Common Health Issues
This page is for reference only. If you have any concerns about your dog’s health or well being, please consult your vet immediately.
With dogs living longer due to better veterinary care and better care from owners, it is not surprising that vets are seeing a huge increase in signs of dementia in a range of animals, including dogs.
The most common signs to look for are as follows :
Pacing, finding it hard to settle.
Staring blankly, as if unaware of it's surroundings.
Failing to recognise or respond to family members and friends.
Getting lost or confused in the garden or home.
Becoming forgetful...eg...forgetting to go outside to the toilet or repeatedly seeking attention.
Vocalising repeatedly for no reason.If you have any concerns about an older (over 7 years) dog doing one or more of these things (if they are out of character for your dog) then you should consult your vet.
FLEA ALLERGY DERMATITIS.
The first sign of flea allergy dermatitis is scratching, licking and biting (usually at the back end of the dog).If left untreated the area will become very sore and infected, the hair will fall out and this can then develop into wet excema. The easiest treatment for this is to prevent it. A good spot o flea treatment monthly, from your vet will do the trick.
HIP DYSPLASIA (Hereditary)
Hip Dysplasia occurs when the ball and socket joint does not fit properly together. Either the socket is too shallow, or the ball is not in the socket properly. This condition varies in severity, ranging from very mild to severe and causing extreme pain and discomfort for the dog.The first signs are often stiffness, lameness or difficulty in getting up after rest.In mild hip dysplasia, many vets will simply wait until the dog is showing signs of discomfort, then prescribe a mild painkiller and anti inflammatory drug.In more severe cases, there are several options. The most common is to remove the head of the femur (the ball) and let the muscles gradually build up to compensate for the dog having no ball and socket joint. This can be very successful. Another option is to have a complete hip replacement operation, also extremely successful but very expensive.The success of both of these operations are determined by several factors. The age of the dog, it’s weight (the slimmer the better) and also the after care for the first few months after any operation. The after care is often overlooked by the owner, but if not done correctly, the operation will have very limited success.
OSTEO CHONDRITIS DESSICANS (OCD)
OCD is usually found in young dogs – anything from four months to a year old. OCD is when cartilage breaks off and embeds itself in the cushion between the joint. This can happen in shoulder, elbow, stifle or hock, but is most commonly seen in shoulders and elbows.The signs are lameness, or general discomfort in the affected joint. Your vet will x ray if he has a suspicion that this is the problem. He will then operate to remove the piece of cartilage from in between the joint. Once again, the success of this operation is dependant on the after care and exercise regime.
CRUCIATE LIGAMENT.(Can be Hereditary)
Cruciate ligament failure is very common in this breed, and can be either a complete rupture or a fraying of the ligament. In a complete rupture, the dog will hold its hind leg up, toe pointing downwards and will be unable to put any pressure on the leg at all. In a frayed cruciate ligament, the dog may be able to put some pressure on the leg, but will still be obviously lame.The reasons for cruciate ligament failure are usually that the dog is overweight, or that the dog has twisted it’s leg whilst running (the cruciate ligament is the hamstring in a footballer).There are three different types of cruciate ligament repair.However, the success of all of them is dependant on the after care, which is strict and ongoing for about six to nine months.It should be noted that often the other cruciate ligament will rupture or fray during the few weeks after the first operation. This is due to extra weight being carried by the other leg.It should also be noted that many dogs with cruciate ligament problems are extremely overweight.
Entropion is an inherited eye problem. It is seen in all breeds that have mastiff shaped heads i.e. very broad and round. The eyelids turn inwards and rub against the eye, causing intense pain and irritation, and eventually causing ulceration to the cornea. The first signs are often that the dog has a lot of discharge from the eyes, or rubs the eyes against furniture or legs.The operation to relieve this is very delicate, and may have to be done a couple of times. The reason for this is that it is important not to take away too much excess skin or the eyelid will allow dust particles in, and this will be just as uncomfortable for the dog, so little by little is the best option.