|Kanine Kisses ~ Canine Illnesses
|Listed below are some common diseases and problems that some
puppies and their new owners may face. Please read over this
information so that you are armed with knowledge and can prevent
these problems from happening to you and be prepared if they do.
Your dog can be infected with worms. Some worms you may visually see in your dog’s feces. The
most common are Hookworms and Roundworms. Others you may not see such as Heartworms
and Tapeworms. It is important to rid and/or protect your dog from these worms. There are
several worming medications on the market that will take care of all these worms. Of all the worms,
Heartworms are the most dangerous to your dog. Heartworms wrap themselves around the dog’s
heart and can eventually cause death. Heartworm medication must be prescribed by a
veterinarian. The easiest thing to do is to get the medication that will not only destroy and prevent
Heartworms but all the worms. Be sure to give your bulldog this worming medication as prescribed
all year round for the life of your dog.
FLEAS AND TICKS
Fleas and ticks are one of the most common of parasites that can hurt your dog. Both fleas and
ticks are blood suckers and depending on the size of your dog a large infestation of one or both
of these parasites can make your dog ill and even cause death. Your veterinarian can provide
you with medication that can rid and/or prevent your dog of fleas and ticks. Pet shops and stores
selling pet supplies also sell over the counter flea and tick products – collars, liquids and sprays.
Although some of these work well, they tend not to last very long so you may want to consider
what type of product or medication you may want to use.
Brewers Yeast with garlic is also a deterent. These tablets tend to ward off fleas and ticks
because of the garlic in the blood stream. The Brewers yeast is good for the dog's coat. Most
dogs love the taste of them and will eat the tablets without a problem. Give 1 tablet per 10 pounds
of body weight per day. Brewers Yeast tablets are safe and can be used in conjunction with any
other flea medication or repellent you are using.
Coccidia is also very common in puppies. Coccidia are not technically a worm, but a protozoan
parasite that infect dogs. The Coccidia life cycles are complex and involve many stages of
development. Coccidia produce cysts instead of larvae and eggs. Puppies usually get the
infection from ingesting the cysts in the environment or from their mothers milk during nursing.
Symptoms usually occur in young animals and include diarrhea and abdominal pain. Blood in the
diarrhea is very common. This is especially true in pets that are stressed or have other parasites.
Many pets, especially the older ones, do not show any symptoms when infected. Because of the
unpredictable stages of Coccidia and additional factors such as stress, change of environment,
change of food and time of weening, symptoms of Coccidia can appear at any time during the
young puppies life. The most reliable cure of Coccidia is a medication called Albon. A teaspoon of
Albon once a day for 7 - 10 days usually rids the Coccidia from the puppy. Although Coccidia can
be life threatening if gone untreated in very young puppies, there have been very few cases.
Your bulldog may experience diarrhea. Diarrhea is not a disease but possibly a symptom of many
other diseases. Most of the time diarrhea is not serious. Usually diarrhea is brought on by eating
garbage or some other nasty morsel. Other minor causes are stomach or intestinal viruses. You
can usually treat your pet at home for this type of diarrhea. Time is usually the best cure, but you
can give your dog a medicine such as Kaopectate. Give your dog 0.5 to 1.0 ml per pound of body
weight every 2 to 6 hours. You will need to make sure that your bulldog does not get dehydrated.
You can give him/her a sports drink in his water dish to guard against loss of nutrients. Do not
feed your dog any table scraps or treats while he/she is suffering from diarrhea.
Your dog’s diarrhea may be serious if any of the following additional symptoms are present.
* Vomiting * Dehydration
* Loss of appetite * Abdominal pain
* Bloody diarrhea * Watery diarrhea
If the diarrhea is occurring in conjunction with one or more of the symptoms above, you should
bring your bulldog to your veterinarian for a diagnosis.
At first, your dog will not like being washed, Q tipped, nail clipped, and medicated, but if you stick
to a schedule and do these things often, your dog will grow to accept these as his daily life and
you will not have a problem with him/her.
DEMODECTIC MANGE (also called "Red Mange") is caused by a microscopic mite called
Demodex canis. All dogs raised normally by their mothers possess this mite as mites are
transferred from mother to pup via cuddling during the first few days of life. (After the pup is older
it is unable to pick up demodex mites. Puppies raised by hand, do not ever get demodex mites.)
For some reason, conditions change in certain dogs to allow demodex mites to "gain the upper
hand;" the mites proliferate and can cause serious skin disease. Mites are not transmitted to
people or other dogs except from mother dog to pup as described. Demodectic mange (unlike
Sarcoptic mange) is not contagious.Mites live inside hair follicles - a difficult place for miticides
(chemicals that kill mites) to reach. Mites are a normal residents of dog skin; it is only in some
individual dogs that mites cause problems . DEMODICOSIS -- THE DISEASE ITSELF
Demodectic mange -- also called "demodicosis"-- has three forms:
FORM #1: LOCALIZED
Usually a red, scaly, well-circumscribed lesion on the face or forelegs is present. It generally goes
away on its own. Goodwinol ointment, an insecticide, may be used daily to control localized
demodicosis. Hair regrowth should be evident after about a month of treatment; however, some
localized cases appear "destined" to become generalized and no treatment will prevent this from
When ointment is used, rubbing the medication on the area may break off the weaker hairs at the
margin of the lesion. The lesion may thus appear to get larger at first. Antibacterial gels are also
used against localized demodicosis and associated skin infections. Often it is best not to treat this
condition and to simply allow it to resolve on its own
FORM #2: GENERALIZED
The entire dog is affected with patchy fur, skin infections, bald, scaly skin. Most generalized
demodicosis starts as localized demodicosis.
* ADULT ONSET-- Most demodicosis occurs in young dogs. An older dog should not
get deodicosis unless it has an underlying problem with its immune system, possibly even cancer.
A veterinarian should be consulted regarding possible primary diseases.
* JUVENILE ONSET -- 30-50% of dogs under age 1 year recover spontaneously from generalized
demodicosis without any form of treatment. Usually treatment is recommended, though, to
FORM #3: DEMODECTIC PODODERMATITIS
STRESS AND GENERALIZED DEMODECTIC MANGE
Physiological stress is an important factor determining the degree of severity of demodectic
1. Females should be spayed as soon as the disease is controlled. Coming into heat, hormone
fluxes, and pregnancy are very stressful. Also, predisposition to demodicosis is hereditary and
should not be passed on.
2. The dog should be fed a reputable brand of dog food so as to avoid any nutritionally related
3. Keep the pet parasite-free. Worms are irritants that the pet need not deal with and fleas may
exacerbate the itchiness and skin infection.
4. Keep up the pet's vaccinations.
5. The mites themselves cause suppression of the immune system so the pet needs every
advantage to stay healthy.
The younger the dog, the better the chance of cure. In many cases of adult-onset demodicosis,
the disease is controlled by dips and baths but cure is not always possible. Some cases can
never be controlled.
TREATMENT OF CHOICE -- IVERMECTIN
Ivermectin is a broad spectrum anti-parasite medication generally used for food animals and
horses. It is licensed for use in dogs and cats as a heartworm preventive and as a topical ear
mite therapy at this time thus the use of this medication to treat demodicosis is not approved by
the FDA. When ivermectin was a new drug it was hoped that it could be used against demodectic
mange mites. At first it was found ineffective but later it was determined that daily doses are
needed (most other parasites can be controlled with wormings spaced several weeks apart.)
Ivermectin is inexpensive relative to Milbemycin and involves no labor intensive bathing. It DOES,
however, taste terrible if given orally (it may be necessary for the owner to learn how to give
ivermectin as an injectable treatment.)
SARCOPTIC MANGE (also called "Scabies") is the name for the skin disease caused by infection
with the Sarcoptes scabei mite. Mites are not insects; instead they are more closely related to
spiders. They are microscopic and cannot be seen with the naked eye.
Adult Sarcoptes scabei mites live 3-4 weeks in the host’s skin. After mating, the female burrows
into the skin depositing 3-4 eggs in the tunnel behind her. The eggs hatch in 3-10 days producing
a larva which, in turn, moves about on the skin surface eventually molting into a "nymphal" stage
and finally into an adult. The adults move on the surface of the skin where they mate and the
cycle begins again with the female burrowing and laying eggs.
The motion of the mite in and on the skin is extremely itchy. Further, the presence of mites and
their eggs generates a massive allergic response in the skin which is even more itchy. Mites
prefer hairless skin thus leaving the ear flaps, elbows and abdomen at highest risk for the red,
scaley itchy skin that characterizes sarcoptic mange. It should be noted that this pattern of itching
is similar to that found with airborne allergies (atopy) as well as with food allergies. Frequently,
before attempting to sort out allergies, a veterinarian will simply treat a patient for sarcoptic mange
as a precaution. It is very easy to be led down the wrong path (pursuing allergy aggressively) if
one considers sarcoptic mange an unusual or unlikely possibility.
As the infection progresses, eventually most of the dog's body will be involved. Classically,
though, the picture begins on the ears (especially the ear margins), the elbows, and abdomen.
The term "Scabies" refers to mite infestations by either Sarcoptes scabei or other mite species
closely related to Sarcoptes scabei. While Sarcoptes scabei can infect humans and cats, it tends
not to persist on these hosts.
When an animal with sarcoptic mange scratches itself, it breaks open the tunnels that the mites
have burrowed into and the mites are killed (though the itch persists due to toxins in the skin). The
result is that the mites can be very difficult to confirm by skin scraping tests. (Probably mites are
confirmed in 50% or fewer of sarcoptic mange cases).
Since negative test results do not rule out mite infection, a "Maybe Mange" test is frequently
performed. This consists simply of treating for sarcoptic mange and observing for resolution of the
signs within 2-4 weeks.
Of course, if mite presence is confirmed by skin scraping, then one knows immediately the cause
of the itching and need not be concerned about allergy possibilities or other diseases and the
condition can be addressed with confidence.
BIOPSY - Mange mites are rarely seen on a skin biopsy sample, though, if the sample is read out
by a pathologist who specializes in skin, the type of inflammation seen in the sample can be highly
suggestive of sarcoptic mange. This is an example of a skin disease where it makes a difference
whether the pathologist reading the sample specializes in reading skin samples
While sarcoptic mange is difficult to diagnose definitively, it is fairly easy to treat and a number of
choices are available.
DIPPING - Anti-bacterial or anti-itch shampoos preceed one of several anti-mite dips. Paramite dip
(an organophosphate), Mitaban dip (Amitraz), and Lime-Sulfur dips given weekly are usually
effective. Disease typically resolves within one month. Dips are often used in combination with one
of the other treatments listed below.
IVERMECTIN - This is one of the most effective treatments against Sarcoptes scabei yet is is off-
label as far as the FDA is concerned. There are several protocols due to the very long activity of
this drug in the body. Typically an injection is given either weekly or every two weeks in 1-4 doses.
In most cases this treatment is safe and effective but some individuals have a mutation which
makes ivermectin very toxic at the doses used to kill mites. These individuals are usually of the
Collie family: Collies, Shetland Sheepdogs, and Australian Shepherds are classically affected.
There is now a test that can determine if any dog has the mutation that makes ivermectin use
dangerous. Selamectin is an ivermectin derivative recently marketed for the control of fleas,
roundworms, hookworms, ticks, ear mites and sarcoptic mange mites. Normal monthly use of this
product should prevent a sarcoptic mange problem but to clear an actual infection studies show
an extra dose is usually needed after 2 weeks for reliable results.
You can sometimes avoid this with diet. Nutro food has almost totally eliminated the gas problem,
but each dog is different. Charcoal Bonio biscuits are great for a windy dog as the charcoal will
help soak up the internal gasses.
HYPOGLYCEMIA (Low blood sugar):
This is common among toy breeds, especially the tiny ones (under two pounds). It is extremely
important for you to watch for signs of this problem. This can be a needless killer of small puppies.
Symptoms are listlessness, staggering when trying to walk, acting lethargic, etc. Always make sure
your puppy has food and water and check to see that it has eaten. Giving Nutri-cal or even honey
or syrup (1-2 cc’s) will usually alleviate this problem. We make it a habit to give it to our puppies
any time we will be gone for an extended period of time. This will usually cease to be a problem by
16 weeks of age.
Parvovirus is a HIGHLY CONTAGIOUS virus that attacks the intestines and causes sloughing of
the inner layers of the intestine. The most common symptoms of this disease (the “intestinal
form”) are vomiting and diarrhea. Another less common form, the “cardiac form”, occurs in very
young pups (less than 8 weeks of age) and attacks the heart muscle, often resulting in sudden
Parvovirus is contagious to dogs only—not to cats or people. Any age, breed, or sex of dog could
be affected by parvovirus. However, infection with parvovirus does not automatically mean
illness. Several factors such as age, environment, stress, parasites, and general health status of
each individual dog infected could affect the severity of the disease. The degree of illness could
range from very mild to unapparent to very severe, often resulting in death. The disease is
usually more severe in young dogs (less than 6 months of age), old dogs, Rottweilers, and
Dobermans. The younger and smaller the dog, the greater the chance that it will not recover.
Parvovirus is resistant to extremes of temperature (i.e., it survives freezing and extreme heat) and
is unharmed by detergents, alcohol, and common disinfectants. Direct transmission occurs when
an infected dog comes in contact with a healthy dog. The virus is found in heavy concentration in
the infected dog’s stool. Because dogs will usually sniff where another dog has eliminated, this
fecal-oral transmission is the most common method of transmission. The virus particles can be
easily spread by hands, shoes, clothing, or other inanimate objects (fomites)—this is an indirect
source of transmission.
As many as 30 billion parvovirus particles can be shed from the intestines of an infected dog in
every ounce of stool. The highest concentration of virus in the stool is seen when the infected
dog is showing signs of illness. A dog can, however, be a source of infection to other dogs
without it having observable signs of illness (the disease may be incubating). Transmission can
occur for at least 3 weeks after a dog becomes infected with the virus. Chronic “carriers” are not
known to exist as in other viral diseases. Parvovirus in the environment can infect susceptible
dogs for as long as 6 months once shed in the stool.
Clinical signs include vomiting, fever, loss of appetite, depression, and bloody diarrhea with a very
foul odor. Infected animals rapidly dehydrate and severe cases progress to shock and death.
Early, vigorous treatment of illness caused by canine parvovirus infection can save lives.
Cardiac form (less than 8 weeks of age):
Crying, difficulty breathing, gasping for breath
Unwillingness to nurse
Intestinal form (any age dog affected, but more severe in puppies):
Loss of appetite
Fever (usually above 103F)
Vomiting with or without blood
Diarrhea with or without blood (more serious if blood present)
Low white blood cell count (due to immunosuppression)
Treatment is aimed at maintaining the normal body composition and preventing secondary
bacterial infection. Because this is a virus, there is NO CURE. Death from parvovirus results from
dehydration, overwhelming secondary bacterial infection, blood loss from intestinal hemorrhage,
or heart attack from invasion of the heart muscle by the virus.
Early FLUID THERAPY is the most important factor in treating dogs with parvovirus infection. The
body is normally about 80% water. Life is NOT possible when 12-15% of the normal body fluids
are lost. Intravenous fluids both rehydrate the body and nourish the sick dog.
Additional treatment includes prevention of secondary bacterial infection and drugs to control
vomiting and diarrhea. No food or water is given while the dog is vomiting. Repeated laboratory
tests are often necessary to monitor your pet’s white blood cell count and state of hydration.
HOSPITALIZATION enables us to provide the best medicine and is the best way to achieve
success. There is NO GUARANTEE, even with hospitalization, that your pet will survive. With
most dogs, there is at least a 70% survival rate. Very small (young) puppies, Rottweilers, and
Dobermans usually only have a 30-50% chance of survival. Length of treatment depends on the
severity of disease. Most dogs have to stay hospitalized for at least 2-4 days, but may require
treatment for as long as a week. Dogs that recover from parvo are often weak, making them even
more susceptible to other diseases, such as distemper. Dogs that recover from parvo continue to
spread the virus in the feces for a month or longer.
Prevention/Control of parvovirus by sanitation measures alone is extremely difficult because the
virus is such a resistant, hardy organism and because it is so easily spread. Contact with other
dogs,and especially their stool, should be minimized. Clorox diluted one part to 30 parts water (4
oz Clorox in 1 gallon of water) has been effective in disinfecting inanimate objects such as
clothing, floors, kennels, etc. However, it is impractical, if not impossible, to disinfect public
streets, parks, etc. Isolation of infected dogs is another method of control, moderately effective.
Both of these measures will help reduce the amount of contagious virus in the environment, but
only a full series of vaccinations, with appropriate booster intervals, will help to control the source
of infection, the contagious shedding dog.
Guidelines for young puppies:
1. Do not take the puppy to the front yard, park, for a walk around the block, or to pet stores.
These are all places where infected dogs have been or presently are.
2. Only have the puppy around adult dogs that YOU KNOW are current on vaccinations. There
should be no contact with stray dogs or dogs that you are not sure of.
3. Do not let the puppy be exposed to any other puppies. These pups could be incubating the
disease (and therefore be contagious) without showing signs of illness.
4. Always wash your hands after handling any dog.
Vaccination is the most effective preventive measure for canine parvovirus disease. A properly
immunized dog will have circulating antibodies in the blood that will destroy parvovirus following
exposure. Dogs remain HIGHLY SUSCEPTIBLE to parvo until 2-4 weeks after the last injection of
the immunization series.