What Is Cushing Syndrome in Dogs?

Cushing syndrome is one of the most common endocrine diseases that dogs can suffer. The common thing is that it appears in animals older than six years and among small dog breeds (such as Yorkshire, Maltese or Schnauzer bichon). It is a chronic disease that can not be prevented, but with the right treatment, your pet can enjoy a good quality of life. Below we tell you what it consists of and what are its possible treatments.

Origin of Cushing syndrome in dogs

This condition causes alterations in the metabolic system and occurs when the body begins to produce large amounts of the hormone cortisol (which is responsible for responding to stress). Excess of this hormone can cause health problems to your pet, such as damage to your vital organs or reduction of energy and strength.

These are the main causes of Cushing syndrome:

• Pituitary-dependent tumors

These tumors are located in the pituitary gland of the brain. It causes increased production of adrenocortical hormone-trope (ACTH) and over-stimulation. This leads to increased production of cortisol in the adrenal glands.

• Adrenal Tumors

These are tumors located in the adrenal glands. This abnormality affects the cortex of one or both glands (located in the upper extremities of the kidneys).

• Glucocorticoids

They are medicines used to combat or control allergy problems and immunosuppressive diseases. Their overuse can fill the body with cortisol while slowing the activity of the adrenal glands and reducing them in size.

• Racial predisposition

There are several breeds of dogs that tend to have pituitary tumors (poodle, tackle, Boston terrier, bobtail, German shepherd, dwarf poodle… ). On the other hand, the glucocorticoid’s effect especially races like the shepherds of the Pyrenees, the farmers, the boxers and the poodles, making them more susceptible to get this syndrome.

This disease can not be predicted or predicted, and you can not avoid it (except to control the doses of glucocorticoid’s), but detect it in time itself. The following are the most common symptoms for detection. If you detect any of them in your pet, we advise that you go to the veterinarian to diagnose it and, if necessary, start treating it as soon as possible

• Lack of hair on the body, especially on the sides and tail.

• Polyura increased urine.

• Polydipsia increased thirst.

• Increased appetite.

• Fatigue and continuous gasping.

• Abdominal swelling.

• Muscular atrophy.

• Dark pigmentation on the skin.

• Delayed healing.

How to Treat Cushing Syndrome in Dogs

The fundamental thing about this disease is that the endocrine system ceases to exceed the production of the hormone cortisol. But this is quite complicated since you have to find the exact proportion of hormone-regulating drugs. The good thing is that once this ratio is found your dog will be able to have a normal life again.

In addition to pharmacological treatment (which would be for life), there is also the possibility of surgery if the syndrome is caused by adrenal and pituitary-dependent tumors. The operation is to remove the tumor, but it is more risky and complex than the pharmacological treatment.

If you want to make sure that your dog receives the appropriate treatment, it is best that you go to your veterinarian and consult your doubts. He will know what is best for your dog and what is the right solution for him.

Do you but have or have you had Cushing syndrome? Did you detect any of the symptoms mentioned? Did you opt for a treatment or for the operation? Tell us your experience, sure that readers who suffer for their pets will be quieter.



Source by Raja Abdul Rehman

Boston Terriers and Aggression

The Boston Terrier is descended from tough, ferocious dogs. Bulldogs were developed to work with butchers to engage and control steers and cattle-animals that were many times their own size and that could cause fatal injury if the dog was not quick or tough enough. The terriers that contributed their genes to the Boston’s family pool were pit fighting dogs, fearless fighters of their own kind but completely harmless to humans. How these ferocious breeds were used to create the friendly, happy companion we know today is difficult to explain or understand. But throughout the generations, the dogs were selected as much for their easygoing, nonaggressive nature as for their type and structure.

Boston Terriers can be aggressive toward other dogs, particularly when they are behind a fence or on a leash. This may be something the dog has learned, or it may be a genetic tendency. Regardless of its origins, this behavior is not typical of Boston Terriers and is not to be considered acceptable. In many cases, this behavior can be changed by teaching the dog to focus on his owner and by rewarding the dog with praise and treats for ignoring the other dog or dogs. Under no circumstances should a dog be punished or corrected for this aggressive behavior by yanking on the leash, yelling at the dog or hitting the dog. The aggressive behavior is usually caused by fear, and punishment can increase the fear and thereby increase the aggression that the punishment was intended to stop.

If your Boston Terrier does display aggressive behavior toward you, other humans or other dogs, you should seek the services of a competent dog trainer or behavior specialist who will work with you to change the dog’s behavior without resorting to punishment or correction of any sort. Before the training begins, the trainer or specialist will probably recommend a thorough vet exam to rule out physical causes for the aggressive behavior. Sometimes pain or illness can cause a dog that has always been peaceful to suddenly behave aggressively. Certain chemical imbalances in the body, such as low thyroid hormone levels or abnormalities of the liver, can trigger aggressive behavior in dogs. I have seen a few cases of Boston Terriers who would suddenly and unaccountably “turn on” their owners and bite them severely, and every case of that type was attributed to a brain disorder causing seizures or seizure-type problems.

Aggressive behavior is not normal for Boston Terriers. A Boston that does develop aggression should be checked thoroughly by a vet and put on a program of positive, reward-based behavior modification under the supervision of an experienced dog trainer, behavior specialist or Certified Veterinary Behaviorist.

Ask your dog-owning friends for recommendations on dog trainers. Call trainers to ask whether you may observe their classes (if they say no, look elsewhere). Look for a trainer who is very positive, one who emphasizes praise and rewards for the dog’s good behavior and avoids punishment or corrections for bad behavior.



Source by Rick Alan Thomas

Puppy Dog Training- A Time Table For Companionship

Puppy dog obedience training is as easy as 1,2,3. But if you don’t know what you are doing it will seem very difficult in the beginning. This article will provide you with professional training tips that you should utilize when considering bringing a new puppy dog into your home, so pay attention.

1) You have to establish yourself as leader of the pack or also known as alpha dog. If this is not done than your new companion will think he/she is boss. This step should be done rather quickly, because it won’t take your new arrival long to think they can be boss.

2) Be patient, persistent and repetitive. Use a firm steady voice and stay calm. Try training your new friend in 10-15 minute sessions 5-6 times a day. Be in tune with your dogs mood this will make training easier for both you and your new best friend. Don’t expect your puppy to learn everything in one day.

3) Positively reinforce by giving a treat for good behavior. Also correct bad behavior while it happens not after. Let your new puppy know that you are in control of the things they value most like their toys and treats.

There is no other situation where patience with your puppy will be as important as the first several weeks in your home. Proper dog training will take time, will take obedience, and a lot of care. So be sure if you are going to train a puppy dog you know what you are doing.



Source by Rebecca Sorber

12 Easy Steps to a House Trained Puppy

Getting a new puppy is always an occasion for joy, but for first-timers, it can also be stressful. Of course, you want to get everything right, so that you and your new best friend can enjoy many happy years together, and that means training your puppy to become a good canine citizen. Before you get going on obedience training, though, start with house training.

How It’s Done

You might think that house training is going to take forever, but the reality is that if you follow these twelve basic steps, you’ll get the job done quickly – probably in just a few weeks.

1. Be Consistent

There is more than one way of house training a puppy. Just make sure that whatever approach you take, you stick with it.

2. Have a Routine

Dogs are happiest when they know what to expect, and what’s expected of them. So set specific times for meals. Then, about half an hour after your puppy has eaten, put him outside, and wait until he’s done his business. Then bring him back in.

3. Be Watchful

Puppies need to be closely supervised, especially during house training. You should keep your puppy with you, and keep an eye out for signs that he needs to go potty (walking in circles is a tip-off).

4. Don’t Ask for Too Much Too Soon

A puppy is not going to be able to control his bladder or bowels for very long. In fact, when you first bring your puppy home (usually at around 8 weeks of age), you can expect that he’ll need to go outside every couple of hours. As he matures, he’ll have more control.

5. Plan for Frequent Trips Outdoors

If you can, take your puppy outdoors hourly, at least for the first few days. This way, you’ll dramatically reduce the chances of accidents in the house, and you’ll also be increasing the number of opportunities you have to reinforce the idea that you want him to do his business outside.

6. Separate Potty Time from Play Time

Don’t hang around outdoors once the potty break is over – bring the puppy inside right away. You can go right back out to play in a few minutes if you like, but what you’re trying to do is reinforce the idea that the yard is where he’s supposed to pee and poop.

7. Pick a Spot

You’ll have greater success if you choose just one place in the yard for potty trips (it will make cleaning up easier, too). Always lead the puppy to one spot. His nose will tell him that this is the right place.

8. Pick a Phrase

When you take the puppy to the spot you’ve chosen, tell him “Go potty,” or another phrase you’ve chosen. Eventually, he’ll go to his special spot in the yard just by being told, without needing to be led.

9. Make Good Things Happen

Praise your puppy and give him a treat once you’re back in the house – not while he’s doing his business in the yard. You don’t want him to think he’s being praised for peeing or pooping; otherwise, he’s not going to understand why he’s not praised when he does it in the house. What you’re teaching him is that if he does his business outside, something good will happen when get gets back indoors.

10. Don’t Feed Before Bed

Two hours before it’s time to turn in for the night, take away the water dish, and don’t offer any treats. This way, the chances of accidents during the night can be reduced.

11. Use a Crate

When you can’t be at home, put your puppy in a crate. Most dogs are reluctant to eliminate where they sleep. Just make sure that the crate isn’t so big that the puppy decides that one area is for sleeping, and another for eliminating. Before crating, make sure he gets a potty trip out to the yard, and when you get back, take him outside again.

12. Never Punish

Don’t punish your puppy for accidents. Some dogs take a bit longer than others to house train, but if you punish, you run the risk of the puppy trying to hide his mistakes from you.

The Final Word

House training a puppy takes a bit of time and effort, but it needs to be done. Just be consistent, praise and reward your puppy, and you’ll probably be pleasantly surprised at how quickly it can be accomplished



Source by Kim Eliza

Are You Ready to Be a Cat Owner?

You may have been longing to get a cat but you need to decide if you are prepared to commit yourself. There are lots of factors to take into consideration, and you can start from here:

You know the value of socialization.

Cats have this unfair reputation of being antisocial, and in the case of many felines, this is somehow true. However, when you train your cat to socialize early in life, they are less likely to shy away from relatives or friends who visit. How can you teach your cat to be confident? Let her experience new surroundings, people, things, sounds and scents, as well as treats and praises. You can let them attend classes for kittens that provide helpful training and exercises. Giving a lot of importance to socialization and understanding what you need to do to will bring up a kitty with self confidence may show that you are prepared to get a cat.

You have the means.

It may be hard to figure out how much you need to care for a cat, but certainly, this involves costs of food, bowls, litter, litter box, toys, grooming tools, enrichment products like cat trees and scratchers, identification and microchipping, parasite preventives and veterinary visits. The last one is definitely a big expense. Not all cats visit the veterinarian on a regular basis. A yearly physical exam may be adequate for some cats, while more frequent visits to the vet are needed by older cats and those with health problems. If you are computing the costs to know whether you can afford to get a cat, always include the expenses entailed in health care, as well as pet insurance and emergencies in case you decide to buy it.

You will devote time to exercise your cat.

Cats also need to exercise. It does not mean that you need to walk them the way you do with a dog, though some are trained to do so with a leash. Exercise is very important to cats, even more than most probable cat owners may realize. Besides promoting good physical and mental health, it strengthens the bond between a pet and its owner. Therefore, it is best to devote time daily for active play, and provide cats with toys that encourage them to move a lot – like climbing trees, laser pointers, feather toys, as well as cardboard boxes and paper bags.

You are bent on making your home cat-friendly.

It is easy to recognize cat-friendly houses with their cat trees, scratching posts and food puzzles. These enrichment playthings let cats use their natural instincts – like climbing, jumping, scratching and hunting. In essence, they add more excitement to life, and what more could your favorite feline ask for? When you have discovered how to fit them into your home, there is one other thing you need to do when it comes to cat-friendly living, and that is cat proofing. If you decide to take home a cat, make sure to get rid of and be careful of things that could hurt or poison her – like some chemicals, cleaners, foods, medications and plants, among others.



Source by Matt McWilliam

Procession Caterpillars – Friend Or Foe?

Caterpillars remind me of my garden, eating the plantation, small, harmless, maybe even cute but annoying to the plant life with no risk to me, children or my pets. Ask me about procession caterpillars and I will give you a completely different answer. Friend or foe?

Foe would not even begin to describe these characters, they are the enemy and should be avoided at all costs. Enemy probably sounds too strong a description for a little hairy caterpillar but trust me, don’t make a judgement because of its size or because you have always liked them.

Found across Europe, especially in Mediterranean countries where the temperatures are generally warmer, officially titled Thaumatopoea Pitycampa or the caterpillar of the pine tree. They are considered a threat to the trees, dangerous to animals and to people can cause a very strong allergic reaction caused by the hairs found on their backs.

Traditionally, the nests are found in the pine trees and their home is usually positioned on the sunny side of the tree and can often be spotted from a distance where the pine needles have turned brown.

On closer inspection, white candy floss woven on the branches and delicate silk bags can be seen decorating the trees. These are the nests of the procession caterpillar, protecting them as they grow and keeping them warm.

To feed, they leave the safety of their home at night and walk along the branches to demolish and feast on the pine tree, venturing further afield once they depleted the supplies. They are greedy and destructive and are active in the winter months, often feeding in zero temperatures before returning to the nest to rest and digest their feed in the warmer, sunlight hours.

In March when they are fully grown they commence the next stage of their journey, leaving the safety of the nest and tree in search of a burial site.

Why are they named procession caterpillars? When they start to move, they look as though they are marching, like an army in a line, head to tail determined to find a suitable pupation site in the soil. They may travel long distances from the host tree before they bury themselves, spending the warmer months buried as a pupa. In August, the moth emerges from its cocoon, mates and lays its eggs in a pine tree and the cycle commences all over again.

We have lived in Spain for several years now and we have a lovely pet dog named Angel, who is a West Highland Terrier, who loves to pretend to hunt and explore the woods amongst the pine trees. We have never experienced any problems and for the majority of the year it is a safe and pleasant place to walk. During the first quarter of the year, January through to April we do have to be vigilant and we prefer to find other areas to walk.

The beginning of the year is the most dangerous time for exposure to the caterpillars, although the nests are formed before then. Due to the weather being warmer, whether climate change is to blame or not I do not know, but I have seen the caterpillars in the woods feeding and away from their nests in early December, although unusual.

True to her breed, Angel is always sniffing in bushes and tracking a smell through the undergrowth and it is this behaviour that causes her the greatest threat. Along the back of the insects are fine, irritating hairs that if inhaled, licked or indeed eaten the caterpillar can cause her great pain. Dogs, cats and foxes are among the animals at most risk to these insects, attracted to them because of their colour and some say their odour.

If the hairs come into contact with the animals lips or tongue, the area will swell very quickly and cause a large amount of pain and we need to ensure this does not asphyxiate them. If the caterpillar has been eaten then the symptoms are more severe with vomiting, a fever and blood present in the urine. If you suspect your animal has come into contact with the caterpillars you must take them to the vet immediately, the faster the treatment can be administered the better.

The hairs on the caterpillar are released into the air and do not have to be attached to inflict injury. Beware, poking the insect with a stick or treading on them will only release the hairs into the environment and you will become more susceptible to inhalation. Even if the caterpillar is dead the hairs remain dangerous.

Disposing of the nests during the winter months should be left to the professionals, although spraying the nests with hairspray to ensure the hairs do not disperse into the air, covering with a plastic bag and cutting the branch down is the usual treatment before setting the nest on fire. Protective clothing including goggles must be worn, so leave it to the experts. A procession of caterpillars are usually set alight after dousing them with lighter fluid, again to prevent the hairs from circulating.

Please note, I do not advocate this procedure as the trees and woodland are often dry and desiccated and this poses a real threat to forest and bush fires.

Please keep your pets safe, do not panic about the caterpillars, learning to live with them, being careful and aware helps to prevent any problems or encounters with the insects. They are not around all year, it is only for a short period of time that you need to be vigilant. Remember, if you think your pets have come into contact with them or indeed yourself seek veterinary and medical assistance immediately. Photographs of the caterpillars can be found on my website.



Source by Kerry Joyce

5 Tips and Tricks To Help Improve Your Dog’s Appetite

Most dogs wag their tails wildly and rush to their feeding bowls when it’s mealtime. If you don’t get this reaction from your pet and he simply sniffs his food, ignores it or only eats a little then it might be a matter of concern. There are plenty of reasons why dogs lose their appetite. It could be as simple as a toothache or it could be because of pickiness or behavioral issues. Whatever the cause is, it is important to make sure that your pet eats and gets enough nutrients to avoid further problems.

Here are 5 tips and tricks to help improve your dog’s appetite:

Schedule a visit to the vet

Whether your dog’s lack of appetite has just started or has been going on for a while now, your safest bet is to consult an expert. Your veterinarian can help you figure out the cause of the problem which will help you find a solution easier. He can easily identify any physical reasons that may be causing your pet’s disinterest in food. Have your furry friend weighed so that you’ll have an idea what healthy weight to aim for.

Switch brands of dog food

One reason why dogs lose appetite is because their current food doesn’t appeal to them anymore. Try switching to another brand of high quality dog food. Do it gradually to prevent stomach upset. Observe if your pet’s appetite improves after the switch. But don’t switch brands too much – dogs generally eat better when they’re familiar with the food and their diet doesn’t require too much variety according to the Pet Palace website.

Give less treats

Even dogs with little appetite love their treats! Refrain from giving treats to your pup in between meals – he’s likely to learn that even if he doesn’t finish the food on his bowl, he will still get attention from you and get rewarded. Offer the treats when his eating has improved.

Exercise

A dog exposed to regular physical activity is more likely to get hungry and eat. Exercise will help stimulate your pet’s appetite. Try making it a habit to have your daily walk right before mealtime so that he can associate them with each other and see them as positive activities.

Lessen the distractions

Dogs get easily distracted that’s why it’s important to make sure that your canine’s eating spot is quiet and has minimal distractions so that he can concentrate on eating and finishing his food.

Follow these tips and tricks to help improve your dog’s appetite and make sure that he’s healthier and happier than ever!



Source by Mary L. James

3 Effective Tips To Get Your Dog To Sleep At Night

It’s simple – if your dog is awake at night, you’ll most likely be awake as well. With all the barking, whining and fussing around, it will definitely be hard to get a good night’s sleep. As a dog parent, it’s important to find out what causes your pet to be up during nighttime. Does he get hungry or need to do his business during the wee hours? Is he uncomfortable in his sleeping space? Knowing why he can’t sleep will help you solve the issue much faster.

Here are some effective tips to get your dog to sleep at night:

Include more physical activities in your dog’s daily routine

Canines have all this energy. If they’re not used up throughout the day, it may be one cause why they’re having a hard time sleeping in the evening. To ensure that their energy is used up, take him on a daily walk or run, play a game of fetch or have him play with active dogs. When he expends energy, he gets tired and will most likely feel sleepy as bed time approaches.

Let him know that it’s bed time

Dogs have no concept of time, that’s why it’s important for you to establish both a daytime and a night time routine. Familiarize him with a night routine which he’ll eventually know will shortly lead to bed time. You can start by feeding him dinner then playing for a bit. After a while, you can put away his toys and turn off the lights to let him know it’s time to sleep. Over time, he’ll know this routine by heart and he’ll have an easier time going to bed.

Make his sleep space more conducive

Puppies who are used to crates may feel more comfortable sleeping in one. So if you recently transitioned your pet to his own bed, it may be one reason why he’s having a difficult time snoozing at night. Observe where he is most comfortable sleeping and make it even more conducive – provide a long-lasting dog treat or his favorite toy to make him feel that his sleeping space is a spot that is his own.

The best thing to do is to let your dog associate sleeping and his sleep space with positive things. This way, he will be more comfortable and it will be easier for him to relax and snooze at night.



Source by Mary L. James

Getting a Dog – Some Important Considerations

If you are considering whether or not to get a dog, you may well think this to be an easy enough decision to make. After all, surely it is just a matter of deciding “yes” or “no”. If only things were that simple. If you answer “no” then it is simple. If you decide to answer “yes” then a variety of other questions arise and these questions need to be considered and answered. Let us suppose you make the decision to acquire a dog.

Today, when it comes time to decide on the type or breed of dog to choose, you feel almost overwhelmed. Dogs come in a vast array of different shapes, sizes, colors, temperaments and skill strengths. It is surely true to claim that you are bound to find a type of dog to suit your requirements, no matter what those requirements are. Some prospective owners are looking for the company and companionship of a family pet. Others are seeking a dog which is especially intelligent and alert, while others may be intending to show their dog, or thy may be seeking a good guard dog.

The dog you choose may be a purebred or of mixed breeding, or it may be a beloved “bitzer”. Whatever variety you choose, your new dog is bound to find a place in your heart and household and be just right for you. This is not very surprising because most dogs are sociable and willing to become friends and act dependably with any responsible people to whom they are properly introduced.

Dogs will automatically adopt the responsibility for guard duties for the household, and astute owners will soon get to recognize the different signals and types of reaction the dog gives, depending on who the dog has heard. They will soon alert you to the approach of family or friends, as well as warn you if the newcomer is a stranger.

For most dog owners, the pleasure and joy and contentment that accompany ownership always greatly outweigh the inconveniences and sacrifices and added responsibilities that come hand in hand with ownership. Owners gladly furnish their dog with affection and friendship and attention, knowing that they will gain a warm and willing companion in return.

I wish you every training success and years of enjoyment for both you and your dog.



Source by Stanley Pepper

Easy Tips and Tricks To Help Your Dog Gain Weight

An underweight dog is more prone to health issues. If you notice that your dog is becoming thinner or you think he is underweight, the best thing to do is “fatten” him up – make sure that he is eating right and that he gains some pounds until he reaches the ideal and healthy weight. Weight loss in canines are usually caused by diarrhea, poor appetite and health problems. If you’re uncertain, it’s best to seek the advice of your veterinarian.

Here are a few easy tricks to help your dog gain weight:

Check your dog’s weight

Sometimes a dog may look thin but he actually has the ideal weight for his breed. It’s best to check your pet’s actual weight and compare it with his breed’s ideal weight. It’s also important to learn his breed’s daily dietary needs to keep him healthy.

Find out the cause

Finding out what causes your pet’s weight loss or being underweight will help you find a solution easier. It could be as simple as another dog stealing your pet’s food (if you live with multiple dogs) or as serious as a stomach problem. Observe his eating habits if he’s getting enough food, if he has any appetite or if he’s experiencing diarrhea. If his condition seems to be unexplained, it’s time to go to the vet.

Change the feeding schedule

If you’ve ever tried to shed off a few pounds, you’ll know that eating shortly before bed time will cause your body to store the food as fat. You can use this concept to help your skinny pet gain a few pounds. If you feed him twice a day, consider giving him a smaller portion during the day and a bigger one at night so that the calories will be stored in his body as fat while he sleeps instead of being burned as energy.

Introduce new food

Introduce good quality dog food with higher fat and protein content to your dog’s diet. This will help him gradually gain some pounds over time. Mix it with other food for more nutrients. Just introduce the new food with care as a new diet usually causes an upset stomach in canines in the beginning.

Exercise

When we hear the word “exercise”, we automatically think it’s for weight loss. But a bulk of a canine’s weight should be muscles and not fat and a good way to maintain strong and healthy muscles is through a good diet and a good daily amount of physical activity.

Try these simple tricks and your dog should fill out in no time!



Source by Mary L. James