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Pet health questions and answers

QUESTION: my 4 month yorkie just broke his tib in two places and the fib in one. i can not afford surgery. what
are my options?

ANSWER: I am very sorry to hear about your Yorkie’s condition. Here are some ideas for when your pet is sick and you are in a financial bind during financially tough times.

1. A sick pet needs to be examined and treated – oftentimes, as soon as possible. Contrary to what many people think, it is always best to call your veterinarian first and explain the situation. Your vet can assess your animal’s condition and offer any advice/assistance as the situation warrants. Additionally, some veterinary practices have an “emergency fund” for those in immediate need of assistance. Contact your vet and explain the situation. Also, he may know the name of a charitable group in your area that will help with pet expenses and/or a rescue organization that may be able to help you.

2. You might try contacting any colleges in the area that have veterinary medicine programs to see if they offer services at a reduced cost. You might also try contacting local shelters. They may offer low-cost or free services if you explain your situation.

3. Contact your local Yorkshire Rescue and see if they can help you with the medications and vet expenses your dog needs for his broken bones. Rescue groups are great resources for learning about pet care on a budget.

4. Most vets seem to be good and kind people. If your normal vet isn’t receptive to helping you, contact your local animal rescue groups and explain your situation. They will likely be able to find you help, or direct you to a vet that they use that will discount fees for situations such as yours.

5. Call your local humane society or animal shelter – they may offer reduced cost veterinary care or vouchers to use at your local veterinarian.

6. Ask your veterinarian if there are any options for trading work or services that you are able to offer.

7. Various animal aid organizations like IMOM offer assistance to those in need. Check out local resources in your community — your veterinarian may be able to offer advice on local resources, too. Link for IMOM: http://vetmedicine.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?zi=1/XJ&sdn;=vetmedicine&zu;=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.imom.org

8. Veterinary schools will sometimes take on unique cases as a learning tool.

9. Check with friends and family for a possible short term loan to help out at this time.

10. Lastly, when you are able – start a savings plan. This doesn’t have to be a huge amount, but some money tucked away “just in case” can be a good emergency buffer. It is easy to look at our pets and assume they are always going to be healthy and vibrant, but things can change quickly sometimes, and having some financial plan will be better than being caught by surprise.

Best of luck to you.


QUESTION: My beagle seems to be having a problem with defecation. While although he does this regularly, he seems to be “leaking”. I started noticing stains on the carpet where he sat, and sensing a bad odor with him. He had some defecation build up on his rear-end, so I gave him a bath and throughly cleaned his cage and carpet. However, after this, I could still smell him, and the smell has only worsened the past few days. There doesn’t seem to be any build up on his rear-end like I noticed before, but stains are reappearing on my carpet, and his odor is unbearable. Does this sound like any known problem, or should I seek a vet?

ANSWER: Dear Beagle owner:

Your dog might need his anal glands expressed. The odor is coming from his rear end. Infection or improper emptying of the anal glands can cause odor and discomfort to the dog and a trip to the veterinarian is in order. The stains most likely are coming from him scooting along the carpet. Anal gland expression (emptying) can be done by the owner. Generally the veterinarian can assist in showing you how to do this.

Signs of anal sac disease include “scooting” (dragging the anus on the floor), excessive licking under the tail, tenderness near the tail or anus, and/or bloody or sticky drainage from the anal area.

Treatment for anal sac disease may include the following:

1. Manual expression (squeezing) of the sac contents.
2. Feeding a diet higher in fiber.

Always seek advice from your veterinarian.

QUESTION: I had a yorkie who deliver a 2 oz puppy on May 1st. It will be a week tomorrow. I had to feed it with a eye dropper but now it is nursing off a small animal bottle. It had not gain any weight but seems a little stronger. My vet says it could stay like this for a couple of weeks before gaing weight. Is there any thing I could do or add to help it start gaining. It’s is on a commerical milk replacer for puppies. Thanks

ANSWER: Congratulations on your new addition to the family! Always remember to contact your veterinarian if you find any negative changes in the newborn. Follow your veterinarian’s advice and recommendations on the amount of milk replacer – which he will adjust according to weight.

Puppies should be weighed twice daily, not only to assure proper weight gain, but to calculate the correct amount of formula. You can use a regular kitchen scale and weigh in the morning and also at night.

When you bottle-feed, you will need to burp the puppy by firmly rubbing their back and sides (up and down) or by gently but firmly patting the back or sides. Even ones that nurse naturally may sometimes need to be burped!

Wash the bottle and nipples thoroughly following each use.

Warm formula to puppy body temperature before feeding. Always discard formula leftover at a feeding. If using a bottle, you may need to enlarge the nipple hole slightly.

Here are some general rules for bottle feeding puppies:

1. Always boil water before using – allow time to cool.

2. Burp your pups after feeding.

3. A pup may have little bubbles by his mouth but there should not be milk running out of his mouth.

4. When the bottle is held upside down the milk should drip out – not flow out in a stream – pups that get milk in their lungs will get pneumonia.

Since the newborn may have trouble generating enough heat to maintain its body temperature, the milk replacer should be warmed to 95 degrees to 100 degrees F (35.0 to 37.8C) for the best results. Testing the milk replacer’s temperature on your forearm (as for babies) is generally accurate enough. The milk replacer should be about the same temperature as one’s skin or slightly warmer. As your puppy grows older, the milk replacer can be fed at room temperature.

The puppy’s genital area must be stimulated after feeding to cause urination and defecation. The genital area should be massaged with a moist cloth or cotton ball to stimulate action. This cleaning should continue during the first two weeks. If this procedure is not followed, the puppy may become constipated.

By three weeks, the puppy can start to eat food from the dish along with the milk replacer. A gruel can be made by thoroughly mixing a puppy food (canned or dry) with the milk replacer to reach the consistency of a thick milk shake. The mixture should not be too thick at first or the puppy will not consume very much. As the consumption of food increases, the amount of milk replacer can be gradually decreased.

Make sure he’s treated for worms at three and six weeks of age. Depending on the parasite load of the puppy and potential re-exposure to parasites, additional dewormings may be recommended.

Always provide a lot of water to prevent dehydration because they get dehydrated and weaken very quickly.

Prevent chilling: newborn puppies cannot regulate their body temperature very well. They quickly become chilled, or hypothermic, if their mother, their siblings, or their environment does not keep them warm. It will be necessary to provide a heat source for your puppy for the first few weeks of life. Suitable heat sources include hot water bottles, incubators, and heat lamps. Whichever heat source you use, make sure the puppy doesn’t become overheated too quickly or burned. In addition, avoid drafts by placing the puppy’s box away from windows, doorways, and air-conditioning vents. Generally, a warm puppy will start gaining weight quicker.

Good Luck to you and your newborn.


QUESTION: good day. i have a rootweiler (not a pure breed) who hav distemper. the vet said that there’s no cure for this virus. i cannot just watch my dog die in pain. she’s been struggling for almost two weeks now. please, tell me what to do. thank you

ANSWER: I am so sorry to hear your dear dog is sick and in pain. Distemper is a
highly contagious viral disease. It affects the respiratory and the
nervous systems, causing fever, lethargy, coughing, vomiting, diarrhea,
seizures, and eventually death.

It’s very sad to know that your beloved companion has reached a time
when he is in pain and it’s time to let him go. When an animal is
suffering and affected by disease such as distemper (which is terminal)
then you and the veterinarian will talk about the appropriate time to
put him to sleep.

When do you put your dog to sleep and how do you make that ultimate no
return decision?

Each decision about the death of a dog is personal and different. Dogs
are voiceless. They can’t tell us when it’s time to die, even if they
were capable of such abstract thought. That’s something we have to
decide for them, dealing with our love, compassion, and common sense as
best we can.

Many veterinarians say a dog should be euthanized when it can no longer
live the life of a dog-and only the owner knows when that really is.
Some vets say a dog should be put down when their suffering exceeds
their ability to take pleasure in life. When their “dogness”
disappears – such as their interest in people, food, water, passing
trucks, etc., has gone then it’s time to make the decision to help their
dog make the transition to a place where they will feel no more pain.

Be sure to tell the receptionist that you would like to schedule the
appointment at a time when the veterinarian is not in a hurry with other
appointments or surgery. You might even request that your appointment be
the last one of the day or the first one in the morning. Explain that
you have never had to go through this experience before and would like
to know what to expect regarding the euthanasia procedure. You have a
right to take your deceased pet home for personal burial. You may also
choose to leave your deceased pet with the veterinarian for burial or
cremation. Always ask what will be done with your deceased pet after it
is “put to sleep”.

It is your personal choice whether or not to be present in the room when
the veterinarian administers the euthanasia solution. Many people simply
cannot bear to see the moment of their special friend’s passing. It
really is up to your personal preference. Some people choose to stay in
the waiting room during the procedure and then briefly view their pet
after it has passed away, maybe then spending a few moments in private
with their pet.

Your discomfort with the event should not govern your decision whether
or not to be present with your pet at the time of its passing.

It is perfectly normal and acceptable to cry. The animal hospital staff
has often formed a strong connection with many of the pets in their care
and often join in the crying; so you really have no need to pretend that
you can handle it when inside you feel terrible.

When the veterinarian is ready to administer the euthanasia solution the
assistant will help hold your pet and put a slight amount of pressure on
a vein, usually in the foreleg. This allows the veterinarian to see the
vein better and aids in passing a fine needle into the vein. When it is
certain that the needle is within the vein the veterinarian slowly
injects the solution. Many pet owners choose to help hold their pet and
if possible even have the pet in their arms at the time of euthanasia.
Your veterinarian will try to accommodate your wishes, but remember that
it is imperative that the solution be injected within the vein for the
procedure to unfold properly.

Usually within six to twelve seconds after the solution is injected the
pet will take a slightly deeper breath, then grow weak and finally lapse
into what looks like a deep sleep. The pet, although completely
unconscious, may continue to take a few more breaths before all movement
ceases. The procedure is very quick and peaceful for the dog.

The veterinarian usually will place the pet into the container and carry
the deceased pet out to the car for the owner. If the pet owner chooses
to have the pet cremated the veterinarian generally will make the
arrangements through a cremation service and notify you when you can
expect to have the ashes returned.

Many, many pet owners experience a very strong and lasting sense of pain
and grief after the passing of a special pet. There are a number of
grief support groups and counselors who specialize in pet loss
counseling. Never feel ashamed for being lost and lonely after losing
your little friend. And remember, it always takes longer than you would
expect to start functioning “normally” again.

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Here is a poem about pets:

IN THEIR SHORT LIVES

In their short lives our pets give us all they can…

their friendship, unselfish love, and total loyalty.

There comes a time when we must give back to them
their freedom, their peace, and their dignity.

May you find comfort in knowing that your pet is now at peace.

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