Mammary Tumors: New Finding in Dogs

Sexually intact female dogs more commonly have mammary tumors than other tumor types. Fortunately, studies indicate …

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Canada dogs get birth control to control dog population

Veterinarians with Dogs with No Names give stray female dogs in Sheshatshiu, Canada, a birth control implant in an effort to reduce and control the overgrown population of stray animals in the Innu Federal Reserve. This program aims to prevent 100,000 births of unwanted pets over the next 2 years.

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Spaying your Dog

Spaying your dogSpaying, or ovariohysterectomy, is a surgical sterilization procedure that can provide major health benefits for dogs. Here are some important facts you should know before getting your dog spayed.

The Spay Surgery
The ovariohysterectomy is an abdominal surgery that is performed under general anesthesia. Your dogs belly will be shaved and cleansed, and an incision will be made a few inches below her belly-button. The veterinarian will remove both ovaries as well as the uterus. Several layers of stitches will close the incision internally. Your veterinarian may also close the skin with stitches, or may use a surgical adhesive. Following spay surgery, your dog will no longer go through heat cycles and will be unable to get pregnant.

Although the spay surgery is very routine, it is still a major abdominal operation. It carries the risks normally associated with general anesthesia and surgery. Your veterinarian takes numerous measures to keep your dog safe, such as checking her heart and lungs before administering anesthesia and monitoring her constantly while she is asleep. You can ask whether your veterinarian recommends any additional safety precautions, such as pre-anesthetic blood tests or administration of IV fluids during the procedure.

Unspayed female dogs usually go through two heat periods each year. During her heat period, your female dog may drip blood. She will also make every effort to sneak out to find a mate. As a result, she is at high risk for being hit by a car.

Unspayed female dogs suffer from a high incidence of mammary tumors, false pregnancies, uterine infections, and reproductive cancers. Breast tumors are the most common type of cancer in dogs. One out of every four unspayed dogs will get breast cancer, and half of the tumors are malignant. Unspayed dogs are also prone to pyometra, a life-threatening infection of the uterus. Spaying removes the possibility of diseases of the ovaries and uterus, and comes close to eliminating the chance of mammary tumors.

The final benefit of spaying is that its the best way you can help end pet overpopulation. Every year, 3-4 million cats and dogs are euthanized in U.S. animal shelters. None of us wants to contribute to that sad statistic, but we may do so unwittingly. Puppies adopted to apparently good homes may be given away or lost. In six years, one female dog and her offspring can produce as many as 67, 000 dogs!

Considerations Before Surgery
Consult with your veterinarian about when to schedule your dogs spay surgery. Traditionally, pets are spayed at around six months of age. However, some veterinarians advocate performing the procedure earlier. If possible, schedule your dogs surgery when she is not in heat.

The night before your dogs surgery, remove her food and water before you go to bed. She should not eat or drink anything during the night or the morning of her surgery.

Considerations After Surgery
Your dog may go home the day of her surgery, or may stay in the hospital overnight. If she goes home the same day, expect her to feel a little groggy. Keep her indoors, in a warm, safe, quiet room away from other pets. During the first week after surgery, try to restrict her activity level. Leash walks are OK, but avoid excessive running, jumping, and roughhousing. Be sure to check her incision daily. Mild swelling and soreness are common, but let your veterinarian know if you see any discharge or if the swelling is excessive.

If your dog was in heat when she was spayed, she will continue to attract males during this time. Keep her away from male dogs during her recovery so that she isnt accidentally injured. Stitches, if present, will need to be removed in about 10 14 days. If you have any concerns about your dog following her surgery, do not hesitate to call your veterinarian.

Debra Garrison, DVM

Canine Distemper

DistemperCanine Distemper is a serious viral disease. Widespread vaccination has reduced its incidence, but dogs that get it often die. Canine distemper can also infect pet ferrets.

How Dogs Get the Virus
Susceptible dogs are infected by inhaling the Distemper virus, which is found in secretions and feces from infected dogs. Puppies under six months of age and unvaccinated dogs are most vulnerable.

What the Disease Does
Canine Distemper infects the immune cells and spreads throughout the body via the lymph and the blood. The immune system is weakened, making the dog susceptible to other infections. The virus also directly attacks some tissues, particularly the nervous system. Signs of distemper include fever, cough, nasal and eye discharge that is usually thick and green, pneumonia, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, thickening of the toe pads, muscle twitching, seizures and blindness.

How Canine Distemper is Diagnosed
Often veterinarians can diagnose Distemper by taking a careful medical history and performing a thorough physical exam. Laboratory tests are available to confirm the diagnosis.

Treatment for Canine Distemper
There is no specific treatment that kills the virus, but sick dogs are hospitalized and treated for secondary infections and to reduce the symptoms. The disease is fatal in approximately 50-90% of cases. Survivors often suffer permanent nervous system damage. Seizures or other nervous system problems may occur even years later.

Preventing Canine Distemper
The key to preventing Canine Distemper is a good vaccination program. Puppies should be vaccinated starting at 6-8 weeks of age. Sometimes, young puppies are vaccinated with measles, a related virus that also protects against Distemper. Distemper vaccines are repeated every 3-4 weeks until the puppy is at least 16 weeks old. After that, boosters are given every 1-3 years depending on the type of vaccine. Its especially important for female dogs intended for breeding to be current on vaccinations. This allows them to provide immunity that protects their puppies until they are old enough to receive vaccinations.

Adult dogs that have never been vaccinated before may only need a single vaccination, followed by re-vaccination every 1-3 years. Check with your veterinarian to find out the best vaccination protocol for your dog.

Dogs with distemper should be isolated from other dogs since the disease is contagious. Fortunately, the virus is killed by most household disinfectants.