Meningitis in Dogs: Keys to Unravel Causes & Symptoms

Meningitis in DogsMeningitis in dogs often has unknown causes that affect your dog’s central nervous system, which may result in chronic pain and severe seizures for your dog as well as bills for thousands of dollars to get MRI’s, ultrasounds and dozens of laboratory tests just to discover the treatments for meningitis to try to determine what’s wrong with your dog, which may not shed light on the cure … and even worse, you may never know how your dog got this life-threatening disease.

This news alert gives you 6 keys to unravel causes and symptoms of meningitis or inflammation in your dog’s brain and spinal cord.  Puppies and older dogs with lowered immune systems are at greatest risk for catching meningitis.

6 Possible Causes of Meningitis in Dogs

Meningitis often develops as a secondary infection that may start in your dog’s ears or nose.  Frequently, this disease results from a virus or irregular immune system response and can be idiopathic which means the cause is unknown. 

Possible causes of your dog’s meningitis:

  1. Bacterial infections – Your dog may have an infection of his ears, eyes or nose.  These infections can reach your dog’s brain and spinal cord through his blood. 
  2. Parasites – Infections like distemper, parvo and rabies can spread to your dog’s central nervous system and cause inflammation that leads to neurological damage.
  3. Lyme disease  Another possible cause of meningitis in dogs may be lyme disease which could lead to inflammation of membranes surrounding your dog’s brain and spinal cord.
  4. Toxins – Drugs and vaccines can also lead to inflammation of your dog’s nervous system. 
  5. Steroids – Steroid responsive meningitis occurs when the walls of your dog’s arteries become inflamed.
  6. Breeds – Some dog breeds like Pugs, Beagles and Bernese Mountain Dogs are susceptible to meningitis.

Symptoms of Your Dog’s Meningitis       

Your dog may have already shown the symptoms below:

  • Muscle spasms, seizures and weakness in his legs, neck and back
  • Head tilting, unsteady walking and sensitivity to your touch
  • Lethargy, weakness and depression
  • Fever, vomiting and low blood pressure

Advanced cases of meningitis in dogs can result in:

  • Uncontrolled movements and loss of muscle coordination or ataxia
  • Blindness and paralysis
  • Confusion, depression and aggression

Caring for Your Dog with Meningitis    

Since meningitis is a progressive disease in dogs, the best care you can give your dog is to reduce his inflammation and keep him hydrated.  Ask your veterinarian for all the options you can choose to make your dog as comfortable as possible.

Unfortunately, there are no clear-cut answers to how your dog gets meningitis.  This article gives you 6 keys to help you unravel the possible causes of meningitis in dogs so you can have some tips which I hope will guide you to new ways to comfort your dog.  If your dog hasn’t yet come down with meningitis, then I hope these 6 keys to help you unravel the causes of meningitis will help you prevent your dog from catching this life-threatening disease.

Share this news brief with your friends and family so they know that early detection and treatment of meningitis in dogs is crucial to prevent your dog from life-threatening neurological damage.

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Insurance for Dogs: Flexible Coverage for Any Budget

 

Insurance for Dogs

The reason you need insurance for dogs like yours is because 1 out of 3 dogs suffer from an accident or injury before they turn 3 years old and it isn’t until you’re faced with a $3,000 bill for your dog’s emergency room services after she swallows a bottle of your Ibuprofen that you wish you had signed her up for dog health insurance.

This news brief will help you make sense out of the confusing insurance jargon you may have already read.  After reading this article, you’ll be clear about what’s covered and not covered through insurance.  Most people may not know that dog health insurance provides you flexible payment options that will fit any budget to keep your dog healthy. 

Insurance for Dogs:  What’s Covered and Not Covered

What’s Covered:

  1. Illnesses, Injuries, Accidents – With dog health insurance, your dog will be covered for treatment of new accidents, illnesses and injuries after your enrollment.  You may have a 2 week waiting period for dog insurance companies to check out your Insurance for Dogsdog’s medical records and notes from your veterinarian that would show pre-existing conditions which could prevent approval of insurance coverage.
  2. Hereditary and Congenital Conditions – Some dog health insurance companies cover your dog for hereditary and congenital conditions like eye disorders or knee issues.  This means that your dog could qualify for insurance coverage even if you may have thought these conditions were considered pre-existing.
  3. Unlimited Lifetime Benefits   Look for insurance for dogs with no annual or per incident limits.  Shop around for a plan with no incident caps or maximum limits.
  4. Customized Reimbursement – You can create a flexible plan that fits your budget with deductibles and reimbursement levels you can change as needed.
  5. Veterinarians, Hospitals, Specialists – You can select a dog Insurance for Dogsinsurance company that allows you to use any licensed veterinarian including animal emergency hospitals and specialists.  Your dog’s coverage includes: diagnostic testing, x-rays, hospitalization and treatments, surgeries and prescriptions.
  6. Hip Dysplasia – You can get lifetime coverage for your dog’s hip dysplasia, however you need to enroll your dog before she turns 6 years old.  Maryland and New Hampshire are the only states in the U.S. that don’t have a 12 month waiting period before hip dysplasia coverage takes effect.  This means you need to sign up for insurance for dogs with hip dysplasia before your dog is 5 years old for this coverage which requires a complete physical hip exam.

What’s Not Covered:

  1. Pre-existing conditions – Your dog may have a pre-existing condition like allergies or diabetes that has been treated by your veterinarian before your dog’s health insurance coverage starts.  No dog insurance company covers pre-existing conditions.
  2. Veterinarian exams – Annual veterinarian visits are not covered because this is part of the responsibility of dog ownership.
  3. Spay/neuter procedures – These procedures are not covered by dog insurance companies because they don’t qualify as an illness, injury or accident.
  4. Preventative care Insurance for dogs does not cover vaccinations or a titer test, heart-worm medication, de-worming, grooming and nail trim.
  5. Dental care – Your dog’s dental cleanings and care are not covered.  The only exceptions are when your dog’s teeth are injured in an accident which requires extractions or reconstruction.
  6. Behavioral treatments – Training, medications for behavioral conditions and therapy for behavioral modification is not covered by dog health insurance.
  7. Parasite control – Prophylactic treatments for internal and external parasites are not covered by dog insurance companies.
  8. Housing, Exercise and Food  Dog health insurance does not cover the cost of your dog’s housing, exercise, toys, treats and food.

This news brief gives you all the information you need to know about what’s covered and not covered by insurance for dogs.  You can use these points to find flexible insurance coverage for your dog that fits any budget.

Share this article with your friends and family so they have a checklist to use when they look for health insurance coverage for their dog.  You can always depend on the best dog health strategies from Dog Health News.

Add your comments about your dog’s health insurance experience below so others can benefit from your story.

SPECIAL BONUS — If you would like breaking news on how to NOT overpay for your dog’s healthcare costs and reduce the number of times your dog gets sick, then claim your FREE ACCESS to the “How to Control Your Dog’s Healthcare Costs” video news . Go HERE to get it FREE.

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Dog Farts:  6 Ways to Minimize Your Dog’s Smelly Gas

Dog Farts

Dog farts sneak up on you quietly until you notice something smells rotten and you can’t breathe because your dog shamelessly stinks up your home and embarrasses you in front of your friends and family with her farts.  Your dog’s foul smelling farts, however, might be a clue that she suffers from a dangerous health condition like Pancreatitis or inflammatory bowel disease.

This article helps you understand what causes your dog to expel smelly gas so you can rule out any serious dog health disorders and discover solutions that keep your dog healthy.  If your dog doesn’t have a serious health condition, you may be able to also eliminate or minimize your dog’s farts with the tips below.

6 Reasons Your Dog Farts

  1. Breed Predisposition – Brachycephalic dogs with pushed in faces like Boston Terriers, Boxers and Bulldogs are prone to flatulence because they tend to eat quickly and inhale more air with their food when they swallow.
  2. Diet – Bacterial fermentation from indigestible carbohydrates like meat products or soybeans creates stinky dog gas.  Toxic substances, overfeeding and a sudden change in your dog’s diet can increase your dog’s flatulence and result in bad odors that escape as a fart.
  3. Intestinal Parasites – Parvovirus and Giardia are examples of intestinal parasites which can give your dog’s gas a foul smell. 
  4. Inflammatory Bowel Disease – Your dog may have food allergies or leaky gut disorders that create fermentation and smelly dog farts.
  5. Pancreatitis – Infections to your dog’s pancreas can cause flatulence and result in a foul odor when your dog releases gas.
  6. Antibiotics – Medications for your dog’s medical conditions may also give your dog gas and have a distinctly sour smell.

Note:  Bring your dog to your veterinarian when your dog’s gas has a pungent odor.  Early detection of dangerous health conditions can help you prevent your dog from discomfort and save you thousands of dollars in dog health expenses.    

6 Tips to Eliminate Your Dog’s Smelly Gas

These tips may help reduce the odor of your dog’s farts and make your home smell fresher: 

1. Diet – Give your dog ground turkey, canned pumpkin and cooked sweet potato to help reduce excessive gas.  Ask your veterinarian to help you with a nutritionally balanced diet for your dog to help dog farts.   Change from commercially processed dog food to fresh home-cooked food. 

2. Portions – Feed your dog smaller portions to reduce bacterial fermentation that could cause smelly dog gas. 

3. Exercise – Give your dog plenty of exercise to burn off calories and help reduce her flatulence.

4. Poops & Piddles – Walk your dog for at least 30 minutes after meals so she can avoid constipation or diarrhea.  Consistent daily urine and fecal elimination can help keep your dog’s intestines clean which reduces smelly gas.

5. Herbal remedies – Add a pinch of black pepper or parsley to your dog’s meals to help reduce gas. You can also pour some cool chamomile tea in your dog’s water bowl to soothe stomach upsets that may cause dog farts.

6. Diffuser – Add 3 drops of peppermint or lavender essential oil to your room diffuser to make your home smell fresh.

This article gives you 6 reasons your dog releases foul gas which could help you discover an infection like Pancreatitis in time to prevent further damage to your dog’s health. You can always depend on the best dog health strategies from Dog Health News.

Share your stories about flatulence so dog parents can learn from your experience and help their dogs who may have smelly gas.

By the way… claim your FREE “How NOT to Overpay to Keep Your Dog Well” video news.  Just go HERE now to get your Dog Health and Wellness Video News.

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Dog Seizures: Real Stories to Clarify Your Challenge

Dog Seizures

Dog seizures may start suddenly in the still of the night when you hear your dog cry and find him sprawled on the floor in a pool of his own vomit.  These short epileptic seizures can last less than a minute, however you and your dog could end up exhausted at an emergency animal clinic after several visits to more than one vet for tests and evaluations. You may be so frustrated that you wonder if there’s a light at the end of the tunnel or whether you’ll eventually lose your dog from these violent seizures.

This news story gives you 2 insightful seizure submissions sent to Dog Health News from dog owners who shared their struggle with their dogs‘ seizures. My hope is you’ll be able to glean information from their stories to help you cope with your dog’s seizures.  I understand your pain when you see your dog experience his seizure and how difficult it may be for you to find a satisfactory solution.

Dog Seizures Submissions to Dog Health News

You may already know that all dog breeds can suffer from seizures at an early age. Statistics show idiopathic seizures could occur in 6% of dogs.

This means you need to know what you should do for your dog so you don’t panic or cause harm to your dog during his seizure if he shows symptoms like: convulsions, excessive panting and vomiting.

The dog parent seizure submissions below illustrate why it’s so important for you to now notice changes in your dog’s behavior, muscle strength and energy level.  Your dog may need to have blood work and x-rays, take prescription drugs and require continual care which could lead to high dog health expenses. 

Dog SeizuresDog health insurance may help you cover some of your medical expenses.

Now, Phenobarbital and Zonisamide are epileptic drugs used as anticonvulsants.  However, your dog may experience side effects from these drugs like: ataxia, anxiety, weight gain and loss of muscle control. 

Check with your veterinarian for all the details related to your dog’s specific condition before you give your dog these drugs.

Kimberly’s Dog Seizures Submission

“My 3 year old Chihuahua suddenly developed weakness, stiffening of the neck and back and yelping as if in pain. I would hold him until he was comfortable, and he would stop crying. This left him extremely tired. 

We took him to the vet and was told he is having epileptic seizures. The blood work showed nothing .

It did appear that it was some sort of episode.  After being on Phenobarbital for 3 long weeks he is still doing all the same things. 

Finally we took him to an emergency clinic, and they did full x-rays, and showed us a tiny separation in his neck vertebrae. He is now on muscle relaxers and pain meds. 

He seems to be much better until during the night he had another episode.”

Kristina’s Dog Seizures Submission

“I have an 11 month old Siberian Husky that has short seizures very frequently.

The seizures began 3 days after he was neutered when he was 7 months old. 

He vomits and then immediately has a 30-40 second seizure. The first vet prescribed Phenobarbital twice per day after a standard blood, urine, and fecal analysis.  Diagnosis: Epilepsy. 

The longest he would go without a seizure was 2 weeks. 

The second vet tested his blood extensively and tested for a liver shunt.  All is normal except that his red blood cells are smaller than normal.  Diagnosis: Epilepsy. 

They prescribed Zonisamide. He went 2 1/2 weeks without a seizure on both medicines. 

Now we are trying to ween him off of the Phenobarbital and he has seizures every week and a half. The second vet suggests we play it by ear at this point. 

He may have to take both medicines, but we don’t want him to die of liver failure at a young age because of it.

The only other option is an MRI and spinal tap which costs well beyond what we can afford right now.

My question is even if we have an MRI and find out he has some other neurological problem, is there really any other medications that will change his status?

I know there are other anti-seizure medications, but is there really going to be a light at the end of this?

Did the anesthesia from his neutering cause this?  Every time he vomits, even if he just ate some grass because his belly didn’t feel good, he has a seizure. 

At first we thought seizures were his trauma reaction from eating things he shouldn’t have like plastic or pieces of a toy.  He’s so young and I don’t want to lose him to a grand mal.”

4 Dog Seizures Management Tips

  1. Prevention – Eliminate salty treats or food that contain potassium bromide which may lead to your dog’s seizures.
  2. Medication – Be careful about administering medication to control your dog’s epileptic seizures.  Any disruption in dosage may aggravate or initiate seizures.
  3. Diet – Medications for seizure control can cause weight gain so you may want to ask your veterinarian to help you with a diet plan for your dog.
  4. Herbal Remedy – You can use Turmeric, a powerful pain reliever and anti-inflammatory herb to help with your dog’s Dog Seizuresepilepsy.  Daily dosage for turmeric should not exceed 1/4 teaspoon for every 10 pounds of your dog’s weight and not exceed 2 teaspoons for dogs over 100 pounds.

This news story gave you first-hand accounts surrounding dog seizures so you’re aware of the symptoms related to epileptic seizures and specific questions you can ask your veterinarian. 

I want you to know that dog seizures are almost never fatal.  Your goal should be to reduce the frequency of your dog’s epileptic episodes so you minimize your dog’s suffering and manage his condition.

You can also submit your dog seizure experience and your solutions in the comment section below.

Share this article with other people you know who face challenges with their dog’s epileptic seizures.

I hope you received value from this article today.  I’d love to hear your feedback.  Leave your comments with your thoughts or questions.  Also, you can click on the social media links below to share this article… Thank you!

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Chubby Dogs: 7 Ways Your Plump Pooch May Cost You More

Chubby DogsChubby dogs may be the cutest canines on your street, get lots of love and make everyone smile, however their extra pounds can be the cause of dozens of health issues that will make these overweight dogs suffer and rack up expensive medical bills at your vet.  It’s hard to say no when your dog begs for treats until one day you notice he’s twice the size he was last year and your veterinarian tells you to cut back on his food because your dog could develop diabetes or a heart condition that will add lifelong dog health expenses and potentially shorten your dog’s life.

This news brief gives you 7 ways your pudgy dog could cost you more in health expenses so you’ll understand the consequences of canine obesity.

7 Ways Chubby Dogs are in Danger of Expensive Health Risks

  1. Knees  – Extra weight can put your dog at risk for knee and leg injuries and your dog may need cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) surgery.  The average cost for CCL surgery is $3,500 without dog health insurance coverage.  Additional costs are for physical therapy that can run as high as $100 per visit as needed.
  2. Arthritis – Inflammation around your dog’s joints builds up with more pounds to carry around and your dog may develop a limp or become lame from the pain he suffers with arthritis.  You may need to spend $1,000 or more to treat your dog’s arthritis, provide a dog wheelchair and pay for medicine to reduce your dog’s pain and arthritic symptoms.
  3. Hygiene – Urinary tract infections (UTI’s) increase when chubby dogs can’t reach areas to clean because of their body weight.  The cost to treat UTI’s can be more than $500 each time your dog gets an infection.
  4. Back – If your dog carries 5-10 pounds over his healthy weight Chubby Dogsthere’s a good chance he’ll have back problems sooner or later.  Corgis, Dachshunds and Basset Hounds are prone to intervertebral disc disease (IDD) which can result in surgery that can be more than $2,000.  However, back problems are common in all breeds when your dog is overweight.
  5. Cancer – Obesity in dogs can often be one cause of cancerous tumors.  The cost for tests and treatment for your dog with cancer is over $2,000.  Medical expenses can be a minor point for your family compared to what your dog must endure with this disease.
  6. Stomach – Too many treats, large portions of food and reduced exercise can contribute to your dog’s weight gain. The consequences for chubby dogs can be things like an upset tummy, gas, diarrhea, liver disease, vomiting and dehydration.  The cost for vet visits to solve these health problems add up over the years.  Stomach-related health issues are one of the most common reason for vet visits and thousands of dog owners are unpleasantly surprised with average bills of $500 – $1,000.
  7. Diabetes – Table scraps, pieces of pizza, bites of cookies and treats loaded with carbohydrates and fat could be the catalyst for your dog to develop diabetes.  If your dog suffers from diabetes, you are faced with daily responsibility for his health and additional dog health expenses throughout your dog’s life.  The estimated annual cost starts at $1,000 to cover vet visits and blood sugar maintenance.

Tips to Prevent Canine Obesity

  • Exercise – Light to moderate exercise for at least 30 minutes a Chubby Dogsday helps keep your healthy dog from growing into the obese weight category of chubby dogs.
  • Diet – Work with your vet so you feed your dog a breed specific nutritionally balanced diet with limited treats for being a good dog.
  • Habits – Bad habits are hard to break, however your dog depends on your help to keep him at his healthy weight.  It’s never too late to change your habits like limiting treats to once a day.  Obesity can shorten your dog’s life, reduce his quality of life and even worse, you may face tough decisions when presented with a big bill to pay because your dog is overweight.

This article gives you reasons to keep your dog at his healthy weight to prevent him from the risks of obesity including extra expenses to care for a chubby dog.

Share this article with your friends and family so they have information on the dangers faced by overweight dogs and the costs to cover their health expenses.  You can always depend on the best dog health strategies from Dog Health News.

SPECIAL BONUS — If you would like breaking news on how to NOT overpay for your dog’s healthcare costs and reduce the number of times your dog gets sick, then claim your FREE ACCESS to the “How to Control Your Dog’s Healthcare Costs” video news . Go HERE to get it FREE.

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Dog Head Tilt: What’s Right or Wrong About This Habit?

Dog Head TiltDog head tilt normally looks like your dog wants to express herself or she wants to get your attention, however when your dog tilts her head too often, loses her balance and has strange eye movements, you need to bring your dog to your veterinarian immediately for a checkup to see if your dog has underlying health problems that could affect her central nervous system.

This news brief gives you signs to watch for when your dog tilts her head so you know when to take action before your dog’s health is at risk from Ataxia which results in loss of coordination of your dog’s limbs, trunk and head.

Dog Head Tilt: 7 Signs of Ataxia

  1. Tilting head – Your dog may start to have abnormal behavior and tilt her head to one side.  She might have a loss of balance or have vertigo and feel dizzy.  Unusual head movements could indicate nerve damage and discomfort in your dog’s head and neck area.
  2. Hearing loss – Your dog may not react to your vocal commands as quickly as usual and you might realize you have to raise your voice higher to get her attention.
  3. Weak limbs – Your dog may start to favor one leg more than another or have noticeable weakness in one or more limbs.  Even without signs of dog head tilt, your dog might have difficulty on stairs, walking or jumping because her limbs are not strong enough to hold her weight.  In the worst cases, your dog won’t be able to hold her legs up at all.
  4. Stumbling – Although puppies fall over easily, your healthy adult dog should stand up straight on all four legs and have excellent balance.  Bring your dog to your vet if your dog continuously falls over, sways or stumbles.
  5. Drowsiness – If your dog is excessively tired or seems unfocused, she may have health issues related to her head, nerves and brain area with no instances of dog head tilt.  An active dog may get tired, however it’s not normal for your dog to have a low energy level and act like she’s in a stupor.
  6. Appetite loss – Your dog may suffer from motion sickness if she has vertigo or balance problems which can result in nausea and a lack of appetite.
  7. Behavior change – Take your dog to your local veterinarian if your dog’s energy level changes or she shows abnormal behavior.

Cricket Ditty – Challenges and Solutions for Dogs with Ataxia

Dog Head TiltMargaret Ditty discovered her dog Cricket had Ataxia when her 7 year old Chihuahua started losing her balance, falling over and exhibiting moments of exaggerated dog head tilt.  Cricket has Granulomatous Meningoencephalitis (GME) as a result of a vaccination at age 7.  You can learn more about GME from Margaret’s stories on her site, Pet Parents Fighting GME.

These 2 videos show Cricket struggling to stand up on a wood floor and Cricket walking down the hall with her custom designed wheelchair.

3 Types of Ataxia

  1. Sensory – Your dog’s spinal cord becomes compressed gradually.  Symptoms to watch for are when your dog misplaces her feet and her limbs become weak.  This condition can start with cerebral lesions in your dog’s brain near her neck.
  2. Vestibulocochlear – Damage to this nerve in your dog’s inner ear can cause hearing problems, dog head tilt and change your dog’s head and neck position.  Your dog may tend to lean over, tip over and even roll over.
  3. Cerebellar – Your dog may have uncoordinated movement, head tremors and swaying of her body. 

Causes of Ataxia

  • Spinal cord – Your dog’s ataxia may be caused by things like degeneration of nerves, loss of blood from a blood clot, malformation, cancer, as spinal cyst, infections or a trauma to her spinal cord.
  • Metabolic – Your dog may be anemic or have low blood sugar and low potassium levels.
  • Neurologic – Your dog may contract an inflammatory anti-immune disease to her central nervous system.
  • Vestibular – Your dog may get a fungal infection in her middle ear which can affect her peripheral nervous system and lead to dog head tilt.

Diagnosis of Ataxia Symptoms

  • Health history – Whenever your dog shows abnormal behavior, it’s critical to keep a journal so you can give your veterinarian a clear, step by step description of your dog’s illness with actual dates when symptoms were noticed.
  • Tests – Your veterinarian may order tests including blood counts, urinalysis, MRI and X-rays to determine if your dog has cancer.  Your dog may need an ultrasound to check her pancreas, liver and kidney function.
  • Expenses – 
  • If you have dog health insurance, some of your expenses may be covered, however you can expect initial bills to add up to over $3,000 if your dog has Ataxia.

Treatment for Your Dog with Ataxia and Dog Head Tilt

  • Drugs –  Consult with your veterinarian about drugs to treat your dog with Ataxia if your dog experiences pain from inflammation.  Ask your vet about alternative medicines and all potential side effects.
  • Exercise – Your dog’s motor skills may be limited and you might need to make changes in your home to help your dog from sliding on slippery floors. 
  • Products – Look into products that might help your dog grip the floor better or dog wheelchairs that allow your dog more mobility.

This news brief gives you information about symptoms, causes, diagnosis and treatment of Ataxia so you can take better care of your dog.  Much thanks to Margaret Ditty and Cricket for the work they are doing to help dog parents.  Awareness of signs of diseases can make a huge difference because you’ll know when to bring your dog to your local vet or emergency animal hospital if needed.

Share this article with your friends and family so they can watch for signs of abnormal or excessive dog head tilt in their dog.  You can always depend on the best dog health strategies from Dog Health News.

By the way… claim your FREE “How NOT to Overpay to Keep Your Dog Well” video news.  Just go HERE now to get your Dog Health and Wellness Video News.

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Dog Vaccination Schedule ~ Dosage and Dog Health Risks

Dog Vaccination ScheduleYour dog vaccination schedule is reviewed when you and millions of responsible dog owners bring your dog to your local veterinarian for your dog’s annual wellness visit.  Over the years, most dog owners leave it up to their vet to make the decision on what vaccines are necessary and how often their dog should be vaccinated, however there is not enough attention paid to serious side effects which can permanently harm your dog’s health from over-vaccinating.

This short video with Margaret Ditty and her dog, Cricket, gives you all the information you need to ask more questions about your dog’s next shot so you can keep your dog healthy.

Your Dog Vaccination Schedule: 3 Key Questions to Ask Your Veterinarian

Dog Vaccination ScheduleYou’ll hear Margaret Ditty’s gripping story about her Chihuahua named Cricket in the interview below.  Margaret is the founder of Pet Parents Fighting GME.  If you own a toy breed, your dog is more prone to this disease, however no breed is exempt. 

3 Key Questions to Ask:

  1. Does my dog need this vaccination?
  2. Is the dosage safe for my dog’s breed, size and age?
  3. Can I have a titer test to determine if my dog needs this vaccination?

Cricket’s disease, Granulomatous Meningoencephalitis (GME) is an inflammatory auto-immune disease that affects her central nervous system.

Margaret Ditty and Cricket on Dog Health News TV

You can go to Pet Parents Fighting GME for more information and also read Cricket’s story to get further details.

This news brief about your dog vaccination schedule helps you to ask more questions about vaccines and consider alternative ways to care for your dog’s health.  Margaret Ditty’s story about Cricket shows you one dog out of millions who suffer from the results of too many vaccines, incorrect dosage of vaccines and medications, and lack of information about symptoms.  Awareness of symptoms related to dog health illnesses along with fast action might save your dog’s life.

Dog Vaccination ScheduleShare this article and interview with your friends and family or anyone you feel would benefit from Cricket’s story so they can help protect their dog from chronic health diseases like GME.  You can always depend on the best dog health strategies from Dog Health News.

SPECIAL BONUS — If you would like more video news on how to Keep Your Dog Well and NOT overpay for it, then claim your FREE ACCESS to the “How to Cost Effectively Keep Your Dog Well” video news. Go HERE to get it FREE.

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What Not To Feed Dogs: Does Your Dog Really Need Carbs?

What Not to Feed DogsYour list of what not to feed dogs gets longer every day because certain foods may give your dog indigestion, result in obesity and lead to chronic health conditions like diabetes or kidney disease, which could make you wonder whether your dog really needs those extra carbohydrates in pizza crust when he already gets plenty of protein in his diet, is fed a species-specific nutrient balanced diet or if you make your dog healthy food in your kitchen.

This news brief gives you information you need to understand carbohydrates so you can make an educated decision about what not to feed your dog to keep him healthy.

What Not To Feed Dogs:  Take These 6 Groups of Carbohydrates Out of Your Dog’s Diet

  1. Sugars – There is truly no reason to add sugar to your dog’s food What Not to Feed Dogsbecause your dog doesn’t have the same taste buds as you do.  When you add sugar, honey, molasses or even ice cream that’s loaded with sugar to your dog’s diet, you put your dog at risk for health issues like cancer, diabetes and obesity.
  2. Cereals – If you have children in your household, take care to keep any cereals your kids may eat out of your dog’s reach and off the floor where your dog will lick up those little treats before you blink your eye. Packaged cereals of any kind are on the list of what not to feed dogs.  There is no nutritional value for your dog in any brand of cereal.
  3. Cookies – Even the smallest cookie like animal crackers are loaded with carbs.  When you’re munching on butter cookies, fortune cookies, graham crackers or any type of cookie, make sure you don’t share them with your dog.  Find a healthy dog treat from your kitchen like a small piece of carrot or a slice of apple that will be a much safer choice with fewer carbs.
  4. What Not to Feed DogsCakes and flour – Your dog may beg you to share your birthday cake and any pastry you have on your plate, however,  you might discover that these sweet foods on the list of what not to feed dogs contain flour and fat that can harm your dog’s health.   
  5. Bread and pizza – Those little table scraps you think are fun for your dog to eat could be the worst thing you feed your dog because they may result in extra pounds and digestive issues, not to mention extra visits to your vet.
  6. Potatoes – This category includes potato chips and french fries What Not to Feed Dogsthat are so easy to toss in your dog’s ever ready open mouth.  The oil and salt in these potato foods can lead to clogged arteries and possible heart conditions in your dog. 

Facts About Carbohydrates for Your Dog

  • Nutrition – Your dog does not need additional carbohydrates when you feed your dog a species-specific nutritionally balanced diet.  The list of what not to feed dogs above is a great source of information for you to use and take better care of your dog’s health.
  • Training – Your dog’s diet depends on your control of what you feed your dog.  If you allow your dog to munch on table food, you are training your dog to beg for foods that are not healthy. 
  • Energy – Your dog will store extra carbohydrates in his liver and muscles as fat.  If you feed your dog more carbohydrates than he can burn off, you may be putting your dog at risk for health problems down the road.
  • Good Carbs – Read the labels on your dog’s manufactured food so you can eliminate what not to feed dogs including grains like corn, rice and wheat.  You can add pureed vegetables and fruits to your dog’s diet for good carbohydrates if needed.  Quantity is the key factor.  Less is best when it comes to carbohydrates.

What Not to Feed Dogs

Note: A healthy diet for your dog may seem boring to you without some sweet or tasty treats, however, your dog’s tastebuds are not like yours and your dog will live a longer, healthier life without sugar and carbohydrates.  If it’s not good for your dog, it may not be good for you.

This news brief gives you facts about carbohydrates for dogs, what not to feed dogs, and reasons why you may want to take carbs out of your dog’s diet to keep your dog healthier longer and save on dog health expenses.

Share this article with your friends and family so they have the information they need about carbohydrates for their dogs.  You can always depend on the best dog health strategies from Dog Health News.

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Autoimmune Disease in Dogs: Why GME Awareness is Vital

Autoimmune Disease in Dogs Autoimmune disease in dogs may attack different parts of your dog’s body, however, when it strikes your dog’s central nervous system, this condition can be life-threatening and some symptoms of Granulomatous Meningoencephalitis (GME) often cause severe suffering like chronic migraines that require high doses of medication to help lower your dog’s threshold of pain.

This article gives you a heart wrenching account of a dog named Cricket Ditty and her challenges with GME told by her pet parent and our guest blogger, Margaret Ditty.  When Dog Health News read about Cricket’s condition, we decided that her story needs to be heard far and wide to spread awareness about this disease.

Autoimmune Disease in Dogs: Cricket Ditty – One Dog’s Fight Against GME & NME

Margaret Ditty has kindly shared Cricket’s story so you can understand all aspects of GME & NME.

Cricket was born in January 2009 and just turned 7 years old.   She’s a  fawn colored, female, Applehead Toy Chihuahua with papers.  One weekend I had wandered into a local pet store when I saw this precious little furbaby in her pet store cage.  She looked at me, wagged her tail and woofed at me.  She had me at “woof”. 

Pet store dogs aren’t cheap and her going price was $1,300.00.  I asked the pet store worker if I could visit with her in their visiting area and she brought her to me.  She was a mere 2-½ pounds of sheer cuteness.  She was loaded with personality and spunk and not shaky like most Chihuahuas.  So I called the hubby and begged him to let me purchase her.  She could be every present for the entire year that he would have to purchase for me.  Finally my husband caved in to my pleas, even though we already have a Miniature Pinscher with heart problems at home.  I never purchased pet insurance as I always put away funds in a special pet account for my dogs figuring that my monthly contribution would be enough to cover shots and annual exams myself. Big mistake.

Autoimmune Disease in DogsCricket’s first 7 years of life were wonderful.  No health issues whatsoever.  Then poof, in October of 2015 she started showing some unusual health symptoms that we were concerned about.  She seemed to be having some vision loss and she was walking a bit differently.  We took Cricket to our vet and he thought it might be a middle ear infection, prescribed ear drops and told us to use as needed.  Just two weeks later she received her annual shots, but no rabies vaccination due yet.  Another big mistake. 

From that moment on we saw a decline in Cricket’s health.  Reports say that GME, an autoimmune disease in dogs, is idiopathic in nature which means no known reason it occurs, but they are finding that toy breeds are more susceptible to this disease but not sure why.  In December, Cricket could still walk up and down the stairs, but by January she refused to go up or down the stairs.  She wasn’t as spunky and she was bumping into things that she normally would not bump into before. 

We thought Cricket might have diabetes as she wasn’t seeing very well.  This time I took her to the Animal Hospital that ran a CBC blood panel and specifically checked for diabetes.  They noted that Cricket could not walk very well, definitely could not see very well, and said she was almost blind.  After the blood work came back they found that Cricket had a severe bladder infection and put her on antibiotics and an anti-inflammatory medication.  She seemed to be getting better as apparently the anti-inflammatory medication was helping with the inflammation in her brain from the undiagnosed GME, an autoimmune disease in dogs.  Then a week later, after she had finished this medication, Cricket started getting worse. 

We took Cricket back to our local Animal Hospital who determined she indeed was having neurological problems and referred us to a canine neurologist located in Richmond, Virginia, the only one in our entire state.  We made the 2-½ hour trip one way as soon as they could fit us in. 

Cricket was in bad shape by the time we visited the neurologist at as she had been fighting this disease since October of 2015, unbeknownst to us and our educated vets!   Dr. Michael Higginbotham DVM DACVIM, with Bush Veterinary Neurology Service in Richmond, Virginia, examined her and determined she needed an MRI and possibly a spinal tap which cost us $3,200.00 .  After he completed the MRI he determined, due to the Chiari-like malformation in the back of her brain, she could not undergo a spinal tap as it would kill her. 

Autoimmune Disease in DogsThe MRI showed that Cricket had massive necrosis in the brain and Dr. Higginbotham determined she not only had GME but NME, which was due to her delayed diagnosis and treatment of this autoimmune disease in dogs.  Necrosis is when the white cells eat up parts of the brain, leave lesions and empty cavities in the brain that then are filled up with fluids, which in turn cause even more inflammation in the brain.  To save her life he had to hospitalize her overnight with Chemo Treatments via IV.  So that’s exactly what we did.  We hospitalized her to get her better and took her home the next day.

Cricket looked extremely weak and tired, not because of the Chemo as dogs react differently than humans when receiving this treatment, but due to the debilitating migraines which can be the most painful effects of this disease in the brain. 

We came home and gave Cricket the high dose of prednisone they told us to give her every 12 hours.   Although this drug helps bring down the inflammation in your dog’s brain, it has many side effects including weight gain, excessive thirst and a pot belly.  Then about a week later she was reduced to 2.5 mg twice a day and put on Cyclosporine, which is a drug used for humans to keep them from rejecting transplanted organs. Cyclosporine helps reduce your dog’s white blood cells from attacking your dog’s brain any further.  This med costs $156.00 per month! 

Autoimmune Disease in DogsA month later, Cricket did not seem to be getting any better so we had to drive up to Richmond for yet another $175.00 visit.  Dr. Higginbotham wanted to hospitalize Cricket for 4 days that would have run another $2,200.00 which we did not have.  After I broke down and cried in front of the neurologist, he cut us a break.  For an additional $156.00, he sent her home with a two day supply of Chemo that my local vet would have to give to Cricket. 

I just cried all the way home holding that Chemo in my hand like it was gold since it was apparently life saving for my precious Cricket.  My local vet administered the Chemo and Cricket seemed to start getting better.  In about 10 days, we had to bring her back for another CBC to check her white cells. 

Since Cricket was not stable on any type of wood or tile flooring throughout my home; we put down all kinds of throw rugs in the family room and put up gates to the entrance and exits.  My husband also made Cricket a doggy walker out of PVC pipe and I sewed the body support to her walker so she could walk on the kitchen tile floors without falling.  This worked and it gave her greater mobility and security on the floors. 

To help Cricket regain some strength, I bought a doggy life jacket and proceeded to do water therapy in our bathtub which seems to help control her weight gain from the prednisone and gives her more muscle strength.  Our vet thought it was an excellent idea, so I continue doing this to help rehabilitate her with hope that Cricket’s brain can re-channel the neurological damage she’s suffered from this autoimmune disease in dogs and learn to walk on floors without slipping. 

Unfortunately, Cricket didn’t seem like she was getting any better, meaning her old self, and we had to take her back to the neurologist. Dr. Higginbotham gave her 10 mg of Lomustine, a very strong Chemo Therapy in pill form.  This treatment was $456.00.  Needless to say we are hemorrhaging vet bills to save her precious little life!  This does not include the checkups with our local vet and all the additional blood work to check her white blood cell counts and to check for liver problems from the prednisone!    She seems to be doing better since this last treatment, however she still slips on floors and has good and bad days due to the neurological damage to her brain from the delayed diagnosis and treatment of this autoimmune disease in dogs.

During this whole journey I joined a support group on Facebook to learn more about GME, and then I created my own group.  I personally created a GME Awareness Pamphlet that I am passing out to every person I meet at drive-thru windows, inside local pet stores and veterinarian practices, at stores or to dog owners out walking their dog.  Members of my site are passing my GME Awareness Pamphlets out as well, and some members live outside of the US!  I also created a GME & NME Awareness Video that features many dogs on these sites that are going through this horrible disease, and the pet parents who are shelling out thousands and thousands of dollars to help treat and save their pets lives. We are sharing this video with every doggy website on Facebook. 

Autoimmune Disease in Dogs

It’s been an amazing but heart breaking journey.  I’ve learned a lot about autoimmune disease in dogs and made many precious friends on these sites who are going through the same health crisis with their beloved furbabys!  They’re amazing to know and truly an inspiration of commitment and courage towards the love of their precious furbabys. 

I want to spread awareness about GME and NME to other pet parents to help save them the pain that they and their dogs could go through if not treated early.  Some dogs can die within 24 to 48 hours of diagnosis because many vets are unfamiliar with this disease to the central nervous system.  Your dog may have some or all of these symptoms.

Symptoms of GME 

•Head Pressing: Dog will press their head against things

Autoimmune Disease in Dogs•Weakness in legs

•Behavior changes

•Circling

•Seizures

•Blindness

•Drowsiness

•Head tilting

•Unsteady walk or gait

I want to bring awareness about GME and NME to pet parents of toy breeds because your dogs are at greater risk of this autoimmune disease.  Annual vaccine shots given to toy breeds at the same dose for a 125 pound dog cause your toy breed’s autoimmune system to “melt down”. This high vaccine dose is like throwing fuel on embers of an already slow burning fire existing in toy breeds!  After your initial puppy shots in the first year of your dog’s life, I recommend you have your local vet administer a titer test prior to any additional annual shots!  A titer test will determine if your dog has sufficient antibodies against current dog diseases and if they do, you DO NOT have to perform an annual shot with the exception of Rabies, which is required every three years per state law.   If you currently have a GME or NME dog, remember that your dog must be healthy enough to receive further vaccinations, which they usually are not and are EXEMPT from further annual shots to include rabies.  Ask your vet to use a big red marker on your pets file that says “NO FURTHER SHOTS REQUIRED.”  A re-vaccination of a GME & NME dog would mean certain death!

My biggest advice to any pet parent today is, “If you own a pet, be sure to sign up for pet insurance immediately!”  You cannot possibly imagine how much you will pay when trying to help your dog with a life threatening autoimmune disease in dogs like GME or NME.  It’s horrific, and you feel like you are at your VET’s mercy because the other option of putting down your beloved furbaby is not an option if they are a member of your family.  Pets, to some people, are just as much a part of your family as your own biological children.  Some of us commit to them for life as they mean that much to us as they truly are man’s best friend, full of love and devotion for you.  Do they deserve any less than the best medical care that anybody else in your family would deserve?  I say “No they don’t” and for loves sake I will fight the fight and bring awareness with every ounce of my being and with all my heart!  Thank you for allowing me to share Cricket’s story and bring awareness! 

Autoimmune Disease in DogsWarmest Regards,

Margaret Ditty

Pet Parent to Cricket Ditty

Remember to always, “Educate, Encourage and Share”

You can find Margaret Ditty on Facebook and at Pet Parents Fighting NME & GME “Educate, Encourage, Share”.  You can also join her group to stay up to date with Cricket’s condition and learn more from other members of her group.  All photos in this article are of Cricket Ditty and were provided by Margaret Ditty.

This article gives you a full disclosure about Cricket Ditty’s fight against GME and NME, an autoimmune disease in dogs, so you can take better care of your dog. Dog Health News is honored to have Margaret Ditty’s trust to share Cricket’s story and acknowledges the incredible strength Cricket has while she deals with the effects of this disease.  Margaret Ditty’s passion to spread awareness about GME and NME is unstoppable.

Share Cricket Ditty’s story with your friends and family so they understand the symptoms and challenges of this potentially deadly disease with no known cause.  You can always depend on the best dog health strategies from Dog Health News.

By the way… claim your FREE “How NOT to Overpay to Keep Your Dog Well” video news.  Just go HERE now to get your Dog Health and Wellness Video News.

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Dog Health: 5 Little Known Secrets About Dog Showing

Dog HealthDog health awareness at dog shows is not just the joy you get when you look at your pretty dog’s face and your dog’s well managed fur, surprisingly there’s many other subtle benefits from dog shows if you manage to get behind the scenes like we did when Dog Health News heard from a loyal fan and dog owner in Greece who shows his dog, Pery, to find out hidden plusses for dog owners and dog lovers when they participate in dog shows.

This news brief gives you 5 little known secrets about dog showing so you can see the extra advantages of dog shows for dogs and dog owners.

Dog Health: 5 Secret Benefits of Dog Shows

  1. Community – What better way to feel like a part of the dog world than to be in a dog club that shows dogs.  Andreas, from Greece, felt that he wanted to add his dog, Pery, to the group of dogs in his community to add to the number of dogs competing.  Ironically, the community within the dog world is even stronger in times of trouble, which may explain why people gather with their dogs to find support.  Greece has been struggling with many challenges and the positive energy that is felt at the dog shows in Greece keeps the people happy and promotes dog health.
  2. Breed Awareness – Who would ever know about the Bergamasco breed with matted fur that protects this dog from bad weather and predators that may attack his flock of sheep if it wasn’t for dog shows that featured this rare breed?  And what about the graceful Saluki that looks like a silky haired Golden Retriever and Greyhound mix?  Not to mention the adorable Puli with a corded coat that takes hours to dry.  You’d never know about these breeds if it wasn’t for dog shows.
  3. Dog Health – Andreas takes exceptional care of his Greek Shepherd Dog because he feeds Pery healthy dog food, keeps him Dog Healthclean with regular washes, and brushes his coat often.  Dog shows definitely result in more attention to dog health and dog welfare.  You can be sure that Pery gets extra attention and care from his owner, Andreas, and all of his fans in his dog club during and after all his dog shows. 
  4. Temperament  – The importance of good behavior at dog shows by all of the dogs who compete sets up a commendable example to follow for other dogs.  Socialization skills are critical for your to be able to participate in dog shows.  This is another reason why dog owners enjoy the camaraderie of dog shows because you are amongst a group of like minded dog lovers who appreciate all dog breeds and want to promote the best dog health behavior.
  5. Rescue – Many dog owners who show dogs, like Andreas, also help rescue dogs in their community.  Andreas told me about a Dog Healthlitter of stray puppies in Greece that needed to be rescued and adopted. Although many people want to adopt these rescue dogs, they often are struggling to feed themselves, let alone have enough money to care for a dog. Breed clubs are also dedicated to the rescue of dogs of their breed and provide help with re-homing dogs.

Procedure to Show Your Dog in the Ring

  • Line up –  Once you and your dog are into the ring, you’ll be asked to move around counterclockwise with your dog on your left at a pace that shows off your dog’s movement.  This gives you Dog Healtha chance to make sure your dog is looking perfect before your dog is examined.  Judges pay attention to all aspects of dog health in dog shows so they want to make sure that your dog doesn’t have health issues like a limp or poor posture.
  • Examination – You’ll step up to the judge when called and “stack” your dog in a standing position.  The judge will go over your dog and check for breed standards ending with your dog’s mouth and teeth.  The judge will then ask you to move your dog down and back or ask for additional moves like an “L” or a Triangle.
  • Placement – The judge will then choose his favorites and start asking you to line up in order until he selects the winner.
  • Winners and Best in Show – After the winners are selected in the breed competition, the same process is done to select the Best in Show.  The dog that wins this esteemed prize is a picture of prime dog health and good behavior.

Dog Health

This news brief gives you information about dog shows and why dog owners like Andreas from Greece enjoy showing their dogs.  Pery, pictured in this article has won many awards and always feels like a winner.  Andreas is very proud of his dog and will continue to enroll him in the dog shows in Greece.  As you can see, there is a great amount of love and compassion for dogs in Greece based on this story of Andreas and Pery. 

Thank you again to Andreas for all the photos and information related to the dog shows in Kalamata, Greece.  Special appreciation goes to Pery for all the hard work he does that makes him a beautiful award winning show dog. 

Share this article with your friends and family so they can learn more about the benefits of dog shows and how they have a positive effect on dog health.

By the way… claim your FREE “How NOT to Overpay to Keep Your Dog Well” video news.  Just go HERE now to get your Dog Health and Wellness Video News.

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