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Hemivertebra in Dogs: Symptoms, Diagnoses, and Treatment

What is Hemivertebra in Dogs?

Photo Credit: French Bulldog Saviors

Hemivertebra is a congenital spinal malformation that can occur in dogs. It happens when only half of a vertebra develops, resulting in a wedge-shaped vertebra instead of a normal cylindrical one. This can lead to spinal cord compression and neurological symptoms such as hind limb weakness, difficulty walking, and urinary or fecal incontinence. 

What Causes Hemivertebra in Dogs?

Hemivertebra is a congenital condition in dogs, which means it is present at birth and is caused by genetic factors. The exact cause of Hemivertebra is not fully understood, but it is thought to be related to a genetic mutation that affects the development of the spinal column during embryonic growth. 

In addition to genetics, environmental factors such as poor nutrition, exposure to toxins or infections during pregnancy, and physical trauma to the mother during gestation may also contribute to the development of Hemivertebra in puppies. However, the exact role of these factors in the development of Hemivertebra remains unclear and requires further research.

Who’s at Risk of Developing Hemivertebra?

Certain dog breeds are more prone to Hemivertebra than others, and it is believed that selective breeding practices and genetic predisposition play a role. For example, French Bulldogs, Pugs, and Boston Terriers have a higher incidence of Hemivertebra compared to other breeds.

Since Hemivertebra is a congenital condition, dogs that have a family history of Hemivertebra are more likely to develop the condition. In addition, dogs with a history of spinal cord abnormalities or other congenital disorders may also be at a higher risk of developing Hemivertebra.

Environmental factors such as poor nutrition, exposure to toxins or infections during pregnancy, and physical trauma to the mother during gestation may also contribute to the development of Hemivertebra in puppies, but the exact role of these factors is still unclear.

What are the Symptoms of Hemivertebra?

Photo Credit: French Bulldog Saviors

The symptoms of Hemivertebra in dogs can vary depending on the location and severity of the malformation. Some dogs may have no symptoms at all, while others may exhibit signs of spinal cord compression, which can cause a range of neurological symptoms, including:

  • Hind limb weakness or paralysis
  • Difficulty walking or standing
  • Abnormal gait or posture
  • Pain or sensitivity in the back or neck
  • Urinary or fecal incontinence
  • Constipation
  • Difficulty jumping or climbing stairs
  • Muscle atrophy or weakness

In some cases, dogs with Hemivertebra may also have a visible deformity of the spine, such as a hump or curvature. The symptoms of Hemivertebra typically develop in the first few months of life and can worsen over time if left untreated.

If you suspect your dog may have Hemivertebra, it is essential to seek veterinary care right away to diagnose and treat the condition. 

How Can Hemivertebra in Dogs Be Prevented?

Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent Hemivertebra from occurring. However, there are some steps that breeders can take to reduce the incidence of Hemivertebra and other genetic disorders in their breeding lines. 

Reputable breeders can screen their breeding dogs for genetic disorders before breeding to ensure they are not passing on harmful genes to their offspring. This involves testing for known genetic mutations associated with Hemivertebra and other conditions, such as hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and progressive retinal atrophy.

In addition, breeders can avoid breeding dogs that have a family history of Hemivertebra or other spinal cord abnormalities. They can also avoid breeding dogs that exhibit symptoms of Hemivertebra or other genetic disorders.

If you are considering getting a dog and are concerned about the risk of Hemivertebra or other genetic disorders, it is essential to do your research and find a reputable breeder who screens their dogs for genetic conditions before breeding. It is also important to be aware that mixed-breed dogs are still at risk of developing Hemivertebra and other genetic disorders, so it is essential to take steps to ensure the health of any dog you bring into your home.

How is Hemivertebra Diagnosed?

Hemivertebra in dogs is typically diagnosed by a veterinarian using a combination of physical examination, imaging tests, and neurological testing. The diagnostic process may include the following steps:

  1. Physical exam: The veterinarian will perform a physical exam to look for signs of spinal cord compression, such as weakness or paralysis in the hind limbs, abnormal gait or posture, and muscle atrophy.
  2. Imaging tests: X-rays, CT scans, or MRI may be used to visualize the spinal column and detect any abnormalities. These tests can help determine the location and severity of the Hemivertebra and assess the extent of any spinal cord compression.
  3. Neurological testing: The veterinarian may perform a neurological exam to assess the dog’s reflexes, muscle tone, and ability to sense pain and touch. This can help determine the extent of any neurological damage caused by the Hemivertebra.
  4. Genetic testing: If a genetic mutation is suspected to be the cause of the Hemivertebra, genetic testing may be recommended to confirm the diagnosis and help identify any other dogs at risk of developing the condition.

Once a diagnosis of Hemivertebra is confirmed, the veterinarian can work with the dog’s owner to develop an appropriate treatment plan. The treatment plan may include surgery to remove the affected vertebra or manage any resulting spinal cord compression, medication to control pain and inflammation, and physical therapy to help the dog regain strength and mobility.

What is the Treatment for Hemivertebra?

Photo Credit: Wauwatosa Veterinary Rehabilitation

The treatment for Hemivertebra in dogs depends on the severity of the condition and the extent of any spinal cord compression. In mild cases, no treatment may be necessary, and the dog can live a normal life with close monitoring.

In more severe cases, surgical intervention may be required to remove the affected vertebra or relieve pressure on the spinal cord. The surgery can be challenging and often requires a team of skilled veterinary specialists, including a neurologist and a veterinary surgeon.

Post-surgery, the dog will require a period of recovery and rehabilitation, which may include physical therapy to regain strength and mobility. Medications, such as pain relievers and anti-inflammatories, may also be prescribed to manage pain and inflammation.

In cases where surgery is not an option, or if the condition is too advanced, the focus will be on managing the symptoms and improving the dog’s quality of life. This may include medications, physical therapy, and assistive devices such as slings or carts to help the dog move around.

It is important to note that the treatment for Hemivertebra is focused on managing the symptoms and minimizing the impact of the condition on the dog’s quality of life, rather than curing it. Therefore, regular check-ups with a veterinarian, close monitoring of symptoms, and early intervention when necessary are essential to ensuring the best possible outcomes for dogs with Hemivertebra.

What is the Prognosis for Hemivertebra?

The prognosis for dogs with Hemivertebra varies depending on the severity of the condition, the location of the affected vertebra, and the degree of spinal cord compression. In cases where the condition is mild and spinal cord compression is not present, dogs can live a normal life with regular check-ups and monitoring.

However, in more severe cases where spinal cord compression is present, the prognosis may be less favorable. If Hemivertebra is left untreated, it can lead to permanent spinal cord damage and paralysis.

Early intervention and appropriate treatment can improve the prognosis for dogs with Hemivertebra. Surgical removal of the affected vertebra or relieving spinal cord compression can be successful in restoring function and mobility in some cases.

Despite successful treatment, dogs with Hemivertebra may still experience residual weakness or mobility issues. Regular monitoring by a veterinarian and ongoing management of symptoms is essential to ensure the best possible outcomes for dogs with Hemivertebra.

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How to Identify the Subtle Signs of Chronic Pain in Dogs

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    Acute and chronic pain in dogs are both debilitating but many dogs rarely show the signs of being in pain. This is usually due to an evolutionary instinct to not show weaknesses. It’s up to us as dog owners in the end to pick up on the subtle signs of pain in our dogs.

    What’s the Difference Between Acute and Chronic Pain in Dogs?

    Knowing the difference between acute and chronic pain in dogs is the first step in helping your dog. Dr. Lindsey, Fry, veterinarian and owner of Red Sage Vets in Colorado explains that acute pain is usually very obvious. This may be crying and other types of vocalizations, obvious limping, changes in mobility, or known events such as surgery or an accident. It is believed to have protective properties, but is often accompanied by redness, swelling, or fever. She’s explained “sometimes the pain is no longer protective. It has become the disease itself, and the symptoms look very different.”Chronic pain is often insidious, and your dog may have to endure it for a long time if the owner doesn’t notice the first signs.

    How Can You Tell a Dog is Suffering From Chronic Pain?

    “It is difficult to diagnose chronic pain because dogs usually do not have obvious signs associated with acute pain. “It’s very individual, so we try to peel back the layers that have developed and find the primary sources. It’s rarely the same between two patients.”, according to Dr. Fry. Changes in behavior are often the most important indicator of a pain problem. Sometimes these changes are noticeable and become big warning signs. Perhaps your normally voracious dog has stopped eating. Or, in general, affectionate dogs may growl, curl up, or hide when they try to touch.

    Older dogs are more likely to have signs of chronic pain, usually from a condition like osteoarthritis so as dogs get older, it’s imperative to keep an eye out.

    Severe chronic pain can cause depression and anxiety in dogs just like humans. Your dog may become noticeably more withdrawn and less likely to communicate or make contact. Older dogs are more likely to suffer from chronic pain. However, owners often associate subtle changes in behavior with natural age-related deceleration.

    They may not want to go that far while walking, or they may have trouble jumping into cars or going up and down stairs. Dogs who used to like toys may no longer play with them and may struggle to become more sleepy or comfortable. Even things like excessive licking or small changes in posture sometimes cause pain.
    As Dr. Fry puts is,“the brightness and strong engagement owners recognize in their dog’s face starts to disappear. There’s more of a disconnected, glazed over blank stare.”
    cattle dog laying down with an icepack on their head

    How Do You Diagnose Chronic Pain in Dogs?

    Chronic pain is usually complex and multifaceted. However, experienced veterinarians like Dr. Fry say, “It’s easy to spot specific reward patterns associated with specific types of pain. Whether it’s an old ACL rupture, hip arthritis, or neck pain, we’re seeing some classic signs. So we are trying to categorize their pain into different categories, which will help get started developing treatment plans.” They will focus primarily on neurological, inflammatory (eg arthritis) and myofascial causes.

    How Do You Treat Chronic Pain in Dogs?

    Arthritis is one of the leading causes of chronic pain, especially in older dogs. Dr. Hannah Capon founded Canine Arthritis Management to better educate owners and fellow veterinarians about this disease and treatment options.
    According to Dr. Capon, “I had been working as a vet for around 12 years when I became very conscious of how many dogs are euthanized for “going off their legs”. I was also aware that, as a vet, I actually knew very little about soft tissue ailments and felt I needed to offer my clients more than just anti-inflammatory medication and leash rest”.
    Introducing a multimodal chronic pain treatment plan can often significantly improve a dog’s quality of life and long-term prognosis. There are many “game-changers for owners that cost no money and have huge benefits,” she emphasizes. Capon. Your veterinarian can not only provide you with medications and rehabilitation therapies for dogs like acupuncture and hydrotherapy. These are important factors, but owners should also be proactive about their dog’s lifestyle and home environment.

    She also recommends making simple adjustments at home, like “ensuring your dog isn’t injuring themselves further on slippery floors, blind steps, steep staircases, or elevated sofas.” Introducing additions such as ramps, orthopedic beds, and rugs around the home are all small changes that can make a big difference.

    Why is Weight Important for Dogs?

    According to a 2018 comprehensive survey, the Pet Obesity Prevention Association estimated that more than 56% of dogs in the United States are overweight or obese. Dr. Frey said, “being overweight isn’t just a physical burden on the joints, but fat tissue itself is also inflammatory. Having a lot more inflammatory tissue is going to make something like arthritis, that’s inflammatory in origin, much harder to control. This means that weight loss is a critical part of the conversation. ” She also realizes that it can be a challenge. increase. It’s about proper, partial nutrition and delicacies, and proper physical and mental affluence.
    overweight poodle sitting down

    When Should You Visit a Vet?

    For dogs with persistent chronic pain problems, it may be beneficial to seek help from a pain management or rehabilitation specialist. “General Practitioners are wonderful and essential, but they often have very limited time,” he says. fry. “Managing something like chronic pain is challenging and time-intensive. Having access to so many pain management options really lets us fine-tune the treatment for the dog.”

    Adapted from “The “Subtleties and Seriousness of Chronic Pain in Dogs” written by Gemma Johnstone for

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    Gastroenteritis in Dogs: Symptoms, Diagnoses and Treatment

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      What Is Gastroenteritis in Dogs?

      vizla dog squatting and pooping on a leash Gastroenteritis

      Gastroenteritis in dogs is an inflammatory illness of the gastrointestinal system (stomach and intestines). It will most usually manifest as diarrhoea with or without vomiting; while it might manifest as simply vomiting, this is significantly less common. Gastroenteritis can be chronic (lasting more than two weeks) or acute (lasting less than two weeks and normally going away on its own, but may worsen over time).

      What Causes Gastroenteritis in Dogs?

      Gastroenteritis in dogs can have a variety of reasons. Anything that drastically affects a dog’s microbiota can cause the disease. Here is a list of potential causes: 

      • Consuming spoiled food
      • Ingesting strange substances
      • Toxin ingestion
      • Parvovirus and other certain viruses and bacteria
      • Kidney and liver disease
      • Worms and other intestinal parasites
      • Food sensitivities
      • Ulcers in the intestine
      • Certain types of gastrointestinal cancer

      What Are The Symptoms Of Gastroenteritis?

      In dogs, gastroenteritis often begins with soft feces that grows progressively wetter. You may detect mucous in the stool, your dog struggling to have a bowel movement, and/or feces in the home later on. Here are some more frequent warning signs:

      • Bowel motions that are explosive and/or frequent
      • Tarry feces
      • Large amounts of watery feces
      • Blood in stool
      • Lethargy
      • Restlessness
      • Pain in the abdomen
      • Nausea
      • Vomiting

      Depending on the degree and course of the condition, dogs may exhibit one or more of these symptoms.

      How Do You Know When To Go To The Vet?

      husky on a table at the vet for Gastroenteritis

      Dogs with gastroenteritis can appear completely normal. They may not exhibit any symptoms other than a change in the quality, amount, frequency, or placement of their feces. As previously stated, dogs with HGE will exhibit more visible symptoms.

      Because it’s impossible to predict if a dog’s health will worsen, veterinarian care should be sought in all episodes of diarrhea, especially in puppies, senior dogs, or small breed dogs that are more prone to dehydration. If your dog exhibits symptoms of vomiting, nausea, bleeding, discomfort, or lethargy, he or she must seek veterinary attention immediately.

      How Is Gastroenteritis Diagnosed?

      Gastroenteritis diagnosis is done via the process of exclusion.  Essentially, this implies that before establishing a generic diagnosis such as gastroenteritis, your veterinarian will rule out or remove alternative more serious causes of the clinical indications. A thorough medical history is the first step in diagnosing what is causing a dog’s vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and other accompanying clinical indications.

      Among the most important pieces of information in your dog’s medical history are:

      • Your dog’s current diet, how much and how frequently you feed your dog
      • Everything your dog ate or drank in the last 48 hours
      • Any new meals, treats, or incentives.
        Any recent exposure to pesticides, drugs, cleaning agents, or other new materials in your house.
      • Any recent contact with a new animal or human.
        Previous bouts of vomiting and diarrhea (including their cause and treatment).
      • Any disease that occurred within the last month.
      • Any chronic ailments that your dog may be suffering from.
      • Any drugs, vitamins, or supplements used in the previous month

      Your veterinary health team may have you fill in a questionnaire prior to your visit. 

      Following the completion of the medical history, your veterinarian will conduct a complete physical examination. Your veterinarian will examine your pet for signs of dehydration, belly discomfort or soreness, bloating or gas, swellings, or any other physical anomaly. The temperature of your dog, as well as other vital indicators (heart rate and respiration rate), will be recorded.

      Diagnostic testing will be advised at this point, and may include:

      • The presence of dehydration and infection is indicated by a complete blood cell count (CBC).
      • Serum chemistry and electrolytes – identifies organ system abnormalities as well as electrolyte imbalances caused by vomiting and diarrhea.
      • Urinalysis identifies urinary tract infections, renal illness, dehydration, urine glucose for diabetics, and other conditions.
      • Abdominal radiographs (X-rays) are used to look for gastric (stomach) or intestinal obstructions, as well as other abnormalities.
      • Ultrasound of the abdomen to search for intestinal blockages or other abnormalities.

      How Is Gastroenteritis Treated?

      female vet giving a boston terrier a pill

      The principal treatment of gastroenteritis is rehydration and restoration of blood electrolyte balance (sodium, potassium, and/or chloride). Depending on the degree of dehydration, this fluid replacement will be given orally, subcutaneously (beneath the skin), or by intravenous (IV) treatment.

      Medical treatment may also include:

      • Antidiarrheal drugs may be used to alter intestinal motility (activity) after intestinal obstruction or other mechanical and anatomical issues have been ruled out. If your dog is experiencing severe colitis, motility-modifying agents are generally not recommended.
      • Anti-emetic (anti-vomiting) medications, for example, maropitant (brand name Cerenia®) or metoclopramide (brand name Reglan®) may be given to your dog.
      • Gastrointestinal protectants are used to prevent stomach ulcers, for example, famotidine (brand name Pepcid®) or ranitidine (brand name Zantac®).

      Food is often withheld during the initial stages of treatment for 24-48 hours and then slowly reintroduced. Small, frequent feedings of a highly digestible, low fat diet are generally prescribed. Your veterinarian will advise you on the best diet to feed your dog for a speedy recovery.

      What Is The Prognosis For Gastroenteritis?

      The majority of instances of acute gastroenteritis improve quickly following rehydration. Call your veterinarian if the vomiting and diarrhea do not improve dramatically within 48 hours of therapy.

      Gastroenteritis is a prevalent problem in veterinary medicine. Early detection and treatment are critical to restoring your dog to their usual healthy state as soon as possible. Please contact your veterinarian if you have any more questions or concerns.

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      What is Canine Atopic Dermatitis?

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        Watching your dog itch themselves raw can be distressing, especially when you can’t pinpoint the cause. A common cause of intense itching is canine atopic dermatitis which luckily, can be controlled with the right changes to diet and environment as well as medication.

        What is Canine Atopic Dermatitis?

        Canine Atopic Dermatitis is a chronic skin condition that is a result of allergies leading to itchy skin and inflammation. It happens to be the second most common skin disease among dogs. 

        What Causes Canine Atopic Dermatitis?

        Atopic Dermatitis is a result of allergies in dogs. Pollen, animal dander, plants, and insects are the most common allergens that cause dog allergies, but dogs can also be sensitive to food and medications. Itching, scratching, and grooming are among the signs of allergies. Other symptoms include sneezing, watery eyes, paw chewing, and skin irritation. When humans have allergies, we sneeze, have a runny nose and watery eyes but dogs react to allergies with  skin and/or gastrointestinal problems.

        In dogs, allergic dermatitis (atopy) is caused by a genetic tendency to develop allergy symptoms after repeated contact to an otherwise innocuous chemical (an “allergen”). Allergic symptoms usually appear between the ages of 1 and 3 years. Since the condition is inherited, some dogs are more likely to be afflicted with it than others.

        Common Allergens

        Staphylococcus Hypersensitivity

        Bacterial hypersensitivity occurs when a dog’s body overreacts to typical Staphylococcus (Staph) germs. Dogs with hypothyroidism, inhalant allergy, and/or flea allergy are more prone to develop hypersensitivity to microorganisms. Microbiological tests are used to identify bacterial hypersensitivity. Bacterial hypersensitivity is characterized by certain alterations in the skin’s blood vessels.

        Contact and Inhalant Allergies 

        Pollens from grasses, trees, and weeds, dust mites, and molds can trigger an allergic reaction in dogs, just as they can in people. The timing of the reaction might be used as a hint to diagnose these allergies. If so, how often does it occur? There’s a chance it’s mold or dust. Toxic pollen may be to blame if the allergic response is seasonal.

        Food Allergies

        Since their pets have eaten the same diet their whole lives, many people do not identify food allergies as the source of their dog’s scratching. As a result, this finding does not rule out the possibility of food allergies in animals. Some believe that dogs are only sensitive to bad food. Irritation caused by a particular component in dog food does not matter whether the product is costly or not. Premium foods have the benefit of avoiding common fillers that might cause allergic responses.

        Flea Allergies

        Dogs aren’t necessarily allergic to the fleas or flea bites, but their saliva. Dogs who are only 

        Exposed to fleas occasionally are more likely to be sensitive to flea saliva than those who are infected more often. The effects of the saliva from a single flea bite can last from five to seven days, so you don’t need many fleas to make your dog uncomfortable. 

        What are the Symptoms of Canine Atopic Dermatitis?

        The common clinical signs of atopic dermatitis include:

        • Compulsive licking or lick granuloma in dogs 
        • Scratching of their face, paws, ears, groin
        • Watery eyes
        • Sneezing
        • Itching
        • Scratching
        • Rubbing
        • Licking
        • A yeasty smell
        • Greasy skin
        • Redness or tough skin

        How is Canine Atopic Dermatitis Diagnosed?

        Testing for allergies is the best way to diagnose and treat dogs with moderate or severe allergies. There are a variety of testing procedures. Tests for antigen-induced antibodies in the dog’s blood are most common. Intradermal skin testing is another option. The antigen is then injected into a section of the dog’s skin that’s been shaved in a precise order, so that if the dog reacts, the antigen may be recognized. After that, the shaved region is inspected to find out if any antigens caused a reaction (this might take many hours).

        What is the Treatment for Canine Atopic Dermatitis?

        There are multiple different treatment options for treating atopic dermatitis but it will depend on both the actual cause of the allergy, the severity and what the dog reacts best too.

        Medicated Baths 

        Numerous medicinal shampoos include ingredients designed to soothe inflamed skin. Bathing your dog regularly can also help eliminate allergens from the hair coat, which can lead to skin allergy flare-ups. This includes antibacterial and antifungal agents, along with substances that allow bathing the skin on a more frequent basis without causing it to become dry. The use of a rinse thereafter also helps to prevent the skin and hair coat from drying out.


        Antihistamines can be given to dogs with little risk. Some owners have had success using antihistamines. As a rule of thumb, these medicines tend to have a varied effect on different dogs. It has been shown that antihistamines are highly effective at treating allergic skin conditions in some dogs. It has a negligible effect on other breeds of dogs. As a result, owners should try at least three different types of antihistamines before giving up. These include Benadryl, Chlortrimeton, Atarax and Zyrtec. Antihistamines, on the other hand, are generally seen to be worth a shot because of their minimal risk of adverse effects and their affordability.

        Antibiotic and Antifungal Meds

        Secondary skin infections are often treated with antibiotics. Secondary yeast infections are often treated with antifungal medicines. These should only be prescribed by a veterinarian.

        Flea Control

        Flea management is essential for dogs with an allergy to flea saliva. It’s imperative to keep flea preventative on your dog. It’s available orally and topically. It’s important to do research prior to purchasing as many brands come out with new formulas each year to battle ever adapting fleas.


        Skin health is improved by Omega-3 and Omega-6 essential fatty acid supplementation. Fatty acids have been shown to have anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties in the natural world. Many dogs with allergies benefit from these products. The fact that they are non-toxic and have almost no adverse effects makes them worth a shot. 

        Hypoallergenic Foods

        Hypoallergenic meals include proteins and carbs that your dog has never eaten before, because allergies are the result of exposure. Tests for food allergies are the fastest and most accurate way to discover which foods your dog could or might not be allergic to. 80% of dog food allergies are caused by dairy, meat, and wheat, therefore these foods should be avoided. For example, hypoallergenic diets utilize venison, duck eggs and other non-traditional protein sources, such as duck, kangaroo, and a variety of fish. Potatoes, peas, yams, sweet potatoes, and canned pumpkin are all good sources of carbohydrates.

        Diets including hydrolyzed protein are those in which the protein source has been synthesized into tiny pieces before being consumed. As a result of providing a hydrolyzed protein source, allergy-prone dogs’ immune systems are supposed to be unable to identify the protein fragments and build an immunological response, resulting in an allergic reaction to the meal. 

        A store-bought hypoallergenic diet works well for most pets with food allergies, but sometimes an animal’s allergies are so severe that a customized diet is the best alternative. Veterinarians should be consulted in order to tailor the diet in this scenario.

        Immunosuppressive Agents and Corticosteroids 

        You can reduce itchiness using cortisone products such as dexamethasone, prednisolone, and prednisone. There are adverse effects associated with these medicines, therefore they should be taken with caution while treating skin allergies. Steroids should only be used if the allergy season is brief, the dosage is minimal, or the dog is in significant pain. Increased thirst and appetite, increased urination, and behavioral changes are some of the possible side effects. Diabetic complications and a weakened immune system are possible side effects of prolonged usage. There are certain canines that can only be adequately managed with a long-term, low-dose alternate day treatment.

        “Cyclosporine,” also known as Atopica, is an anti-inflammatory drug that has been shown to be quite successful in treating skin allergies in dogs.

        Immunotherapy (Hypo-sensitization) 

        Many individuals have had tremendous success with allergy injections, but they take a long time to work. It may take six to twelve months for the condition to improve. An immunotherapy for that individual dog may be created after allergies have been identified and the dog’s treatment can begin. An injection containing a combination of these antigens can be created when the problematic antigens have been identified. They are administered over a period of weeks to months depending on the type of agent used, until the dog develops immunity to the agent. It may be necessary to give a booster shot every now and then after initial protection.

        Controlling Environment Factors

        Anti-allergy medication is most effective if you know the things your dog is allergic too. Avoiding the allergen completely is preferable than desensitizing your dog with allergy injections. By using a dehumidifier, or by adding activated charcoal on top of the soil on your houseplants, you can limit the growth of molds. For the greatest dust and pollen management, use a HEPA air cleaner. A/C can also help minimize the quantity of airborne allergens that circulate since the windows are kept closed.

        Medicine for Thyroid 

        Numerous variables, both external and internal, contribute to the maintenance of healthy skin. As well as maintaining a proper skin surface, many glands in the body produce hormones that are essential for various body functions. When the thyroid is underactive, it can affect the skin and hair coat, resulting in thinning hair and dull, brittle hair, as well as skin that is oily or dry. When it comes to determining if your dog has hypothyroidism, a blood test is the easiest and most straightforward approach.

        In order to cure hypothyroidism, thyroxine, a synthetic thyroid hormone, is taken daily (levothyroxine). In order to determine the efficacy of the dose and make any required changes, blood samples will need to be taken on a regular basis.


        To conclude, when it comes to managing an atopic, allergic dog, it may be difficult and irritating since it usually takes a variety of approaches to control the allergy flare-ups. To optimize the chances of healing or at least managing a seriously afflicted allergic patient, a veterinarian’s proper diagnosis, owner compliance, and follow-up treatment are critical. You can find a veterinary dermatologist near you in our specialist directory or find products to help with atopic dermatitis in our product directory!

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        How to Tell If Your Dog is in Pain: Common Pain Symptoms in Dogs

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          Seeing our dogs in pain is no fun and can be heartbreaking. It’s important to be able to identify common pain symptoms in dogs so the appropriate measures can be taken. Pain symptoms will look different in every dog and dependent on the actual location of the pain but the below common pain symptoms are often common universal symptoms of pain in dogs. Keep reading to learn about the common pain symptoms in dogs and what you can do.

          Common Pain Symptoms in Dogs

          1. Reluctance to be Touched

          When dogs are in pain, they will often avoid the painful part of their body being touched or even being touched in general. This can look like ducking away or pulling their limb back towards them but they can also tell you they don’t want to be touched by growling when you’re near the affected area.  Remember to respect their boundaries.

          2. Vocalization 

          Just like people, dogs may outwardly express their pain. They may either yelp when the painful area is touched as well as consistent whining especially during activities like trying to stand/laydown and when just laying down and trying to get comfortable.

          3. Signs of Agitation

          Dogs may become restless when it pain and pace back and forth and not able to keep still. They will usually have trouble getting comfortable and are unable to stay in one position for too long before getting up and moving. It’s important to find out if your dog is doing this as a symptom of pain or anxiety.

          4. Shaking or Trembling

          brown dog in pink sweater laying on couch and shaking

          Shaking doesn’t just indicate being cold. Shaking or trembling is also a symptom of pain in dogs. But keep in mind that this can also mean they’ve been poisoned or have any number of conditions that cause muscle tremors. If you suspect your dog has been poisoned, take them to your nearest emergency vet and call the Pet Poison Hotline at (855) 764-7661.

          5. Issues With Mobility

          Dogs who are having pain in their limbs, joints, jips, etc. will often have mobility issues. This includes having difficulty standing, laying down, walking, running, and jumping, They may either show signs of difficulty doing these things or refuse to do them all together.

          6. Heavy Breathing

          While panting is normal and even heavy panting is normal after a lot of activity, heavy panting and breathing in dogs while inactive is a sign of being in pain. If your dog is breathing shallowly, it might also be a sign that it is painful to breathe.

          7. Excessive Grooming

          dog licking themselves from pain

          Dogs often excessively groom themselves when anxious or in physical pain. When in physical pain, they will often groom the area that hurts in an effort to relieve the pain. A dog’s first instinct when hurt is to try and clean the wound and soothe themselves even if the pain is coming from something beyond a flesh wound.

          8. Changes in Eating, Sleeping, and Drinking Habits

          Dogs who are in pain often have changes in their eating, sleeping, and drinking habits in that they do less of all of the above. Dogs often won’t eat much or drink when in pain but it can also be an indicator of dental pain as well because it’s painful to eat. They may sleep less due to not being able to get comfortable.

          9. Antisocial Behavior

          When dogs are in pain, they will often want to be left alone. You might find them hiding in a corner, in the closet, or under the bed. Obviously if this is a regular behavior for them, it’s not necessarily an indicator or pain but it can be if combined with other symptoms of pain.

          10. Dilated Pupils

          Eyes can give you pretty good insight on the health of your dog. The pupils will often stay dilated when a dog is suffering from certain painful conditions. These painful conditions aren’t limited to the eyes, either. It can be a sign of pain in any area of the body.

          What To Do If Your Dog is in Pain

          Call Your Vet

          Your vet is really the only person who can decide if your dog is actually in pain (as many pain symptoms can mimic symptoms of other issues) and figure out the reason that they are in pain. They may do radiology, blood tests and a physical examination depending on what part of the body is in pain. It’s important to call your vet if your dog is displaying pain symptoms as some ailments can become chronic if not dealt with immediately.

          Make a Record

          To better help your dog and your vet figure out what’s going on and why your dog is displaying pain symptoms, write down what you notice and what your dog is doing at the time. Photos and videos are also extremely helpful as not all dogs will continue showing symptoms at the vet.

          Modify What You’re Doing

          corgi laying on a ramp

          If you think your dog is in pain, further activity might make it worse, especially if they have something like a leg injury. Further movement will also increase their pain symptoms. Before you have a treatment plan, there are some simple things you can do to help your dog from over exerting themselves:

          • Take shorter, slower walks
          • Use a ramp, stairs or pick them up to help your dog get on and off the couch and bed
          • Give your dog a raised dog dish to reduce strain on their neck

          This may be either temporary or possible lifelong if the pain is being caused by a chronic condition like osteoarthritis.

          If you believe your dog is in pain, stop activities and visit a veterinary professional to diagnose the problem.

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          What is Canine Hip Dysplasia?

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            What is Canine Hip Dysplasia?

            When your dog’s hips move, they work like a ball and socket and because of this, one or both of your dog’s hips may be affected by hip dysplasia. This occurs when the ball and socket of the dog’s hips have not grown properly, resulting in a dysfunctional joint. They grind against one other rather than glide smoothly, causing a deterioration over time and eventual loss of function of the hip joint. As a result of the condition’s discomfort and reduced mobility, hip dysplasia can significantly impair your dog’s quality of life if left untreated.

            This painful disease is more frequent in big or large breed dogs, although smaller breeds are not immune to it. As a result of the condition, your dog’s quality of life can be significantly decreased if left untreated. Hip dysplasia causes discomfort and impairs your dog’s mobility. This issue is particularly tough for pet owners to deal with since it may be unpleasant to see an otherwise healthy dog suffer with the symptoms of hip dysplasia.

            What Causes Canine Hip Dysplasia?

            Among dogs, hip dysplasia is predominantly hereditary, with genetics playing a major role in its development. A variety of smaller breeds, including French bulldogs and pugs, may also be vulnerable to hip dysplasia, but it is more frequent in big breed dogs like mastiffs, St. Bernards, Rottweilers, retrievers, and bulldogs. 

            Untreated, this disease would certainly develop with age and damage both hips if left untreated in the early stages (bilateral). It’s possible for hip dysplasia to be worsened by other painful diseases, including osteoarthritis. An unhealthy weight and diet, rapid growth, and certain forms of activity can all contribute to the development of this disease. Overweight dogs are more likely to develop hip dysplasia because of the excessive tension placed on their joints. 

            To ensure your dog gets the correct amount of daily activity and the right nutrition for their age, size, and breed, it’s vital to visit your veterinarian.

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            What are Clinical Signs of Canine Hip Dysplasia?

            Hip dysplasia symptoms vary from dog to dog, as they do with many other diseases. However, it may not become noticeable until the dog reaches its middle or senior years, despite the fact that it usually begins to develop when the puppy is five months of age. Pet parents should be on the lookout for the following signs as their puppy matures: 

            • Pain or discomfort during physical activity (or a reluctance to exercise, run, jump or climb stairs) 
            • Rear legs are rigid when walking
            • Anxiety or stiffness when jogging or getting up from a sitting 
            • Back legs and thighs lose muscular tone 
            • When he moves, his joints grate or grind
            • Rear leg lameness
            • Decreased range of motion
            • Running with a ‘bunny hop’ (lifting the hip when running)

            Can Canine Hip Dysplasia Be Prevented?

            Dogs are often born with the predisposition to develop hip dysplasia. To actually prevent this, breeders need to stop breeding dogs with the predisposition and doing proper health testing of all their dogs. Before getting a dog from a breeder, you should ensure that the dog and their parents have undergone the proper testing and been screened for the disease. You can also help prevent the disease by helping the skeletal system grow properly, providing essential supplements for joints and growth, giving dogs a proper diet, testing early for hip dysplasia and avoiding exercising young and at-risk dogs.

            How is Canine Hip Dysplasia Diagnosed?

            Vets usually check for hip dysplasia whenever a dog comes in for a checkup. Every six months or so, your veterinarian should do a physical exam to check on your dog’s physical health. In order to detect grinding noises, discomfort, or restricted range of motion, your vet may adjust your dog’s back legs. If hip dysplasia is suspected, your veterinarian may suggest blood tests that can detect inflammation as a result of joint illness.

            An extensive health and medical history will also be requested from your veterinarian, including a list of your dog’s symptoms and any injuries that may have resulted in the pain they are in. Finding out your pet’s ancestry can help you determine whether or not your dog is at risk for getting hip problems. When it comes to identifying the degree of hip dysplasia in your dog, standard x-rays may also be extremely helpful.

            What are Canine Hip Dysplasia Treatment Options?

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            Dogs with hip dysplasia have a variety of treatment choices, ranging from lifestyle modifications like nutrition and exercise to pain medications and surgery. There are actually three main surgeries to treat Canine Hip Dysplasia:

            Double or triple pelvic osteotomy (DPO/TPO)

            Surgery to repair a dog’s ball-and-socket joint is most often performed on puppies under 10 months of age. DPO and TPO treatments include severing the pelvic bone into pieces and rotating them to enhance ball-to-socket coverage and reduce hip laxity. Although the cost of surgery varies, for most dogs, both hips will cost around $3,000 to fix. 

            It will take many weeks for your dog to be able to enjoy leash walks again, and they will require frequent physical therapy in order to regain full mobility after these procedures are completed (although you may notice joint stability improve within as little as four weeks). Following surgery, the majority of dogs will recover in four to six weeks on average.

            Femoral Head Ostectomy (FHO)

            For both young and older dogs, FHO can be beneficial If they have hip dysplasia. FHO involves removing the femoral head (ball) and allowing their body to build a “false” joint. Despite the fact that FHO does not restore normal hip function, it can be an efficient way to manage pain in dogs. 

             There are a number of factors that influence the cost of FHO surgery including the size and age of your dog, as well as the severity of the problem. However, you should anticipate to pay between $1200 to $2,500, which includes pre-surgical bloodwork, the surgical procedure, anesthesia, post-surgical

            As a result of the procedure, your dog may need to stay in the hospital for a few hours to a few days, depending on their health. For at least 30 days after FHO surgery, your veterinarian will provide you detailed advice on how to care for your dog. However, you must restrict your dog from engaging in any vigorous physical activity during recovery. In most situations, your pup will be fully recovered within six weeks after surgery. Dogs may be prescribed an anti-inflammatory medicine daily for up to a month afterward, depending on the kind of surgery. In that case, these medicines may only be required on an irregular basis.Once they have fully recovered, they can return to their normal

            Total Hip Replacement (THR)

            The most successful surgical treatment for hip dysplasia in dogs is a total hip replacement. THR includes the use of plastic and metal implants to replace the whole hip joint, restoring hip function and alleviating most hip dysplasia-related pain.

            THR surgery also happens to be a radical and expensive choice and in most cases, this operation is recommended only if the dog is in a great deal of pain or is near to being completely immobile as a result.  In order for THR to be successful, your dog’s prosthetic components must be custom-made for them, and the surgery must be performed by a certified veterinary surgeon.

            When it comes to dogs, the cost of THR for hip dysplasia may range from $3,500 per hip to $7,000, depending on your dog’s condition and other criteria such as size, age On average, surgery can cost up to $14,000 for dogs that are afflicted on both sides of the body (which is frequent). The cost of the operation includes pre-surgical blood testing.

            In general, total hip replacement surgery takes two to three hours, and your dog may need to stay in the hospital for one to three days after the procedure. You should expect a 12-week recovery period in order to achieve thorough healing. However, even if your dog’s hip dysplasia affects both hips, surgery can only be performed one at a time, which allows for a three to six-month interval between treatments.

            Photo Credit: Fitzpatrick Referrals

            When your dog is diagnosed with hip dysplasia, vets understand that it may be a heartbreaking experience, as the disease is painful and can restrict mobility. Many dog owners are rightfully concerned about the financial strain that this disease can cause but there is still a chance, however, that your veterinarian will have the ability to propose an alternative or a combination of therapies that will help your dog recover and be in less pain.

            Your dog may also benefit from supplements to aid in the effort of alleviating pain as well as help with prevention.