Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis (HGE) in dogs revisited

Because so many people have clicked on my HGE article, I thought it might be a good idea to write another article about it.

As I stated in my earlier article, my Parsons Russell Terrier had it twice. Once when he was young which is when it usually manifests itself in dogs, and another time when he was about 8 years old.

What is critical to understand about this illness, is that it can kill a dog in 24 hours and must be treated by a veterinarian. While it is typically found in small dogs such as Toy Poodles and Miniature Schnauzers, it can attack any dog.

The Signs:

  1. Sudden vomiting
  2. Bloody diarrhea
  3. Low blood volume
  4. Severe concentrated blood
  5. Hypovolemic Shock
  6. Very lethargic

If your dog gets HGE, you will see three critical signs, sudden vomiting, bloody diarrhea and your dog will be very lethargic. Very small dogs cannot survive long with these symptoms.

The exact cause is unknown. However, it is suspected that an abnormal reaction to bacteria or a reaction to toxins from the bacteria is one cause of HGE. Another possibility is an extreme reaction to food. This is one reason why it is very important to only feed your dog the highest quality of food. I strongly suggest checking one of the many sites that analyze pet food. Most pet food is not safe or good for your dog. Nothing that you buy at a discount store or supermarket is the high quality that you want.

Another cause is Colostridium perfringens which is another type of bacteria. This has been found in quite a few dogs who have gotten HGE.

The articles that I have researched mention that HGE appears to be similar to canine parvovirus (CPV), making it critical that you take your dog to a veterinarian at the first signs of vomiting and diarrhea. If your dog is up to date on his shots it is not likely to be CPV. There are other illnesses that have similar signs as well which is why an immediate veterinary visit is necessary.

When my dog got it again, he started the symptoms while we were asleep. When my husband woke up early, Riley was very sick. Not knowing when the symptoms started, I immediately took him to the emergency veterinary clinic. When my regular veterinary clinic opened, we transferred Riley to them to spend the rest of the day. By evening he was recovered.

Your veterinarian will start intravenous fluids immediately and will treat the other symptoms which can last up to two days. If you take your dog to the veterinarian right away your dog will most likely survive. Only about 10% of dogs with HGE do not survive. As I experienced with my dog, and statistics show that up to 15% of dogs that get it may get it again.

In my practice as a behavior consultant, I have seen where people whose dog has gotten sick, wait a day or so to see if the dog gets better before they take their dog to the veterinarian. If your dog has HGE, this is a death sentence. Take your dog to the veterinarian at the first signs of any illness.

I hope this article has helped you understand this very dangerous illness. Riley is going on 13 and is very healthy.

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Riley as a puppy with Mom in the background

 

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K9 Obedience Training: Teaching Pets and Working Dogs to be Reliable and Free Thinking – by Susan Bulanda

Obedience is the foundation for any reliable, well-trained dog. Without obedience, working dogs are ineffective in operations and pet dogs can be annoying and possibly a danger to themselves or others.

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In K9 Obedience Training, veteran search and rescue (SAR) dog handler and trainer Susan Bulanda, M.A., C.A.B.C. (certified animal behavior consultant) shares the secrets of building an effective obedience training program. SAR dogs need “thinking” obedience: they sometimes need to exercise intelligent disobedience in the field. You can use the same training program for any working or pet dog. For trainers who demand the best obedience training for future working dogs, Susan’s techniques lay the groundwork for success.

And pet owners who want to help their dog be easy to be around will find lots of training tips and exercises too, along with straightforward advice on proper handling, grooming and teaching simple tricks.

My new book will be out by the end of June, 2019. You can order it from my web site, www.sbulanda.com  You will receive an autographed copy. Please note that the shipping cost is for the US only. If you live outside the US please email me at sbulanda@gmail.com for postal rates.  Unfortunately it often cost more to ship the book than the book cost. You can also order it on line as an ebook through Amazon or from the publisher at www.dogtrainingpress.com 

Pet Health Insurance

I am often asked by clients if they should purchase pet insurance. This is a tricky question for several reasons however, I have a few suggestions that might help you decide if pet insurance is right for you.

 

  1. Can you afford the premiums. Most pet insurance policies are flexible as to the amount of coverage that you can carry, the deductibles and what they cover. To help make that decision you can consider the following questions.

 

  1. Is your type of pet prone to illnesses? Certain breeds of dog are more likely to have genetic illnesses than others. The same is true for cats and other pets. Will the pet insurance cover the illnesses most likely to affect your pet?

 

  1. What is your pet’s lifestyle? If you are active with your dog, horse or other type of pet, or if you cat is an indoor/outdoor cat, your pet may be more likely to have an injury.

 

  1. If your dog is a larger breed of dog, he may be more prone to inherited problems such as canine hip dysplasia which can be corrected with surgery.

 

  1. If your pet is prone to a certain disease or inherited issue, find out what treatment costs then compare it to the estimated years it will take for the illness to manifest itself and see if the insurance is worth the cost.

 

  1. Consider the life span of your pet. Most pet insurance rates go up as the pet ages. Some insurance will not cover your pet after a certain age. Of course the most likely time you will need the insurance is in your pets old age when coverage may not be an option.

 

  1. Consider a personal savings plan to cover catastrophic health issues. If you take the projected life span of your pet and the amount of the yearly insurance fee, then multiply it, you will get an idea of how much the insurance will cost over the life of your pet. What you can do is set up a separate savings account and either yearly or monthly, deposit the amount that insurance will cost per year, and do not touch it for any reason. In all probability you will save enough money to cover any medical bills that your pet will have, especially if your pet is healthy into old age. If you do not need the money set aside for your pet by the time your pet passes, you will have money to put toward the new pet.

 

I hope I have given you some helpful suggestions. There is a good web site that can help you review different pet insurance companies if you decide that is the way to go.

https://365petinsurance.com/reviews/

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Homemade cat food

In the first of its kind study by researchers at the University of California, Davis they found that the recipes found on-line, even those written by veterinarians, did not meet the nutritional needs of cats. Some lacked proper instructions, did not clearly identify the ingredients and some even contained products that are toxic to cats.

 

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According to the article, about a decade ago toxic substances were found in cat food that was imported from China. This caused cat owners to stop using commercial cat food and switch to homemade food. (The same happened with dog food.)

The researchers point out that it is OK to feed your cat commercial foods. I suggest that you google sites that evaluate all brands of cat (or dog) foods to see which the best is. Avoid any food that is not made in the US and especially food that comes from China and possibly other countries. Since there has been contamination of produce for humans that originates from Mexico, I would be concerned if any pet food ingredients originate in Mexico as well. This is just my opinion. Keep in mind that the smaller the pet, the less toxic substances it will take to make the pet sick or cause death.

A new strain of distemper is a risk for dogs

“The new strain of canine distemper virus was identified by UNH pathologists in collaboration with colleagues at Cornell University, University of Georgia, Northeast Wildlife Disease Cooperative, N.H. Fish and Game, and Vermont Fish and Game. Over a one-year period, pathologists diagnosed canine distemper virus infection in eight largely carnivorous mammals in southeastern New Hampshire and north central Vermont. The animals included three fishers, two gray foxes, one skunk, one raccoon, and one mink.”

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While this new strain may not be a risk for the rest of the country, it would be diligent to alert your veterinarian to the new distemper strain. According to the report a raccoon in Rhode Island was found to have it in 2004. This indicates that it is not new and has potentially spread. There is always the chance in time, it will spread across the country.

 

Some studies about canine intelligence may be bias

Researchers, from the University of Exeter and Canterbury Christ Church University reviewed 300 research papers that compared the intelligence of dogs to other animals such as domestic animals, social hunters and carnivores. They found that some of the papers showed bias to credit dogs as being smarter when they were equal to other animals.

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The researchers looked at sensory, physical, spatial, and social cognition as well as self-awareness. However, the researchers did not say that dogs were any less intelligent, just that they were not always more intelligent.

It is also important to keep in mind that all tests of this nature, especially when testing another species, are not completely reliable. It is even safe to say that tests of this nature are not 100% reliable when testing fellow humans.

There is no doubt however, that dogs and other animals have shown us that they are much more intelligent than we ever thought. Also keep in mind that in every species, there is a range of intelligence and abilities.

 

A possible cause of endocrine disorders in older cats

Dr. Miaomiao Wang, of the California Environmental Protection Agency has published a study of older cats in Northern California that suggested a link between higher levels of per and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) substances in cats with hyperthyroidism.

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PFAS is found in chemicals that are used in industrial processes and consumer products. These chemicals are found in many household products such protective coatings for carpets, furniture and apparel, paper coatings, and  insecticide formulations, just to name a few products.

More research is needed but it is a good idea to keep this in mind. If there are health issues from this chemical in cats, we have to suspect dogs as well. Dogs are more likely to chew these products than cats are.

Goats recognize human emotions

Dr. Alan McElligott led a study at Queen Mary University of London that determined goats react to human facial expressions. Dr. McElligott found that goats prefer smiling or happy faces to ones that were angry. The study also showed that they also use the left hemisphere of their brains to process emotions.

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Previous studies have shown that dogs, cats and horses and many other animals also recognize facial expressions in humans and react to them accordingly. With each study we learn more about the animal kingdom and how alike in many ways all animals are.

 

Virtual dog helps prevent dog bites

Dogs Trust and the University of Liverpool researchers have created a virtual reality dog that people can approach and interact with that displays signs of aggression.

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The purpose of the project is to educate people, including children, how to recognize signs of aggression in a dog in a safe environment. As the user approaches the dog its behavior changes to include lip licking, lowering of the head and body, front paw lifting, growling and showing of teeth. The team plans to improve the virtual dog to show a variety of behaviors and situations.

This is an excellent project and I hope that it will succeed and be used worldwide to help educate people and teach them how to recognize and understand canine body language. This could also work with all types of animals and would be a safe fantastic way for people to learn about animal behavior.

Do cats respond to their name?

Professor Toshikazu Hasegawa from the University of Tokyo with Atsuko Saito, Ph.D., who is currently an associate professor at Sophia University in Tokyo conducted a study to see if cats recognize their own name. The researchers felt that since cats are not as social as dogs and other mammals, that they may not respond to their name the way more social mammals do.

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What they found is that cats do respond to their name if their owners use the cat’s name often. It is interesting that previous research has shown that cats do distinguish between their owner’s voice and a stranger’s voice, can follow a person’s pointing finger to find hidden food, and may change their behavior depending on their owner’s facial expressions.

In my experience I have successfully taught my cats to come when called, sit and stay and do other things. This required that they understand and respond to their name as well as other words. I am glad that some researchers are looking into ways to validate the intelligence and abilities of cats. As for cats not being social in my experience some are very social, and some are not so social. I have owned cats that behaved more like dogs than cats. More research needs to be done.