Most people are unaware of the health issues our pets can inherit throughout their lifetimes. Here are 3 of the most common health conditions you need to be aware of as a dog owner.

Hip Dysplasia

The most common structural problem affecting dogs is hip dysplasia. Canine hip dysplasia is a general description of malformation of the hip joint that ultimately leads to arthritis. Hip dysplasia occurs when the ball and socket of the hip are misaligned, loosely fitted, or misshapen. Dogs with hip dysplasia experience pain and are generally not as active as healthy dogs. This could lead to needing expensive corrective surgery as they age. A full list of our pet joint care products can be found on our website by clicking here.

Signs of hip dysplasia include difficulty rising or laying down, difficulty going up and down stairs, inability to jump onto furniture or into a vehicle and reluctance to run or walk. Maintaining your dog’s ideal weight is one of the most important ways to reduce the clinical signs of hip dysplasia. Studies show that puppies pushed to grow too quickly manifest more hip problems than siblings allowed to grow at a slower rate. Many veterinarians recommend that puppies be fed adult maintenance dog foods with less than 25 percent protein and be kept slightly hungry so their bones are not pushed into rapid growth. At Black Cat Medicines, we cater for various dogs and provide numerous dog food options. Click here for more details.

Epilepsy

It’s surprising to think that such a common human condition can also be very common in our pets. Witnessing your pet having a seizure can be very alarming and distressing. During a typical seizure,
dogs will stiffen and fall to the ground, salivate, paddle their legs, and in some cases, they can lose control of their bladder and bowels. Your vet may suspect that your dog has epilepsy if they have at least two unprovoked epileptic seizures more than 24 hours apart. A seizure occurs when the cells in the brain become overly excited and exceed what is called a “seizure threshold.”

Epilepsy is managed with anticonvulsant medications. Depending on the dog, one drug or a combination of medications is used to control seizures. Since epilepsy cannot be cured, the realistic goal of therapy is to manage seizures by decreasing their frequency and severity. For more information about ways to treat and control epilepsy in your pets, contact Gilmore Veterinary Surgery.

Heart Disease

Any dogs have the potential to inherit health problems once born. Having said this, there are several dog breeds known to have higher chances of inheriting cardiac problems. Some of the breads at the highest risk include: Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Dachshunds, Doberman pinscher, Great Danes and Boxers. Dogs with heart disease have abnormal heart musculature which leads to a weakened and dilated heart. It is also a disease of the heart muscle meaning certain breeds such as the Boxer can develop fatty or fibrous tissue which replaces normal heart cells. This abnormal infiltration results in problems with the heart’s electrical conduction system causing irregular heartbeats.

Treatment for heart disease depends on what specific heart problem your dog has and what may be causing it. Your vet may recommend medications to help the heart work and correct irregular heartbeats or to slow fluid build-up in the lungs. Surgery may also be seen as an appropriate way to help correct certain heart related issues. A commercial or prescription low-salt diet to help decrease fluid build-up in your dog's body, or limiting exercise to manage weight without putting too much strain on your dog's heart, can also have an overall positive effect. Toys are a great way to help keep your dogs active without excessive strain. You can find some great dog toys on our website by clicking here.

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