools are equipped with a ramp for entry and exit and some have harnessed to maintain the dog in position in the water. Water is chlorinated or treated with an alternative chemical. Some have jets to add resistance and make the dog swim more strongly.

Benefits of Water Therapy Service for Dogs

The many benefits of water therapy service for dogs include:

  • Hydrotherapy helps in relieving pain and strengthen or re-training muscles. The dog is effectively weightless when swimming which helps to minimize pain and enforce the strengthening of muscles or bones.
  • It encourages a full range of joint motion, thus improving muscle tone without imposing unnecessary stress on damaged tissues.
  • It also helps your dog lose unnecessary body weight by encouraging regular exercise.
  • It helps dogs to recover from the injury or surgery.
  • It can be beneficial for dogs who suffer from arthritis due to old age. The water buoyancy helps to reduce joint swelling, stress on muscles and bones, etc.
  • The older dogs tend to experience sadness and fear, especially when their ailing health causes pain. The support of water and relief from pain promotes a sense of safety and well-being in them.

Why you should perform a water therapy service?

The hydrotherapy technique has been applied to animals since the 18th Century. It is one of the most effective forms of alternative treatment.

The water is denser than the air, thus making it 5x more effective for the exercise. The intensive exercise can help lose more weight through water therapy in a very short time. Although water therapy is mostly implemented for weight loss, it has many other health benefits. Regular water therapy helps maintain fitness, strength, and condition of body. Being in shape and good health will help reduce future medical costs.

Water buoyancy makes it possible for dogs with joint problems to exercise without any pressure. It is very useful for joint and limb problems.

Water therapy can help in healing after surgery or injury. It makes it easier for muscle mass development and muscle strength in necessary body parts. Water therapy, usually warm water, improves circulation and lymphatic drainage. It reduces swelling, increases mobility and relaxes the muscle.

It increases the metabolism in the body. It helps to digest the food and absorb all the nutrients and spread throughout the body.

Real news about “water therapy service for dogs”

The news was covered by ABC7 Chicago.

Montana beagle named 'Pearl' weighed 50 pounds. Within one year, she lost 20-25 pounds thanks to hydrotherapy.

Pearl's owner said, "She weighed 50 pounds, unable to walk more than 4 to 5 steps before her legs would give out. She had a dislocated hip that prevented her from being able to walk well."

Initially, she was only able to exercise 45 seconds along with many breaks in between. However, after sessions six days a week, he built up the endurance to swim for 15 minutes.

Pearl has Cushing's disease hence she has to follow a strict diet but enjoys a treat now and again.

Pet Care Service in Des Moines

Urban Pet Hospital & Resort is a premier veterinary specializing in pet care service in Des Moines. We offer different forms of pet therapy services such as canine massage, Low-Level Laser Therapy, different range of motion exercise, aqua paws underwater treadmill, magnetic field therapy, hydrotherapy - In the ground endless pool with swim current.

Our therapists perform special weight loss programs. Get in touch with Urban Pet Hospital & Resort for the best pet care service in Des Moines.

What is Arthritis?

Dogs have a less life span compared to the human. A dog may encounter many medical conditions including early onset of arthritis by the age of eight or nine. Arthritis simply means 'inflammation of the joints' and is, unfortunately, a common problem for many dogs.

Most of you will no doubt know of a dog suffering from arthritis that has shown the textbook signs of pain, discomfort, and stiffness.

What is arthritis?

Arthritis is a medical condition that causes the swelling and tenderness of one or more joints inside a body. It is also known as the inflammation of the joints. Age, weight, and medical condition play an important factor in the onset of arthritis in pets.

One in four of 77.2 million dogs in the United States is diagnosed with some form of arthritis. Osteoarthritis is more common than rheumatoid arthritis and pain is the number one observation among them.

The most common joint areas affected by arthritis in dogs are the hips, elbows, lower back, knees, and wrists.


What are the symptoms of arthritis in dogs?

The main symptoms of arthritis are joint pain and stiffness, which typically worsen with age. The most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Signs of arthritis may include one or more of the following:

  • Reluctance to indulge in a walk, climb elevated floor, jump or play
  • Limping or lameness
  • Lagging behind on walks
  • Pain or stiffness when getting up or down
  • Yelping when touched
  • A change in personality (aggression when normally good-natured)
  • Licking of the affected joints

Different types of arthritis in a dog

The common forms of arthritis found in dogs are;

a. Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is also known as a degenerative joint disease (DJD). It refers to the progressive and permanent long-term deterioration of the cartilage surrounding the joints. It is more common in older dogs and cats. The bulging weight of the body can affect the joints in the legs of pets, which can lead to Osteoarthritis.

The common risks of osteoarthritis in large or giant breeds, such as German Shepherd Dogs, Labrador Retrievers, and Golden Retrievers are;

  • Obesity
  • Repetitive stress from physical activities such as agility, flyball, or dock diving
  • Injuries such as fractures or ligament tears
  • Infections that affect the joints, such as Lyme Disease
  • Improper nutrition
  • Poor conformation
  • Genetics

b. Septic arthritis

Septic arthritis is also known as joint infection or infectious arthritis. It is caused by the invasion of a joint by a bacterial infection that results in joint and cartilage inflammation. It causes the fluid to build-up in the joints. Symptoms of Septic arthritis include redness, heat, and pain in a single joint associated with a decreased ability to move the joint.

Treatment of septic arthritis includes antibiotic therapy and drainage of the infected joint (synovial) fluid from the joint (arthrocentesis).

c. Polyarthritis

In polyarthritis, the dog’s immune system becomes over-activated and it starts to attack the tissues of the multiple joints. It goes into overdrive and attacks the wrong cells.

The immune system can sometimes be ‘tricked’ to over-react in this way when there are diseases going on in other parts of the body, including infections, cancer or gastrointestinal disease.

It can affect five or more joints simultaneously. It is usually associated with autoimmune conditions and may be experienced at any age and is not sex-specific.

dog joints

What causes arthritis in a dog?

Although arthritis is a problem seen in older dogs, the condition can develop from an early age following problems with bone and joint development. Like humans, signs of arthritis can often vary throughout the animal's life and result in the early onset of joint problems in older age.

Some of the major causes of arthritis are;

a. Injury to Ligaments

If a dog has suffered from injury to ligament there are likely chances of encountering arthritis. The most common ligament damage in dogs is the CCL or Cranial Cruciate Ligament in the knee. The damage to the ligament can lead to joint instability and result in excess wear on the cartilage. If treated soon, it can help prevent or minimize arthritis from occurring in the future.

b. Joint Instability

A variety of joint instability is common in many dogs that can lead to arthritis over time. Some of the common joint instability are;

i. Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia in dogs is an abnormal formation of the hip socket that leads to joint instability. It often leads to damage to the cartilage and may lead to arthritis. If hip dysplasia is in its more severe form, it can eventually cause crippling lameness and painful arthritis of the joints. Hip dysplasia is most commonly diagnosed through X-rays and an orthopedic exam.

ii. Elbow dysplasia

Elbow dysplasia is a condition causing multiple developmental abnormalities of the elbow. This condition is more seen in large and fast-growing dog breeds. The early sign includes lameness that starts around 6 to 9 months of age. Specialized X-rays are used to make a diagnosis. Surgery can help minimize arthritis but most likely it will get worse over time.

iii. Patellar luxation

Patellar luxation is common in small dog breeds. It results from traumatic injury to the knee such as when the patella (knee cap) pops out of place. In smaller dogs, the kneecaps tend to pop to the inside. A dog may face lameness of a hind leg or skip or hop while walking.

c. Cartilage Issues

Osteochondrosis dissecans (OCD) is a joint disorder in dogs which causes thickening of joint cartilage that can lead to injury. OCD can tear the thickened cartilage in the affected joints that lead to the lameness of the joints.

OCD is more commonly seen in large and giant breed dogs. Obesity is one of the major causes of cartilage issues. The first sign of OCD may appear as early as 4 to 8 months of age.

d. Joint Infection

Joint infection in pets mostly occurs from an injury or damage such as wound to a joint. The infection can eventually develop arthritis.

e. Autoimmune Disorders

Although rare, an autoimmune disorder in pets, such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, can cause the immune system to attack the body's own cells and tissue. It often leads to inflammation of the joints and lameness. It can be life-threating to dogs.

Symptoms of autoimmune disorder such as lupus include;

  • Arthritis in several joints.
  • Muscle pain.
  • Shifting lameness in the legs.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Skin sores.

Vets will prescribe immunosuppressive drugs that can be effective against some autoimmune disorders.

f. Obesity

Obesity is common in dogs with an unhealthy diet or lifestyle. As a pet owner, you must keep their weight in check and offer an optimum quantity of nutritious meals. It’s completely wrong to feed your dog from your plate or dinner table because their meal requirement vastly differs from humans. Osteoarthritis is one of the many risks caused by obesity in dogs.

ideal weight pets

The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention’s (APOP) 2016 clinical survey recently reported that nearly 54% of dogs and 59% of cats are clinically overweight or obese.


Treatment of Arthritis in Dogs

Some of the most sought after treatment for Arthritis in dogs include;

a. Joint Supplements

Vets will prescribe Glucosamine and chondroitin to improve joint function, reduce inflammation, increase water retention in the cartilage, and slow the progression of joint damage.

Green-lipped mussel or GLM is another most prescribed joint supplement ingredient that contains beneficial nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, glycosaminoglycans, and antioxidants.

b. NSAIDs

The treatment of severe arthritis includes prescribing pain control medications such as Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs). NSAIDs don’t only reduce pain but also decrease inflammation in the joints.

The continued use of NSAIDs has significant side effects such as poor liver or kidney function.

c. Weight Control

Weight control is one of the most effective ways to prevent arthritis in dogs. Often dogs with the problem of obesity may encounter issues with joints and cartilage. The long-term effects of obesity include Osteoarthritis.

Weight control is mainly done through food portion control and hydrotherapy. Hydrotherapy is a technique of cutting unnecessary body weight. In pets, the hydrotherapy helps to focus on their body weight and intensely cut fats. The advantage of hydrotherapy is that water is denser than air, hence providing more regression.

 

Various veterinary treatments are available to cure arthritis or joint problems in pets. The best option will depend on many factors involving your dog: such as age, the severity of signs, the progression of the disease process and whether they have any other health problems.

If you see any awkward signs from your dog such as lameness, hopping, agitation, etc. please speak to the best veterinarian in Urbandale. Urban Pet Hospital & Resort specializes in medical and pet therapy services in Des Moines