Most neurological conditions in dog health issues are directly related to genetic factors. Neurological conditions are most commonly recessive genetic conditions, meaning that both the male and female used in the breeding pair must carry the gene for the disorder for the puppy to have the neurological problem. A great number of these conditions can be managed, however there are not actual cures for these conditions. DNA testing has made identifying affected carrier dogs possible in some breeds, which will helpfully work towards ridding the breeding lines of the recessive genetics.
Although there are a great number of hereditary conditions found in the canine species, a lot of these dog health issues can be successfully managed to have no serious impact on the dog's ability to lead a normal, happy life. Some of the more common hereditary dog health issues include hip dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), von Willebrand's disease, and conjunctivitis. Although there are serious and fatal hereditary diseases and conditions, the dog health issues listed above are treatable and manageable, plus will be much less severe when identified early rather than later in the dogs life.
The following is a general introduction to the canine hereditary conditions and the dog health concerns faced by a great number of pets every year.
Dog Hip Dysplasia
Almost any breed of dog can have problems with hip dysplasia, although larger breeds are often more at risk for inheriting the condition. Hip dysplasia is actually an irregularity in the hip joint that eventually leads to degeneration and damage of the joint. Dogs can be treated with steroids and oral anti-inflammatories to help manage the condition, plus surgical processes can repair and strengthen the joint. All breeding males and females should be tested for hip and joint problems, especially in the lines where hip dysplasia is known to exist.
It was early in the morning, and the sun was already up. My border collie puppies and I had just been outside for their morning routine walk, their tiny feet wet from the heavy morning dew. Another day of hot weather was in the making. The steady hum of local insects were beginning to swarm around the flowerbeds and garden area. As I nonchalantly observed Mother Nature in progress, I saw my dogs scratching from one end to another, with an age-old problem that had not yet shown its ugly head this season. Fleas.
Probably more than my dogs, I hate fleas with a passion. Once they have started their cycle, it is a continuous battle until the first freeze outside. This famous irritable parasite has a reputation that is known to have killed more victims than those who have died in all the world wars. The bubonic plague, which caused the deaths of more than 200 million people in the 14th century, is just one of the many win-win situations caused by this little creature.
The Result of Modern Pollution
Under “Pet-Grub.com” there was article about a Native Canadian woman who stated her forefathers never had a problem with the flea, because “it was basically a result of modern pollution and damage to the environment.” Her tribe was from an area that bordered B.C., Alaska and the Yukon border, and the author of the article was interested in why this woman’s forefathers survived in insect heaven in their early days. The author of the article, along with myself, was very surprised at the answer as most of the world today prides themselves on their cleanliness and sanitary living. Guess we were wrong.
Hydrotherapy has been used to aid humans for many years. Its benefits are widely acknowledged and its use is commonplace for treatment of numerous ailments. Veterinary medicine adopted hydrotherapy for use with horses, but until a few years ago it was not often used for dogs.
That’s all changing with the development of specialized hydrotherapy centers for dogs and better understanding among veterinary practitioners of the benefits of hydrotherapy.
Hydrotherapy for dogs, also known as swim therapy, uses the buoyancy of water to support your dog’s weight so that he can exercise without impact to his joints. Many veterinarians are now recommending swim therapy as a way to help dogs with hip dysplasia, arthritis, knee injuries, elbow dysplasia, or range of motion problems. Other conditions that may improve through the use of swim therapy are growth problems, muscle degeneration, paralysis and stroke.
Ear infections in dogs are often a result of poor ear care routines and practices by the owners. Some breeds, however, are much more likely to get ear infections just because of the type of ears that they have. Dogs that have a lot of "leather" on the ears, which is the long flap of ear that covers the opening of the ear, are more likely to have problems with ear infections than dogs that have pricked or erect types of ears. This only makes sense as less air enters the ear to promote drying and provide oxygen to the area to prevent bacterial growth.
Dog Ear Infections And Bacteria
Any type of dog can get water in their ear or ears or have an excessive production of wax in the ear. Once this happens and the water or wax is not removed naturally or by the owner, the conditions are right for nasty bacteria to move in and get started breeding and creating irritations and ear infections.
The actual veterinary medical term for an external ear infections is otitis externa and it is characterized by:
• Redness and heat to the ear or ear flap
• Excessive scratching of the ears
• Rubbing the head on the ground
• Sensitivity to being touched around or on the ears
• Discharge from the ear draining down the face
• Foul, yeasty smelling discharge
• Tilting of the head in combination with scratching and rubbing
• Constant shaking of the head as if to dislodge something in the ear
The dog's ear is very sensitive and requires care to stay free from infections, ear mites and other ear problem. Their sharp sense of hearing has saved many lives, detecting sounds we cannot hear due to their acute hearing. Dogs themselves depend on their hearing more than their eyesight. Yet the ears and ear diseases make up 20% of the average veterinary practices. And dogs with lots of fur tend to have furry ears, which collect oil and infections – such as cocker spaniels or poodles. Got the picture?
Infections In The Ears
Wet ears cause ear infections in dogs, so try to insert cotton balls into the canal when bathing the dog, or allowing them to swim. If experienced, there are drying agents to insert into the dog’s ears if the eardrums are intact, such as ClearX or Panodry, which will dry the water in the canal. You can wipe out the dog’s ears with cotton balls, but a small amount of wax needs to stay in the dogs ear canal, so be careful.
Some breeds like the Poodle, the Cocker Spaniel, or the Schnauzer has hair plucked out of the ears by groomers. This causes serum to ooze from their pores, which causes the growth of bacteria. Also, the folded over ears of the cocker make them vulnerable to bacteria. After wiping the ears with mineral oil, and a “dirty look” reappears in a week or so – this could mean infection due to the growth of bacteria. Scratching at the ears, rubbing against things, or shying away if you touch the ear are also symptoms of ear conditions. You may want to have the dog checked at the vet if this occurs.